Bracket: All the right teams, in mostly right places

Brockport defense
Brockport quarterback Joe Germinerio was knocked out -- cold -- in his team's Nov. 4 game vs. Alfred. But the Golden Eagles defense could be enough to carry them in the postseason until he gets back up to speed.
Brockport athletics photo
Selection Committee chair on In the Huddle
Which No. 1 seed will have the hardest time escaping its bracket?
Delaware Valley
Mary Hardin-Baylor
Mount Union

When all of the at-large teams are fairly clear, the last thing to quibble about is the matchups. And so, even though there's a tremendous amount of flexibility in the bracket, there are a bunch of familiar first-round matchups in the 2017 Division III football playoff bracket.

Sure, it doesn't take a genius to tell you that Husson was going to play Springfield. There were only two teams in the field Husson could drive to. But there are a lot of first-round matchups in this bracket that we told you last night were going to happen (nine, to be precise).

So let's spin forward. The most interesting thing here is that the East Region is guaranteed to have a team in the national semifinals for the first time since 2006, as one of the four quadrants is populated with solely East Region teams. 

The five at-large bids go to Illinois Wesleyan, St. John's, Hardin-Simmons, Case Western Reserve and Frostburg State, as expected. UW-Oshkosh and Mary Hardin-Baylor would not have to meet until the Stagg Bowl, if they both advance that far, while Mount Union's bracket would face UW-Oshkosh's bracket and UMHB's bracket would meet Delaware Valley's bracket in the national semifinals. (The bracket seems to be set up so that UW-Oshkosh and Mary Hardin-Baylor would host the semifinals, if they advance.)

Case's miraculous finish sets up the Spartans to travel to Illinois Wesleyan in the first round, and, if they advance, then to Alliance, Ohio. Frostburg State travels to Wittenberg, while St. John's goes to North Central. Hardin-Simmons is at Linfield, with the winner of that game once again set up to face the winner between UMHB and the SCIAC champ, Chapman.

There are some great 4-5 type games on the left side of the bracket. North Central hosting St. John's is a game that we'd probably rather see in the second round than the first, but travel restrictions played some role in this, as well as the fact that the North Region committee continued to rank Trine ahead of North Central, focusing on winning percentage as the most important factor. Case Western Reserve plays at Illinois Wesleyan in another game that should be an interesting first-round battle.

Questions? Hit the comments at the bottom of this page.  

Bracket JPG


Dec. 14: All times Eastern
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 24, Mount Union 16
@ Woodforest Bank Stadium; Shenandoah, Texas
Box Score Recap Photos
Dec. 8: All times Eastern
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 31, UW-Whitewater 14
Box Score Recap Photos
at Mount Union 28, Johns Hopkins 20
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Maintenance in progress.