In the FBS, only four of the top teams in the country will have the right to play for a National Championship and everybody else is left out to fight over the rest of the 41 college bowl games. Those standards are based on strength of schedule and normally only schools from the power five conferences (Big 12, Big 10, Pac 12, ACC and SEC) make it in.
Division II has a little bit more leeway because 28 teams get the chance to compete for the Division II College Football National Championship. The matter of the fact is, the Colorado Mesa University football team still feels as if they got robbed of a chance to compete in the postseason.
The Mavericks (9-2) won the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) Championship with a victory over South Dakota Mines. However, the loss to Azusa Pacific University (APU) (7-4), kicked the Mavericks out of the playoffs and ended their season right then and there.
“There is a standpoint where we could’ve been better in every phase,” Head coach Russ Martin said.
CMU gave up six turnovers against the Cougars and were evidently blown out 35-56, in what was the most embarrassing loss of the season.
The Mavericks were in the Super Region Four, in which if they stayed within the top seven teams in those rankings, they would be playing in the postseason. However, because of the loss to APU, CMU was replaced in the rankings by CSU-Pueblo.
CMU sat at sixth place in the Super Region Four before the loss to APU, and only the top seven teams are allowed to move on.
The Thunderwolves (9-2) handed the Mavericks their other loss of the season back on Sept. 30. Therefore, owning a very important tie-breaker allowing them to jump the Mavericks in the rankings.
The Super Region Four is by far the most intense region in Division II. Before the loss to APU, the Mavericks were ranked 16th in the nation yet still sat at sixth place in their region. Five other teams ahead of CMU were ranked within the top 10 teams in the country.
The number one team in the country, Minnesota State, is in the region along with Central Washington and Midwestern State, who is also in the top five.
“I think we can compete with anyone in the country in any given region,” Martin said. “We have had three consecutive seasons where we have been 9-2, but we have only made the playoffs one time.”
Other two-loss schools in the other three regions did make the cut into the playoffs such as Slippery Rock and West Chester University, who are both in the Super Region One.
Therefore, it would be safe to say that if CMU was in any other region, the Mavericks would have had a chance to compete in the playoffs.
“That part is very frustrating,” Martin said. “Sadly enough, that is the reality of Division II football.”