Greetings, Lion fans….normally, you would be seeing 5 Minor Thoughts, or the Pre Snap Read, but we received a question about the regional rankings, what they are, and how they affect playoff seeding. We here at The Wire welcome any questions our readers might have, and we’re more than happy to answer.
To begin, Division 2, like Division 3, and the FBS, have a multi team playoff system. They, along with “rec league softball” as Coach Mike Leach described it, have figured out the playoff system, unlike Division 1.
There a four regions, known as Super Regions 1, 2, 3, and 4. Teams in each region are ranked from 1 on down, but the magic number is 7. Teams ranked 1 through 7 in each region get a playoff berth. The top ranked team in each region receives a first round bye, and is assured of home field advantage throughout their playoff run(Central Washington was the #1 seed in the Lion’s region, Super Region 4, before the Lions upset them.) Winning a regular season conference championship means nothing, only winning a Conference Championship Game or tournament guarantees an at large berth. The #2 seed hosts the #7 seed, the #3 hosts the #6, and the #4 hosts #5. The winning teams then host the next game, given that they are the higher seed at the beginning. The teams are re seeded in the semifinals, which is what allowed the Lions to host Harding University last year in the National Semifinal. They were seeded #2. The National Championship is always at a neutral site, this year being at the new McKinney ISD stadium instead of Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, which is undergoing repairs to the grass field there.
What may be easier to understand is this….think of this as like NCAA March Madness, except teams are not shipped outside their regions to play. Teams in Minnesota and Washington just happen to be in Super Region 4, which explain the Lions road trips in 2017. The regions are not necessarily geographically located. Overall rankings, like the AFCA Coaches Poll and the D2football.com poll, are much like the AP and Coaches poll in D1 basketball before March Madness, mean little. Strength of Schedule and in region wins and losses are what count at this point.
We here at The Lion Wire hopes this helps to explain what can seem to be a very complicated system. Remember this….the Lions did not go into the playoffs last year as a conference champion. In fact, it was a very touch and go thing as to whether Colby Carthel’s crew would get in at all, given that the Lions had an in region loss to Midwestern State, and Super Region 4 was the strongest of all in Division 2 in 2017.
In fact, 2018 finds the Lions in a much better position. A very simple one. Win two games, and they’re in.
Hang in there Lion fans. The fun is just beginning. See You At The Hawk.