2010 Playoff Bracket is released – React here!

Selection Sunday usually goes something like this: Wait, see bracket, gripe endlessly about what the committee did wrong.

In a year when one-loss Rowan, Pacific Lutheran and Redlands are staying home and nine teams with multiple losses won their automatic bids or got in via Pool B, including four teams with at least three losses, the committee was placed in a tough situation.

But frankly, they rocked it.

The bracket we end up with is all hype (as in things to be excited by) and few gripes.

Here’s what we have (click for the bracket):
1) A bracket where the defending champion and consensus No. 1 team in the nation, UW-Whitewater, went 10-0 and did not earn a No. 1 seed. If there’s any gripe, that’s it. Yet, the Warhawks will play home games until a potential showdown with North Central, which got the fourth No. 1 seed, and is placed across the bracket from five-time Stagg Bowl opponent Mount Union.

2) Even if we are headed for a sixth straight matchup of the same teams in Salem, for the first time, the purple powers would have to earn it on the road in the semifinals. The committee released the order of its No. 1 seeds, which is how the brackets are then paired. The order is Wesley, St. Thomas, Mount Union and North Central. That means if the No. 1s held and UW-Whitewater won its bracket, the Warhawks’ road to Salem would go through Dover, Del. and the Purple Raiders’ would go through St. Paul, Minn. For those who complain the purple powers have it easy, road semifinals would change the look, if not the result.

3) The return of seeds. After a one-year hiatus, they were provided to D3football.com and are on our version of the bracket. No reason to tick off the fans unnecessarily. Wise move.

4) A bracket which heavily rewards strength of schedule. The selection committee basically said, sure, 10-0 will get you in the field, but if it comes with a very low SoS figure, like Wittenberg (.440), SUNY-Maritime (.433) or Trine (.408), you’re going on the road in Round 1. (although SUNY-Maritime, like Cal Lutheran, earned a higher seed but was not able to host for off-the-field reasons). The SoS figures are also behind the placement of Wesley (.608) and St. Thomas (.548) as the top two No. 1 seeds, as well as North Central (.523) getting one over UW-Whitewater (.487). It’s why DePauw (.549) and Ohio Northern (.512) host Trine and Wittenberg in Round 1 despite the latter’s 10-0 records.

5) Common sense prevailed with regard to Montclair State and Rowan. The numbers and the last set of regional rankings might have slightly favored the Profs, but the Red Hawks won head-to-head, 26-7.

6) It produced compelling Round 1 matchups — granted, travel circumstances made this easy this year — and only one rematch, Cal Lutheran vs. Linfield. Montclair State at Hampden-Sydney and Bethel at Wartburg look like first-round games that could go either way.

I’ll write more about who didn’t get in — Rowan (9-1), Pacific Lutheran (8-1) and Redlands (8-1) by record; Rowan, Louisiana College (7-2 vs. D-III teams), Wabash (8-2) and PLU/Redlands by region; in the comments section.

On Twitter, use hashtag #d3fb32 on tweets about the selection process and playoffs. We also have a thread going on Post Patterns that’s open for comments.

By Thursday, you’ll be ready to look forward, and in our usual Around the Nation slot, our analysts will look at potential surprises, disappointments and winners in all four parts of the bracket, plus we’ll run our regular free pick ’em and the last columns from all of our Around the Region writers.

Floor’s yours.

95 thoughts on “2010 Playoff Bracket is released – React here!

  1. Thanks for the explanation, Keith. I appreciate it. Not sure I like it, as I dont like the idea of having to go to Wesley, but whatever. This team is ready.

  2. So I’m probably being ignorant here, but is UWW really getting punished because teams are afraid to schedule other WIAC teams (or WW) unless they are also a top team in the country? I find it sad WW is going to get “punished” for scheduling NAIA teams or that they even schedule DII teams sometimes just to fill their schedule. I hope that North Central and Mt. Union (who played WIAC teams) lost a bit of their strength of schedule because the WIAC was so “weak” this year.

    I shouldn’t be too mad simply because you have to beat the best to be the best no matter where that is, but what a slap in the face to the WIAC. The so called “Best/Toughest Conference In DIII” beats up on each other and is extremely tough from top to bottom and yet they get the shaft because of that?

    This might work out in WW’s favor as North Central is a less superior team then St. Thomas, and as noted by the DIII gurus, its not too far to travel to North Central if both teams get to that point. It also probably woke up a giant that was just going through the motions. If Coach Leipold needed something to fire his team up, I think the NCAA took care of that for him. Best of luck to all teams in the playoffs.

  3. @Keith McMillan, I’m not trying to put words in your mouth, but you and Pat make it sound like teams choose their own SoS and therefore it is justifiable to punish them for choosing unwisely.

    In reality, teams have very little influence over SoS. Teams cannot force other teams in their conference to be better. Teams cannot unilaterally pick their non-conference opponents. Even if teams could, there is no way to know years in advance who is going to have a strong SoS in any given year. I’m sure when Capital scheduled Witt for the 2005 season they thought they were getting a big SoS boost.

    Don’t get me wrong, I do think there is a place for SoS in the selection criteria. I just think it should be way down at the bottom, below the things players can directly control.

  4. A bit off-topic here, but I can’t view any of the pdf brackets. Anyone else having issues? I can see the image of the bracket but I’d like to be able to save the pdf and everything. Couldn’t see the playoff projections either, but I didn’t have time earlier this weekend to ‘gripe’ about it. Any ideas/help?

  5. Def. disappointing for Wabash… oh well, I guess the WashU loss killed them. Though, there is one question that I have. Why is Trine ranked so high? I realize they ran the table this year… but none of the teams they played had a winning record. I think Depauw is going to hand-it to them this weekend.

  6. Question: Did the committe just use SoS or did they also factor in OSoS?

    I did some figuring (I did not include the non-conference records of North Central or UW-W in these totals), the CCIW’s non-conference opponents had an overall record of 101-109. The WIAC’s non-conference opponents (not including the DII and NAIA schools they played) had an overall record of 109-41.

    I could be wrong but it looks like only one CCIW non-conference opponent made the playoffs (Franklin) while the WIAC played 7 (Wheaton, Mount Union, Mary Hardin-Baylor, North Central, Ohio Northern, St. Thomas, Trine). Again, that does not include NCC or UW-W.

  7. Author comment by Just Bill · November 14, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    trainer – The short answer is, it’s a fundamental tennet of how NCAA Championships work in all sports,

    Whether it is a fundamental tenet of the ncaa or not is not the issue for me. the bowl system combined with a couple of polls was the “fundamental tenet” of division 1 forever. Now they have been trying with the BCS to make the picking of a national champion a fairer situation. Though so far it is still flawed the ncaa is at least to be applauded for making some progress. I was certainly not trying to say that I had the answers for this problem, but it is a problem none the less. I also was not suggesting that conferences arbitrarily be considered weak and thus never consider them. I was merely throwing ideas out there as a discussion point. I think talking about a system that perhaps gives proportional weight for being a conference champion along with sos, w/l etc is worthy of discussion rather than being content with the status quo. I don’t see how d3 football is served by having teams that are not just a little weaker, but would in fact be just decimated by 10 or 12 teams left out of the tournament. Maybe there isn’t a fair answer but I hope there is.

  8. Copied from the authors comments “PLU (8-1): Had the impressive win against a regionally ranked team (Cal Lutheran) and the Willamette win was big too. Unfortunately, the .490 SoS figure hurt a lot. PLU also would have benefited by having 35-7 loss to Linfield doesn’t help the anecdotal part, not when there are four-point and one-point losses to conference champions also on the board.”

    Not to correct the author…..OK this is to correct the author. The score of the Linfield – PLU game was 35 to 20 and the game was very close most of the way in the 3rd quarter. The only reason Linfield really won was that PLU lost 4 starters by halftime and it really made the difference. I had just become a fan of D3 football getting the opportunity to watch a great PLU team all season. Now I think D3 football sucks…….

  9. Okay, day at real job complete, podcast recorded … Let me jump on a few things directed at me and then I’ll address stuff from the top down best I can.

    A couple key points to keep in mind:
    — Any talk about the No. 1 seeds is more or less nitpicking the details of the six best teams in the country. There just isn’t going to be a ton of difference in their accomplishments to this point. I honestly don’t see what’s so bad about getting a chance to play five more games, with two at home, two on the road and one in Salem.

    — The comittee had to shoehorn six No.1-seed worthy teams into four No. 1 seeds, and nine one-loss teams into six spots.

    Of course if your team got left out you’re upset. But from a not-as-emotionally-invested perspective, everytime you suggest your team should have been in, someone else would therefore be left out, so you’re not crusading against an injustice so much as hoping to transfer your pain to someone who would be feeling exactly what you feel.

    more to come …

  10. Bethel at Wartburg, Both teams are exactly equal, driving down to Iowa saturday!! I must be the only happy D3 football fan. I love it.

  11. Okay, some things for me:
    — Yes, we’ve established that PLU lost to Linfield, 35-20, and I confused it with Linfield’s 35-7 score against Willamette. My apologies.

    — @Wittfan I’m not saying teams have direct control over their SoS. But whether or not they control it, the difference exists. All records are not the same, and Witt’s 10-0 is not the same as all the 10-0s out there. You wouldn’t suggest we NOT reward the teams who put up the same record against better teams?

    If the shoe was on the other foot, if Witt had gone 10-0 against a monster schedule, you wouldn’t want a team that had gone 10-0 against cream puffs being considered equal, when it came time to dole out the home games and the playoff spots.

  12. Here’s the point I’ve been trying to articulate:

    There are six No. 1-seed worthy teams, right?

    I say four “get rewarded.”
    Some of you say two get “punished.”

    Maybe it’s a matter of outlook or perspective. But I think when there are four spots for six teams, or six for nine, it’s a no-win situation.

    The committee is stuck nitpicking to figure out who the best of the best are. It does not mean the teams that don’t get chosen are unworthy, weak or punished … someone had to be rewarded. And if it wasn’t the way it is, then some other teams would have been “punished” and their fans would be griping just the same.

    I don’t envy that. It’s a thankless job, and this year is more proof than ever that people focus mainly on what there is to gripe about. For years people say there’s no variety, then as soon as we get it, we complain about it (could have worded that better but saving something good for Thursday’s ATN)

  13. @bashfan08, agree re: Wash U. … I’d say if they won that they’d have made it. Same with Louisiana College’s 62-56 loss to Huntingdon. Win that, and the NAIA Belhaven loss is ignored, they’re 8-1 vs. D-III … they’d be in the discussion alongside the other 8-1s.

    Interesting what you say about Trine. Other folks think they’re too low 🙂 … Not saying you’re wrong though.

    The NCAA’s SoS figure is two-thirds OWP (opponents winning pct) and one-third OOWP (opponents’ opponents’ winning pct.)

    So yes, what you refer to as OSoS is factored in.

  14. The BCS is a croc, and now with the playoffs are a croc? UW Whitewater is a 2, why because chicken schools out of the CCIW or MIAC don’t want to play the big boys. I feel UW Stevens Point got jipped out of a playoff spot. If some of these conference think they even deserve a playoff spot (you know who you are)Then win a game and play someone besides Maranatha or Holy Blessed Angel Bible School. Instead we would have 2 out of the WIAC and OAC in the playoffs instead of sacrifical lambs.

  15. i thought the goal of a national tournament was to find a champion, not to make things “more compelling.” strength of schedule only goes so far to determine relative merit – what about common opponents, or comparable opponents, strength of conference?

    it’ll all wash out in the end, but i consider it a case of a committee bending over backward to try to create an outcome.

    for the record, i’m a mount guy, and i have no quarrel with the way mount was seeded.

  16. Yeah, I actually thought Mount did okay for itself all things considered.

    I’m with you, I don’t think it’s the committee’s job to force the tournament to be compelling. However, if that happens as a byproduct of the process, then wonderful, right?

    Is this tournament somehow not going to find a champion? You and I both agree it will wash out in the end, so I don’t understand that particular beef.

    There are some legitimate beefs — UWW has common opponents with three No. 1 seeds, DePauw/Witt have a common opponent with different outcome, etc., but this doesn’t seem to me to be one of them.

    When there are six power teams at 10-0, four can get No. 1s, two are gonna get jobbed/punished/whatever word you choose. Then two more are going to have to go on the road in the semis.

    I don’t see the harm, when the criteria supports it, in asking UWW and UMU to potentially go on the road and win in the playoffs just like we ask all the other teams to do.

    I’m also not a big believer that home field matters much in D-III football, I think the best team usually wins and if UWW/MUC again are the best and play their best for 5 weeks, they’ll win.

    Even though they’re consistently the top two teams, I don’t know if they should be entitled to a home game any more than another team who goes 10-0 against a legitimate schedule.

    It just doesn’t particularly bother me. Having UWW/UMU be on path to meet in the semis would have — THAT would have been forcing an outcome, guaranteeing a new Stagg team, in my opinion.

  17. @Keith, I agree with you 100%. I’m afraid I didn’t do a good job of communicating my concerns about over-emphasizing SoS.

    All things being equal, SoS SHOULD be a factor. 10-0 UW-W SHOULD be seeded above 10-0 Wittenberg. My point was that 10-0 and 9-1 are NOT equal. Bringing SoS into this discussion is unnecessary and counterproductive. It causes more problems than it solves. It compromises the entire process by raising even more legitimate questions about the objectivity and competency of the committee. More importantly, it undermines the player’s acheivements on the field. It punishes the players who did what they had to do on the field for ten weeks and rewards the players who didn’t.

  18. Personally; I feel for UWW and their fans. Only in respect that they should have been a #1 seed based on what they accomplished on the football field here in 2010. It really won’t matter though because this (getting a #2 seed) will just “tick” them off and motivate them even more to win another championship. I’m a huge MUC fan but I still feel that UWW deserved a #1 seed even over my beloved Raiders & St. Thomas no matter what the NCAA criteria is…. Anyway, just my opinion based on what happens on the football field. Note: I do believe that MUC deserved a #1 seed but just feel that UWW got ________ !!

  19. @muc85, that’s legitimate.

    But to everyone who’s arguing that someone else should have gotten a No. 1 or a the final Pool C bid, remember that these things don’t happen in a vaccuum. If someone different had gotten the 1 or bids, the other group of fans would be here with similar complaints.

    (North Central probably would have understood being a 2 behind either UWW or MUC, but it is good to know that North Region teams aren’t blocked from earning No. 1s just by virtue of being located where the big dogs are)

    In the end, as @muc85 notes, it comes down to what IS accomplished on the field from here on out. We’ll argue this week about the bracket and then nobody will remember it much, it’ll be at best a small detail in the overall picture of who beat who. And with a couple ticked off powerhouses, this is going to be compelling viewing.

  20. I hope the selection committee also considered cost saving travel limitations put in place for WIAC teams. In the past UWW traveled to Washington, Oregon, North Dakota and other states to find teams willing to play UWW. Since last year it has become more difficult for UWW to find teams willing to play them within the travel limitations of the WIAC Conference. NCAA Division III has also created some “Artificial” results based on their travel limitations too.

    UWW coaches have shown their quality and class by not keeping the pedal down while beating opponents. Unfortunately, I hope this practice ends now!

  21. I’ve figured out how to articulate why rewarding the SoS is so important, and I’m going to be nice and not sit on until Weds/Thurs’ ATN:

    We’ve got UWW and UHMB fans on here making the completely valid point that teams don’t want to schedule them. That absolutely happens, and has been happening, to top teams for years.

    Why then, would that ever change, if the playoff selection committee tells teams with low-.400s SoS that their 10-0 record is just as good as a 9-1 vs. high-.500s?

    In layman’s terms that I stole from a previous ATN, why risk a loss where there’s no reward for winning?

    For example, why should Delaware Valley schedule Wesley when it could instead play a school it knows it could beat? So if DelVal won’t play Wesley, and Wesley can’t get games against top D3s, then they have to schedule non-D3s whose results don’t play into the selection process and/or hurt their SoS.

    UWW fans see where I’m going with this?

    The very complaint you have — and it’s not wrong, per se — that no one wants to take a chance to come to the Perk and take an L is reinforced if SoS is not rewarded in the selection process. If teams think they’re better off avoiding that game and getting in with a high seed and home game, it’s UWW and the other elite teams that are hurt by that in the long run.

    Now with the high SoS being rewarded, there’s incentive for a team to take those games and risk a loss because if they still manage to get in, the committee recognizes that their 9-1 came in lieu of replacing the risky game with something non-competitive that serves no one well.

    If we could only get them to extend that same gratitude to the occasional two-loss team …

    I don’t see it as punishing the low-SoS teams so much as recognizing the accomplishments of high-SoS teams and not just fixating on number losses.

  22. @footballdad, valid point on the travel limitations; the rewarding of the high SoS is going to make it more likely that a team within driving distance of UWW will take that game (see above post)

    I don’t see what the margin of victory comment has to do with anything. Though UWW does drop the occasional 70 on teams, we know that there have been times they could have scored more and pulled back, as LK has at UMU, because at a certain point more scoring accomplishes no good.

    The committee, in my view, was consistent with this by more or less treating their 45-0 and 63-14 wins over common opponents with other No. 1s who beat those same teams 20-6 and 27-3 the same. I wouldn’t argue that a 45-point win and a 14-point win are the same, but I would say that it appears there would be nothing to gain if the 45-point win were instead 59-0.

    UWW fans definitely have a gripe; I’m an optimist and think this is going to be an inspired run to Salem with a couple fun road trips for you guys, but I realize not everyone shares my view.

  23. I hope the selection committee also considered cost saving travel limitations put in place for WIAC teams. In the past UWW traveled to Washington, Oregon, North Dakota and other states to find teams willing to play UWW. Since last year it has become more difficult for UWW to find teams willing to play them within the travel limitations of the WIAC Conference. NCAA Division III has also created some “Artificial” results based on their travel limitations too.

    UWW coaches have shown their quality and class by not keeping the pedal down while beating opponents. Unfortunately, I hope this practice ends now!

    I agree. There may need to be some form of weighting losses based on who you lost to. For example, play a good team and lose, you’re not penalized at the level of a team that takes on a lesser opponent and losses.
    Maybe this, or some form of this, already exists I’m just not an expert of this complicated process.

    Great pod cast today. I think I understand this seeding process better, however it still becomes subjective when one or two considerations are eliminated like the UW-Eauclaire scores when compared to UWW/Eauclaire 45-0 score and the WIAC travel limitations factored in too.

  24. @sirsid,
    I thought UW-SP was more physically gifted than any team I saw this year besides UWW, and that includes a handful of playoff teams.

    My only problem with the line of thinking that certain conferences deserve a certain number of spots is that’s been proven to be an inaccurate measure of strength. If we’ve already decided that the ODAC is no good, we don’t get Bridgewater making a run to the Stagg Bowl and coming within 3 points of Mount Union.

    There was a time when the SCIAC and the HCAC could hardly sniff a playoff bid. Since the automatics, Occidental and Franklin have made the final eight.

    We used to think the NEFC could never win a playoff game, til it sent a team up to an Empire 8 power and won.

    The playoffs are where we learn the most about inter-conference strength. The AQ system allows any conference to prove itself against the so-called big guys on the field, rather than by perceptions.

    I agree we don’t have the 32 strongest teams in the playoffs, and that somehow we need to find a happy medium (maybe cap it at 3 losses & take the AQs from CNU and St. L this year & give to Rowan & PLU)

    If you just want to have a big-conference invitational though, isn’t that exactly what the BCS, which you derided in your opening sentence, is?

  25. @Keith, your reasoning is valid only if we assume teams can significantly influence their own SoS. But in reality how much influence do teams have over their SoS?

    Teams don’t have crystal balls that accurately predict which teams will have strong SoSs two or three years down the road. Even if they did, many teams only get one discretionary game each year. If Wittenberg had lost to North Central in week one instead of beating Olivet, would that have changed their SoS enough to leapfrog ONU and get a home playoff game?

  26. I didn’t state my case well. My point was based on common opponents such as the scores posted aginst UW-Eauclaire by both NCU and Whitewater.

  27. I don’t feel the need to complain a whole lot about the brackets it is what it is. That being said being at home in the playoffs allows the student-athletes (notice which comes first in that phrase) to be able to be close to home and prepare for finals which occur during the late rounds of the playoffs. Going on the road is forcing the players to work that much harder especially those with exams during the playoff season.

  28. How is it that 5 of the top 12 ranked teams (UWW 1, NCC 5, Ohio N 7, Wittenberg 9 and Trine 12) get jammed into one region, while Mt. Union 2 gets a relative “cake walk” with #18 Delaware V, and #20 Cortland St ????

  29. @Wittfan,
    I agree with you and I don’t.

    True, schedules are made in advance and there’s only a limited amount of influence a team has on its schedule.

    Regardless of how the schedule came to be, the committee deals with the facts at hand. To ask it to consider all 10-0 records superior to all 9-1 records is to ask it to willfully ignore some of the facts at hand and potentially leave an opening for teams to manipulate the system.

    I have a longer answer for you but I wanted to keep that short.

  30. @mju5160: How? Geography.

    Because the bill for playoff travel is not paid by the schools themselves, or the gate receipts, but by a sliver of the TV revenue from the CBS contract for March Madness, travel limitations are in place.

    Brackets are assembled with an emphasis on placing teams against teams within 500 miles (the dividing line between a bus ride and the distance at which the NCAA requires a flight)

    Because Mount Union is in the Eastern part of Ohio, they are within 500 miles of both New York and Virginia, which is who they’ve drawn in the past several first rounds.

    If you looked at the playoff teams on a map color-coded by bracket, most of them would form a cluster around each other.

    As far as your insinuation that the “North” is the most loaded bracket because Witt is ranked 9th and Trine 12th, I don’t think you’d have a hard time finding people willing to debate that.

  31. @wittfan,
    Okay, longer answer.

    First, I think Witt has a legit gripe, but it’s the common opponent with DePauw. The SoS gripe is not nearly as strong.

    However, since that’s the one we’re debating … true, there are scenarios where a team could go looking to schedule a good game — say, usual Liberty League contender Union — and get burned. They were an eight-win team last year and 2-7 this year. And then the LL was also down this year so you wouldn’t get the OOWP bounce.

    However, it doesn’t take a crystal ball for Witt to know it would boost its SoS by playing Otterbein or Ohio Northern or Capital most years instead of Olivet. Even if it caught a team in a down cycle, like Cap this year, they’d still get whatever comes with OAC’s OOWP.

    If Witt wants to keep up playing the like-minded schools it has control over choosing, it may be sacrificing part of its standing as a football power, which is a perfectly D3-ish trade to make. And, in the spirit of all-inclusiveness, Witt is not barred from the playoffs or from proving that it belongs among the power teams, like it did last season.

    The system in place absolutely allows for schools to maintain their individual education missions and compete for championships.

    With regard to this particular season, yes, Witt can only beat who it scheduled. Frankly, the schedule isn’t that awful, since Witt beat an eight-win team and two seven-win teams. It also played two 0-10s, a 1-9 and a 2-8.

    What concerned me as a D3 poll voter — and at this degree we’re basically nitpicking the absolute top teams in D-III — was less Witt’s quality of wins but that it struggled to get four of them. Now, again, 10-0 is a top-notch accomplishment, rare and I don’t want to downgrade it. But compared to other 10-0 teams or teams that went 9-1, the differences between them are very small and the committee has to take what it is given and deliniate.

    I’m a fan of the SoS rewarding for reasons posted above. The line is drawn — hey, we’re not going to take 6-4 with monster SoS even if Augustana might beat SUNY-Maritime. The 10-0 record IS respected, it does get you in and the road to the championship is not blocked.

    I don’t put a lot of stock in the value of home games on winning; I do feel bad for a school that misses out on the experience of hosting. The reward for the fans and community. But team-wise, there are a lot of merits to going on the road, the bonding, the lack of distraction that exist back on campus, etc. And then when the game starts, unlike in say a tight gym in basketball, the crowd effect is negligible, in my opinion.

    All your disagreements are worthy and valid, I just present another view.

    I certainly think that if there is something for Witt to harp on, it’s the common opponent with DePauw. The SoS difference between the two is huge (.549-.440) but so is the result against Wabash. It seems awful convenient that the Indiana schools are matched up and the Ohio schools are.

    It might not be right, the deal Witt got, but you can trace why. And in the end, you’re in and you gotta beat somebody good — ONU, North Central, UW-W, Trine. Probably DePauw would’ve been who you’d want to play out of that bracket, at home.

    That’s a fair wish. As we both know, that’s not how it is.

  32. Here’s a question that will help improve the discussion from here forward.

    When pointing out what the committee has done wrong, also include what you would have done instead.

    i.e. Wittenberg should not have been on the road vs. ONU, it should have been home against DePauw, and Trine sent to ONU.

    Then we can all see if the alternate scenario was a) possible b) considered.

    The potential alternatives, if good, will give the ‘they should have done this’ arguments a lot more weight.

    And I am not saying this to be patronizing, I bet there are some good alternatives out there.

  33. Being a PLU alumni, I was dis-heartened to see the Lutes not get an at-large selection. However, I agree with the comittee’s decisions, and whom was selected. It is always a tough choice, and sometimes deserving teams do get left out. That being said, I do have two points to make, for discussion.

    #1 – Regionality. Having only 3 conferences west of the Mississippi (and 2 truely in the western US), it becomes a traveling, and monetary problem if a third team, i.e. PLU, is given a pool-C spot. Either a team from the midwest has to fly half-way across the states, or PLU would have to fly there. Now if you were to add Redlands, also a deserving team, for a second match-up of West teams, then this would pull away a well deserving team from the midwest…i.e. Bethel, Wheaton, Coe, etc. That is a tough call to make, which is why I feel some of the decision comes down to the dollar. Hopefully I am wrong.

    #2 – Conference Champions. Please do not take this wrong, I am not here to offend St. Lawrence or Christopher Newport athletes and fans. Every team wants to do the best they can week in, and week out. That being said, I really hope these teams with 5-5 and 6-4 records perform well against 2 of the top programs in D3. Should there be a minimum win – maximum loss criteria for conference champs? Just food for thought.

    I can remember several years back, when Whitworth (8-2) was 6-0 in conference games (beating Linfield, PLU and Willamette), and did not make the playoffs due to the NWC only having 6 teams at the time, and being passed over for an at-large. Like I previously said, the committe has to make some tough choices, and I do agree with the choices for this year. Just wishing PLU had another week, or more, to play! Congrats Lutes on a great season!

  34. Two Comments regarding the UWW Seeding:
    First, as a fan of UWW, I’m more upset about the university/community losing out on the potential opportunity to host two playoff games this year. I believe the team will take care of its business wherever it has to go, but the university, the town and the fans also have a vested interest in home games.

    Second, Keith said “I don’t see the harm, when the criteria supports it, in asking UWW and UMU to potentially go on the road and win in the playoffs just like we ask all the other teams to do”.
    The harm occurs when the selection process isn’t consistent from year to year. Subjectivity played a role in previous years and, of course, last week when Mount jumped past NCC. Subjectivity apparently wasn’t applied when considering common opponents between UWW and NCC and ST. Thomas, which seems a much more accurate point of comparison than strength of schedule given the already discussed scheduling challenges faced by highly successful teams.

    I can’t speak for Mount, but UWW paid its dues and went on the road in 2005 and 2008- and they EARNED the right to play in the Stagg and they EARNED the right to be a #1 seed and they eventually earned the title as National Champion. Many have said the prior year should have zero bearing on the current rankings, I disagree and I think most players would disagree. UWW earned the right to be a #1 until someone knocks them off- establishing a “Cumulative Stength of Schedule” along the way that makes their current #5 seed seem flat out silly.

  35. also, isn’t it much better to be arguing about which two or three teams deserved to be in a 32 team playoff, than to be arguing that there ought to be another 30 teams in the playoffs, a la division 1 football?

  36. This is insane. We sit here and talk about SoS but yet the team that has been ranked number 1 for awhile now is a 2 seed. What sense does that make? You would think the committee would see somthing went wrong with there “formula” when the#1 team in the country becomes a 2 seed in the playoffs. Also should there not be a reward for hold the number 1 ranking and having a 25 game win streak? Enough said there are some obvious flaws with the way there doing it. Playoffs are a great thing lets not turn this into the mess the BCS is…..

  37. Linerud: “Having only 3 conferences west of the Mississippi (and 2 truely in the western US), it becomes a traveling, and monetary problem if a third team, i.e. PLU, is given a pool-C spot.”

    The opposite is actually true! The NCAA would have saved money by including Redlands or Pacific Lutheran in the field. Currently the NCAA is paying for two flights: Cal Lutheran to Linfield and Christopher Newport to Mary Hardin-Baylor.

    If PLU were included, the NCAA would be paying for one flight: Cal Lutheran would travel to Mary Hardin-Baylor and Pacific Lutheran would play Linfield.

  38. Maybe Trine can sneak onto Notre Dame’s schedule next year. It would benefit both. Notre Dame can talk up the great D3 power of 2010 undefeated Trine, while Trine gets to lose handily to Notre Dame, but improve their SoS which apparently is all that really matters in the bracket seedings.

  39. RE: what the committee did and what I would do different….I would have put NCC as the #2 seed in the West where Wheaton is and made UWW the #1 and Wheaton the #2. Very do-able and solves many issues. I think St Thomas and NCC should battle it out. Instead, Wheaton will be the CCIW proxy and we will see what they can do. If they want to continue to be undefeated outside alliance they have a tall task to accomplish that!!

  40. @Keith, I appreciate your thoughtful response and I agree with a lot of it. DePauw being seeded above Wittenberg is ludicrous. I don’t think you’ll find anybody, even the DePauw faithful, defending that decision. I agree that at times this season Wittenberg has not played like a top-ten team (but since that is not included in the selection criteria I don’t consider it germane to this discussion.) I also agree that being sent on the road is not a kiss-of-death.

    I do respect your D-III football knowledge. I’m sure you have forgotten more about D-III football than I will ever know, but I do take strong issue with your charge that Wittenberg has chosen to schedule “like-minded schools” instead of strong opponents. When Wittenberg scheduled Olivet they were coming off of back-to-back 6-4 seasons and a playoff appearance. Prior to that Wittenberg scheduled OAC powerhouse Capital four straight years. In fact, in 6 of the last 12 years they have included a strong OAC team on their non-conference schedule. For you, Pat, the selection committee or anyone else to say Wittenberg is or has been avoiding strong non-conference opponents, and therefore should be penalized, is completely unfounded.

    FWIW, I hope you are right that emphasizing SoS will bring more balance to non-conference games. But I will be shocked if it does. I just don’t think there are a lot of playoff-caliber coaches out there looking to load up on cream puff opponents just so they can get a higher playoff seed.

    I’m afraid the more likely outcome of emphasizing SoS is that it will have the opposite effect. It will further discourage scheduling tough non-conference opponents. Under the new committee calculus, teams from strong conferences now know that 8-2 will leave them out of the playoffs, but 9-1 will guarantee they get in with a high seed. If you know it’s a long-shot that you will make it through conference play undefeated, why risk a second loss by scheduling a tough non-conference opponent? On the flip side, teams like Trine and Wittenberg now know that their conference affiliations have doomed them from day one. No matter who they play, how well they play or how many games they win, they will always be a low seed because they won’t be able to match the SoS of teams from stronger conferences. Where is the additional incentive to schedule a strong non-conference opponent? If you win it isn’t going to change your SoS enough to change where you are seeded, and if you lose you have just knocked yourself out of Pool C contention.

    Players need to know that if they go out there and take care of business every week they will be rewarded, at least more so than a team that doesn’t. This may mean that some stronger teams have to travel to weaker teams, but hey, this is happening anyway. At least this way the committee allows players control their own destiny. In this spirit, what the committee should have done different was to seed #3 Witt, #4 Trine, #5 ONU and #6 DePauw.

  41. What happened to all the discussion? Did it move somewhere else? I check in here every day because I was so enjoying the comments.

  42. Keith and I both had to stop writing on the message board and blog and get back to writing Around the Nation and the team capsules. 🙂

    Today the new blog post is our score predictions.

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