NAIA Ramblings of Jason Dannelly 9/25/07: Heading to Ohio and the How Do They Do It’s

Especially if you start the season 0-4, 1-3 or something like that. There are not a lot of chances for you to still win a conference or make the postseason, but you keep plugging away for pride. I envy those players too. This is when you find out what you will be made of in the real world.

Just think being in a job and three weeks into the fourth quarter of the business year and your boss says there is no way the sales team is going to make the quarterly goals. Do you keep plugging away for pride or cash it in and just do enough to get by for the rest of the year? It’s the same scenario from football to the business world.

In all honesty if I could bring on employees right now I would hire the guys that I see major improvement from this day forward instead of the ones who have had it good for them since the beginning of the season. I want to see an 0-3 finish 7-3 because those are my type of guys. I want an 0-4 to go 6-4 and working for me in the future because in the end that is why 95% of us are here. To get an education and learn skills that will help us in the real world.

I do not care about 40 times or how many times you can bench 225. I want to know you never gave up when you were 0-4. I want to know that you didn’t skip class. That’s what I want.

The Big Games
Carroll vs. Montana Western: I figured I had better put this game first since the natives in Montana seemed to think that I overlooked the match up. It’s a great college football game and has major implications in the Frontier Conference. Given how the first part of the season has gone this game could be either for the tie or the outright victory of the Frontier Conference title. A title that has found its home in Helena, Montana for the past couple of years.

Montana Western has been a great surprise in the conference. I do not think that anyone except the backers in Dillon were thinking the Bulldogs would be off to this good of a start this season. In fact most of the estimates I saw from people in Big Sky country were for the Dawgs to finish last or near last in the conference.

Well so far Montana Western has proved most of those naysayer’s plus myself wrong and has won every one of their conference games going into this week’s battle in Helena. The only loss the Dawgs have this season is to IAA Big Sky member Eastern Washington, who is currently undefeated heading into this weekend.

Carroll College has continued with their winning ways and are undefeated after a 10-3 victory over MSU-Northern. It’s funny how from week to week the opinion and thought process behind the Saints changes like the moons.
One week fans are thinking they have the greatest team since the last national title. The next week they need to scrap the starting lineups and start over with a new offense.

Growing up in Nebraska it’s almost scary to when the Huskers had their dominance in the mid-nineties. From week to week fans lived and died with the QB play of Scott Frost. Touchdown Tommie Frazier won two titles for Nebraska. He then handed the program over to Scott Frost who didn’t win a national title in 1996. So for two years it seemed as if the vaunted Husker offense was the worse in the country despite the fact they kept winning and winning and winning with only one or two slips along the way. When they won the title in 1997, Scott Frost was anointed a Husker hero and all was right in the world. Hmm, Carroll fans … or should I say certain Carroll fans … sound familiar?

The coaches didn’t become stupid overnight, the playbook didn’t lose half of their pages and the field didn’t suddenly tilt 20 yards into the earth making it harder to move the ball up field. Carroll College is making the most out of what they have on this squad. They have a good team, great coaches and are good enough to win a national title.

Guess what … they might lose a game in the regular season. It happens. It doesn’t mean it is the end of the world. Let me play this weeks game out for you on paper… .

Montana-Western is going to get a lead in this football game. Heck they might even win this football game. I do not think they will but it is a distinct possibility given the “no fear” attitude in Dillon.

Carroll College will not get into a football game where the final score is 42-35 with the Bulldogs. It might be 21-10, or 17-3, or another 10-3 game with them coming out on top. If that’s the case I am sure on Monday the message board will be filled with “thank God for a great defense” posts.

And at the end of the day no one within the Carroll College football team will care … because they won. They will move on and they will get prepared for the next week of football. If they lose … they will move on and they will get prepared for the next week of football. That is just how the program works.

Western can beat Carroll, but I do not see it happening in Helena.

Ohio Dominican and St. Francis (IN)
The meeting that everyone knew was coming to the Mid-States Football Association. When Dale Carlson was announced as the first head coach of Ohio Dominican everyone in the NAIA knew that this day would be coming and the Panthers would become a power in the NAIA.

By the looks of things, that day might have come last year too as the Panthers lost in the final minutes in Fort Wayne, IN. But this season ODU will have USF on their home field in a game that could determine the road to the national championship.

Obviously each team has to play out the season, but look at what weighs on this game. The winner is in the driver’s seat to winning the MSFA league title. They still have to get past great teams like SXU, Malone and Walsh but they at least control their own destiny.

The winner will likely draw the 2nd or 3rd best team from an opposing conference in the first round of the playoffs making for a more manageable match up in the first round.

These two teams could likely win out through the playoffs and match up in the semifinals with the game being played at the higher seed IF the higher seed reaches the minimum to bid for the game. ODU could take some major advantages away from the Cougars if they were to do so.

The “what ifs” are endless with this one.

I really think ODU is a great football team and I am looking forward to flying into Columbus for the game this week. It will be a tremendous opportunity to see two of the best teams in the country going up against one another as well as two of the best coaches in the country.

The game? I think it goes to St. Francis. The aura around the Cougar football program just feels different this year and I think it leads them to a national title. It’s not a revenge thing anymore and it doesn’t seem like it is all about pride. I just get the feeling from USF that it is “what they are suppose to do” this season. There are no excuses … it is just about winning the games each week and bringing home a title.

ODU may surprise some people and get a win this week and I would be one of them. But I think at the end of the weekend we will find out the Panthers are still one of the top five in the country regardless if they lose to USF. They might have a blemish on their record but they will still be better than 86 other teams in the NAIA.

Wrapping them up and taking them down:
Bethel College (KS) @ Bethany College: Two undefeated’s in the KCAC. I think Bethel shows the talent gap between them and the Swedes. Bethany is a young team headed the right direction. It just will not happen this week.

Jamestown College @ Valley City State University: The PAINT BUCKET game! One of the best rivalries in college football regardless of division. JC is the better team on paper. But the game is in Valley and the Vikes need a win to turn around the season. This game will get CRAZY.

Lindenwood University @ Georgetown College: Name the last time GT lost two in a row in the same season? Name the last time they started 1-3? I cannot do it, which is why I think they win this week. LU can prove they are one of the best in the country with this victory. I haven’t seen the Ross era at LU have that “program defining win”. This is their chance.

MidAmerica Nazarene University @ Evangel University: So is MNU second best in the HAAC or can Evangel mix up the conference standing? The clouds are starting clear on the HAAC race but Evangel could bring in a storm front if they win this week.

Morningside College @ Concordia Univ: Hey Concordia … you lost …sorry … it was a heartbreaker … get over it. Because if you do not Morningside will beat you by thirty this week. I think CU shakes the heartbreak and gets the victory this week but they had better come prepared to play and not be reviewing any more game film of “the block”. If they have a college football mentality CU will come to play this week. If they do not … U-G-L-Y this week in Seward.

Northwestern College (IA) @ Hastings College: Okay Hastings, you have beaten everyone you are supposed to beat … now try to beat someone that you are not supposed to beat. This is the game that will make the Broncos a postseason contender or pretender. Broncos are greatly improved now they just have to believe they can do it.

<?xml:namespace prefix = st2 /><st2:sn w:st=”on”>Saint</SN> <st2:middlename w:st=”on”>Xavier</MIDDLENAME> <st2:sn w:st=”on”>University</SN> @ Walsh University: Walsh has been seen as #2 in their league for quite some time. But with SXU coming over and ODU improving again the Cavs have the chance to go from one of the best in the NAIA to a distant memory unless they can get some wins against some of the best in the NAIA. They are yet to beat St. Francis … can they get one against SXU? The home field will help but SXU looks really good this season.

Southern Nazarene University @ Azusa Pacific University: Great to see SNU making the trip to LA to play APU. This game will help me to judge how much APU has improved since week one. They have beaten a good Malone team, hung with one of the best in DIII and were two points from beating IAA Nichols State. SNU is a top 25 team in the NAIA and APU can help their cause for postseason if they get a win this week. SNU needs a big win after tripping up two weeks ago to Peru State.

Sterling College @ Northwestern Oklahoma State: This is awesome that the KCAC is scheduling NWOSU. The Rangers need more NAIA opponents so they can get a fair shake in the ratings. Sterling is an improved football team and will give NWOSU everything they want this week. But the Rangers are just more talented and will get the win.

University of Virginia’s College at Wise @ Bethel College: I said it in my picks this week and I will say it again. WISE NEEDS TO BE READY. They say last week was a programming defining win. Well this week they could get a programming defining loss on the road if they aren’t ready. I am not sure how good Bethel (TN) is right now. A win this week has me thinking late rounds of the NAIA post season. A loss has me thinking they might struggle down the stretch. I think Wise is the better team but don’t be surprised to see a huge crowd in McKenzie this week for one of the best games in the country!

That’s it for this week folks! Drive safe and enjoy your NAIA football!

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