Most of the conference races in D-II are already settled, or at least settled to the point where two teams are playing for the conference title one way or another. We’ll sort of blow through those; the more important thing this week is the super-regional rankings, which determine the playoff field.

For the uninitiated, Division II does things a little differently than the other divisions. In most sports, the top six teams in each region (with some exceptions — we’ll address the Earned Access Rule in a moment) make the playoffs. In football, it’s the top six teams in each super-region, which is simply a combination of two regions, thus reducing things from eight regions to four super-regions.

There’s a catch, though. If a conference doesn’t have a team in the top six of its super-region, but its champion is ranked seventh or eighth… they get into the playoffs, and the lowest-ranked team in the top six (who wouldn’t immediately have to be put back into the field for the exact same reason, of course) stays home. That’s relevant at the moment in two of the four super-regions, though it may clear itself up by Sunday.

I’m sure that’s as clear as mud. Anyway, we’ll go through each super-region here, and cover each conference within same, and lay out some possibilities.

Super Region 1

Regional Rankings (11/11):
1. Shepherd (9-0)
2. Winston-Salem State (8-1)
3. Bloomsburg (9-1)
4. West Chester (9-1)
5. Slippery Rock (9-1)
6. Virginia State (9-1)
7. American International (8-2)
8. Stonehill (8-2)
9. Concord (8-2)
10. Indiana (PA) (8-2)
Note: records in regional rankings reflect games against D-II competition only.

And here’s the first of those two earned access cases. It may not matter come Sunday, because American International hosts Stonehill in the Northeast-10 championship game, while Winston-Salem State faces Virginia State in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship game. However, if Virginia State were to win, it’s possible that the AIU/Stonehill winner might still be stuck in seventh, and the #6 team would go home.

Central IAA

Still Alive: Winston-Salem State (9-1/7-0), Virginia State (9-1/7-0)

As noted, they’ll play in the CIAA title game on Saturday.

Mountain East

Still Alive: Shepherd (9-0/8-0), Concord (8-2/7-1)

It’s not an actual championship game, but Concord hosts Shepherd Saturday. Winner claims the initial conference title (the conference was just formed this year out of the burning ashes of the old West Virginia IAC), although if it’s Shepherd it’s outright and if it’s Concord they’ll share it.


Still Alive: American International (8-2/8-1), Stonehill (8-2/8-1)

The Northeast-10 leaves the final week of the schedule open and pairs everyone up based on their record after the penultimate weekend; as such, the #2 team visits the #1 team for the title (unless, of course, the #1 team has a two-game lead, but I digress). In this case, AIU beat Stonehill earlier in the season, so they get to host; the winner is the conference champion, period.


Still Alive: Slippery Rock (9-1/7-1), Bloomsburg (9-1/6-1)

The PSAC does sort of the same thing, although they go ahead and schedule the final week as normal with cross-divisional games in which all the teams from one division visit the other division. The “visiting” division champion then switches off with the team originally scheduled to visit the “home” division champion. Well, this year, they didn’t have to adjust anyone’s schedule, as Bloomsburg was already slated to visit Slippery Rock anyway. The winner, of course, claims the PSAC title. 9-1 West Chester hosts 4-6 Clarion, so they’re probably safely in the playoff field; 8-2 Indiana visits 7-3 Shippensburg, so their chances of sneaking up into the field are pretty slim.

Super-Region 2

Regional Rankings (11/11):
1. Lenoir-Rhyne (8-1)
2. North Carolina-Pembroke (7-1)
3. North Alabama (7-1)
4. Carson-Newman (8-2)
5. Newberry (8-2)
6. West Alabama (6-2)
7. Tuskegee (7-2)
8. Delta State (5-2)
9. Miles (6-3)
10. Lane (5-3)
Note: records in regional rankings reflect games against D-II competition only.

Earned access comes into play here as well, and with a major twist. Tuskegee is #7, but they finished second in their division to #9 Miles. Miles will probably move into the top 8 with a win Saturday, and it’ll be interesting to see how things shuffle in the top 7. Can the HBCU SIAC get two teams in? Also of note: UNC-Pembroke is an independent; their final game is against Virginia University of Lynchburg, a body-bag that isn’t even in the NAIA. That means that their game won’t affect their ranking, and they’re a lock for the playoffs.

Gulf South

Still Alive: North Alabama (7-2/5-1), West Alabama (7-3/5-1), Delta State (7-2/4-1)

There’s no tiebreaker, so North Alabama and West Alabama already have shares of the crown. Delta State can grab a piece with a win at West Georgia on Saturday while the rest of the conference is farting around with non-conference shenanigans. Those shenanigans, however, are important: West Alabama has a likely walkover at Central State (OH), while UNA has to face Lone Star Conference-leading Tarleton State; a loss might well keep the Lions at home for the playoffs. West Alabama’s in trouble even with a win, thanks to the presence of the two SIAC teams. Delta State is probably out of luck no matter what.

South Atlantic

Still Alive: Lenoir-Rhyne (9-1/6-0) has clinched the SAC title, as they’ve got a two-game lead over everyone.

Lenoir-Rhyne is a lock; even a loss to 6-4 Catawba isn’t going to send them out of the top six. 8-2 Newberry hosts 5-5 North Greenville; they’re in a precarious position, but a win would be more impressive than West Alabama’s win and would likely keep them at least in the #5 slot and save their¬† bacon. 8-2 Carson-Newman visits 4-5 Wingate, and will definitely survive with a win.

Southern IAC

Still Alive: Albany State (5-4/4-0), Miles (6-3/4-1)

Albany State and Miles will hook up in Atlanta on Saturday for the SIAC title. If Miles wins, they’re almost certainly going to squeak into the field, possibly at the expense of a team ranked ahead of them. Meanwhile, idle Tuskegee, at 8-2, awaits their fate; losses ahead of them could propel them into the playoffs.

Super-Region 3

Regional Rankings (11/11):
1. Northwest Missouri State (10-0)
2. Minnesota State-Mankato (10-0)
3. Henderson State (10-0)
4. Minnesota-Duluth (9-1)
5. Pittsburg State (8-1)
6. Emporia State (8-1)
7. Saint Cloud State (9-1)
8. Missouri Western State (8-2)
9. Washburn (8-2)
10. Harding (7-2)
Note: records in regional rankings reflect games against D-II competition only.

No worries about earned access here. Three of the four conferences in the super-region have unbeaten teams; the fourth doesn’t even have a team ranked. So the top six after Saturday’s games get the tickets, period.

Great American

Still Alive: Henderson State (10-0/9-0) has clinched the conference title outright.

Henderson visits cross-town archrival 7-2 Ouachita Baptist on Saturday. A loss won’t hurt, other than costing the Reddies a home playoff game. It might, however, vault Ouachita into the picture. Harding visits 5-5 Arkansas Tech, but that’s not going to inspire the same sort of fireworks; the Bison are done thanks to all the MIAA action ahead of them.

Great Northwest

Still Alive: Azusa Pacific (8-2/8-1) has clinched the GNAC title, in only their second year in Division II.

Alas, that’s not going to get them into the playoffs.

Mid-America IAA

Still Alive: Northwest Missouri State (10-0/9-0) has clinched a share of the title, and if such things mattered would hold the tiebreak over the other two teams which can still claim a piece of it with wins and a Northwest loss: Pittsburg State (9-1/8-1) and Emporia State (8-1/8-1).

Northwest visits 8-2 Missouri Western State, and is a lock. If MWSU wins, though, they’re likely to bull their way into the field. 8-2 Washburn visits Emporia State. An Emporia win will probably secure their position, while a Washburn win will definitely send Emporia home and will likely not be enough to move the Ichabods up from #9 to a playoff spot. Pittsburg hosts 6-3 Missouri Southern State. They’re a lock if they win, and out if they don’t.

Northern Sun

Still Alive: Minnesota State-Mankato (10-0/10-0) has a four-game lead in the South Division; they clinched it two weeks ago. Minnesota-Duluth (9-1/9-1) and Saint Cloud State (9-1/9-1) are tied for the North Division lead going into the final weekend, and could claim a share of the conference title with wins and a Mankato loss.

Mankato visits 6-4 Upper Iowa; they’re a lock. Duluth visits 3-7 Northern State, and will be safely in the field with a win. Saint Cloud hosts 3-7 Minnesota State-Moorhead. They need to win, of course; they’re also Washburn’s biggest fans this week, as they’re going to require some help to climb into the bracket.

Super-Region 4

Regional Rankings (11/11):
1. Colorado State-Pueblo (9-0)
2. Ohio Dominican (8-0)
3. Saginaw Valley State (9-1)
4. Indianapolis (8-0)
5. Grand Valley State (8-2)
6. Tarleton State (6-2)
7. West Texas A&M (8-2)
8. Chadron State (8-2)
9. Midwestern State (6-2)
10. Ferris State (7-2)
Note: records in regional rankings reflect games against D-II competition only.

No earned access issues here, either. At least not at the moment. Should Indianapolis stumble this week, that may change.

Great Lakes

Still Alive: Saginaw Valley State (9-1/9-0) has clinched the North Division title; the South Division crown has been sealed by Ohio Dominican (9-0/8-0). There is no “conference” champion, as there is an uneven number of conference games.

Ohio Dominican visits 2-8 Malone, and are probably a lock even if you ignore the fact that they’re not going to lose this game. Saginaw visits Grand Valley State. A loss probably won’t knock Saginaw out of the picture, but it would keep Grand Valley from tumbling out of it.¬† Ferris State hosts 3-6 Northern Michigan; I don’t think there’s enough help to get Ferris into the field with a win.

Great Lakes Valley

Still Alive: Indianapolis (9-1/6-0), Truman State (7-3/5-1)

Truman visits Indy Saturday. Indy would, of course, clinch the outright title with a win; they’d share it with a loss. That loss would probably drop Indianapolis out of the playoffs; the question is whether the win would boost Truman into the rankings and, more importantly, into the top eight. I’d say it was unlikely, but if Saginaw beats Grand Valley as expected and Tarleton loses to North Alabama and Chadron slips up… well, all of those things are possible, and if they happen Truman may well sneak in.

Lone Star

Still Alive: Tarleton State (7-2/5-1), Eastern New Mexico (6-3/4-1)

Tarleton’s conference schedule is done, and they’ve sealed up a share of the title. ENMU can swipe half of it, though, with a win at 7-3 Texas A&M-Commerce. Meanwhile, West Texas A&M visits Midwestern State. A WTAMU win would be a good leg up toward slipping into the field. If Midwestern wins, well, see discussion of Truman above. As for Tarleton, as mentioned they’ve got to play North Alabama, and their very playoff lives are at stake here. They can’t survive a loss unless the other teams vying for the first round road games all trip over themselves.

Rocky Mountain

Still Alive: Colorado State-Pueblo (10-0/8-0), Chadron State (8-2/7-1)

Pueblo claims the title outright with a win at home over 2-7 Western State. Easy peasy. They’re a lock. Chadron needs a Pueblo loss and a win at 7-3 Colorado Mines. That’s a tall order. If Chadron wins, though, they’ve got a reasonable shot at sliding into the six slot in the rankings, and barring a GLVC-related disaster that’ll be good enough for a playoff ticket.