Originally posted on Crystal Ball Run  |  Last updated 12/5/11

Sixteen teams, 13 games and we’ll have three National Champions. That’s what we are left with at the FCS, Division II and III levels, as last weekend concluded, the dust settled and we all realized how unfortunately close to the end we are. I have enjoyed writing these columns and hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading them. These playoffs have been taxing, high-paced, frantic, and at times even overwhelming. Covering any lower division football is tough because information is scarce. There aren’t three or four news stories today about if the starting QB at Old Dominion is healthy, like there is about teams like LSU. My goal when I was approached to do this was to bring enlightenment and just a little bit of information and relevance to a brand of football that gets far too little.

Enough about my plight and reflections. There will be time enough for that at year’s end. Until that time we still have football to play!

The FCS completed their second round on Saturday shrinking their field down to eight for their quarterfinals next weekend. The only surprising victory of the weekend was when Maine upset Appalachian State in grand fashion and sent the Mountaineers home early. Other than that everything went pretty much to plan as Sam Houston State, Montana State, Montana, Northern Iowa, Georgia Southern, Lehigh, and North Dakota State all moved on. The FCS will have two of its four quarterfinals games televised on the ESPN family of networks. It also happens that both the games will involve schools from the great state of Montana.

This isn’t just a coincidence either in my opinion. For those of you who may be unaware ESPN bought the full broadcast rights to every FCS playoff game. So because of that regional affiliates like the ones in Montana or the SOCON Network down where I live couldn’t broadcast the games. Also because of ESPN commitments to College Basketball the games couldn’t be shown on regular TV either. ESPN’s initial solution was a simple one which was to put them on ESPN3. Unfortunately ESPN3 isn’t available nationwide of even close so the good people from the state of Montana started an online petition asking ESPN to reconsider. I’m happy to say I was one of those signatories and I’m ever happier to say that ESPN in turn put every FCS Playoff game on ESPN Gameplan as a way of compromising. To this I say kudos to ESPN and to the people of Montana. I think that because of this effort by the people of Montana they are being rewarded with both of their team’s quarterfinal games being on national TV this weekend.

Moving on to Division II we had half of my Semi-Final of Destiny come through as the Rams of Winston-Salem State and the Warrior of Wayne State continued to defy the odds and the haters with their victories. Both teams move into the semi-finals with huge games looming. Cinderella team Winston-Salem will take on fellow underdog Wayne State, while the defending national runner up, Delta State, will take on a Pittsburgh State team that has gotten quite comfortable with their lofty perch near the top of the D2 Football world.

Finally in Division III my upset special pick never did quite pan out, UW-Whitewater defeated Salisbury rather easily and Mount Union actually showed that they may be the more vulnerable team. We have two fantastic semi-final games set as UW-Whitewater will take on St. Thomas, and Mount Union will take on Wesley. Both of these games could go either way and will be an exciting path to the Stagg Bowl.

Before I go I have to comment on last night on what the BCS did and why I support a full playoffs for the FBS. I’m not going to get into the numbers or the semantics of the debate, if you want that read my twitter timeline. What I will say is that last night exposed the fallacy in the BCS argument. It is shoved down our throats that in the BCS system every regular season game matters. We saw last night that’s not true. We saw last night that the system doesn’t care that Bama lost to LSU, or that VT had just lost the ACC Championship game. It doesn’t care and it never did, all it cares about is money. It has little interest in crowning a true National Championship or even giving us the best game from a pure football stand point. It’s an exclusionary system designed to protect the precious pool of money so that it only goes to BCS Conference teams. Last night was yet another step towards a playoff system, it won’t happen next year or maybe even the year after but it’s coming.

To the BCS I all I have to say is you’re clearly doing it wrong. So grab a pen and some paper, sit down and watch how the football postseason was always and will always be meant to be played this weekend.

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