Super Region Three
1 Minnesota-Duluth (11-0)
2 Augustana (10-1)
3 Grand Valley State (10-1)
4 St. Cloud State (9-2)
5 Hillsdale (9-2)
6 Colorado Mines (9-2)
-I get the impression that many people are discounting Augustana's chances in a potential second round match up with Grand Valley State. Do not fall into this trap. The Vikings have a legit defense, and if quarterback Josh Hanson returns from the hand injury that caused him to miss the last couple of games, Augie can play with the Lakers.
-Minnesota-Duluth has been just plain dominant this season, winning every game by 20 points or more. Before Isaac Odim got hurt, the Bulldogs were the favorite in this region and a good bet to win another national title. Without Odim it will be tougher, but this is still a great overall team.
-There are some great running quarterbacks in this region, led by SCSU's Phillip Klaphake (703 rushing yards), UMD's Chase Vogler (545), GVSU's Kyle McMahon (492 and 11 rushing TDs) and Augustana's Josh Hanson (457). Defensive coordinators are going to have to work overtime to scheme ways to control the running QBs.
-With all Augustana and SCSU making the playoffs this year, all four of the former NCC teams (Minnesota State and Minnesota-Duluth being the others) have now made the playoffs at least once since joining the NSIC three years ago.
First Round Games
Colorado Mines at Grand Valley
The Orediggers will be bringing their high-powered passing attack to Allendale, and there-in lies the problem. The way to beat GVSU-- especially this time of the year when it can get cold and windy at Lubbers Stadium-- is to run right at them and keep the Laker offense standing on the sidelines. Mines doesn't possess that capability and its 2010 playoff run will be short because of it. Grand Valley State 37 Colorado Mines 17.
Hillsdale at St. Cloud
The Chargers went to Minnesota last year and knocked off Minnesota State in an opening round playoff game, so Hillsdale has the edge in experience and knows what it takes in the postseason. The Huskies are solid on both sides of the ball, and have been bolstered by the great performance of freshman quarterback Philip Klaphake. But Hillsdale has the GLIAC offensive player of the year in senior quarterback Troy Weatherhead, and his big game experience gives the Chargers a slight edge. Hillsdale 27 St. Cloud State 24.