Joe Price

LSC Week Nine - Push to the Playoffs

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By Brandon Misener
D2Football.com Editor

By now you know that real life is forcing Joe Price to take a leave of absence from writing about the LSC for D2Football.com.

If you are a religious person, please pray for Joe and his family. I appreciate it and I know he will as well. If you are not religious, any good thoughts you send his way are appreciated as well.

When he brings his little girl home, he'll be back filling you in on what's happening in the LSC. Until then, I will be keeping the seat warm for him.

I cannot and will not be as good as Joe so don't expect anything special. The job all the columnists do is phenomenal considering the volunteer nature of the position. Some of them rival or even surpass the work done by people who get paid to write and talk.

In addition, my perspective is very different than Joe's. I don't know the LSC as well as most of the fine folks reading this. Many of you know that I am a Northwest grad so you might automatically think I'm biased towards their league.

The actuality is that I am biased toward the Top 20 in any single year. In the past, people in the MIAA have talked to me about this or that player from the 10th MIAA team and, honestly, I had no clue who they were talking about. There are many years I can name 22 starters for Grand Valley and West Texas but can't name a single player on Missouri Southern's team.

That means I'll present what could be a different view of the league. What I say in the coming weeks might anger some. It might surprise some. Maybe my preconceived notions will be shown to be incorrect.

Maybe we all learn something?

Joe's Predictions From Week 8

Western New Mexico 35 Fort Lewis 32
Eastern New Mexico 47 Bacone 20
OPSU 30 UTPB 27
Texas A&M Kingsville 36 Tarleton State 34
Texas A&M Commerce 35 Angelo State 30
Midwestern State 36 West Texas A&M 33

Actual Results

Fort Lewis 52 Western New Mexico 14
Eastern New Mexico 62 Bacone 0
Panhandle State 54 UT Permian Basin 44
Texas A&M-Kingsville 21 Tarleton State 17
Texas A&M-Commerce 62 Angelo State 14
West Texas A&M 35 Midwestern State 27

Joe finished 4-2 on the week. The loss to Fort Lewis is disappointing because it's yet another game that hurts the LSC teams trying to make the playoffs. By my quick calculation, it makes the conference 6-6 against countable non-LSC D2 competition. The GLIAC IS 3-1 to this date while the GLVC is 8-7 and the RMAC is 2-3.

SR 4 Rankings

I am sure most of you reading this have seen the rankings. If not, you can view them all here. http://www.d2football.com/regionalrankings/13/

Super Region 4 Reg D2
1. Grand Valley 8-0 8-0
2. Southwest Baptist 7-1 7-1
3. Midwestern State 6-1 6-1
4. Ashland 7-1 7-1
5. Texas A&M-Commerce 6-1 6-1
6. Wayne State (Mich.) 7-1 7-1
7. Colorado Mines 6-2 6-2
8. Truman State 6-2 6-2
9. Ferris State 6-2 6-2
10. Colorado Mesa 6-2 6-2

About 10 years ago, I was able to get some information that helped me crack the code as to how the regional rankings actually were determined by the committees. While that methodology is no longer used in SR3 because of the conference-only scheduling, it does still apply in the others.

The folks that I taught how to run the numbers predicted the initial rankings accurately. So while I did not run the numbers myself, I trust those who predicted it would turn out this way.

Having said that, I have always trusted football people to make football decision as to the strengths of team rather than to come up with a mathematical equation to determine which team is better. I used to enjoy it when committee members would get together and determine that Team A was better than Team C which was better than Team B. I thought they got it right most of the time.

So while the rankings might be right, they don't necessarily reflect the relative strengths of the teams. If I were to take the 10 ranked teams and put them in the order of how I perceive them, it might look a little different.

Brandon's Super Region 4 Reg D2
1. Grand Valley 8-0 8-0
2. Ashland 7-1 7-1
3. Wayne State (Mich.) 7-1 7-1
4. Midwestern State 6-1 6-1
5. Texas A&M-Commerce 6-1 6-1
6. Ferris State 6-2 6-2
7. Colorado Mines 6-2 6-2
8. Truman State 6-2 6-2
9. Southwest Baptist 7-1 7-1
10. Colorado Mesa 6-2 6-2

There is no rhyme or reason or rationale to my rankings. That is simply a gut feeling about how the teams stack up. But my opinion doesn't mean much to those selecting the playoff participants. So let's look at them one by one to see how things might shake out with the focus on the LSC.

Looking Ahead

1. Grand Valley 8-0 8-0

Wins of Note: Ohio Dominican 24-21, Ferris State 35-23, Truman State 41-3
Losses of Note: None
Remaining Schedule: Findlay, Saginaw Valley, Wayne State (Mich.)

The Lakers are a shoo-in for the playoffs. They already have three good wins. At worst, they will finish 10-1 by falling to Wayne State on the last weekend of the regular season.

Predicted Finish: 11-0

2. Southwest Baptist 7-1 7-1

Wins of Note: Eastern New Mexico 49-35, Tarleton State 31-28, McKendree35-7
Losses of Note: Truman State 26-16
Remaining Schedule: Missouri S&T, Central State, Lincoln (Mo.)

I mentioned the ENMU, TSU, and McKendree games because they affect the LSC. Two are head-to-head obviously and McKendree roughed up Angelo the first week of the season.

SBU should win out as well and finish the regular season 10-1. Where they will finish will be determined by much the remaining schedule (combined 6-18) drags them down.

Predicted Finish: 10-1

3. Midwestern State 6-1 6-1

Wins of Note: Truman State 31-19, Texas A&M-Kingsville 32-30, Texas A&M-Commerce 26-25
Losses of Note: West Texas 35-27
Remaining Schedule: UT-Permian Basin, Tarleton State, Eastern New Mexico

The loss against WT might end up costing Midwestern the top seed in SR4 and the bye that comes along with it. I don't think it's a stretch to believe that MSU will finish the season with three straight wins and a 9-1 overall record.

4. Ashland 7-1 7-1

Wins of Note: Wayne State (Mich.) 36-25, Ferris State 39-31
Losses of Note: Upset by Tiffin 35-32
Remaining Schedule: Michigan Tech, Walsh, Ohio Dominican

The loss to Tiffin is perplexing, especially because I believed Ashland to be a legitimate contender this year. They have fizzled in the playoffs recently so maybe they got their disappointing performance out of the way earlier this year. The last game of the year against ODU could present challenges, but because they don't have to play GV, I think they will finish 10-1.

5. Texas A&M-Commerce 6-1 6-1

Wins of Note: Delta State 40-28, Texas A&M-Kingsville 38-36
Losses of Note: Midwestern State 26-25
Remaining Schedule: West Texas, UT-Permian Basin, Tarleton State

The Lions could be in really good shape if not for "the drive." An undefeated TAMUC team could be ranked #2 in the region and host a first round game. If the playoffs were to have started this week, they would have been on the road. Luckily for Commerce, there are three more weeks in the regular season. If they can get by WT this weekend, a 9-1 record is very likely.

6. Wayne State (Mich.) 7-1 7-1

Wins of Note: None
Losses of Note: Ashland 36-25
Remaining Schedule: Ferris State, Ohio Dominican, Grand Valley

While there is no shame in a loss to Ashland, the Warriors haven't had a notable win. They will get that chance with a tough three game stretch. At best, I believe WSU will go 1-2 in the last three and finish 8-3.

7. Colorado Mines 6-2 6-2

Wins of Note: CSU-Pueblo 57-21, Azusa Pacific 27-23, SD Mines 56-28
Losses of Note: Black Hills 48-34, Dixie State 38-31
Remaining Schedule: Chadron State, Adams State, Black Hills

This has been a very inconsistent team and I guess it shows by their two losses and #7 ranking. I honestly don't know how they will finish. Black Hills is the team on the schedule that I feel provides a legitimate chance of knocking them off, so they should finish with two or three losses. For the sake of this piece, let's err on the side of 1-2 in the final three games and have them finish with a record of 7-3

8. Truman State 6-2 6-2

Wins of Note: Southwest Baptist 26-16
Losses of Note: Midwestern State 31-19, Grand Valley 41-3
Remaining Schedule: Quincy, St. Joseph's, McKendree

The Bulldogs should finish 9-2 if they can avoid the upset against McKendree.

9. Ferris State 6-2 6-2

Wins of Note: Ohio Dominican 41-0
Losses of Note: Ashland 39-31, Grand Valley 35-23
Remaining Schedule: Wayne State, Hillsdale, Saginaw Valley

The losses are certainly quality losses, if such a thing exists. Looking at the remaining schedule, a 9-2 finish looks very possible.

10. Colorado Mesa 6-2 6-2

Wins of Note: Western State 34-14, Colorado Mines 41-40, CSU-Pueblo 20-19
Losses of Note: Black Hills 48-34, Dixie State 38-31
Remaining Schedule: New Mexico Highlands, SD Mines, Azusa Pacific

Mesa has a tough final three games. A 7-4 record is not out of the realm of possibilities.

If my predictions are correct, it could look something like this at the end of the season:

1. Grand Valley 11-0
2. Ashland 10-1
3. Midwestern State 9-1
4. Texas A&M-Commerce 9-1
5. Southwest Baptist 10-1
6. Truman State 9-2
7. Ferris State 9-2
8. Wayne State (Mich.) 8-3
9. Colorado Mines 7-3
10. Colorado Mesa 7-4

I think it looks really good for Midwestern and Commerce in terms of playoff participation with both hosting first round games.

Others In Play (*Indicates games left against regionally ranked teams)

Western State 6-2
Ohio Dominican 5-3**
Tiffin 5-3
Eastern New Mexico 5-3*
West Texas 5-3*
Texas A&M-Kingsville 5-3
CSU Pueblo 5-3
Black Hills 5-3*
SD Mines 5-3*
McKendree 5-3*
Quincy 5-3*
Saginaw Valley 4-3**

October 29 Schedule

Angelo State at Western New Mexico 1pm

In the NFL, a struggling team can tank and get a higher draft pick who is theoretically a better player.

In college football, it pays to win every game for pride, recruiting purposes, program momentum, etc. For that reason, I think this should be a close game between two teams that see a potential win sitting in front of them.

The key in this game will be Angelo State's ability to control the football. They have been in every game in which they haven't been too generous giving away the ball. Last week, they lost five fumbles and an interception against Commerce. They gave up touchdown returns on two fumbles and the interception. The others led to short fields. Part of holding onto the football will be protecting against the blitz, something WNMU loves to do.

For Western to win, they need to take advantage of the Angelo secondary. Javia Hall is having a good season. Overall, the team is well-coached and should be motivated to pick up a win.

Angelo's inefficiencies on offense keep this one close but they pull it out in the end. Angelo State 28, Western New Mexico 24

Tarleton State at Panhandle State 1pm

Todd Whitten is obviously doing a fine job in a place he's very comfortable.

The Texans have a solid defense that can pressure the quarterback. Combine that with OPSU's limited ability to protect Shane Truelove, and it's a recipe for a Tarleton win.

Tarleton State 35, Panhandle State 14


West Texas A&M at Texas A&M-Commerce 4pm

This is easily the most interesting game of the week.

Even though Colby Carthel is establishing his own identity at TAMUC, he and his father Don will always be remembered for how they turned around the program in Canyon.

WT quarterback Ben Arbuckle has played well the last three weeks. His 12-2 touchdown to interception ratio in the last three weeks is a winning performance from a quarterback. Can TAMUC defend Junior Pomee? He is a matchup problem for any team in the country.

Even though the Buffs have done a better job keeping the opponent out of the endzone the last few weeks, they weren't facing an opponent with the capability of the Lions.

A big factor in this game will be the health of some TAMUC players. In spite of the huge margin of victory against Angelo, several players were banged up in the game. If the receiving corps is healthy and Richard Cooper can find some holes which will result in big plays, Commerce will move the ball.

The Buffs should be riding high coming off the Midwestern win, but Commerce should do enough to win at home. Texas A&M-Commerce 38, West Texas A&M 31

Eastern New Mexico at Texas A&M-Kingsville 7pm

I remember the great Kingsville teams from the 90's. You had to have a great team to beat them, and if you did, the question was whether or not you could play good enough assignment football to stop their option. Here we are a "few" years later and it's the Hoggies' facing the task of needing to stop the option to win a game.

The Greyhounds average 335 yards rushing a game with dynamic football Kamal Cass leading the way.

It has been a great year for the Javs and the turnaround continues this week. They will play good enough defense to win at home. Texas A&M-Kingsville 28, Eastern New Mexico 21

UT Permian Basin at Midwestern State 7pm

It is tough to be a first-year program in a good conference. UTPB is certainly finding that out this year. Picking up a few wins to start the year was good for the program, but it probably lost out on it's chance to pick up an LSC win last week against Panhandle.

An angry Midwestern State team should control this game throughout. Midwestern State 45, UT Permian Basin 10

Feedback

If you want to ask a question or provide feedback, feel free. You can send me a personal message on the board if you are a member. If you aren't, my email address is (first name).(last name)@d2football.com.

Talk to you next week.

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Comments

  1. Casual_Observer's Avatar
    Good Stuff Brandon! Thanks for filling in. I will be praying for Joe and his family here in Wichita Falls.
  2. Javs Fan's Avatar
    Thank you Brandon

    Prayers to Joe and his family.
  3. Matt Witwicki's Avatar
    Joe..you are in my thoughts bud. Brandon..great job of filling in and offering big picture perspective.
  4. ccchhhrrriiisss's Avatar
    Thanks for filling in for Joe, Brandon. These are some good observations. As LSC fans -- and Javelinas' fans in particular -- in the Silicon Valley, we rely upon Joe's insight each week. It's been an exciting season for all of the teams. Thanks for keeping Joe's column going strong.

    On a more important matter: My wife and I will be remembering Joe and his family in our thoughts and prayers.
  5. laker's Avatar
    Brandon- to use a baseball term on a football forum may be frowned upon, but thanks for coming off the bench late in the game to step up to the plate as a pinch hitter.

    Things like this make me appreciate this site even more!
  6. Redwing's Avatar
    B- Heck of a blog. More than just a fill-in. It deserves to be read by more than just the LSC contingent. And prayers for Joe and his family.. especially the little one.
  7. Joe Price's Avatar
    Thank you for the prayers. My baby girl is still in critical status and needs continuous prayers. God Bless! Joe Price