Saturday, November 04, 2006

Mustangs facing must-win scenario

Saturday’s football game at Montana’s Washington-Grizzly Stadium certainly had a playoff feel to it.
No. 6 Cal Poly at No. 2 Montana.
Two of the most dominant defenses in the West Region, if not all of Division I-AA football, trying to outdo eachother all afternoon.
One touchdown. Four field goals. Four trips to the red zone. Ten sacks. Nineteen punts!
I don’t think it will surprise anyone on either side if these two teams meet up again in the playoffs, which would mark the fourth meeting between the two programs in two seasons.
That’s if Cal Poly even makes the playoffs.
The Mustangs were this close to beating the No. 2 team in the country, on Montana’s home turf where the Grizzlies are an unbelievable 130-18 all-time.
Still, the Mustangs (6-3) aren’t guaranteed a spot in the 16-team playoffs and could easily miss the postseason if they don’t win their final two games against No. 5 North Dakota State (8-1) and Savannah State (1-8).

Here’s why:

  • Teams with more than three losses have a tough time getting in. In fact, only two teams with more than three losses have advanced to the postseason since 2003. Eastern Washington went with four losses last season and Montana State advanced with five defeats in 2003. Both were automatic qualifiers out of the Big Sky Conference.
  • At the same time, the committee could throw out Cal Poly’s loss to San Jose State considering the Spartans were a Division I-A opponent. But if the Mustangs win just one of their final two games, that would leave Cal Poly with just six Division I victories. (Remember the season-opening win against Fort Lewis? Yeah, that win is meaningless in the committee’s eyes.) According to the Division I Football Championship Handbook, “less than seven Division I wins may place a team in jeopardy of not being selected.”
  • The good news? Cal Poly has some familiar faces on this year’s committee. While the Great West doesn’t have a representative on the eight-person committee, former Cal Poly and current UMass athletic director John McCutcheon is still on there. And current Cal Poly athletic director Alison Cone is on the regional advisory committee.
• • •
North Dakota State, by the way, just overcame a 24-point deficit in the second half to stun UC Davis 28-24 on Saturday. Sound familiar?
lost by 60, that's right 60, to No. 17 Coastal Carolina, 66-6!
Cal Poly and No. 9 New Hampshire (6-3), which lost to No. 3 UMass (8-1) 20-28, were the only top-10 teams that lost Saturday.
• • •
Not that you would need to watch any highlights from Saturday's game after reading our thorough coverage (read the mainbar and notebook), but if you feel the need you can watch them here courtesy and KPAX-TV in Missoula, which provided the feed for KSBY's broadcast of the game.

1 comment:

Ron said...

Not that I'm Bill Belichick or anything, but I have a small bit of advice for coach Ellerson.

It goes like this: He should gather up every single copy of his offensive playbook, then go to the pages that have the Option Left, and the Option Right on them. Then, he should rip those pages out of all of the books, then he should take those pages and run them through the office shredding machine, then he should take those shreds home and put them in his Weber barbecue, then he should soak the shreds thoroughly with lighter fluid and set them ablaze. Then, once the fire has subsided, and all that remains is a small pile of ashes of what was once shreds of the pages that contained the Option Left, and the Option Right that were once in the offensive playbook, he should scoop up those ashes, place them in a sturdy container, and then ship that container off to Diablo Canyon and ask the employees out there if they would be so kind as to place it in one of their dry storage casks.

I think if he took that advice, he would greatly improve his team's chances of winning.

Sans those two plays, Poly played a hell of a game.