Joe Price

Lsc Week 10

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By Brandon Misener Editor

Sorry you weren't able to read this until Saturday. As you know, I am doing this in addition to my regular duties on the website. The only good thing is that it allows me to thank a classy group of men at the end.

Things unfolded very much as expected this past week in the Lone Star Conference and Super Region 4.

At this point in the season, there are basically three tiers of schools - playoff contenders, playoff hopefuls, and teams looking to next year. We will put them into the proper tiers later.

Last Week's Predictions

Angelo State 28, Western New Mexico 24
Tarleton State 35, Panhandle State 14
Texas A&M-Commerce 38, West Texas A&M 31
Texas A&M-Kingsville 28, Eastern New Mexico 21
Midwestern State 45, UT Permian Basin 10

Actual Results

Western New Mexico 20, Angelo State 14
Tarleton State 45, Panhandle State 26
Texas A&M-Commerce 36, West Texas A&M 0
Texas A&M-Kingsville 41, Eastern New Mexico 28
Midwestern State 76, UT Permian Basin 21

Well, I honestly did better picking games than I thought I would. While the margins of victory might leave something to be desired, the only game I got wrong was the Western New Mexico victory over Angelo State, and I wrote it was basically a toss up.

The biggest surprise was the way TAMUC handled WT. I really thought the Buff would have some momentum winning two in a row, including the upset of Midwestern State. Has Colby Carthel officially established himself as the coach at Commerce instead of the former defensive coordinator in Canyon?

Because my perspective is national, I really thought I would embarrass myself picking these games. Maybe I should retire at .800 after one week!

Super Region 4 Results of Note
(Deviations to predicted finish in red)

1. Grand Valley 28, Findlay 17
2. Southwest Baptist 45, Missouri S&T 22
3. Midwestern State 76, UT Permian Basin 21
Michigan Tech 24, 4. Ashland 21
5. Texas A&M-Commerce 36, West Texas A&M 0
9. Ferris State 42, 6. Wayne State (Mich.) 20
7. Colorado Mines 40, Chadron State 14
8. Truman State 38, Quincy 28
10. Colorado Mesa 87, New Mexico Highlands 14

While a loss to Michigan Tech is not embarrassing to Ashland, it is detrimental to their playoff aspirations. The Eagles were looking at one or two home games in the playoffs. Now they're on the edge of elimination.

Ferris State's win over Wayne State was impressive. Obviously, I had them ranked too low in my personal regional rankings last week.

This Week's Regional Rankings

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

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

Last week I gave you an idea of how I thought things might shake out for the ranked teams for the rest of the season. The only surprise, again, was the Ashland loss. I had predicted them to finish with one loss.

Looking Ahead

1. Grand Valley 9-0 9-0

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

Although the Lakers did not play well in their win over Findlay, I am less convinced that Wayne State might be able to knock them off in the last game of the regular season. In the past, this rivalry game with SVSU has been interesting. This is not the past.

Predicted Finish: 11-0

2. Midwestern State 7-1 7-1

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: Tarleton State, Eastern New Mexico

The loss against WT still looms large. I still believe Bill Maskill's team will finish with only a single loss.

Predicted Finish: 9-1

3. Southwest Baptist 8-1 8-1

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

SBU dropped a spot this week simply by playing Missouri S&T. Games against Central State and Lincoln are not going to help the SOS. The Bearcats really need to root for more losses by the one and two loss teams if a home playoff game is a goal.

Predicted Finish: 10-1

4. Texas A&M-Commerce 7-1 7-1

Wins of Note: Delta State 40-28, Texas A&M-Kingsville 38-36, West Texas 36-0
Losses of Note: Midwestern State 26-25
Remaining Schedule: UT-Permian Basin, Tarleton State

The Lions move up a spot as a result of Michigan Tech's defeat of Ashland. TAMUC is going to win out. I think the #3 seed is likely unless GV or MSU are upset.

Predicted Finish: 9-1

5. Colorado Mines 7-2 7-2

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: Adams State, Black Hills

The Diggers move up two huge places. As I said last week, they have been very inconsistent. They dominated Chadron State last week, but can they put a string together? I think I'll amend my statement from last week and predict a 1-1 finish in the last two games.

Predicted Finish: 8-3

6. Truman State 7-2 7-2

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

The Bulldogs moved up two spots this week. Quincy was 5-3 entering the game with Truman so they most likely got a little help on the SOS side of things. McKendree will be a test the last game of the year while both teams provide positive numbers in terms of schedule strength. If they keep winning, Truman should go no where but up.

Predicted Finish: 9-2

7. Ashland 7-2 7-2

Wins of Note: Wayne State (Mich.) 36-25, Ferris State 39-31
Losses of Note: Upset by Tiffin 35-32, Upset by Michigan Tech 24-21
Remaining Schedule: Walsh, Ohio Dominican

Last week I wrote that the loss to Tiffin is perplexing. It still is. But like I wrote before, a loss to MTU is not embarrassing but it is harmful. The Eagles fell three spots this week. I'm obviously less optimistic than I was last week about Ashland being a legitimate contender. Legitimate contenders are not upset twice in the same year. Or were they labeled upsets simply because of my preconceived notions? I'll still give them the benefit of the doubt in the last game of the year against ODU.

Predicted Finish: 9-2

8. Ferris State 7-2 7-2

Wins of Note: Ohio Dominican 41-0, Wayne State 42-20
Losses of Note: Ashland 39-31, Grand Valley 35-23
Remaining Schedule:, Hillsdale, Saginaw Valley

The Bulldogs moved up a spot. I have a hard time predicting how things will end for FSU. I think they will win both of the games on their schedule. Combined, both teams are one game above .500. The Bulldogs will need to figure out a way to get two slots above Ashland, who holds the head-to-head with the Dogs.

Predicted Finish: 9-2

9. Colorado Mesa 7-2 7-2

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.

Well, I was very wrong on the difficulty of the schedule for Mesa, at least as far as last week is concerned. They downed NMHU 87-14. South Dakota Mines and Azusa Pacific should still be formidable opponents, but I'm going to amend their season prediction. I had said that 7-4 was not out of the question. Now I think Mesa will finish 1-1.

Predicted Finish: 8-3

10. Wayne State (Mich.) 7-2 7-2

Wins of Note: None
Losses of Note: Ashland 36-25, Ferris State 42-20
Remaining Schedule: Ohio Dominican, Grand Valley

The loss to Ferris was devastating. Wayne State fell from #6 to #10 and have Ohio Dominican and Grand Valley left on the schedule. WSU hasn't had a signature win on the season. Can they pick up two of them to finish out the season?

Predicted Finish: 7-4

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

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

Others In Play

Black Hills 6-3
CSU Pueblo 6-3
McKendree 6-3
Ohio Dominican 6-3
Saginaw Valley 5-3
Texas A&M-Kingsville 6-3
Tiffin 6-3
Western State 6-3

Theoretically, Colorado Mesa could end up at #8 as a result of its 41-40 win over Colorado Mines. They would then bump Ferris State from the #7 spot via Earned Access. In addition, I seem to remember that there is an emphasis on trying to avoid same conference matchups in the first round. If that is the case, maybe Truman and Ashland flip spots. That would mean Ashland would travel to Southwest Baptist while Truman would play Texas A&M-Commerce.

Obviously a lot can happen in the last two weeks but things could be very interesting if the teams finished with these records.

Goals For Each LSC Team the Rest of the Way

The cool thing about college football is that it pays to win as many games possible. Even if a team is out of playoff contention, winning still results in better recruits, more donations, etc. The following is a list of what these teams should focus on the last two weeks of the regular season.

Playoff Contenders

Texas A&M-Commerce
- Increase defensive production.
- 391 yards per game makes the Lions susceptible in the playoffs.
- Figure out ways to pressure the quarterback.

Midwestern State
- Must also figure out a way to become more stingy on defense.
- Defense needs to get off the field on third down at a higher clip.
- A few stops here or there really compliments MSU's offensive style.

Playoff Hopefuls

Texas A&M-Kingsville
- Win every game in any way possible.
- Finishing 8-3 would be a huge accomplishment.
- Playoffs are hopeful at best but recruiting could get a huge boost.
- Maintain the momentum into 2017.

Looking at Next Year

Tarleton State
- Turnaround almost as impressive at TAMUK.
- Maintain momentum into 2017 as part of rebuilding process.

Eastern New Mexico
- Find more balance.
- Scoring numbers don't match those of balanced offensive teams.
- Make minimizing penalties a priority.

West Texas A&M
- Develop an identity.
- I felt like I knew what to expect out of the team. That has disappeared recently.
- Rushing defense has to be shored up to return to Carthel-level performance.

Western New Mexico
- Should have a better understanding of what it takes to compete in LSC.
- Improve on yards per carry numbers.

Angelo State
- Regain the momentum and stature the program had two years ago.
- Find or develop consistent quarterback play.
- Get better on the offensive line.

UT Permian Basin
- Continue on solid path.
- People who I have talked to believe there is a bright future with this program.
- Replicate programs who have had national success.

Panhandle State
- Get ready for NAIA transition.

LSC This Week

Panhandle State at Eastern New Mexico 4pm

While the game is interesting from the standpoint that it features two teams with very different offensive styles, neither is playing for anything but pride. Eastern has shown itself to be the better team over the course of the season. Educated guess: ENMU 45 OPSU 21

Angelo State at West Texas A&M 6pm

At the beginning of the year, it was not inconceivable that this was a very important game. But after disappointing seasons for both teams, playing for pride is what's left.

WT can clinch a 12th straight winning season with a victory. Although that's small consolation for those who were used to WT being a regional/national contender under Don Carthel, it is a worthwhile goal.

When I started the website, WT was so bad that I couldn't have told you that it was located in Canyon or that Mercury Morris was an alum. Since then, I have been to Canyon twice and made a lot of friends from the Amarillo/Canyon area. So a 12th straight winning season is impressive when viewed from the perspective of where WT once was.

On the other hand, ASU is finishing out the stretch are what are no doubt back-to-back disappointing seasons. The big question at the start of this season was whether or not the Rams could find a replacement for Kyle Washington. It's obvious that they have not.

Angelo State simply doesn't have the ability to take advantage of the weaknesses on defense for WT. While the Rams are 4th in the conference in rushing (WT 9th in rush defense), the numbers are misleading. The 3.8 yards per carry average simply means the Rams don't have many other options than to keep the ball on the ground. Prediction: WT 28 ASU 14

Texas A&M-Commerce at UT Permian Basin 7pm

UTPB has given up a lot of points in LSC play. That is bad news for the first-year program. Prediction: TAMUC 55 UTPB 24

Midwestern State at Tarleton State 7pm

This is the first of two decent challenges for Midwestern to end the season. Their goal is the playoffs. Believe it or not, the Texans still have a chance at the LSC title. Midwestern should get TSU's best effort.

Todd Whitten has done a fantastic job turning the program around in year-one, but Tarleton is giving up over 25 points per game. That doesn't bode well against MSU's balanced offense. Prediction: MSU 35 TSU 27

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

If one were to look at the statistics as an outsider, as I am compared to most of you when it comes to the LSC, it seriously looks like Texas A&M-Kingsville is, at worst, the second best team in the conference.

In his national column, Bob Eblen wrote about Pitt State's struggles and how Division II needs a strong Pitt State program. I very much feel the same way about TAMUK and I'm glad to see things on the upswing. Prediction: TAMUK 45 WNMU 10

Special Thanks

I just wanted to thank Commerce's Colby Carthel and a few of his players for visiting LSC Columnist Joe Price and his family at the hospital. As anyone who has gone through a stressful situation like Joe is experiencing understands, good vibes go a long way.

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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)

Talk to you next week.

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  1. ctrabs74's Avatar
    Texas A&M-Kingsville could just as easily be 8-1 or even 9-0 this season. The Hogs were a combined five points away from an undefeated record (a pair of two point losses and a one point loss). I could see a Heart of Texas Bowl bid for TAMU-K.
  2. Javs Fan's Avatar
    Keeping Joe and family in our prayers

    Those three losses really hurt. In all three games, we were basically one play away from winning. The team is still learning how to win - last week's win was a good example.

    We do lose some really good players this year, but a strong core is slated to return, and we should continue to improve.

    Great write up Brandon
    Updated 11-05-2016 at 11:08 AM by Javs Fan
  3. ccchhhrrriiisss's Avatar
    Our prayers are continuing to go up for Joe and his family.

    Thanks for helping with the column, Brandon. The Javs surprised me this year with such strong play. They've lost three games by a combined total of five points. They've given us some hope for the future. Even with close losses from my alma mater, the LSC has still been a blast to watch.

    As strong as some teams are this season (e.g., NW Missouri, GVSU, North Alabama, etc.), I'd still love to see an LSC team make a deep playoff run.