Originally posted on Crystal Ball Run  |  Last updated 11/8/11

(Editor's Note: This article was written on Sunday, before the Regional Rankings were announced on Monday night. Keep that in mind as you look read this piece.)

As we head into the final weekend of the Division II regular season, everything is on the line as teams begin to scramble for the final few playoff spots. In this week’s column, we are going to look at each of the top 40 teams from last week’s Regional Rankings review how they did and what they will face this Saturday. Some teams are locks, some teams are out, but many are hoping and praying.

Super Region 1:

1. New Haven
Last Week: Win over Pace 63-6
Next Week: v. St. Anslem
New Haven is without a doubt in the playoffs at this point. No matter what happens in their game with St. Anslem they will be in. Beating St. Anslem though would get them the No. 1 seed and a nice bye though through the first round.

2. Winston-Salem State
Last Week: Win over UNC-Pembroke 34-7
This Week: CIAA Championship Game v. Elizabeth City State University
Like New Haven, Winston-Salem State is in no matter what. A victory gives them their first CIAA championship and a bye in the playoffs though, and you can expect them to be gunning for that. The same cannot be said for their opponent who faces a must win game.

3. West Virginia Wesleyan
Last Week: Loss to Charleston 17-28

This Week: v. Concord
West Virginia Wesleyan is more than likely in with a win. They will drop some due to their unexpected loss to Charleston but they are still in a good position to be in the driver seat as many of the lower teams will be playing each other.

4. Bloomsburg
Last week: Loss to Kutztown 14-52
This week: v. Lock Haven
Bloomsburg is in big trouble here as this loss will likely drop them to sixth or lower in the coming Regional Rankings and their final game is not against a team who will help them much in terms of the rankings. Bloomsburg needs to rebound with a win and hope for a few other losses.

5. Elizabeth City State University
Last Week: Win over Lincoln (Pa) 39-14
This Week: CIAA Championship v. Winston-Salem State
Elizabeth City State should move into the No. 3 position heading into their CIAA title game matchup with Winston-Salem State, a game which should be enough to secure them a spot in the postseason no matter the outcome. However we’ve seen the Regional Rankings formulas spit out funky results before, and giving the PSAC an extra team over the CIAA wouldn’t surprise many people. They need to consider this title game a must win.

6. Slippery Rock
Last Week: Loss to Gannon 27-33
This Week: v. Kutztown
This game is pretty simple for Slippery Rock: If they win they are likely in. They will have to jump over Southern Connecticut who will likely be in the position when the new rankings are released, but a victory over Kutztown should be enough to do that.

7. Southern Connecticut State
Last Week: No Game
This Week: v. Merrimack
I’m not sure the Owls can do anything at this point to make the playoffs. Even with a victory on Saturday and sitting in the No. 6, spot it’s likely that one of the three PSAC schools sitting behind them will have enough juice to jump them. They have to win and pray for anarchy.

8. California (Pa.)
Last Week: Win over Edinboro 34-28
This Week: v. Cheyney
California needs to keep on winning and hope that Kutz beats Slippery Rock. Cal did not play Kutz this year but they did lose to Slippery Rock. If Cal wins v. Cheyney and Kutz beats Slippery Rock then they could have enough to jump Southern Connecticut and slip in.

9. Kutztown
Last Week: Win over Bloomsburg 52-14
This Week: v. Slippery Rock
For all intents and purposes Kutztown is on the outside looking in. They would need a win on Saturday coupled with a loss from Southern Connecticut and California to even have a shot at jumping them. Their best role right now is that of a spoiler.

10. Shepherd
Last Week: Win over Glenville State 37-20
This Week:  v. Farimont State
Shepherd is done for the year there is no situation I can foresee that would allow them to jump enough teams to reach the top six.

Super Region 2:

1. Delta State

Last Week: Win over West Alabama 36-24
This Week: v. West Georgia
The Okra are in the playoffs and are looking to make another run to Florence and the National Championship game. They are almost assured a bye seed in the first round and should be the odds on favorites to win the whole thing.

2. Mars Hill
Last Week: No Game
This Week: v. Carson-Newman
Like Delta State, Mars Hill is in the playoffs, and unless they collapse v. Carson-Newman they will have a bye as well. Mars Hills rushing attack with a feared one heading into these playoffs and RB Jonas Randolph will be looking to make himself some money.

3. West Alabama
Last Week: Loss to Delta State 34-36
This Week: v. Georgia State
Here is the interesting thing: West Alabama is likely to fall 2-3 spots in the new rakings due to this loss and the teams behind them winning. That will put them on the edge of the Division II playoffs but they are out of DII games. With a likely loss v. a FCS school coming could they see themselves out all together?

4. North Alabama
Last Week: Win over West Georgia 28-3
This Week: v. Valdosta State
This is the season for both these teams, whoever wins will make the playoffs, whoever loses will be out. It doesn’t get much simpler than that for a rivalry game that doesn’t need anything more to be at stake.

5. North Greenville
Last Week: Win over Wingate 54-7
This Week: v. Notre Dame
It looks like the Willy Korn story will have yet another chapter to add as North Greenville is almost assuredly going to be in the playoffs with a win over Notre Dame. They should be #4 in this week’s rankings and in great position.

6. Valdosta State
Last Week: No Game
This Week: v. North Alabama
Valdosta State will likely find itself outside the Regional Rankings after Albany State’s victory this past weekend. However they should not worry too much about it because if they can beat North Alabama this weekend at home then they will find a way into the playoffs.

7. Albany State
Last Week: Win over Fort Valley State 38-29
This Week: SIAC Championship Game
Albany State will likely find itself in the top six this week after their victory in the Fountain City Classic. A win in the inaugural SIAC title game would assure them of a postseason birth as well. Albany State has the potential to be a dangerous team come playoff time.

8. Morehouse
Last Week: Win over Kentucky State 28-24
This Week: No Game
Morehouse is done for all intents and purposes so now they must sit and watch. Their loss to Albany State will have them on the outside looking in and unless something happens with West Alabama. It will be an injustice to see Morehouse left out of the playoffs.

9. UNC-Pembroke
Last Week: Loss to Winston-Salem State 7-34
This Week: V. West Liberty State
With their loss last week, UNC-Pembroke has no shot at the postseason. Their season is over.

10. West Georgia
Last Week: Loss to North Alabama 3-28
This Week: v. Delta State
With their loss last week, West Georgia has no shot at the postseason. Their season is over.

Super Region 3:

1. CSU-Pueblo
Last Week: Win over Western State 41-3
This Week: v. Western New Mexico
CSU-Pueblo is in no matter what, and with the loss by No. 3 St. Cloud they are almost assured to get a bye as well. Nobody expected an RMAC team to take this region at the season’s outset.

2. Nebraska-Kearney
Last Week: Win over Fort Lewis 54-7
This Week: v. Colorado Mines
Nebraksa-Kearney is in the playoffs regardless of the outcome of their game v. Colorado Mines, but they are not assured the bye like CSU-Pueblo is. Colorado Mines should give Nebraska-Kearney all they can handle and they make them earn that No. 2 seed.

3. St. Cloud State
Last Week: Loss to Bemidji State 14-19
This Week: v. MSU-Moorehead
The loss last week complicates St. Cloud’s chances at the postseason. While they play a winnable game this week they will find themselves as low as No. 6 in the new rankings and will need a big victory to ensure that Ashland doesn’t jump them.

4. Saginaw Valley State
Last Week: Win over Northern Michigan 48-26
This Week: v. Grand Valley State
Saginaw Valley State is safely into the Division II playoffs with losses from St. Cloud, Ashland, and Indianapolis this past week. If they can put away old foe Grand Valley State and see Nebraska-Kearney lose then we could see them sneak into the No. 2 seed.

5. Minnesota-Duluth
Last Week: Win over Minnesota-Crookston 49-7
This Week: v. Minnesota State
The defending National Champions still need to win out to even make the playoffs this season. They have a big battle with Minnesota State coming this weekend that should determine who from the NSIC represents the conference in the postseason.

6. Ashland
Last Week: Loss to Ohio Dominican 17-20
This Week: v. Lake Erie
Ashland needs a lot of help as they were supposed to be able to win out and make the playoffs given their relatively soft close to the season. Now they find themselves on the outside looking in and hoping that Wayne State trips up v. Findlay.

7. Wayne State (MI)
Last Week: Win over Indianapolis 28-19
This Week: v. Findlay
By beating Indianapolis this past week Wayne State kept their playoff hopes alive and with Ashland’s loss to Ohio Dominican they should find themselves in the top 6 with the new rankings. A victory over Findlay on Saturday should guarantee them a playoff spot.

8. Indianapolis
Last Week: Loss to Wayne State (MI) 19-28
This Week: v. Ohio Dominican
With Indianapolis’s loss to Wayne State last week their playoff chances are over.

9. Minnesota State
Last Week: Win over Southwest Minnesota 38-0
This Week: v. Minnesota-Duluth
Not only can Minnesota State get into the Division II playoffs with a victory next week, but it can also send the defending National Champions home. Minnesota has come on strong to close out the year and should give Minnesota-Duluth all they can handle on Saturday.

10. Hillsdale
Last Week: Win v.  Findlay 49-19
This Week: v. Tiffin
I don’t see how Hillsdale makes it at this point, they will likely be ranked ninth when the new rankings come out and they have too much ground to make up.

Super Region 4:

1. Pittsburgh State
Last Week: Loss to Washburn 25-43
This Week: v. Missouri Southern
Despite their loss last week to Washburn, Pittsburgh State is still in good position to make the playoffs. If they can rebound this week with a win over Missouri Southern then they should be in the top three of the region.

2. Midwestern State
Last Week: Win over West Texas A&M 35-21
This Week: v. Northeastern State
The likely new No. 1 team in the region, Midwestern has fought, scratched, and clawed their way through the LSC this year to sit atop the throne. A win on Saturday will lock up the top seed and their first round bye.

3. Northwest Missouri State
Last Week: Loss to Missouri Western 28-31
This Week: v. Emporia State
Northwest should fall to the bottom half of the top 6 but should still be in the playoffs when the new rankings come out. Their loss to Missouri Western makes their game v. Emporia State a must win though. If the Bearcats can make the playoffs, given all that has happened this offseason, it will be a remarkable accomplishment.

4. Washburn
Last Week: Win over Pittsburgh State 43-25
This Week: v. Central Missouri
Washburn should be sitting at No. 2 today when the new rankings come out and that will assure them a playoff spot no matter what happens v. the Mules on Saturday. Washburn’s convincing victory over Pittsburgh State turned a lot of heads and with QB Dane Simoneau leading their team they are a big threat to make a run.

5.  Abilene Christian
Last Week: Win over Texas A&M-Kingsville 42-34
This Week: v. Incarnate Word
ACU’s win over Texas A&M-Kingsville should secure their playoff spot no matter what happens this week. I say that because West Texas A&M’s playoff shot is done after their loss to Midwestern State last week.

6. West Texas A&M
Last Week: Loss to Midwestern State 21-35
This Week: v. Texas A&M-Commerce
With the loss to Midwestern State, West Texas has almost no chance to make the playoffs. They may not even find themselves in the top 10 when the new rankings are released.

7. Missouri Western
Last Week: Win over Northwest Missouri State
This Week: v. Fort Hays
With their big win over rival Northwest Missouri State, Missouri Western has punched their ticket to the dance if they can beat Fort Hays. If they win they are in, it’s that simple.

8. Ouachita Baptist
Last Week: Win over Southeastern Oklahoma 21-18
This week: v. Henderson State
Ouachita has to win this weekend v. Henderson State and then hope one of Northwest Missouri or Missouri Western loses in order for them to make the playoffs. They don’t have the juice to jump either with just a win.

9. Humboldt State
Last Week: Win over Dixie State 45-30
This Week: v. Western Oregon
Humboldt State not only has to win on Saturday it also needs both Missouri Western and Ouachita Baptist to lose so it can jump them both for the #6 spot. They need a lot of help.

10. Central Missouri
Last Week: Win over Lindenwood 47-21
This Week: v. Washburn
Central Missouri has no shot at making the playoffs at this point and even if they beat Washburn the only thing they cost them is a bye. Their season is effectively over.

Matthew Elder covers all things small-school football for Crystal Ball Run. For his expert thoughts, insight and opinion, follow him on Twitter @MatthewCElder.



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