With just two weeks left in the regular season, longtime Nebraska-Omah rival, No. 3 Northwest Missouri State (8-1, 7-0 MIAA) has its 22nd MIAA football championship within reach.
The Bearcats, ranked No. 2 in the NCAA Division II Super Region 4 ranking, can clinch a share of the 2008 title if they can defend the home turf of Bearcat Stadium/Mel Tjeerdsma Field Saturday (Nov. 1) against Emporia State (4-5, 2-5 MIAA).
Nebraska-Omaha (5-3, 4-3 MIAA) jumped back into the hunt to make the playoffs with last week’s come-from-behind win at Central Missouri (6-3, 4-3 MIAA) — as the Mavericks jumped back into the Super Region 4 ranking at No. 6. The top six teams in the ranking at the end of the season make the playoffs.
To stay there, UNO will likely need to win its last two games — the first being at Al Caniglia Field Saturday against Fort Hays State (2-7, 1-6 MIAA). A win over the Tigers would give the Mavericks back-to-back victories, something they haven’t enjoyed since jumping out to a 3-0 start to the ’08 campaign.
TOUGH SCHEDULES: One of the components used in determining playoff participants is strength of schedule, and MIAA schools are playing some of the toughest schedules in Division II this season.
Through last weekend, four MIAA schools have played schedules among the Top 10 in Division II. Central Missouri’s past D-II opponents have a 44-23 record (.657) to rank its slate third, with Northwest Missouri right behind in fourth at 42-23 (.646).
Nebraska-Omaha’s foes have a record to this point of 39-23 (.629) to rank seventh while Pittsburg State’s opponents have a total mark of 43-26 (.623) to place ninth. Of the 129 D-II schools with at least nine intradivision games scheduled, all 10 MIAA programs are in the upper half of the list — none with records below .500.