Around the Region

10 games to watch for 2016

The last time Albion took the field, it was vs. Wabash in the snow. For Albion's next game, only the weather will be different.
Albion athletics photo

It’s go time!

Labor Day is near and that means more than just a long weekend to football fans. Forget what the calendar says – Labor Day weekend signifies the end of summer and the start of fall. While that may be sad for some, I welcome the cooler weather and, of course, the first football games that count.

Delving into the schedules for teams from the MIAA, NCAC, OAC and PAC, I’ve picked out 10 that really stand out. Most have conference championship implications, but others are just interesting – at least on paper.

So, if you’re ready for some football (I know I am), here are some games to watch in the Great Lakes Region this season:

No. 14 Wabash at Albion on Sept. 3: This is a rematch of the opening round of the Division III playoffs. Don Morel makes his Little Giants head coaching debut with 16 starters back to help ease the transition. The Britons had a high-powered offense last season, but can it get going this year?

Washington & Jefferson at No. 11 Thomas More on Sept. 17: Perennially near the top of the PAC standings, these two teams square off in a big one to open conference play. The Saints start the year on the road at Franklin and at Bridgewater and return home to greet the Presidents, who are at home for their first two games. This will be a key game in the PAC championship race.

No. 14 Wabash at Wittenberg on Sept. 24: The Little Giants beat the Tigers, 42-14, en route to the NCAC title a year ago. The 14 points were the most Wabash allowed in conference play. Meanwhile, Wittenberg would love to pull the upset at home in its second conference game.

No. 1 Mount Union at No. 22 Ohio Northern on Oct. 1: The Purple Raiders encounter a road test for the second week in a row. Mount Union won last year’s meeting 51-7. The Polar Bears have made a steady climb up the OAC standings the past four years (4-5, 5-4, 6-3, 7-2). Can they keep it going?

No. 11 Thomas More at Westminster on Oct. 1: The Saints close a formidable first half of their schedule against the Titans, who quickly shot up the PAC standings last year and finished second. If Thomas More gets past Washington & Jefferson and Carnegie Mellon to open PAC play this year, the trip to Westminster could be a huge one. Playing at home is an edge for the Titans, but have they closed the talent gap on the Saints?

Adri...

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Columnist

Joe Sager

Joe Sager is a freelance writer based in Pittsburgh. He has written about sports since 1996 for a variety of newspapers, magazines and websites. He first covered D-III football in 2000 with the New Castle (Pa.) News.

2012-14 columnist: Brian Lester
2011 columnist: Dean Jackson
2007-10 columnist: Matt Florjancic

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