Just like Division II, we're also entering the final weekend of the regular season in Division III as well. The major difference may be there's arguably more on the line for a lot of these teams, with the allure of a new national championship site as well.
Here's our snapshot of how the Division III season has played out so far, and what's on the line this weekend.
Championship weekend: A total of FIVE conference titles are on the line heading into the final weekend, which also means a number of playoff spots are on the line. As the season has played out, the HCAC title pits Hanover vs. Franklin, the ODAC features Randolph-Macon vs. Hampden Sydney, the NJAC will be decided when Salisbury plays Frostburg State, the ARC title is down to Wartburg vs. Dubuque, and the Midwest Conference features Monmouth vs. St. Norbert in the only "true" conference championship match up.
10 undefeated teams remain: Heading in the final weekend of the regular season, 10 undefeated teams remain - which is one more than we discovered Division II has remaining. Leading the way, and topping the D3Football.com poll is (of course) Mount Union, with Mary Hardin-Baylor (2), Brockport (3), St. John's (4), UW-Whitewater (5), Frostburg State (6), Berry (11), Whitworth (12), Trine (13), and RPI (14).
How does the Division III playoff format work again?: 32 teams are selected, most of whom are champions of their conference with a few at-large bids being handed out as well.
Stagg Bowl on the move?: Dating back to 1993, the Stagg Bowl had taken place in Salem, Virginia at the Alem Football Stadium, but this year will mark a new beginning for the Stagg Bowl with the game taking place at Woodforest Bank Stadium, located in Shenandoah, TX which holds 9,600. In 2020 and 2021, the game will move to Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, OH - which will make for an interesting mid-December game.
Top of the MOUNTain: The host site may have moved, but Mount Union is still dominating at the Division III level and (barring an upset), will enter the playoffs as the #1 team in the country. They've made 20 appearances in the title game, with the next closest being their nemesis UW-Whitewater - who will be looking to make their first appearance back in the title game since 2014.
What happened last year?: The 2017 Division III national title was won by Mount Union in a hard fought 12-0 game over Mary Hardin-Baylor (who was making their second appearance in the title game in two seasons). Depending on how the bracket shakes out, the two could be on a collision course for a rematch.
Wrap your head around these stats:
- Brockport has allowed just 13 3rd down conversions out of 114! (just over 11%)
- Both Wheaton and Lycoming have only allowed ONE 4th down conversion this season. Wheaton has faced 12 attempts (8% conversion rate) and Lycoming has faced 14 (7% conversion rate)
- Minnesota Morris has jumped on an impressive 19 fumbles on the season.
- THREE teams are allowing negative yards on punt returns; Baldwin Wallace, Redlands, and Averett
- Randolph-Macon and NC Wesleyan are the only teams in the country to have not lost a fumble this year
- St. Thomas leads the country averaging over 11 tackles for loss per game!
- John Carroll is the only team in the NCAA - including FBS, FCS, and D-II - to AVERAGE 5 sacks or more per game.