Actually, we can talk the entirety of the postseason chances for the Lions.
The first round of Regional Rankings came out almost 2 weeks ago. Most of us were shocked, or rather not shocked that the Lions are not even in the top ten in Super Region 4, and to make the playoffs, you have to be in the top 7. The Regional Rankings have never been kind to us. EVER. That being said, let’s take a look at what needs to happen and what can happen to get back into the playoffs in Division II and make a run for a national title one last time.
Top Ten Teams-
1. Colorado-Mines 8-1 in Region
2. Augustana, 8-1 in Region
3. Central Washington, 6-1 in Region
4. Midwestern State, 6-1 in Region
5. Angelo State-6-2 in Region
6. Western Colorado, 8-1 in Region
7. Bemidji State, 7-2 in Region
8. Minneosta-Duluth, 7-2 in Region
9. Colorado-Mesa, 5-2 in Region
10. Northern State, 7-2 in Region
Now, lets take a look at what teams in the top ten have remaining as far as opposition goes. Now, any of these teams losing is a good thing, but lets see which ones help out the Lions.
Augustana has Minnesota-Duluth and Southwestern Minnesota Left. They need to win out to help out the Lions as defeating UMD gives them 3 in Region losses and knocks them out of the playoffs.
Colorado-Mines has CSU-Pubelo, and Adams State left. Mines losing to CSU-P would help the Lions TREMENDOUSLY and it is a huge rivalry game.
Central Washington has Western New Mexico and Simon Fraser left. Chances are they go undefeated and really, nothing they can do aside from losing to Western New Mexico by some chance is only what they can do to help us.
Midwestern State-It’s simple with Midwestern. If we win out and either West Texas A&M or UT-Permian Basin can take out Midwestern (and both of those teams CAN beat MSU), that helps us out HUGE as we can claim a co-conference champion, and they will have lost to one or two teams that that we beat convincingly. Midwestern goes to Canyon this Saturday, so for this week, I am rooting hard for the Buffs. The Ponies close their regular season against UT-Permian Basin in Wichita Falls.
Angelo State-Now, this one is the biggest game, because we play this team. ASU is a very beatable team, but going on the road is always tough. This is one HUGE opportunity to get into the regional rankings. I believe a win against these guys will vault us at the very least, into the top ten. Angelo closes the season with A&M-Kingsville.
Western Colorado-WCU has a complete cupcake this weekend in Lincoln College out of Oakland, California, but they close the season with Colorado State-Pueblo in Pueblo. That would probably knock WCU out if they lost to the Thunderwolves in the final week of the season.
Bemidji State-BSU has Northern State, and University of Mary left. They have a VERY tough final two games, and losing just one will doom them. Northern State has them at home, and U. Mary is a tough squad. Just one loss will finish BSU.
Minnesota-Duluth-The Bulldogs met up with the Lions in the first round of the 2018 playoffs and the Lions routed them 33-13 in Duluth. Like Bemidji State, they have a two very tough games left. They face Augustana this week, and finish with Northern State. Both games are toss ups, but if Augustana can finish them off this Saturday, things will be be looking good as another team on the edge drops.
Colorado Mesa-Mesa has two very weak teams left in Black Hills and South Dakota Mines, and two in region losses already, but with the lack of quality in region wins, it looks like even if they win out, they won’t do much. However, it is better to finish off someone. So, we will be rooting for Black Hills this week.
Northern State-Now, this team has two very tough games to close out the season. They host Bemidji State this Saturday, and close out with Minnesota Duluth. I think they will lose one either this week or next, so I say its probably best for them to knock off Bemidji State, which already has two in region losses.
So, this is who we need to root for this Saturday-
Augustana over Minnesota-Duluth (Eliminates UMD)
CSUP over Mines (Makes us look VERY Good)
Western New Mexico over Central Washington (knocks CWU way down)
West Texas A&M over Midwestern (Knocks MSU down, maybe even out, and makes us look VERY good)
Texas A&M-Commerce over Angelo (Knocks out ASU and gives us a lot of hope)
Northern State over Bemidji (knocks out Bemidji and Northern State climbs maybe two spots)
Black Hills over Colorado-Mesa (won’t happen, but hey, let’s try.)
This Saturday will be the biggest on the schedule this week. If even half of what we need to have happen happens, we are looking good and the chips may fall very fortuitously in our favor.