Wednesday, August 27, 2008

WT, ACU appear ready for the next step

By Greg Jaklewicz
Could this be the year?

The Lone Star Conference has not one, but two teams capable of launching a playoff ship that perhaps could sail as far as Florence, Ala.

That's the site of the NCAA Division II championship football game Dec. 13.

West Texas A&M and Abilene Christian have gained top-10 rankings in the most important Division II poll, the one released weekly by the American Football Coaches Association. The Gulf South (No. 1 Valdosta, No. 4 North Alabama) and Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association (No. 3 Northwest Missouri State and league newcomer No. 7 Nebraska-Omaha) also have two teams in the top 10.

WT has made the second round of the playoffs the past three years but has been soundly beaten each time. ACU has been in the playoffs the past two years, losing in 2006 in the first round in Canyon to the Buffs, and last year in the second round, 76-73, at Chadron State in a game that went three overtimes.

WT and ACU are locked and loaded for the hunt this fall. Both return a trio of stars on offense and are sound in all areas, especially defense. Both have been building to this season.
Everyone wants to win a national championship, but WT and ACU believe they can. This year.
The LSC has not produced a Division II champion since 1982, when Southwest Texas State (now Texas State) won under Jim Wacker.

Texas A&M-Kingsville, formerly Texas A&I, has won or shared 14 conference titles since 1982. The Javs won 46 straight LSC games from 1992-1998, and running back Johnny Bailey (1986-1989) won the Harlon Hill Award, the D-II equivalent of the Heisman, three straight years.

But the Javelinas have played in only one Division II national title game, losing 16-10 to North Alabama in 1994. Kingsville, Angelo State and Northeastern State have advanced to semifinals games.
Go to the Amarillo Globe News for the rest of the story.

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Lone Star Conference

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West Texas A&M University

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