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).
- 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.
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.