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D-III has released their playoff field

After the D-III playoff took last year year off, the 2021 path to the Stagg Bowl returns with top-ranked North Central looking to defend their title.

The Division III playoff bracket was released this evening, revealing the 32 teams that made the cut.

The top seeds went to North Central, UW-Whitewater, St. John's and Mount Union

The unique 2020 season, where some teams opted to play a few unofficial games in the spring of 2021 while sat out entirely, did not see the Division III level crown a national champion. Therefore, North Central will look to defend their title (their first for the school) from the 2019 season.

Here's what this year's playoff field looks like.

Screen Shot 2021-11-14 at 5.51.54 PM

At first glance, some of the more intriguing match ups on paper, include:

Lake Forest (MN) at St. John's (MN): Of the 16 games in the first round, this is the only one that will feature two 10-0 teams facing off against each other.

Trinity (TX) at Mary Hardin-Baylor (TX): This is the only other game pitting two undefeated teams against each other, as Trinity comes into the match up 9-0 while MHB is 10-0.

Aurora (IL) at Wheaton (IL): The two campuses are separated by just over 18 miles.

Carnegie Mellon (PA) at North Central (IL): These two schools are 490 miles apart, which is a heck of a ride for a first-round game between two midwest opponents.

Entering the final week of the season, five undefeated teams filled the top five spots in the top 25. The rankings were led by defending national champs North Central (IL), followed by Mary Hardin-Baylor (TX), UW-Whitewater, Mount Union (OH), and St. John's (MN).

First round action will kick off this weekend, with the Stagg Bowl set for December 17th and will take place in Canton, OH. Next year, the game will move to the Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD where it will stay through the 2025 season.