Around the Nation

Snap Judgments: Controlling your own destiny

Justin Dahl was a perfect 3-3 in field goal attempts as the Titans defeated Washington and Jefferson, 16-10.
Photo by Jason Kapusta 

Heading into Saturday's action, the ASC was the last remaining non-NESCAC conference with multiple undefeated teams.

Jerrell Freeman became the first Crusader to have his jersey retired and Chuck Norris was also on hand as No. 3 Mary Hardin-Baylor retained control of the ASC with a 20-15 win over No. 11 Hardin-Simmons. The defensive battle turned early in the fourth quarter on a Hunter Schmidt interception return, which set the Crusaders up inside the Cowboys five yard line. Two plays later, Blake Jackson connected with Carson Embry for the go-ahead score. The Cowboys responded with a 14-play drive, but it fizzled out at the Mary Hardin-Baylor 20 and the Cru held on for the win.

The Crusaders are now one of just 18 undefeateds left in the country. That includes NESCAC schools Trinity (CT) and Middlebury which do not compete in the postseason. That leaves 16 schools who control their own playoff destiny. For the rest of the teams nipping at their heels, it's about that time of the season to start considering conference tiebreaker scenarios.

The Westminster-Washington and Jefferson game had a huge impact on the PAC race, even if both of those teams are looking up in the standings at Thomas More and Case Western Reserve. The Saints and Spartans do not play each other this year; both remain undefeated in conference play. The next tiebreaker after head-to-head in the PAC is record against the next-best team. Thomas More has a win over the Presidents; Case Western does not face W&J this year. Because Thomas More played and defeated both the Titans and Presidents, the Saints have an edge in the third step of the tiebreaker: strength of conference wins. In addition to Case Western, Thomas More doesn't play Geneva (2-5, 1-4) this season. That means that the Saints have the stronger conference slate, which could determine who gets the Pool A bid, even if CWRU finishes 10-0 while Thomas More finishes 9-1 with a non-conference loss to Franklin. Westminster defeated Washington and Jefferson for the first time since 2000, 16-10. The Titans picked off Pete Coughlin three times. The Spartans were nearly upset, surviving Geneva, 16-14. Case Western did just enough to keep pace with Thomas More and keep the tiebreaker scenario intact.

In the NCAC, frontrunner Denison still has to play DePauw and Wabash, the two teams that Wittenberg defeated before losing to the Big Red. There may be a three-way tie in this league, or there may...

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Adam Turer

Adam Turer graduated in 2006 from Washington and Lee University, where he was a two-year starter at free safety. He lives in Cincinnati and covers area high school sports in addition to his full-time job as an attorney. Adam has contributed to since 2007 and is in his first season writing Around the Nation after spending four seasons writing Around the Mid-Atlantic.

2014-2015 columnist: Ryan Tipps.
2001-2013 columnist: Keith McMillan.


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