As the D-III season wraps up more and more is on the line. You've got conference championships and national playoff spots on the line for programs across the country. These kids and coaching staffs put in just as much time and effort as they do at the major college level, without any of the recognition. Recognition isn't what's important to these guys. The opportunity to compete and the camaraderie is what keeps guys going at the D-III level.
With that said, here's a look at the top 10 teams across the country, as well as all the top games (including a top 10 match up in the OAC) to keep an eye on in Division III.
1. Mount Union
3. Mary Hardin-Baylor
4. North Central (IL)
As you can see again this week, the Midwest is the place to be if you want to get out and watch some good small college football on Saturday. I highly suggest it if you're close enough.
OHIO: #1 Mount Union (7-0) at #9 Heidelberg (7-0) - This one is one of two top ten matchups on the D-III landscape this weekend. If this one were televised, it would get it's fair share of viewers in the state of Ohio tuning in to see if Heidelberg has what it takes to steal the OAC crown from Mount Union, who has had a stranglehold on the title for the past two decades (and some change). The Purple Raiders have won the last 24 meetings between the two schools, however, just to remind everyone, the last time Heidelberg beat The Mount (1972) they went on to win the Stagg Bowl (D-III National Title).
OREGON: #2 Linfield (6-0) vs. @25 Willamette (5-1) - After suffering their only loss of the season last week against #16 Pacific Lutheran, Willamette will take on their second top 25 team in a two week span when they host Linfield Saturday. The Wildcats have outscored their opponents 135-24 over the past two weeks, and have kept all six of their opponents under 21 points so far this season, while eclipsing the 50 point mark in four of their six games.
ILLINOIS:#4North Central at #13 Illinois Wesleyan - North Central is a force to be reckoned with, not only in the CCIW, but also the midwest. After a challenging non conference schedule that included three Wisconsin teams, the Cardinals have hit their stride, culminating with a 72 point offensive explosion last week against Carthage. The CCIW title will be decided over the next two weekends with North Central's road trips to Illinois Wesleyan and Wheaton. Wesleyan has the leg up for an at large bid for the national playoffs, and knocking off at top ten team here would lock up the league title and ensure them a spot among the nation's elite.
WISCONSIN: #6 UW-Whitewater vs. #8 UW-Platteville - In the very competitive WIAC, the league title race and playoff picture is as tight as the race in the nearby CCIW, but the picture should get much clearer after this weekend when these two top ten, and unbeaten, teams face off. Whitewater has never lost a game to Platteville when they've hosted them for homecoming (10-0 all time), and the bad news for Platteville is that this is homecoming week for the Warhawks. However, Platteville will be playing the revenge card after the Warhawks beat them 27-26 in last season's contest.