Hello and welcome to Orange and Black Extra, a Wartburg sports blog run by yours truly, Nathan Ford.
This blog will feature mainly my thoughts on Wartburg, Iowa Conference and Division III sports but I’ll touch on national topics as well.
If you’d like me to write about something particular, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me via Twitter: @NathanTFord.
It’s finally here. Division III had to wait longer than any other level of football in Iowa to see the game field but Saturday (or Thursday in some cases) marks opening day.
On that note, I felt it appropriate to look at the Iowa Conference teams’ non-conference schedules and rate them according to difficulty.
To do this, I used d3football.com‘s national preseason 1-244 rankings and averaged the ranking of each IIAC team’s opponent. I didn’t assign any value to whether the game was home or away, mainly because I couldn’t really think of a good way to do this, but also because these rankings are obviously not completely scientific anyway.
I would include all the information about each team’s ranking but since the information can only be accessed with an $11 payment (or $7 if you have a .edu address), I’ll just publish the averages, unless the team is in the Top 25 as that is free information.
I do encourage you to purchase d3football.com’s Kickoff 2013, there is a ton of information on every single team and conference plus features from around the nation. Plus, I wrote the Iowa Conference previews and hopefully gave the IIAC fan some insight on what to look for this season.
Alright, let’s get down to business.
Buena Vista Beavers
Schedule: Sept. 7: at No. 11 UW-Platteville, Sept. 14: Concordia-Moorhead, Sept. 21: No. 8 Bethel
Average Opponent Ranking: No. 25
Schedule: Sept. 7: No. 12 UW-Oshkosh, Sept. 14: at Augustana, Sept. 28: Adrian
Average Opponent Ranking: No. 39
No. 21 Coe Kohawks
Schedule: Sept. 7: at Monmouth, Sept. 14: Cornell, Sept. 21: Washington (Mo.)
Average Opponent Ranking: No. 149
Schedule: Sept. 7: at UW-La Crosse, Sept. 14: No. 11 UW-Platteville, Sept. 21: at UW-Stevens Point
Average Opponent Ranking: No. 42
Schedule: Sept. 5: at No. 22 Elmhurst (L 9-35), Sept. 14: at Rockford, Sept. 21: Augustana
Average Opponent Ranking: No. 101
Schedule: Sept. 7: at Presentation*, Sept. 14: St. Olaf, Sept. 21: at No. 15 Wheaton (Ill.)
Average Opponent Ranking: No. 82
*Presentation is competing as an NAIA school for the first time this year so it’s safe to say I’m not too sure what to expect from them. They were 3-7 last year but played some of the top Upper Midwest Athletic Conference teams tough, so I assigned them an “average” ranking of 150.
Schedule: Sept. 7: Iowa Wesleyan, Sept. 14: at Gustavus Adolphus, Sept. 21: UW-River Falls
Average Opponent Ranking: No. 156
Schedule: Sept. 7: at MacMurray, Sept. 14: at No. 8 Bethel, Sept. 21: Carthage
Average Opponent Ranking: No. 136
And the final verdict is…Buena Vista has the toughest non-conference schedule of any IIAC football team. That’s pretty obvious when you see they play two teams ranked in the top 11 plus Concordia-Moorhead, who is no slouch.
IIAC N-C S.O.S. Rankings
1. Buena Vista (Average Opponent Ranking: 25)
2. Central (39)
3. Dubuque (42)
4. Luther (82)
5. Loras (101)
6. Wartburg (136)
7. Coe (149)
8. Simpson (156)
Knights fans will notice Wartburg has the third easiest non-conference schedule in the conference despite a matchup against eighth-ranked Bethel. That game is where we’ll learn the most about this team, as we did last year in a 21-0 home loss to the Royals. MacMurray has only won five games in six years and Carthage is at the bottom of the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin.
Even though the Highlanders aren’t the most formidable opponent to say the least, I’m looking forward to covering football again. I hope you’ll follow along with me on Twitter @NathanTFord and check out my coverage on The Circuit soon after.
As the season goes along, I’ll pass on some more analysis of IIAC teams. One thing I’m really excited about is Brent Moore, most known for his Iowa high school football and basketball computer rankings, is using his system to rank college football teams and that will include Division III. I’m looking forward to seeing how those turn out once the season gets going.
Right here on the pages of Orange and Black Extra, I’ll recap the IIAC slate each weekend and give a set of power rankings. Here’s this week’s game schedule:
Loras (0-1) 9, No. 22 Elmhurst (1-0) 35
1 p.m.- No. 21 Coe @ Monmouth
1 p.m.- Buena Vista @ No. 11 UW-Platteville
1 p.m.- Wartburg @ MacMurray
1 p.m.- No. 12 UW-Oshkosh @ Central
1 p.m.- Luther @ Presentation
1 p.m.- Iowa Wesleyan @ Simpson
6 p.m.- Dubuque @ UW-La Crosse