Division II Playoff Predictions, If The 2023 Football Season Ended Today

Division II Playoff Predictions, If The 2023 Football Season Ended Today

The Division II college football season is winding down, and there already is a little bit of clarity about the playoff picture.

Oct 26, 2023 by Ron Balaskovitz
Division II Playoff Predictions, If The 2023 Football Season Ended Today

The Division II football season is winding down, and with just a handful of weeks left in the regular season, there already is a little bit of clarity about the playoff picture.

The Division II playoffs are unique in that unlike the FBS or FCS levels, there are no automatic bids to the playoffs. The teams are divided into four Super Regions and ranked after the first eight weeks of the season. 

At the end of the season, 28 teams are selected, with the top seed in each region getting a first-round bye, while the teams seeded second through sixth, play first round games. 

As a result of the process, not every conference gets a team into the Division II playoffs. However, a lot can change over the final month or so of the season, as teams within the top 10 play each other and potentially knock conference opponents out of a playoff spot.

The first rankings of the seasons from the NCAA were released after this last week’s games and can be found here.

For a full breakdown of how the Division II playoffs work, here is FloFootball’s explainer from earlier this season.

With the first batch of rankings from released and posted, albeit just in alphabetical order and not in official numerical order until after this week, here’s a look at each region, each conference and what things might look like if the playoffs started today.

NOTE: All records are against Division II competition. Games against non-Division II opponents are not factored into the rankings. These are predictions based on if the season ended TODAY. Not what the writer thinks will happen at the end of the season.

Super Region 1

Great Midwest Athletic Conference

Teams in Super Region Top 10: Tiffin (8-0, 8-0 in-region)
Teams Still in the Hunt: Findlay (6-2, 6-2)

It’s a down year for the GMAC, with only Tiffin among the region’s top-10 teams at the moment. 

The big game for Tiffin is the season-ender against Findlay. Should both teams win out, that game could decide the lone playoff spot for the conference. 

Findlay’s next three games are against the first-, third-, and fourth-place teams in the GMAC, so the Oilers still could find their way into the top 10, should they win any of those games.

Mountain East Conference

Teams in Super Region Top 10: Charleston (WV) (6-1, 6-1 in-region); Fairmont State (6-2, 6-2); Frostburg State (6-1, 6-1)

Despite none of these teams being ranked among the top 25 teams in Division II, the Mountain East finds three teams in the initial top 10 of Super Region 1.

Charleston and Frostburg sit tied atop the MEC, with Frostburg having momentum on its side having won three-straight, while Charleston just lost to Fairmont State, which likely gave the Golden Eagles their spot in the top 10 this week.

Charleston and Frostburg play this week, with the winner likely assuring itself a playoff spot. Outside of these three, there are no other teams that are a playoff threat.

Northeast 10 Conference 

Teams in Super Region Top 10: Assumption (5-2, 5-1 in-region)
Teams Still in the Hunt: Saint Anselm (5-3, 5-3) New Haven (5-2, 5-2)

Another league that is down this year, Assumption is the only team from the conference with a top-10 ranking, but the Greyhounds have a loss to conference co-leader, Saint Anselm. 

The problem for the Northeast 10 is that despite four teams that have one loss in conference play, they all have multiple losses on the year – and to less-than-stellar teams – outside of Assumption’s blowout loss to Grand Valley State. 

This likely is a one-bid league this season. 

Saint Anselm is held back by a loss to Southern Connecticut, which is 2-6 on the year.

Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference

Teams in Super Region Top 10: California (PA) (5-2, 5-2 in-region); East Stroudsburg (7-1, 7-1); Kutztown (6-2, 6-2); Shepherd (7-1, 7-1); Slippery Rock (8-0, 7-0)

This is an absolutely loaded conference and one that could see as many as four teams in the playoff field due to the down years in the GMAC at Northeast 10. 

Slippery Rock was the lone team in the latest American Football Coaches Association DII Coaches Poll to receive a first-place vote outside of Colorado School of Mines. 

Five teams with great records like this likely won’t last, since they’ll play each other down the stretch, but for the time being, at least two schools from this group likely are locks for the playoffs.

Super Region 1 Playoff Teams, If the Season Ended Today: Slippery Rock, Shepherd, Frostburg State, Tiffin, Assumption, East Stroudsburg, Kutztown.

Super Region 2

Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association

Teams in Super Region Top 10: Fayetteville State (6-2, 6-2 in-region)
Teams in the Hunt: Virginia Union (7-1); Virginia State (7-1)

With two games left before the CIAA title game, Fayetteville State looks like a shoe-in to play in that contest, but who the Broncos face between Virginia Union and Virginia State will be determined next week when those two square off. 

The winner of that game, and then the winner of the CIAA championship game, like will get a spot in the Division II bracket.

Gulf South Conference

Teams in Super Region Top 10: Delta State (6-1, 5-1 in-region); Valdosta State (5-1, 5-1); West Florida (6-1, 5-1); West Georgia (5-2, 5-1)

This is a loaded league that, at the moment, likely would have three teams in the postseason – a trio of top-25 teams in Delta State, West Florida, and Valdosta State. 

West Georgia remains in the hunt but plays Delta State and Valdosta State in its last two games of the year, likely needing to win both if it wants to get into the bracket.

South Atlantic Conference

Teams in Super Region Top 10: Lenoir-Rhyne (8-0, 8-0 in-region); Mars Hill (6-1, 6-1)

The top two teams in the league, and the leaders on each side of the bracket, likely would be playoff teams if things ended today, with no other SAC teams a threat to get in. 

Mars Hill has a lone loss to a solid Limestone team and avoids Lenoir-Rhyne during the regular season. 

Things are pretty straightforward in the SAC.

Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference

Teams in Super Region Top 10: Benedict (8-0, 8-0 in-region); Fort Valley State (6-2, 6-2); Miles College (5-1, 5-1)
Still in the Hunt: Tuskegee (6-1)

Benedict looks like the class of the league right now, with wins over Miles and Fort Valley State, while avoiding Tuskegee, and have a win over a solid Edward Waters team, too. 

If Benedict can win its last two games against Savannah State and Allen, the Tigers would see a spot in the SIAC title game, where a rematch with Fort Valley State or Miles awaits, along with the chance to bolster their resume.

Super Region 2 Playoff Teams, If the Season Ended Today: Lenoir-Rhyne, West Florida, Delta State, Benedict, Mars Hill, Fayetteville State, Valdosta State.

Super Region 3

Great American Conference

Teams in Super Region Top 10: Harding (8-0, 8-0 in-region); Ouachita Baptist (7-1, 7-1)

It’s pretty straight forward here, too, as Harding and Ouachita Baptist have beaten the rest of the quality teams in the GAC and are not slated to play each other, giving the league a chance at two teams in the postseason. 

Henderson State and Southern Arkansas are solid opponents, but losses to the two leaders prevents them from having playoff hopes.

Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference

Teams in Super Region Top 10: Davenport (7-0, 5-0 in-region); Ferris State (5-1, 4-1); Grand Valley State (6-1, 4-0)

While the GLIAC may be down this year in terms of the drop-off after these three teams, this trio basically is a lock to be in the postseason, and it’s just a matter of seeding, which will be decided in the final two weeks of the season when Davenport plays Ferris State and then Grand Valley State.

Great Lakes Valley Conference

Teams in Super Region Top 10: Truman State (7-1, 7-1 in-region); UIndy (7-0, 7-0)

Another tight pair in conference play, where Truman State and UIndy have separated themselves from the rest of the pack and are the only two teams with playoff aspirations. 

UIndy cracked the top 10 of the recent AFCA poll, while Truman State finds itself among the top 25. 

UIndy rolled past Truman State by 21 earlier in the season, while both teams have three winnable games to close out the year and will need to win all three in a loaded region, where the top 10 teams have a legitimate argument to be in the field.

Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association

Teams in Super Region Top 10: Pittsburg State (8-0, 8-0 in-region); Missouri Western (6-2, 6-2); Central Missouri (7-1, 7-1)
Still in the Hunt: Fort Hays State (6-2)

Top-10 ranked Pittsburg State already has wins over Fort Hays and Central Missouri, which is the lone blemish on the card for Central. 

If Pittsburg State can knock off Missouri Western in two weeks, it will bolster its case to be a top-3 seed in the region. 

This feels like a conference that has two bids for sure at the moment, but the battle for the second spot still is up in the air.

Super Region 3 Playoff Teams, If the Season Ended Today: Grand Valley State, Pittsburg State, Ferris State, UIndy, Davenport, Central Missouri, Harding.

Super Region 4

Lone Star Conference

Teams in Super Region Top 10: Angelo State (4-3, 3-3 in-region); Texas A&M Kingsville (5-2, 4-2); Texas Permian Basin (6-1, 5-1); Central Washington (6-0, 6-0)

UT Permian Basin and Central Washington are the leaders and poised to grab spots out of this three-conference region, with the two both undefeated in LSC play and closing out the season against each other. 

UTPB’s one loss is to a strong Western Colorado team, while Central Washington is undefeated against Division II opponents. 

Angelo State remains in the conversation, despite three losses, because the three losses all have been to teams that are nearly playoff locks and were close games. Angelo State also has a win over Texas A&M Kingsville.

Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference

Teams in Super Region Top 10: Augustana (8-0, 8-0 in-region); Bemidji State (6-1, 6-1); Minnesota Duluth (7-1, 7-1); Minnesota State (7-1, 7-1)

The four-way battle for the NSIC title sees Augustana as the only undefeated team, while the three chasers each have strong arguments for inclusion in the Field of 28. 

Augustana will face Bemidji State to close out the regular season in what could be a playoff elimination game for at least one of the teams, while Minnesota State and Minnesota Duluth also square off to end the year in a game that could have similar stakes. 

Minnesota State has a loss to Augustana, but a win over Bemidji on the road.

Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference

Teams in Super Region Top 10: Colorado School of Mines (8-0, 7-0 in-region); Western Colorado (8-0, 8-0)
Still in the Hunt: CSU-Pueblo (5-3)

There shouldn’t be a lot of drama here. 

These are two of the best teams in the country, and the rest of the RMAC hasn’t been able to keep up. 

These two are virtual locks and will square off Saturday in a game that could determine the top seed for Super Region 4. 

CSU-Pueblo remains in the hunt, despite three losses, because those three losses are to Mines, Western and Grand Valley State, which they took to double overtime on the road. 

Win out and get some help, and CSUP could be a tough out in the playoffs.

Super Region 4 Playoff Teams, If the Season Ended Today: Colorado School of Mines, Texas Permian Basin, Western Colorado, Augustana, Central Washington, Minnesota State, Minnesota Duluth.