This weekend we dive head first into the third last week of the regular season and there is plenty to get excited about. There are four Top 20 matchups, 12 of the Top 20 teams are in action, one conference title on the line and some of the East Coast’s powerhouses are awakening from their hibernation.
The biggest game of the weekend comes from the Mid-South. As Life travels to Lindenwood. It is #2 playing #5 in the nation. The last time these two teams met its was a tight affair with Life escaping 22-18. Since that match nearly a month ago, both teams have been tearing opponents apart. Lindenwood’s home field could be the advantage that carries them over the line. The other Mid-South game this week will be Davenport taking on #11 Arkansas State. Davenport has shown flashes of potential over the season, but ultimately haven’t been quite strong enough to turn all of those performances into wins. Arkansas State has struggled with ranked opponents but have shown their strength against unranked opponents. This will be their last fixture before the playoffs, and therefore their last chance to send a statement to D1A.
In another massive Top 10 fixture this weekend #6 Navy will host #10 Army. Both teams have had successful Springs compiling impressive wins. For Navy, they have been playing some of the top teams in the D1AA competition, while Army pushed #3 Cal to the very edge, and almost pulled off the upset. There will be no love lost between these two rivals this weekend, and this game has the potential cause a massive shake up in the playoff picture.
Newly ranked #19 Utah Valley has been dominating their opponents in recent weeks, and the voters are starting to take notice. On Saturday, they will take on Arizona State. The Sun Devils have had a season to forget. They have only registered one win this season, and will be hoping to double their tally this weekend, in what would be an upset.
Red River’s Conference champion has still gone undeclared and they might be able to have a clearer picture this weekend. The Conference is decided by a championship game played between the winner of the North and South division. Baylor, who plays Texas Tech this weekend, has already booked their place in the Championship game, as they won the North. The South is still up for grabs and it is between LSU and Texas A&M. Texas A&M plays against Texas this weekend. If Texas A&M wins this weekend it they will have secured the South Title, and Red River will be one game away from declaring their conference champion.
Fall teams continue to get out of their winter break and step into Spring, and this weekend two of the top teams from the Fall season will face off against each other. #7 Indiana, the Big 10 champions, travel to Ohio to take on #13 Notre Dame College. This game will impact the playoff bracket massively.
Cal Poly will be keeping themselves busy over the next few days as they head down to Arizona to play two matches. They will play #9 Arizona tomorrow and #12 Grand Canyon. Cal Poly played an amazing game last weekend and provided #1 Saint Mary’s with a tough outing. This captured the attention of some of the voters. While, they still remain unranked if they are able to duplicate their efforts from last round to this round they could find themselves in a starkly different position to where they were a fortnight ago.
#18 Central Washington who last weekend embarked on a similar tour, only it was to Utah instead of Arizona, will be looking for a semblance of redemption as they fell six spots in the rankings and find themselves on the outside of the playoff picture looking in. They play Utah State this weekend.
#14 San Diego State, who squeaked into the playoff bracket this week, will attempt to solidify their position by pulling of the upset over #4 BYU. BYU has been in fine form this season, and have only lost twice. Those two losses, however, were to Saint Mary’s. San Diego state has shown glimpses of brilliance, but at times they have also lacked in concentration and this has cost them dearly. If they do not put together a full eighty-minute performance this weekend they will possibly be watching the playoffs from their couch come April.
The final match of the week comes as USC faces Utah. Utah, who started the spring, as a team that many thought could make a run deep into the playoffs, has fallen short of expectations. An impressive performance may be able to salvage their season, but it is unlikely they will find themselves playing in the post season.