TAG | playoffs
When a former WIAC head coach became the chair of the Division III football committee, it’s understandable why strength of schedule was more important this year.
Photo by Larry Radloff, d3photography.com
With the selection show cut down to less than eight minutes of actual content, there’s no analysis, no breakdown, just a reading of teams and a few nuggets of info. So it’s up to the rest of us to try to generate that, get the committee chair on the phone, try to get some questions answered, etc. Duey Naatz, the athletic director and former head football coach at UW-Stout, gave more than a half-hour of his time to our friends at In the HuddLLe, the weekly show covering the Liberty League and East Region football. Frank Rossi and James Baker are the interviewers on the clip below.
Definitely worth a listen, as there are several insights to be had regarding the emphasis on strength of schedule, how deep you might go within a region for at-large bids and much more. This conversation is also available as part of the Around the Nation podcast, (more…)
It will be another week until the NCAA releases regional rankings. In a sense, that isn’t so bad because we have some great games this week that will help determine the pecking order, especially in the North and West regions.
I also wanted to remind people of some changes in the playoff selection process this year. One of the main criteria they use to rank and select and eventually seed teams has changed, because instead of using strength of schedule solely in regional games, now every game against a full Division III member counts in strength of schedule.
ESPN is televising the Division III football semifinals as it did last year, but those expecting to simply click on a link and watch video feeds like we do most of the season might run into trouble on Saturday. The best advice I can give is to test out whichever method you plan to watch the game well in advance of kickoffs, as there are several hoops to jump through.
ESPN3 is showing the live feed of both games. The network’s online channel also archives the games, so in case you miss it, you’ll be able to pull it up later. This is also good if you’re interested in both games, since they run concurrently.
Here’s the link for Mary Hardin-Baylor at Mount Union. That kicks off at 2 p.m. EST, not noon local time, which is standard for D-III playoff games.
It also airs on ESPNU on Thursday, Dec. 13 at 1 p.m. ET.
Here’s the link for UW-Oshkosh at St. Thomas, which kicks off at 3.
It also airs on ESPNU on Friday, Dec. 14 at 1 p.m. ET
Our D3football.com scoreboard page is still the best place for live updates during the games, and links to live stats, audio and the video.
ESPN3 is not necessarily available to everyone, though. You need to subscribe to certain cable or internet providers to get access. The game is not being televised live on any channel. It’s online, and you need to figure out which ESPN3 rules apply to you. Here’s their FAQ. (There’s a distinction between ESPN3 and WatchESPN explained there too, but I’m not sure it’s terribly important for our purposes).
Me, for example, I wouldn’t get access through my television provider because I use DirecTV, which is not on the list. However, I get internet through Verizon and I have an XBox Live account, so that gives me two options. I’ve also downloaded and tested the Watch ESPN iPhone app.
I would advise you to read through all these rules and test out your system during a non-D-III live event on Friday night or early Saturday morning. It might be easy for you. It might be a hassle. But the last thing you want is to wait until kickoff to find out.
Failing those options, here’s a link I found on how to set up a free ESPN3 account when your ISP provider doesn’t give you access. I haven’t tested it out, but if you’re this far down the list of options, anything is worth a shot.
The games will be replayed on ESPNU, as noted above, but next Thursday and Friday, at 1 p.m., meaning it’s probably only useful to rewatch the teams who advanced as they get ready for Friday’s 7 p.m. Stagg Bowl. The national championship will be televised live on both ESPNU and ESPN3.
If you’re anywhere near St. Paul or Alliance, Ohio on Saturday, your best bet is to just be there in the stands.