At the Division III level, you've pretty much got to win your league to make the playoffs, or hope for an at-large bid after putting together a great season. Every year some really, really good small college football teams with one or two losses are left out of post season play.
Well, as the release points out, two New York based conferences, The Empire 8 and the Liberty League Athletic Conference, have announced an opportunity for post-season play outside of the Division III playoff by creating a game being called the New York State Bowl Game.
Via the release:
“This collaborative effort between the Empire 8 and Liberty League athletic conferences is yet another way for us to support the development of our scholar athletes,” said Hartwick College President and outgoing Empire 8 President Margaret Drugovich. “On behalf of the Presidents of the Empire 8 member colleges and universities, I applaud this initiative and thank Empire 8 Conference Commissioner Chuck Mitrano for taking the initiative to create this new platform for DIII football competition."
The game will take place annually featuring the top Liberty team who didn't make the playoffs, and the top Empire 8 team that was left out of the field. The hosting team will alternate from year to year, with the Liberty League serving as the inaugural host in 2017. This fall's game will take place on Saturday, November 8th, according to the official release.
Teams in the Empire 8 include Alfred, Brockport, Buffalo State, Cortland, Hartwick, Morrisville, St. John Fisher, and Utica. Liberty League teams include Hobart, Ithaca (a new addition for 2017) St. Lawrence, Merchant Marine, Springfield, WPI, RPI, Union and Rochester.
This is a creative and forward-thinking idea by a conference that will serve as great motivation to the staffs and kids of those two leagues who get left off the playoff and will now get to experience post-season play in a groundbreaking way for Division III football. Excellent idea.