Around the Nation podcast: The playoff field

Johns Hopkins either got a fine matchup or the shaft, depending on whom you ask.
Johns Hopkins athletics photo

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When you don’t have to quibble about the 32 teams that made the field, that eliminates a lot of the Selection Sunday hand-wringing. Of course, just because we didn’t think Wabash, or UW-Oshkosh, or St. Thomas or others deserved to make the field doesn’t mean they didn’t have a case to be made. Pat and Keith discuss their cases. Did Johns Hopkins get screwed by having to face Wesley in the first round or is it a fair matchup? Where should Maryville have gone instead of Hampden-Sydney? What chance does Gallaudet have at Hobart? Which is the strongest bracket, and why?

There are so many questions at this time of year, and those and more will be discussed in this week’s podcast.

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10 thoughts on “Around the Nation podcast: The playoff field

  1. St. John Fisher’s second loss was to a 6-4 team, how can that 2nd bad loss not hurt them! In D3 where an AD or sometimes a coach only pick one game on their schedule and do it two to four years before the season, how is SoS the deciding factor? You lose 2 in confrence games, you are done. It isn’t right just because you agree. Plus, Franklin looses to Bluffton and gets a home game vs a weak Wash U team?

  2. Completely agreed on Franklin getting a home game — they should not have that. Not sure Wash U is weak — they’ve been pretty strong defensively and have held a few teams to their lowest output of the season.

    If you want to talk about whether the criteria make sense, that’s fine. But under the criteria, this was the right pick. And since the committee doesn’t even follow its criteria consistently, that’s a big deal. Obviously, our Top 25 poll would prefer Oshkosh get in the field but lack of “signature wins” (if you prefer the common term) or “wins vs. regionally ranked opponents” (the NCAA term) hurts.

  3. The question I have is how are those wins vs ranked opponents and losses vs non-ranked opponents looked at? thinking March madness big win bad loss

  4. It has taken me a few days to process my emotions and formalize my thoughts.
    UW Oshkosh deserved to be included in the field of 32.
    Their 8-2 record with losses only to UW Whitewater and UW Platteville merited not only strong consideration, but inclusion in the field!

  5. Transcribing the Gallaudet portion of the podcast:

    Pat: [at 1:00:06 mark] We talked about Gallaudet losing, Gallaudet perhaps costing themselves a home game, or at least the ability to host a game somewhere offsite, perhaps at Catholic University down the road or maybe somewhere else in the D.C. area. But what’s more important, frankly, than the fact that they lost to SUNY-Maritime and the only scored six points is a couple of things. One, they were really bottled up offensively quite a bit, and obviously SUNY-Maritime sees the triple option on a fairly regular basis in practice because they run that themselves. But Todd Bonheyo, the quarterback for the Bison getting hurt on the second-to-last offensive play, the play before they scored the touchdown and then the failed two-point conversion attempt … Keith you and I know this from having watched option teams in the past: That’s a highly specialized position, takes a lot of reads and a lot of decision-making, and it’s really hard for a backup to just step in and take that spot if that’s where Gallaudet has to go next week against Hobart.

    Keith: That’s a really good observation, Pat, that no team can afford to lose its quarterback but to the degree in which you put the ball in your quarterback’s hands is how valuable he is. If you’re going to throw 50 times per game and you lose your best thrower, you’re in trouble. It’s the same deal with the option except it’s even more pronounced because the quarterback is making a read on every play. Even when you snap the ball, the new quarterback’s gotta come in, he’s gotta deal with all the stuff every other quarterback has to deal with, the crowd, the tempo, controlling the huddle, etc., but he’s gotta make a read, and make the correct read on every single play, just the same way the defense has to know the correct assignment on every single play to stop the option. That would be a tough draw for Gallaudet. But I think too, since that injury didn’t happen until the very end of that game, that they were already struggling at that point and it’s an offense that, if Hobart plays it well, and Hobart plays in an offense where they’ve seen the triple option a couple times during the year, that maybe they’ll be able to stop it.

    Pat: It was interesting, not to spend more time on this game, watching that game online, because the key point of this game came at halftime of the Mount Union/John Carroll game, so I flipped over and watched it, and watching everyone talk about why they thought it was a bad decision for Gallaudet to go for it on a two-point conversion nearing the final minute. So there’s about 3:48 left, I think, when they score the touchdown, their starting quarterback is out. They’ve only scored six points all afternoon, so instead of taking the relatively assured extra point, I think with a kicker who was something like 31 of 34 on PATs for the season, they go for two and the opportunity to win it. And here’s the reason why, in my mind, and Keith, tell me what you think from the thumbnail sketch I just gave you: Basically, Gallaudet hadn’t put drives together, they hadn’t put any points on the board until that moment, and who knew if they were ever going to get another opportunity to score? Because even in overtime, when you get the ball at the 25, that’s a really long field goal in Division III and if you don’t have your quarterback you may never get within 15 yards of the end zone the rest of the day.

    Keith: I’d buy that, that you’re on the road, you don’t have your quarterback, you want to end it as soon as possible. There’s no reason to want to extend the game. Normally the better team or the team that’s playing better wants to extend it, but also too you may want to consider this: Once you’re already in the field, by automatic qualifier, you don’t have anything to lose in Week 11. And I don’t know if that played into the way a lot of these teams played on Saturday: Ithaca/Cortland I don’t think they try any less hard in that game, but knowing that you’re in already may have made a difference for other teams that were in the field.

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