For this week's rankings, we expanded the data used to rank the teams. We are utilizing the primary criteria as laid out in the NCAA guidelines. That includes a team's overall W/L%, overall D2 W/L%, in-region D2 W/L%, D2 Opponents W/L%, D2 W/L% against teams with winning records, D2 W/L% against teams with losing and .500 records, and weighted OWP-OOWP. One factor that probably changes our numbers compared to the NCAA is that we are calculating OWP and OOWP with all games, not just games already played.
1. ACU (1 in NCAA Rankings)
2. NWMSU (3)
3. UCM (4)
4. TAMK (2)
5. WTAM (5)
6. CWU (8)
7. WU (9)
8. HSU (10)
9. Midwestern State (7)
10. Missouri Western (6)
If we were ranking the teams, similar to our power poll instead of the NCAA criteria we would have the top 5 the same as the NCAA.
Abilene Christian is easy, they are the only undefeated team in the region.
Texas A&M-Kingsville with just one loss (to ACU by a TD) should be second. For those who would argue (on the D2 board) that the "numbers" dictate Northwest Missouri and Central Missouri should be ahead of the Javelinas, take this into consideration - a large portion of the MIAA non-conference schedule is played against teams such as Licoln (Mo), Western State, Minnesota State-Moorhead, Mesa State, Southwest Baptist and Missouri S&T (we "borrowed" this from the D2 board as well). That does not translate into strength of schedule, it translates into fattening up your W/L record. Really, the only thing that separates these teams right now is head to head competition. That puts the teams in TAMK, NWMSU, and UCM order for 2-4.
West Texas A&M deserves the number 5 slot having only lost to Grand Valley, TAMK, and ACU all by very narrow margins. They also have two wins against teams with winning records.
That leaves number 6. Missouri Western's best win is over Washburn, but they were blown out by NWMSU, lost by 22 to UCM and dropped a game to 4-6 Missouri Southern. Midwestern State has 0 wins against teams with winning records, though that could change this weekend. Their best win is against 4-5 Angelo State. In their favor, they have not lost to any .500 or sub .500 teams. Their non-conference game vs. New Mexico Highlands is a negative as well. Central Washington? They have split their four games against teams with winning records, but again that is deceiving. Humboldt State and Western Oregon each fattened up on Simon Fraser and Dixie State. Humboldt State? See Central Washington, but the Jacks second D2 loss came to Western Oregon, while CWU's as to Minnesota-Duluth. What about Washburn? Four losses, with no head to head advantage or other compelling wins to vault them over the teams with just 3 losses. Our Pick - none as of yet. Let them sort it out this weekend.
We will try to get our final calculations up Sunday morning prior to the NCAA selection show.
Taylor Harris - needs 268 passing yards to reach 9,000 for his career, 261 will get him to 4,000 for the season
Josh Neiswander - needs 179 passing yards to reach 8,000 for his career, 23 yards and 1 TD will move him past Ned Cox to become the all-time Angelo State leader,
Zack Eskridge - needs 47 passing yards to reach 7,000 for his career
Mitchell Gale - needs 182 passing yards to reach 5,000 for his career
Jessie Poku - needs 74 receiving yards to pass Derrick Hunter to become all-time leader for ENMU
Ryan Lincoln - needs 73 receiving yards to move into 2nd on the TAMK all-time charts
Last Week's Games
Southwestern Oklahoma 31, Central Oklahoma 24
Dwight Pete rushed for 173 yards and Dustin Stenta added 79 yards on the ground plus 118 through the air, as the Bulldogs beat the Bronchos in their final LSC matchup. With the win, SWO improved to 3-3 in the North, tied for third with Eastern New Mexico.
Northeastern State 43, Eastern New Mexico 40 OT
After laying an egg against East Central last week, the Riverhawks fought off a determined Eastern New Mexico squad to claim a share of the LSC North title. Kenny Davis threw 5 TD passes, including the game winner in overtime. McVay and Jessie Poku put on quite a receiving show - Poku had 12 receptions for 180 yards and a TD, while McVay had 12 for 175 yards and 3 TDs.
Angelo State 40, Southeastern Oklahoma 33
The Rams landed the first couple of punches, taking a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter. But Southeastern Oklahoma kept battling back, finally taking their only lead, 33-32 with 3:21 to go in the game. Josh Neiswander led Angelo State downfield, completing 8 of 11 passes, including the 3 yard TD pass to Tristan Carter with 44 seconds to play. Neiswander threw for 355 yards and 4 TDs, while Baylen Laury led SOSU with 138 yards rushing.
East Central 36, Texas A&M-Commerce 33
The Tigers continue their remarkable turnaround, edging out the Lions on a last second FG. Texas A&M-Commerce tied the game with just 33 seconds to play, on a fourth down TD pass from Adam Farkes to Jillian Hayes. But the Tigers would return the ensuing kickoff to their own 48 yard line. Tyler Vanderzee then completed three consecutive passes, moving the ball down to the TAMC 21 yard line. That was good enough for Matt Berrey, who atoned for two earlier misses in the game. Winless last season, ECU is now the LSC North co-champion, sharing the title with Northeastern State
Tarleton State 41, Incarnate Word 27
The Cardinals ended the initial foray through the LSC South without a divisional win, but not without a fight. Thomas Rebold's 24 yard field goal would put Incarnate Word up 17-14 heading into the half, the first lead they have taken into intermission this year. The Texans took control of the game after the break, scoring 4 TDs over the next 19 minutes and pull away for the win. Evan Robertson and Jerome Regal each had 2 rushing TDs to lead the TSU offense.
Texas A&M-Kingsville 27, Midwestern State 7
A defensive struggle (score tied at 7, TAMK with 140 yards of offense, MSU with 134) in the first half, turned all TAMK in the second. Javelinas scored on all four second half possessions, with drives of 80, 56, 8 and 70 yards, while the Mustangs could must just 27 yards (11 on the final play of the game) without Zack Eskridge at QB. The loss puts the Mustangs on the playoff bubble.
Abilene Christian 41, West Texas A&M 34
In yet another great game, #2 Abilene Christian was able to overcome a 14 point third quarter deficit, outscoring #14 West Texas A&M 28-7 over the final 17:15 of the ball game. The Wildcats utilized a strong running game (231 yards, 4 TDs), won the ball control and field position game, and scored TDs on their final four possessions to outlast the Buffs. James Williams had 3 interceptions to lead the ACU defense. With the win, ACU clinched the LSC South title and at least a tie for the overall LSC crown.
This Week's Games
Southwestern Oklahoma at #2 Abilene Christian
After winning just one game last year, the Bulldogs should be pleased to be moving in the right direction. Not only did they triple last year's win total, but they have shown improvement on both sides of the ball. It won't help them this week, though. ACU has improved in almost every category from last year as well, and is primed for playoff run. The Wildcats' backups get plenty of playing time, ACU 42-7.
Eastern New Mexico at Tarleton State
A matchup of teams not living up to preseason expectations. The Greyhounds were expected to compete for the LSC North title, but could not win consecutive games, and finished in the middle of the pack. For the Texans, the dropoff has been steeper. Instead of challenging for an LSC title and playoff spot, Tarleton State has battled injuries all championship and playoff hopes were done after opening the season 0-4. They have rebounded well, splitting their last 6 games, including close losses to Texas A&M-Kingsville and Midwestern State, but the end result is a losing season for the first time since 1999. Along with TSU's recent resurgence, the Greyhounds have not won on the road this year. TSU 35-28.
East Central at #19 West Texas A&M
After going 0-11 last year, Tiger fans have to be happy with 2011 - an LSC North co-championship, a 5-5 record, and a four game winning streak. ECU has almost doubled their scoring from last year (13 points per game to 22.7) is allowing 7.3 points less per contest. The only thing that could make this season better would be to knock off the Buffaloes. Its just not going to happen, though. WT's three losses have to come to teams currently ranked in the top 6 nationally by a combined 14 points. WT tunes up for the playoffs with a comfortable 42-17 win.
Texas A&M-Commerce at Incarnate Word
The Lions will try to close out a disappoint season with a win over the second year Cardinals. The offense has come around recently, scoring 31 or more points in three of the last four games. But the defense has gone AWOL, giving up over 32 points per game over the last 5 games. Meanwhile the Cardinals are reeling, dropping their last four games by an average score of 18-41. In a slight upset, we will take UIW at home, 31-28.
Central Oklahoma at Angelo State
The final record won't be pretty for the Bronchos, but this young team has played hard, and the offense has shown a lot of promise, averaging 32 points and 385 yards per game. They have scored at least 20 points in every game. The defense has a long way to go, allowing 36 points and 420 yards per game, and just twice this season holding a team to below 30 points. That has to make the Rams'offense happy. For the season, Angelo State is averaging 33 points and 411 yards per game. They put up 61 on UIW three weeks ago and 40 on Southeastern Oklahoma last weekend. Josh Neiswander will likely walk off the field with most of the Ram's team records for passing, as ASU wins 49-21.
Southeastern Oklahoma at #4 Texas A&M-Kingsville
The Savage Storm come into Kingsville with a 3-7 record, with four losses by a total of 15 points. SOSU's offense has been good, averaging 27.6 points and 396.6 yards per game, but the defense has been disappointing, giving up 35.4 points and 420 yards. Individually, Baylen Laury comes into the game, leading the LSC with 126.3 yards rushing per game. He'll have to earn every yard Saturday - the Javelinas lead the nation, allowing just 54.1 per game rushing. Overall the defense is fourth, giving up 225 yards and 13.3 points per game (remarkable when you consider they have played Northwest Missouri, Abilene Christian, West Texas A&M and Midwestern State). The offense remains in the shadows, but uses ball control and limits turnovers. TAMK closes out the season with a solid 28-10 win.
Northeastern State at #25 Midwestern State - Game of the Week
The Riverhawks' playoff hopes went down with the loss to ECU two weeks ago, but they still have a shot at the postseason - the Kanza Bowl. Midwestern State still has a shot at the playoffs, but needs to win and needs some help in other games. Otherwise, a win for them would secure a Kanza Bowl slot. The teams are coming into the game from different directions. NSU has won four of their last five, while MSU has dropped three of their last five. Northeastern State beat Eastern New Mexico to secure a tie for the LSC North title, while MSU has dominated in the second half of their game at Texas A&M-Kingsville. Probably THE BIG QUESTION for this game is whether Zack Eskridge can go. Either way, the Mustangs will likely take care of NSU. Without Zack, MSU 24-17, with Zack, MSU 42-17.