2013 Division 3 Football Playoffs – Round of 16 Wrap Up

Note: As you read through this post, please be aware that I list the matchup of next week’s games in every other recap.

 

Wittenberg (10-1) at Mount Union (11-0)

An entertaining first half that saw Mount Union take a 21-14 lead into halftime, gave way to a blow out victory in favor of Mount Union, 56-21. Wittenberg actually had the leads of 7-0 and 14-7 before Mount Union went ahead for good with 27 seconds left in the 1st half. Mount Union quarterback Kevin Burke had 326 yards and 5 touchdowns through the air while adding another 83 yards and 1 touchdown on the ground. Mount Union ended up with 601 yards of total offense and will face the Ithaca-Wesley winner.

Ithaca (9-2) at Wesley (9-2)

Wesley College used a suffocating run defense to beat Ithaca 23-15 in their Round of 16 clash. Wesley held Ithaca to NEGATIVE 50 yards rushing on the day. Ithaca completely abandoned the run in the 2nd half only attempting 2 rushes. The final score does not indicate how comfortable of a win this was for Wesley. Jamar Baynard led Wesley’s rushing attack with 103 yards and 2 touchdowns. Vito Boffoli had 9 catches for 103 yards and a touchdown for Ithaca in the loss. Wesley will now face Mount Union in the National Quarterfinals next Saturday.

UW-Platteville (10-1) at North Central (IL) (11-0)

North Central used a monster 1st quarter to get a 21-3 lead and did not look back on their way to an impressive 52-24 win against UW-Platteville. Ryan Kent had 257 yards and 4 touchdowns rushing for North Central as he enjoyed a red-letter-day. John Kelly had 249 yards passing and 2 touchdowns for Platteville as he had some trouble again the NCC defense. North Central will now face either Wartburg or Bethel (MN) in the quarterfinals.

Wartburg (9-2) at Bethel (MN) (11-0)

This entertaining battle came down to the 4th quarter. After a scoreless 1st quarter, both teams exchanged touchdowns before Bethel quarterback Erik Peterson hit Jared Schultz for an 80 yard touchdown as Bethel took a 14-7 lead into halftime. Wartburg tied the game on their first possession of the 3rd quarter before we got to the wild 4th quarter. Bethel hit a field goal early in the 4th and then on the next ensuing offensive play for Wartburg, they got a 73 yard touchdown reception. However, Wartburg’s extra point was blocked and returned for 2 points by Bethel’s Matt Mehlhorn. Wartburg still retained the lead at 20-19. With Bethel getting the ball back, quarterback Tom Keefe found Jared Schultz for a 56 yard touchdown pass. With 3 minutes left in the game, Wartburg drove down and tied the game at 27 on Brandon Domeyer’s 5 yard touchdown run. Bethel then took the ball right down for another score to give them a 34-27 lead. Wartburg mounted one last comeback attempt and eventually got down to the Bethel 13 yard line, but were unable to get a touchdown as the clock expired.

Bethel had 2 quarterbacks play in the game and both were impressive. Erik Peterson went 15 of 22 for 239 yards and a touchdown while Tom Keefe went 9 of 12 for 148 yards and 2 touchdown. Wartburg’s Logan Schrader had 347 yards and 2 touchdowns in the game. Bethel will face North Central (IL) next week in the quarterfinals.

Franklin (8-3) at UW-Whitewater (11-0)

For the 2nd week in a row, Whitewater used a strong defensive performance to continue their journey for a National Title with a 33-3 victory. Franklin only managed to get 4 yards rushing for the entire game. Matt Behrendt had an effective game throwing for 214 yards and 3 touchdowns, including 2 of those to Jake Kumerow. UW-Whitewater will take on the Hampden-Sydney at Linfield winner.

Hampden-Sydney (9-2) at Linfield (10-0)

Despite a 387 yard passing performance from Hampden-Sydney quarterback Nash Nance, Linfield won 31-21 to advance to the quarterfinals. Hampden-Sydney led 21-3 with 9:43 left in the 2nd quarter before Linfield scored 28 unanswered points to end the game. Linfield forced 2 fumbles, including one returned for a touchdown, and turned them into 14 points. Linfield will face UW-Whitewater next week.

St. John Fisher (9-2) at Hobart (10-0)

St. John Fisher held Hobart under 250 yards of total offense and held them scoreless for 59 minutes and 4 seconds in a 27-6 victory. St. John Fisher quarterback Tyler Fenti threw for 244 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also managed to complete all 18 of his passes to only 3 receivers. St. John Fisher will face the winner of the Rowan at Mary Hardin-Baylor game.

Rowan (9-2) at Mary Hardin-Baylor (11-0)

As with last week, Mary Hardin-Baylor ran their way to a big victory, this time over Rowan by a score of 59-8. Elijah Hudson had 136 yards and a touchdown, while Zach Anderson added 116 yards on the ground. Zach Anderson also threw for 168 yards and 3 touchdowns to give him a stellar day. Mary-Hardin Baylor held Rowan to 209 yards of total offense and caused 3 turnovers. Mary Hardin-Baylor will face St. John Fisher next week in the quarterfinals.

 

Quarterfinals Schedule

All quarterfinal games are to be played on December 7th.

Wesley (10-2) at Mount Union (12-0)

North Central (IL) (12-0) at Bethel (MN) (12-0)

Linfield (11-0) at Wisconsin-Whitewater (12-0)

St. John Fisher (10-2) at Mary Hardin-Baylor (12-0)

 

Champions League Match Day 5 Roundup

Here is the Roundup for Match Day 3 and the Roundup for Match Day 4. Without further ado, here is match day 5’s roundup:

 

Group A

Both of the games in this group were blowouts as Manchester United leveled Bayer Leverkusen 5-0 and Shakhtar Donetsk destroyed Real Sociedad 4-0. Manchester United got goals from 4 different players including Antonio Valencia (22nd minute), Jonny Evans (66th), Chris Smalling (77th), and Nani (88th). Emir Spahic had an own goal for Bayer Leverkusen in the 30th minute. In the other Group A game, Luiz Adriano started the scoring for Shakhtar Donetsk in the 37th minute and that was followed by Alex’s goal in the 48th minute. Douglas Costa added a brace (68th and 87th) to give Shakhtar the much needed victory. Manchester United are 1st with 11 points, Shakhtar Donetsk jump to 2nd with 8 points, Bayer Leverkusen fall to 3rd with 7 points, and Real Sociedad are in last with only 1 point.

Manchester United is now confirmed for the Round of 16 with today’s victory while Real Sociedad will not be participating any further in European competition after match day 6. That leaves Shakhtar and Bayer Leverkusen battling it out for 2nd. Match day 6 features Manchester United hosting Shakhtar Donetsk and Real Sociedad taking on Bayer Leverkusen at home.

The way I see this unfolding is Manchester United winning at home against Shakhtar Donetsk. That means a win by Bayer Leverkusen at Real Sociedad will but Bayer in the Round of 16. Bayer Leverkusen can still go through with a draw, but would need Shakhtar Donetsk to lose by at least 5 goals in order for that scenario to unfold. Even if Shakhtar and United tied, Bayer Leverkusen would still go through with a win. That would mean Shakhtar would go to the Round of 32 in the Europa League.

Group B

As with Group A, this group featured two blowouts. Real Madrid ripped Galatasaray apart to win 4-1 even without Cristiano Ronaldo. Gareth Bale opened the scoring in the 37th minute for Real Madrid, but Umut Bulut did very well to equalize in the 38th for Galatasaray. The 2nd half featured 3 goals from Alvaro Arbeloa (51st), Angel di Maria (63rd), and Isco in the 81st minute. Juventus came to life with a 3-1 victory over Copenhagen that improves of qualification to the Round of 16 immensely. Arturo Vidal had a hat trick for Juventus with goals from the penalty spot in the 29th minute and the 60th minute. Olof Mellberg got a goal in the 56th minute for Copenhagen, but it was to no avail. Vidal added his 3rd in the 64th minute and Juventus was on cruise control from there. Real Madrid have won the group and sit on 13 points. Juventus are 2nd with 6 points, Galatasaray are 3rd with 4 points, and Copenhagen are last with 4 points. Galatasaray are 3rd due to their better goal differential than Copenhagen at -6 versus -8.

The winner of the game between Juventus and Galatasaray will make the Round of 16. Copenhagen cannot finish better than 3rd in this group. Match day 6 features the pivotal winner take all game between Galatasaray and Juventus. The other match is Real Madrid traveling to Parken to take on Copenhagen.

With Real Madrid already through to the Round of 16, I see Juventus as the 2nd place finisher in this group. All they need is a draw to make it through and I see them winning in Turkey on the next match day. It is a tough proposition to see Copenhagen get out of the bottom, but if they get a point and Galatasaray loses to Juventus, Copenhagen will be in the Europa League.

Group C

A couple of late goals proved to be the difference in both games of Group C. Benfica got a 90th minute goal Rodrigo to secure a 3-2 away victory over Anderlecht. PSG also got a 90th minute goal via Edinson Cavani to give them all 3 points against Greek side Olympiacos. PSG are 1st in the group with 13 points, Olympiacos is 2nd with 7 points, Benfica also has 7 points, and Anderlecht are last with only 1 point. Olympiacos is 2nd due to a better goal differential than Benfica (0 for Olympiacos to -1 for Benfica).

PSG are now confirmed as Group C winners and therefore into the last 16. Olympiacos and Benfica are both guaranteed to finish no worse than 3rd in the group. Anderlecht are eliminated from European competition upon completion of their match day 6 game at Olympiacos. The other game in this group is Benfica taking on PSG at home in hopes of making the last 16.

I see Olympiacos finishing behind PSG for 2nd here. Not only do I see Olympiacos beating Anderlecht, I think PSG will do no worse than a draw against Benfica.

Group D

The first match of this group was played early in Moscow. That game saw Arjen Robben score an early 17th minute goal for Bayern Munich. In the 2nd half Mario Gotze led off the scoring in the 56th minute. CSKA Moscow got a 61st minute penalty, converted by Keisuke Honda. Just 4 minutes later, Thomas Muller slotted home a penalty for Bayern Munich as the game finished 3-1 in favor of Bayern Munich. The group’s other match was also filled with goals in a 4-2 Manchester City victory over Viktoria Plzen. Sergio Aguero had a 33rd minute penalty while Tomas Hofava equalized in the 43rd minute. Samri Nasri gave City the advantage at 2-1 in the 65th minute, but Stanislav Tecl tied it up again at 2-2 in the 69th minute. Negredo (78th minute) and Dzeko (89th minute) gave Manchester City the needed goals to finish off Plzen. Through 5 games Bayern Munich have 15 points and are 1st, Manchester City are 2nd with 12 points, CSKA Moscow is 3rd with 3 points, and Viktoria Plzen sit last with 0 points.

This group is all set for the top two teams as they have both made it through to the knockout stages. Match day 6 features Bayern Munich hosting Manchester City. Manchester City needs to beat Bayern Munich by 4 goals in order to win the Group. The other game in this group features the battle for the 3rd as CSKA Moscow will travel to Plzen to take on Viktoria Plzen.

I see this group finishing the exact way it will start match day 6: Bayern Munich, Manchester City, CSKA Moscow, and Viktoria Plzen. Plzen need to beat CSKA Moscow by 3 goals to finish 3rd, but that is too tall an order with how this defense has performed in the group stage.

Group E

For the 2nd time in this group Basel defeated Chelsea, this time by a score of 1-0. Mohamed Salah scored a wonderful goal in the 87th minute to give Basel the sweep against Chelsea. In the group’s other game between Steaua Bucuresti and Schalke, both teams failed to score leaving them to split the points. Despite their loss, Chelsea are now guaranteed to make the knockout stages of the Champions League. Chelsea sits top of the group with 9 points. Meanwhile, Basel’s wins gives them 8 points and puts them in 2nd place. Schalke are 3rd with 7 points and Steaua are last with 3 points.

The 6th and final match day will see Schalke take on Basel at home while Steaua will travel to London to face Chelsea. Both Basel and Schalke can win the group if Chelsea loses to Steaua and those teams do not draw.

This group comes down to Basel at Schalke to decide which team will move on to the Round of 16. The winner of that game will go into the final 16. If the game ends in a draw, Basel will finish 2nd. I still like Basel to go through. I see Chelsea easily defeating Steaua at home to win Group E. Steaua have officially finished last in this group regardless of their last game in the group.

Group F

An early goal from Jack Wilshere was all Arsenal needed at home against Marseille as they won 2-0. The big game of the group between Borussia Dortmund and Napoli ended in Dortmund’s favor. Marco Reus scored a 9th minute penalty, Jakub Blaszczykowski added a goal in the 60th minute, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang finished Napoli off in 78th minute as Dortmund won 3-1. Arsenal sit atop the group with 12 points, Borussia Dortmund are 2nd with 9 points (better goal differential than Napoli at +4 versus -1), Napoli are 3rd with 9 points, and Marseille are last with zero points.

Match day 6 sees Borussia Dortmund travel to Marseille to seal up their bid for the knockout stages. The 2nd game of the group has Arsenal traveling to Napoli. It is important to note that none of the top 3 teams have secured their spot in the Round of 16. Both Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund control their fate, while Napoli will need help from Marseille or an epic defensive collapse from Arsenal to make the Round of 16.

Arsenal look good to make the Round of 16. All they need to do is muster a single point against Napoli and they will win the group. They can even make the Round of 16 with a loss as they have the superior goal differential over Napoli (+5 versus -1). For 2nd I have to go with Borussia Dortmund. Marseille has not been able to play the spoiler I thought they would and I expect Dortmund to put a lot of goals in the back of the net. That means Napoli will finish 3rd and go into the Europa League. Marseille are guaranteed to finish last and I think they do so without obtaining a single point.

Group G

The results of Tuesday’s games did not change the table. Atletico Madrid went to Saint Petersburg and drew 1-1. Adrian scored a goal in the 53rd minute, but the score was equalized at 1 apiece after an own goal off of Toby Alderweireld in the 74th minute. The more surprising result of this group was Austria Wien going to Porto and securing a 1-1 draw. The standings remain unchanged from Match day 4. Atletico Madrid are 1st with 13 points, Zenit Saint Petersburg sit 2nd with 6 points, Porto are 3rd with 5 points, and Austria Wien are last with 4 points.

Atletico Madrid secured their spot in the Round of 16 back on match day 4 as the winners of Group G. Zenit and Porto will hope to progress to the last 16 while Austria Wien will finish last. Match day 6 features Austria Wein taking on Zenit Saint Petersburg in Vienna and Atletico Madrid will host Porto.

I still think Zenit will make the Round of 16 as the 2nd place team in this group. One of the things going for Porto is that Atletico Madrid cannot improve their position which may allow Porto to steal a win at Madrid.

Group H

Let’s start with the upset of the day on Tuesday in Amsterdam. Ajax had a 2-0 goal lead at halftime thanks to goals from Thulani Serero in the 19th minute and Danny Hoesen in the 40th minute. Xavi pulled one back for Barcelona from the penalty spot in the 49th minute, but it was not enough as Ajax held on for a 2-1 win. Milan destroyed Celtic 3-0 to bolster their knockout stage hopes. Barcelona are still 1st with 10 points, Milan are 2nd with 8 points, Ajax are 3rd with 7 points, and Celtic are last with 3 points.

Barcelona have secured their spot in the Knockout stages (did so on Match day 4), but have not won the Group yet. Milan and Ajax will battle it out for the second knockout spot in this group on Match day 6 at the San Siro. Barcelona will take on Celtic at the Camp Nou.

I see Barcelona winning at home, thus winning the Group. For 2nd, I have a hard time picking against AC Milan at home, though I would not mind seeing Ajax make the last 16 in the Champions League. As it is, Ajax will finish 3rd in my projections. Celtic cannot improve their position.

 

The 6th and final match day takes place on Tuesday, December 10 (Groups A through D) and Wednesday, December 11 (Groups E through H). Until next time, enjoy the football from whichever country you desire to watch!

NFL Overtime Format Proposal

On Sunday, November 24, 2013 we saw the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers play to a 26-26 tie. We also saw this happen in 2012 between the St Louis Rams and San Francisco 49ers (finished 24-24 in Week 10). These both happened despite the new overtime rules which give each team a chance to win as long as neither team scores a touchdown. We almost saw the ultra rare two ties in a week happen until the New England Patriots hit a field goal with just over 2 minutes left in overtime to beat the Denver Broncos. The last time we had 2 ties in the same week was Week 2 in 1973.


 

What is most surprising about the overtime rules is that the NFL players do not know them. At the beginning of each overtime that is played in the regular season it is stated “we will play one (1) overtime period.” It cannot get any clearer that, but in order to avoid confusion from both players and fans alike I have an idea in where each game will end with a winner. Here is my idea:

1. Adopt the College overtime rule that both teams will get a possession regardless of whether the first team scores a touchdown or not.

2. Move the starting point back to the 50 yard line for NFL overtime games. (College overtime starts at the opponents 25 yard line).

3. Give each team one (1) timeout for each overtime period.

4. Require teams to go for 2-point conversions in overtime with no extra points allowed. (In college, teams are required to go for 2-point conversions starting with the 3rd overtime).

5. Play until you have a winner, thus eliminating ties.

The rules above are basically the college overtime rules, but there are a few modifications. If the NFL truly wants to make sure each team has a chance to win in overtime they might as well just move to the college overtime system. This way we can avoid the “I did not know an NFL game can end in a tie” debacle we saw from Donovan McNabb.

2013 FCS Playoffs Preview

This morning the FCS Playoff bracket was revealed. 24 teams comprise the field, with the top 8 national seeds getting a bye into the 2nd round. There are 11 automatic qualifiers along with 13 at large berths. We will start with the qualifiers of each conference, the 8 national seeds, and the match-ups of the 1st Round.

 

Conference Qualifiers (Listed in order of finish)

Big Sky – Eastern Washington, Northern Arizona, Montana, Southern Utah

Big South – Coastal Carolina

Colonial Athletic – Maine, Towson, New Hampshire

Ivy League – Abstained

Mid-Eastern Athletic – Bethune-Cookman, South Carolina State

Missouri Valley – North Dakota State, South Dakota State

Northeast – Sacred Heart

Ohio Valley – Eastern Illinois, Tennessee State, Jacksonville State

Patriot League – Lafayette, Fordham

Pioneer League – Butler

Southern – Samford, Furman

Southland – Southeastern Louisiana, McNeese State, Sam Houston State

SWAC – Abstained

 

National Seeds

1. North Dakota State (11-0) winner of the Missouri Valley Conference

2. Eastern Illinois (11-1) winner of the Ohio Valley Conference

3. Eastern Washington (10-2) winner of the Big Sky Conference

4. Southeastern Louisiana (10-2) winner of the Southland Conference

5. Maine (10-2) winner of the Colonial Athletic Association

6. McNeese State (10-2) runners up in the Southland Conference

7. Towson (10-2) runners up in the Colonial Athletic Association

8. Montana (10-2) third place finishers in the Big Sky Conference

 

1st Round Matchups

Furman (7-5) at South Carolina State (9-3) – 1 P.M. Eastern Time on ESPN3. Winner faces #1 North Dakota State (11-0) on Saturday, December 7.

Bethune-Cookman (10-2) at Coastal Carolina (10-2) – 1 P.M. Eastern Time on ESPN3. Winner faces #8 Montana (10-2) on Saturday, December 7.

Lafayette (5-6) at New Hampshire (7-4) – 12 P.M. Eastern Time on ESPN3. Winner faces #5 Maine (10-2) on Saturday, December 7.

Southern Utah (8-4) at Sam Houston State (8-4) – 3 P.M. Eastern Time on ESPN3. Winner faces #4 Southeastern Louisiana (10-2) on Saturday, December 7.

South Dakota State (8-4) at Northern Arizona (9-2) – 8 P.M. Eastern Time on ESPN3. Winner faces #3 Eastern Washington (10-2) on Saturday, December 7.

Samford (8-4) at Jacksonville State (9-3) – 8 P.M. Eastern Time on ESPN3. Winner faces #6 McNeese State (10-2) on Saturday, December 7.

Sacred Heart (10-2) at Fordham (11-1) – 1 P.M. Eastern Time on ESPN3. Winner faces #7 Towson (10-2) on Saturday, December 7.

Tennessee State (9-3) at Butler (9-3) – 1 P.M. Eastern Time on ESPN3. Winner faces #2 Eastern Illinois (11-1) on Saturday, December 7.

 

1st Round Predictions

I will readily admit that I do not follow the FCS closely, but I do pay attention to the scores every week. Here are my picks for the 1st Round.

Furman at South Carolina State – I think South Carolina State will squeak out a 31-28 victory and go on to face #1 North Dakota State in the 2nd Round.

Bethune-Cookman at Coastal Carolina – This is a tough matchup for me to pick, but I think it will make for a great game. I will go with Coastal Carolina 45-41 and move on to face #8 Montana.

Lafayette at New Hampshire – This game looks to be all New Hampshire and I expect this to be a blowout. I see New Hampshire winning 45-10 and moving on to play #5 Main in the 2nd round.

Southern Utah at Sam Houston State – Another good matchup to be contested here. If this game is low scoring, it favors Southern Utah. If it high scoring, it will favor Sam Houston. I like Sam Houston State to win this game 38-30. That means they would face their conference opponent, #4 Southeastern Louisiana, for the 2nd time this year.

South Dakota State at Northern Arizona – I foresee a defensive battle here and that would suit both teams well. I like Northern Arizona to just do enough on offense to win 20-17 and move on to face #3 Eastern Washington.

Samford at Jacksonville State – This should be a competitive game from start to finish. I will go with Samford to go into Jacksonville and win 28-24. They would face #6 McNeese State in the 2nd round.

Sacred Heart at Fordham – I like Fordham to prevail here at home. Their only loss was an inexplicable 27-14 game at Lafayette. I see them winning 31-20 which will set up a 2nd round game against #7 Towson.

Tennessee State at Butler – This is a tough matchup for me to call. I can see both Tennessee State and Butler winning this game. I’ll take Tennessee State to win 27-24 and face #2 Eastern Illinois in the 2nd Round.

Enjoy all the 1st Round action of the FCS Playoffs!

Division 3 Football Playoffs – Round of 32 Wrap Up

Note: As you read through this post, please be aware that I list the matchup of next week’s games in every other recap.

Washington & Jefferson (8-2) at Mount Union (10-0)

Mount Union raced to a 21-7 lead in the 1st quarter and never looked back. RB Bradley Mitchell ran for 181 yards on 31 carries and added a TD as Mount Union won 34-20. Mount Union is now 11-0 on the year and will face the winner of the Lebanon Valley-Wittenberg game.

Lebanon Valley (8-2) at Wittenberg (9-1)

Wittenberg QB Reed Florence threw 3 first quarter touchdowns as Wittenberg crushed Lebanon Valley 59-17 to move onto the Round of 16. Florence finished 15 of 21 for 344 yards and 6 Touchdowns on the game. Wittenberg WR Desi Kirkman had 5 catches for 188 yards and 4 touchdowns. Now Wittenberg will put that offense up against Mount Union next week.

Framingham State (9-1) at Ithaca (8-2)

Ithaca erased a 17-3 halftime deficit to keep their National Title hopes alive. Down 17-13 with 3:40 left in the 4th quarter, Ithaca QB Tom Dempsey threw a 10 yard TD pass to Vito Boffoli for the game winning score. Brian Garvey of Ithaca intercepted a pass by Framingham State late in the game to seal the victory. Ithaca will face the winner of Wesley at Johns Hopkins.

Wesley (8-2) at Johns Hopkins (10-0)

 An entertaining game from the start, Wesley held a 17-14 halftime lead until the 4th quarter when Wesley QB Joe Callahan hit WR Steve Koudossou to go up 23-14 after the missed extra point. Johns Hopkins hit a Field Goal with 10 minutes remaining to cut the lead to 23-17. With 50 seconds left in the game, Johns Hopkins QB Robbie Matey found Daniel Wodicka from 10 yards out to give JHU a 24-23 lead. With 44 seconds left, Joe Callahan led Wesley into JHU territory. With 20 seconds remaining, Joe Callahan found Steve Koudossou again, this time from 33 yards out to give Wesley the last second win, 29-24. Wesley will face Ithaca in the Round of 16 next week.

Albion (8-2) at North Central (ILL) (10-0)

North Central raced out to a 14-0 by the end of the 1st quarter and it was over from there. NCC put up 557 yards of Total offense on their way to a 63-7 thrashing of Albion. NCC QB Spencer Stanek threw 4 touchdown passes and North Central will face the Concorida-UW Platteville winner.

Concordia (WIS) (8-2) at UW-Platteville (9-1)

Behind Quarterback John Kelly’s 422 yards passing, UW-Platteville cruised to a 54-20 victory over Concordia. Andy Puccini added 117 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground for UW-Platteville as they amassed 679 yards of total offense. QB Austin Damaschke had 325 yards of his own for Concordia, but to no avail. UW-Platteville will now face North Central College next week.

Wartburg (8-2) at Illinois Wesleyan (9-1)

Wartburg scored the first 35 points of the game en route to their 41-7 victory over Illinois Wesleyan. Wartburg used the legs of running back Brandon Domeyer who had 161 yards and 3 touchdowns on 34 rushing attempts. Wartburg will face the winner of the St. Scholastica at Bethel game.

St. Scholastica (9-1) at Bethel (10-0)

Bethel scored the first 22 points in the game as they blitzed St. Scholastica 70-13 to reach the Round of 16. Bethel QB Erik Peterson threw for 300 yards and 4 touchdowns while RB Brandon Marquardt added 115 yards on the ground and 3 touchdowns. Bethel amassed a 43-13 lead at halftime. Bethel will face Wartburg next week.

St. Norbert (8-2) at UW-Whitewater (10-0)

Perennial title contender UW-Whitewater used a stingy defense along with a balanced offense to beat St. Norbert 31-7. St. Norbert was only able to gain 169 yards of total offense, including only 74 yards passing. Whitewater QB Matt Behrendt thew for 279 yards passing and 3 touchdowns. UW-Whitewater will face either Washington U or Franklin in their next game.

Washington U (8-2) at Franklin (7-3)

In a tightly contested ballgame, Franklin used 10 4th quarter points to push past Washington U, 17-10. Mike Wood tied the game at 10-10 with 4:33 remaining, before a last minute TD Pass from Jonny West to Kendal Butler gave Franklin the victory. Franklin will now face UW-Whitewater in hopes of progressing to the quarterfinals.

Maryville (8-2) at Hampden-Sydney (8-2)

This offensive battle went back and forth throughout the entire first half. Each team traded touchdowns until Hampden-Sydney took a 35-20 lead with 2:35 left in the 2nd quarter. Maryville got a touchdown back with 9 seconds remaining in the 1st half to cut the deficit to 35-27. Midway through the 3rd quarter, Travis Fielder of Maryville got his 3rd rushing touchdown of the day and the lead was 35-34 in favor of Hampden-Sydney. Early in the 4th quarter, Hampden-Sydney QB Nash Nance threw his 5th touchdown of the game and gave Hampden-Sydney a 42-34 cushion. The game would end at that score of 42-34. They will face either Pacific-Lutheran or Linfield.

Pacific Lutheran (8-1) at Linfield (9-0)

Linfield opened up a 28-0 by halftime and never looked back. Linfield QB Josh Yoder threw for 204 yards and 3 touchdowns, while adding 2 rushing touchdowns on the ground. Dalton Ritchey threw for 299 yards and 3 touchdowns for Pacific Lutheran in a losing effort. Linfield won the game 42-21 and will take on Hampden-Sydney next week.

Gallaudet (9-1) at Hobart (9-0)

The spectacular Gallaudet season came to end on Saturday with Hobart defeating them 34-7. Both teams stuck to the ground game throughout, with only 53 yards passing total for the entire game. Hobart went up 27-0 at halftime and were on cruise control from there. Gallaudet did get a TD early in the 4th quarter thanks to a 1 yard BJ Flores score. Hobart will take on the St. John Fisher at John Carroll victor.

St. John Fisher (8-2) at John Carroll (9-1)

John Carroll got out to a 13-0 start midway through the 2nd quarter before a St. John Fisher got a TD back with 3:37 left in the 1st half. St. John Fisher had a pick 6 by Ryan Seymour to take the lead 14-13 halfway through the 3rd quarter. John Carroll got the lead back at 16-14 on a 34 yard field goal. With 6 minutes left in the game, Tyler Fenti threw a 15 yard TD pass to Nathan Nigolian to give St. John Fisher a lead they would not relinquish. St. John Fisher would add a late Field goal and win 25-16. St. John Fisher will take on Hobart next week in the Round of 16.

Endicott (8-2) at Rowan (8-2)

Rowan used a stifling defensive performance to shutout Endicott 24-0. Rowan opened the scoring in a defensive manner no less with a pick 6 from Darren Dungee. Rowan only gave up 113 yards to Endicott’s offense and totaled 3 interceptions. Rowan will now face the Redlands at Mary Hardin-Baylor winner.

Redlands (8-2) at Mary Hardin-Baylor (10-0)

Mary Hardin-Baylor rushed their way to a 35-7 win over Redlands. Running backs Zach Anderson and Elijah Hudson both had 2 rushing touchdowns for MBH. With their victory, Mary Hardin-Baylor will face Rowan next week in the Round of 16.

Round of 16 Schedule

Wittenburg (10-1) at Mount Union (11-0)

Wesley (9-2) at Ithaca (9-2)

UW-Platteville (10-1) at North Central College (11-0)

Wartburg (9-2) at Bethel (11-0)

Franklin (8-3) at UW-Whitewater (11-0)

Hampden-Sydney (9-2) at Linfield (10-0)

St. John Fisher (9-2) at Hobart (10-0)

Rowan (9-2) at Mary Hardin-Baylor (11-0)

Thoughts on MLS Addition of Orlando SC

On Tuesday, November 19, Major League Soccer (MLS) announced that Orlando SC will become the 21st Franchise beginning with the 2015 Season. Orlando SC currently competes in the USL Pro Division, which is on the third tier of the United States Soccer Pyramid. This will be the first team in the state of Florida since 2001, when both the Tampa Bay Mutiny and Miami Fusion.

It is worth noting that both the Tampa Bay Mutiny and Miami Fusion folded after the 2001 season due to financial issues. At the time for MLS, financial woes were rampant throughout the league. This Forbes article by Chris Smith does an excellent job illustrating the early problems for MLS. Also in the article, he talks about the current value of each MLS team as well as providing a chart to show the profitability of each team.

In my opinion, the main concern for any new franchise in the Southeastern United States is the competition it will face. The Southeast is football crazy and is treated like a religion down there. That does not mean Orlando SC will fail, but it will take time for them to get near the backing of some recent MLS Expansion teams (e.g.: Portland, Seattle, Vancouver).

Another concern is the complete lack of any other regional teams. Orlando SC’s nearest competitor will be the Houston Dynamo to the west and DC United to the North. Orlando to Houston is approximately 963 miles according to Google, while Orlando to Washington D.C. is approximately 847 miles per Google. The lack of regional competition may hamper the ability for Orlando SC to flourish. This could be less of an issue if the rumored Miami Franchise comes to fruition.

One further thought on the lack of regional competition is noted by the fierce rivalries that have developed between Seattle, Vancouver, and Portland. These three franchises have thrived due in part to the Cascadia Cup that they contest each year. Do not discount the lack of a regional rival as an obstacle.

One final note, with Orlando SC becoming the 21st team it will almost certainly mean another unbalanced schedule in 2015. Adding another team will alleviate this problem, but at this time, it appears that will not happen until 2016 at the earliest.

Overall I think the addition of Orlando SC will help MLS in the long run, but there are some issues they will have to contend with early on. If Orlando SC can build a passionate and devoted fan base as well as be competitive within the football crazy South, they will be just fine.

Champions League Match Day 4 Roundup

The fourth round of Group matches has been completed. Let’s take a look at the action group-by-group.

Group A

Both games in this group finished as scoreless draws, thus all teams maintain their positions. Manchester United are 1st with 8 points, Bayer Leverkusen are 2nd with 7 points, Shakhtar Donetsk sit in 3rd with 5 points, and Real Sociedad are last with 1 point.

Manchester United are now guaranteed to finish no worse than 3rd in the group thanks to their 0-0 draw against Real Sociedad. Match day 5 is shaping up as a big one for 1st and 2nd place. Manchester United travels to Leverkusen while Shakhtar stay home to face Real Sociedad.

I still see this group as Manchester United and Bayer Leverkusen going through to the Round of 16. Shakhtar would need to upset United in Manchester on Match day 6 to have a serious chance of making the Round of 16.

Group B

Juventus and Real Madrid played to a 2-2 draw in Turin, while Copenhagen scored an early goal and held on 1-0 to defeat Galatasaray. Real Madrid are still in 1st with 10 points, while Galatasaray moved into 2nd with 4 points, Copenhagen moved up to 3rd also with 4 points, and Juventus dropped from 3rd to last with 3 points.

Real Madrid are guaranteed to finish no worse than 3rd in the Group. On Match day 5, Real Madrid is home to 2nd place Galatasaray. The other game has Juventus at home against Copenhagen.

Real Madrid will win this group, but 2nd place is up for grabs. Juventus has the most favorable schedule with games left against Copenhagen and Galatasaray, but they have failed to do better than a draw in four games. I’m still going to stick with Galatasaray to finish 2nd. I think Juventus does enough to finish 3rd in the group and go onto the Europa League.

Group C

PSG and Anderlecht played to a 1-1 draw after trading goals in a 3 minute span. Demy de Zeeuw put Anderlecht ahead 1-0 in the 68th minute before Zlatan Ibrahimovic pulled the teams even with his 70th minute strike. The other game ended with a 1-0 Olympiacos win over Benfica. PSG are still 1st with 10 points, Olympiacos sit 2nd with 7 points, Benfica is 3rd with 4 points, and Anderlecht are last with only 1 point.

Both PSG and Olympiacos are now both guaranteed to finish no worse than 3rd. Those two teams face off in Match day 5 in Paris. Meanwhile, Benfica travels to Anderlecht looking to keep their hopes to reach the Round of 16 alive.

As I said after Match day 3, this group looks to send PSG and Olympiacos through to the Round of 16. Olympiacos gets Anderlecht in Piraeus on match day 6, while Benfica have to deal with PSG in Lisbon. Benfica will lock up 3rd place and go into the Europa League.

Group D

An eventful and historic day in Group D as Manchester City thrashed CSKA Moscow 5-2 and Bayern Munich used a 65th minute goal from Mario Mandzukic to win 1-0 over Viktoria Plzen. Bayern Munich are 1st having secured the maximum 12 points thus far while Manchester City are 2nd with 9 points. CSKA Moscow are 3rd with three points and Viktoria Plzen have yet to register a point and are last in the group.

Both Bayern Munich and Manchester City became the first two teams to qualify for the Knockout Round of 16 in this year’s Champions League. Manchester City qualified for the first time after failing the previous 2 seasons. Match day 5 will bring us what appears to be easy wins for the top 2 teams. CSKA Moscow will host Bayern Munich while Manchester City play home to Viktoria Plzen.

As predicted, Bayern Munich and Manchester City have both qualified for the Round of 16. 1st place is still in play and I expect both of these teams to stay competitive. CSKA Moscow still looks good to finish 3rd, while Viktoria Plzen have failed to obtain a point and need to show a lot more to even think about finishing 3rd.

Group E

 Chelsea’s 3-0 victory made it three wins in a row after their shock loss to Basel on Match day 1. The Group’s other match between Basel and Steaua Bucuresti ended 1-1 after a late equalizer from Giovanni Sio of Basel. Chelsea is now in sole possession of 1st place with 9 points, Schalke is still 2nd at six points, Basel is 3rd with five points, and Steaua Bucuresti is last with two points.

Chelsea are now guaranteed to finish no worse than 3rd. Match day 5 will see Schalke travel to Bucharest to take on Bucuresti while Chelsea will travel Basel. Chelsea lost at home on Match day 1 when they last faced Basel.

Chelsea are in a great position to make it to the Knockout Round of 16. Schalke and Basel will duke it out for 2nd but Basel have but themselves in a precarious position after their draw against Steaua. I still think Basel can make it through to the Round of 16, but Schalke controls their own destiny. Even Steaua have an outside chance to make the knockout stages, but I see them finishing last at this point.

Group F

Aaron Ramsey’s goal in the 62nd minute was the difference between Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal. Napoli and Marseille played a back and forth affair with Gonzalo Higuain’s 75th minute goal being the difference in a 3-2 Napoli victory. Arsenal and Napoli are tied for 1st with 9 points (Arsenal has a +3 goal differential compared to +1 for Napoli). Borussia Dortmund dropped to 3rd with six points and Marseille have yet to tally a point despite some good efforts.

Arsenal and Napoli are guaranteed to finish no worse than 3rd. Marseille cannot qualify for the Knockout Stages of the Champions League, but can still make it into the Europa League. Match day 5 proves huge yet again in the “Group of Death” as Arsenal play home to Marseille and Borussia Dortmund take on Napoli in Dortmund.

I thought Arsenal would struggle in their game at Dortmund and I was wrong. They look good to make the Round of 16 if they can beat Marseille and the Dortmund-Napoli game ends in a draw or Napoli win. I still like Dortmund to get through to the Round of 16 by winning their final 2 games. Marseille need a miracle to finish better than last and I don’t see that happening.

Group G

Zenit St Petersburg and Porto played to a 1-1 draw that saw Hulk have a crucial penalty saved. Atletico Madrid crushed Austria Wien at home 4-0 and that gives Atletico 12 points. Zenit St Petersburg is 2nd with five points, Porto is 3rd with four points, and Austria Wien sits last with only 1 point.

Atletico Madrid have secured their spot in the Round of 16 and, in fact, they will be the winner of Group G regardless of how the last two mach days shape out. Match day 5 will see Atletico Madrid travel to Zenit St Petersburg in a crucial match for Zenit. The other game will be between Porto and Austria Wien that could see Porto move into 2nd by the end of the match day.

With Atletico Madrid already through, I see Zenit St Petersburg joining them. They do have a tough contest against Atletico on the next match day, but they have Austria Wien on the docket on Match day 6. I see Porto finishing 3rd and Austria Wien finishing 4th.

Group H

Barcelona cruised to a 3-1 victory of AC Milan to secure their place in the Knockout stages. Ajax won 1-0 over Celtic thanks to a Lasse Schone goal in the 51st minute. Barcelona sits on top of the group at 10 points, followed by AC Milan in 2nd (5 points), Ajax (4 points), and Celtic in last (3 points).

Barcelona became the 4th team to qualify for the Knockout Stages of the Champions League. Match day 5 features Celtic taking on Milan in Glasgow and Barcelona going on the road to the Amsterdam Arena to face Ajax.

I still think AC Milan will do enough to join Barcelona in the Round of 16. Milan has Celtic and Ajax left while Celtic and Ajax both have to face Barcelona in their remaining 2 games. The battle for 3rd is tough to call, but I have to change course and say Ajax will make it through. I see both teams losing their remaining games meaning Ajax will have 4 points to Celtic’s 3.

The next match day takes place on Tuesday, November 26 (Groups E through H) and Wednesday, November 27 (Groups A through D). Until next time, enjoy the domestic action as well as the World Cup Playoffs!