WABASH COLLEGE FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Wabash still alive for playoff berth
Little Giants need Wooster to beat Wittenberg, would win conference tie-breaker
Monday, November 08, 2010 7:01 PM
Wabash College's football team isn't out of the NCAA Division III playoff picture just yet.
NORTH COAST ATHLETIC CONFERENCE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP TIE-BREAKER SCENARIOS
**If Wooster beats North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) rival Wittenberg on Saturday, those two teams, along with Wabash, would tie for the football conference crown. But Wabash would earn the conference's automatic playoff berth by virtue of a fourth tie-breaking scenario. Here's a look.**
1. Head-to-head results - TIE. All three teams will have finished 1-1 against each other.
2. Results versus individual opponents examined in descending order - TIE. Each team's loss would have come against one of the teams involved in the tie-breaker.
3. Team with the fewest losses in conference away games - TIE. Each team would have one road loss.
4. Team with the highest pre-season power ranking (2006 and 2007 years combined) - WABASH WINS.
Wabash finished 13-1 in NCAC play during those two years, while Wittenberg went 12-2 and Wooster finished 9-5.
Source: North Coast Athletic Conference Acting Executive Director Keri Alexander Luchowski
Despite falling 34-17 at North Coast Athletic Conference leader and No. 9-ranked Wittenberg this past Saturday, they can still earn a share of the conference championship and the NCAC's automatic playoff berth.
But the Little Giants (7-2, 5-1 NCAC) will need a little bit of help from conference rival Wooster.
If Wooster (5-4, 4-1 NCAC) knocks off visiting Wittenberg (9-0, 5-0 NCAC) this Saturday, all three teams (Wabash, Wittenberg and Wooster) will finish in a tie for the conference title with 5-1 records.
And according to North Coast Athletic Conference Acting Executive Director Keri Alexander Luchowski, the Little Giants would earn the playoff bid on a fourth tie-breaker because they'd have the highest pre-season power ranking.
If all three teams finish tied for the conference title, the NCAC would have to go to a tie-breaker to determine who earns the conference's NCAA Division III playoff berth.
Wabash, Wooster and Wittenberg would finish tied in the first three tie-breaker scenarios - head-to-head competition (each team would have gone 1-1 against each other), results versus individual opponents examined in descending order (each loss would have come against one of the teams involved in the tie-breaker - Wooster to Wabash, Wabash to Wittenberg and Wittenberg to Wooster) and the team with fewest losses in conference away games (each team would have one road loss).
That would leave the fourth tie-breaker - the team with the highest pre-season power ranking - to determine the winner.
Alexander Luchowski said Monday the pre-season power rankings are figured by a team's cumulative records over a certain period of time. This year's pre-season power rankings come from the 2006 and 2007 seasons.
Wabash finished with the best record of the three teams (13-1 in NCAC play) during that two-year period - which would give them the tie-breaker. Wittenberg finished 12-2 in NCAC play, while Wooster went 9-5 during in NCAC play during that span.
"The power rating is a combination of the two years. We take the records from those two years and add them together," Alexander Luchowski said. "Two years lets you see it with more of a pattern and more of a picture."
Wabash has reached the playoffs each of the last three seasons - either by winning the conference title or as an at-large selection.
WABASH TIES NCAA DIVISION III RECORD: Wabash College's special teams have put together a monumental feat.
With freshman Nate Scola's blocked punt Saturday at Wittenberg, the Little Giants have tied the NCAA Division III single-season record for blocked kicks with 11 this season. They are tied with Benedictine College, which recorded 11 blocked kicks in 1987.
Wabash has blocked 10 punts and one field-goal attempt this season.
Trailing 24-3 late with 4:45 left in the third quarter, Scola blocked Wittenberg senior Trevor Cochran's punt, which was recovered by Little Giants' sophomore Luke Zinsmaster at the Wittenberg 17-yard line.
On the ensuing possession, Wabash scored with junior quarterback Tyler Burke throwing a 12-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Brady Young on a fourth-down-and-five play from the Tigers' 12-yard line. That score cut Wittenberg's lead to 24-10.
Wabash got as close as seven points in the third quarter, but Wittenberg put the game out of reach with 10 more points in the fourth.
DEPAUW STAYS UNDEFEATED: Saturday's Monon Bell game will have a little bit of a different feel to it. No. 21-ranked DePauw (9-0) remained unbeaten with a 30-20 win over Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference rival Austin College this past Saturday. The Tigers captured the outright SCAC crown and automatic NCAA Division III playoff berth.
But the only thing DePauw doesn't have is the Monon Bell. Wabash won last year's Monon meeting 32-19 at DePauw.
WABASH OUT OF D3FOOTBALL.COM TOP 25: With its loss at conference rival Wittenberg, Wabash fell out of the D3football.com Top 25 poll this week. The Little Giants slipped from 25th to 30th. They received 10 points.
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (9-0, 23 first-place votes, 623 points) remained atop the Top-25 poll.