At this point in the football season for small colleges, games can take on significant status in determining whether a team qualifies for the NCAA playoffs. Saturday, West Chester and Rowan will be involved in games that will impact their postseason aspirations.
At Rowan, the Profs (5-2, 4-2) will play New Jersey Athletic Conference rival and undefeated Salisbury (7-0, 6-0) at 1 p.m. at Wackar Stadium. A victory over the 25th-ranked Sea Gulls would give Rowan consecutive wins over nationally ranked teams. Saturday, the Profs beat then-No. 8 Wesley, 28-27, in an NJAC game.
Should Rowan beat Salisbury and then win its final two games, the Profs would put themselves in the mix for the 32-team Division III playoff field.
"I think we would," Rowan coach Jay Accorsi said, "but there are so many things that will go into it. … We've talked about it a little bit with the players because that's nice to shoot for, but we can't worry about that. We just have to worry about Salisbury."
At West Chester, the undefeated Golden Rams (7-0) will travel to fellow unbeaten Kutztown for a 12:05 p.m. game that likely will decide the East Division of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.
Both West Chester and Kutztown are 4-0 in the PSAC East with one additional game remaining before the PSAC championship game against the West Division representative on Nov. 10.
The first NCAA Super Region 1 poll was released Monday with Kutztown ranked No. 2 and West Chester at No. 6. The West Chester-Kutztown winner will take a big step toward securing one of the seven playoff bids for the region.
Curiously, the Golden Rams are ranked 12th in all of Division II in the American Football Coaches Association Poll, ahead of every other team in Super Region 1.
Still, the NCAA selection committee, not the poll, will determine which teams will advance to the playoffs.
"With one game remaining, the winner will likely get to the championship game and wrap up a playoff spot at the same time," West Chester coach Bill Zwaan said. "There's a lot riding on this game.
"Our kids are excited. The rankings? Well, it's great fodder for me. There are six undefeated teams in our region and we're ranked sixth, so what's that say about what they think of us?
"Rarely are you 7-0 and you can tell people you are being treated unfairly, but we got that to get the kids a little fired up. It's all going to play out."