Around the Nation Podcast: On the clinchers


Sam Sura had a busy day, carrying 40 times for 119 yards for St. John’s in the Johnnies’ win vs. Bethel. (St. John’s photo by Richard Larkin McLay)

The playoff picture began to take shape this week, as 14 of the 24 automatic bids were claimed. Pat and Keith talk through the teams who are in, who has yet to clinch and who might be in line for the Pool B bids.

Meanwhile, did Wabash and St. John Fisher move onto the bubble or all the way off of it? What are Centre’s chances like if they pick up a loss next week? Keith and Pat discuss the upsets, the near-upsets and much more in this week’s Around the Nation Podcast.

Plus they hand out their game balls, look at teams on the rise, under-the-radar highlights, key stats and more.

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Plus, all the highlights and interviews from around Division III in the postgame show:

Football coming to George Fox?

It’s looking like the quiet undercurrent of football at George Fox that has existed over the past several years is going to get a little louder after the school received a $1.2 million gift to help build a sports complex.

The school also referenced women’s lacrosse as a potential companion sport.

We had a really disappointing start to the offseason, with Blackburn and Principia dropping football, then Colorado College, in what remains a baffling decision, doing the same. But Stevenson, Pacific and Presentation plan to take the field in 2011, with Hendrix presumed to be joining them.

George Fox has been talking about football for a while. The concept appears to come up at Lynchburg on occasion. Southern Maine has explored football more than once in the past decade. It got discussed at Rochester Tech. And while the latter two don’t exactly need more enrollment, anywhere where enrollment is a concern will be a prime candidate for Division III football.

Even at Centenary (La.), where the school recently gave its notice it was leaving the Division I Summit League, could be headed for Division III and could add football.

There’s plenty to be happy about this offseason. Which only makes Colorado College more mind-boggling.

D-III from the other side

Thirty-two teams are preparing for NCAA playoff games and a handful of others are readying for other postseason experiences. Others headed for the offseason with a warm feeling from beating an archrival in the final game, or breaking a streak of losing seasons, finishing on a hot streak or any of a bunch of ways to gather some momentum going into the offseason.

And then there’s a fairly large group at the other end as well, teams whose seasons ended on a down note. That doesn’t include just RPI, Redlands, Montclair State and the others who played their way out of a likely playoff bid with Week 11 losses, but teams who were quickly out of the playoff running altogether.

Or winless, even.

Such was the fate of Colorado College, along with McMurry, Principia, Maranatha Baptist, Massachusetts Maritime and Cornell. And if you remember from early on in the season, Colorado College freshman Chris Jarmon was writing on his blog, The D3 Experience, about the season.

Reading back on it now, you can sense the frustration. This was from a post heading into the final game:

We’re 0-8 now, and just saying that feels strange. It’s hard to believe that with all of the talent and confidence we entered the season with, we’ve been unable to win a single game. I feel especially bad for our seniors, who have busted their tails for four years and deserve better.

For all of those out there who feel that pain, good luck this offseason. Don’t give up. It can get better. But college football, at any level, is hard work.