You are here
The DIA playoffs are starting to take some shape. This weekend there were a number of high profile games and important conference matchups that will in all likelyhood determine automatic qualifiers to the post season.
The DIA playoffs are based on the final rankings from DIA. All of the conference winners receive an automatic spot and the rest of the teams are given at large bids.
Let’s start with the qualified teams from the fall campaign.
Penn State went undefeated in the fall and will earn an automatic spot in the playoffs. A number of teams are awaiting their fate and a lot of it depends on the spring conferences play out. Army and Notre Dame College have stellar resumes and should be in the mix. NDC was hurt by a loss to Wheeling Jesuit but a win over Army and matchup against Indiana this spring could yield enough for the Falcons. Kutztown, who was also competitive in the conference elected to forego the playoffs for 7s.
Automatic: Penn State
In the hunt: Army, Notre Dame College
Indiana won the conference outright but it was tougher for the Hoosiers than in years past. Wisconsin and Ohio State both gave Indiana tough games and the Buckeyes took them to the brink in the conference title game.
The problem for Ohio State is that they currently sit at 3-4. The conference is structured so the top teams play each other consistently so three of those losses came against Indiana and by a combined total of 14 points. A loss to Wisconsin complicates things but Ohio State is very much alive.
Wisconsin is 5-3 but the only win over a quality team is an 18-14 win over OSU. It will be difficult for Wisconsin to get a spot in the top 16.
In the hunt: Ohio State,
Outside chance: Wisconsin
Colorado State took home the Rocky Mountain with a 5-0 record. The Rams, however, lost to a weaker than usual Utah team in non-conference action. Utah has been beaten up this year and it appears this conference might struggle in the playoffs.
Air Force sits in second but it is highly doubtful this conference will get two bids.
Automatic: Colorado State
Outside chance: Air Force
The rest of the conferences are being played out now, so none of the teams have qualified. There are also a number of independent teams going for spots in the playoff.
St. Mary’s is 3-0 and will in all likely hood win the conference and could very well be the top seed overall. A late season date with Cal could very well determine that. The Gael’s beat BYU this weekend 37-17 to bolster their resume.
San Diego State has had an up and down season. The Aztecs lost big to Cal and St. Mary’s while dropping a close one to Grand Canyon. SDSU will still most likely finish second in the conference.
UC-Davis currently sits in second place at 2-1 but a loss to San Diego State may make it more difficult. The Aggies still have to play St. Mary’s so it might be tough sledding for the unranked Davis squad.
Likely Conference winner: St. Mary’s
In the hunt: San Diego State
Outside shot: UC-Davis
Cal once again leads this conference but at the moment is not in first place due to games played. The Bears defeated Arizona and Arizona State this past weekend and are currently 2-0 behind the 3-1 Arizona Wildcats. Cal will likely win the conference when it makes up games it has missed.
Arizona came out strong this year, defeating UCLA at the Stub Hub Center and avenging a thrashing from Utah from last year with a 70-19 win at home. The Wildcats will most certainly get an at large bid.
The rest of the conference might not be as fortunate but with this being considered one of the toughest conferences around, it is possible. Utah, who is usually a top ten team in the country is having an uncharacteristically poor season for them. The Utes went 4-1 last fall but fell to
Utah Valley in an October clash. Combined with losses to Arizona and a loss to Grand Canyon it is possible Utah misses out on the playoffs.
It will most likely come down to the result with UCLA. The Bruins struggled in 15s last season and have yet to claim a ranked scalp. After losing to Arizona, UCLA did, however, tie San Diego State in a non-conference match.
As it looks right now, Cal will earn the top spot, Arizona will likely get an at large and the other teams will need to play their way in.
Likely Conference winners: Cal
In the hunt: Arizona
Outside chance: Utah, UCLA
Life has emerged as the conference favorite once again this year. Lindenwood gave them all they could handle but the Running Eagles came away with a 22-18 win. Life sits at 3-0 and Lindenwood is 2-1.
This is another deep conference and could see as many as four teams make the playoffs. Davenport is 2-1 and Arkansas State is 1-2 but both teams have difficult schedules. Arkansas State lost convincingly to Life but kept Lindenwood respectable after beating Davenport in the fall. The Red Wolves did struggle with a winless Clemson this past weekend, though, and their standing could fall.
Davenport still has to play Life and Lindenwood and after falling to Notre Dame College and Arkansas State in the fall, it might be too many losses for the Panthers to overcome.
This conference has teams play home and home so there will be ample opportunity to test one another.
Likely Conference Winners: Life
In the hunt: Lindenwood, Arkansas State
Outside chance: Davenport
The Red River is one of the most competitively balanced conferences in the country. Currently, three teams sit with one loss and LSU is undefeated at 3-0. Baylor, Texas A&M, or Texas are at the top of the table. Baylor is in first at 5-1 but a slip up against Oklahoma complicates their path to repeating as conference champs.
LSU took down Texas A&M last week but has Texas and a rematch with A&M still on the docket. Things will shake out over the next few weeks but based on past history it is likely only one team will come out of the Red River.
In the hunt: Baylor, LSU, Texas A&M, Texas
There are a handful of independent teams that will make a claim to a playoff spot.
BYU is a clear candidate to make the playoffs. The Cougars have beaten everybody in their path except St. Mary’s, who they played very close. They are a near lock.
Navy has had an impressive season, beating the likes of Air Force, Penn State and Notre Dame College. The Midshipmen will have a bout with Army this spring and will be in the playoffs based on their rankings. Navy lost to Life 30-0 last fall but will certainly be in better shape for any spring encounters.
The rest of the independents are on the cusp. Central Washington, Grand Canyon and Utah Valley are all building playoff resumes this spring.
Central Washington suffered a bad loss to St. Mary’s and although it was a second side, lost to UC-Davis. The lack of competition in the region hurts Central Washington. However, a close loss to Lindenwood boosts the resume. The Wildcats will be able to bolster their standing with games against Utah Valley and BYU coming up.
Utah Valley is another team that is eyeing an outside shot for a playoff spot, The Wildcats defeated Utah and Air Force earlier this year but were beaten up by Cal a few weeks ago. UVU will play CWU in a home and home that could decided the fate of both teams.
Finally, Grand Canyon has staked a claim as a legitimate DIA team. GCU played Arizona and BYU to fairly close contests while winning upsets over Utah and Sand Diego State. A battle with UC-Davis looms in March and could be a determining factor.
In the hunt: BYU, Navy
Outside chance: Central Washington, Utah Valley, Grand Canyon