NAIA Ramblings of Jason Dannelly from 9/8/2006: The NAIA Review-Preview

have news for you folks. If you’re depressed after a week one loss you need serious help. Every coach says it and every player knows it. But as fans we need to keep this thought in check:

“Fifty percent of the teams in the country lost last Saturday.”

Simple phrase that says a lot. You lost in week one? Who cares?!? There are 10 more weeks of college football. You can still get something done. Teams improve immensely from week one to week two, so don’t get too down on things yet.

Should #24 Evangel fans feel bad? Sure, they lost to Missouri Valley a team they normally find themselves in a shootout with anyway. But that is no reason to pack it in. Texas College went on the road and got spanked, 48-0. There is no nice way of putting it. They got “owned” if you will.

But should Steer fans across the country sulk in the agony of defeat? No way. They still are a talent football team with the capability of winning their conference. Keep in mind that even if they drop three games to start the season, they are still 0-0 in the Central States Football League.

It is scary how much can change from week one. There are still many rivalry games, long bus trips and injuries to happen this season. So try to relax NAIA fan, the sky has not fallen in yet.

The Week in Review
#11 Montana State-Northern defeated #15 Dickinson State in a game that I tried to warn people about all summer. Dickey is going to have a fine season. In fact they are still my favorite to win their conference. But ever since the midway point of last season, people have overlooked the Lights and the fact they are turning things around. Kyle Sampson is one of the top threats at the quarterback position in all of the NAIA. He might not be the accurate thrower or game breaking runner, but he can flat out get the job done.

Now MSU-Northern needs to take care of business this week against Montana-Western before they could truly open people eyes on the September 23rd against Carroll.

The Golden Tornadoes of #21 Geneva lost last week to Thiel (PA). Let’s not start passing judgment on Geno DeMarco’s team just yet. Thiel was 11-1 last season and 7-3 the year before. So even though Geneva needed to get this win to start their season off right the world is not ending quite yet in Beaver Falls.

Rocky Mountain College knocked off Minot State last week. VSN had the Beavers at #33 in the preseason rankings and to be honest I am not surprised to see the Bears get the win. It has nothing to do with the performance of Minot State but rather the improved play at Rocky. I saw RMC play last fall against EOU and you could tell they had a lot of people on the cusp of being very good. All that was needed was a little push. This win might have been it.

#12 U-Cumberlands fan’s welcomed the John Bland era by winning the Brass Lantern over Union (KY), 21-9. It is yet to be seen if Bland can be the coach to get UC to the playoffs but early indications from Williamsburg show this team could have a shot. They are a very different team than last season, which may be the spark to get UC’s fire to ignite.

What’s Happening this Week?
Three key games have sparked by interest this week. Feel free to click on over to “Chip’s Picks” to find out more. #3 Georgetown at #14 Lindenwood has a lot of people talking about the Mid South and HAAC titles already. This game also provides a comparison point for post season play. Even though we are only in week two, people will look back to the winner of this game when they start talking about who should get the #14, #15 and #16 spots in the post season.

LU’s quarterback Ben Kisner sat out last week with an injury. Expect him to be in the lineup this week. Georgetown will follow the leadership of Jeff Smith at quarterback for the third season in a row. The big right hander reminds me more of an NFL tight end with his frame than an NAIA quarterback. Good luck taking him down with an arm tackle.

#8 Saint Xavier travels to the same area of the country as Georgetown to play #5 McKendree in Lebanon, Illinois. If this game gets over 30 points for either team, I’ll be really surprised. McKendree will control the game but SXU has the ability to create big plays with Ricca and Yeo on this offense.

How could anyone forget about #13 Northwestern (IA) and #7 Morningside? This GPAC battle is easily the best match up of the early season. Northwestern is extremely improved over last years team that lost 52-6 and only mustered 216 total yards of offense. In the same respect, Morningside is an extremely different team as the majority of last year’s 518 yards against the Red Raiders has graduated. Add that to a close win over Midland Lutheran, 21-15, last week and this game would appear to be in the hands of the Red Raiders.

But what about some of the other quick hitters from this weekends schedule?

I will be traveling to William Penn to watch the Statesmen take on #2 St. Francis (IN). I would be lying to you if I told you I was going to watch Penn first and then St. Francis. While this will be the first time I have seen William Penn play football since 1998, I still want to see what the #2 team in the country has to offer. However, if the Statesmen get the win my trip will be time well spent.

Tabor and #18 Kansas Wesleyan take to the field this week for the same stakes they were playing for last season at this time; the upper hand in the KCAC race. I do not feel Tabor will be as good this season as they were last season, but they have a chance to prove me wrong this week. However, if KWU gets the win they will have a chance to really take control of the KCAC with a game against Friends next Saturday. There are a lot of things to get sorted out this season in the KCAC but you can count on the winner of this game being in the hunt later in the season.

Other out of area non-conference match ups include: Azusa Pacific at Malone, Peru State at Valley City, Belhaven at Southern Nazarene, Shorter at Webber International and SD Mines at Haskell. All of which have potential to be great games but don’t be surprised if you see one or two blowouts. Azusa Pacific is the better team in Canton this Saturday and Valley City State should handle Peru. The other games are tossups.

Out of the Association

The NAIA has 18 games against IAA, II, and III opponents. The chances of the NAIA winning a majority of these games will be slim to none. Several NAIA teams should come away with victories but with several IAA teams on the slate do not expect much from this bunch of games.

Dakota State (S.D.) at Central Missouri State
Chowan at Union (Ky.)
Cumberland (Tenn.) at Austin Peay State (Texas)
Lambuth (Tenn.) at West Alabama
Mayville State(N.D.) at Minnesota State-Moorhead
Menlo(Calif.) at Southern Oregon
Minot State(N.D.) at Bemidji State (Minn.)
New Mexico Highlands at Northwestern Oklahoma State
Northern State (N.D.) at Dickinson State (N.D.)
Pikeville (Ky.) at Henderson State (Ark.)
Prairie View A&M at Edward Waters (Fla.)
Southwest Minnesota State at Jamestown (N.D.)
Sul Ross State (Texas) at Southwestern Assemblies (Texas)
Tennessee-Martin at Urbana (Ohio)
Texas College at Arkansas Tech
Valparaiso(Ind.) at Trinity International (Ill.)
Waldorf (Iowa) at Martin Luther (Minn.)
Wisconsin-Eau Claire at Black Hills State (S.D.)
Final Shots
Good luck to all schools this week. Fans it is time to get off your duffs and get to the games. Drag your friends and family along if you need to so they can see what great football is being played across the country. If you have a day game see if there is a night game you can make it to. It will all be worth it.

Be sure to listen to our radio updates and check out the message boards to get in on all of the action this week.

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