2012 playoffs: Linfield bracket

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Linfield Wildcats
Seed: No. 1, Linfield bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: No. 3, Week 11 2012
Location: McMinnville, OR
Enrollment: 1659
Stadium: Maxwell Field (2250)
Playing surface: Turf
Conference: NWC
Preseason ranking from Kickoff: 5
Head coach: Joe Smith (Linfield '93)
Career record: 58-13
Base offense: Spread
Base defense: 4-2-5
Record in NCAA playoffs: 14-7 (2000, 2002-05, 2009-11)
Championships: 2004
D3football.com team page: Schedule and results, more news
How they got here: Pool A, NWC champ
You'll know they're playing well if: They're getting pressure on the opposing quarterback, stuffing the run game, and Mickey Inns is in rhythm throwing the ball.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: They're turning the ball over and committing penalties that area either stalling drives or extending the opposition's drives. The Wildcats average nine penalties per game.
This season's turning point: Finding out they can still play at a high level without injured running back Josh Hill and defensive lineman Tyler Steele.
Rushing/passing yards per game: 153.8/330.9
Rushing/passing yards allowed: 70.2/199.4
How far can they go? A return to the Stagg Bowl for the first time since 2004 is certainly possible.
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UW-Oshkosh Titans
Seed: Likely No. 2, Linfield bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: No. 5, Week 11 2012
Location: Oshkosh, WI
Enrollment: 8734
Stadium: Titan Stadium (10000)
Playing surface: Turf
Conference: WIAC
Preseason ranking from Kickoff: 27
Head coach: Pat Cerroni (Carroll '92)
Career record: 36-23
Base offense: Spread
Base defense: 3-4
Record in NCAA playoffs: First appearance
Championships: None
D3football.com team page: Schedule and results, more news
How they got here: Pool A, WIAC champ
You'll know they're playing well if: The offensive tempo is fast and the defense is focused an attacking the football.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: The offense goes three-and-out on consecutive drives or the defense is missing tackles and allowing to much open space.
This season's turning point: The Titans weathered the third-quarter storm at UW-Whitewater and blanked the Warhawks the rest of the way to win 28-13.
Rushing/passing yards per game: 251.6/243.6
Rushing/passing yards allowed: 97.9/192.6
How far can they go? Anything less than the quarterfinals would be a significant upset. Anything beyond the quarterfinals might also involve a significant upset.
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Concordia-Chicago Cougars
Seed: Likely No. 3 seed, Linfield bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: Never ranked
Location: River Forest, IL
Enrollment: 1025
Stadium: Concordia Stadium (1500)
Playing surface: Turf
Conference: NATHC
Preseason ranking from Kickoff: 107
Head coach: Lonnie Pries (Concordia, Ill. '93)
Career record: 42-28 (.600)
Base offense: Spread
Base defense: Multiple 3-4
Record in NCAA playoffs: First appearance
Championships: None
D3football.com team page: Schedule and results, more news
How they got here: Pool A, NATHC champ
You'll know they're playing well if: They can spread out the opposing defense and get the ball to their wide receivers in space so they can utilize their speed.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: They can't tackle well enough and allow too many yards after contact, especially on first down. Size in general will be an issue for the Cougars against most of their potential opponents.
This season's turning point: The Oct. 13 game at Concordia (Wis.). The Cougars tied the game with 3:44 remaining and then dodged two late bullets (a blocked field goal at the end of regulation, an interception in the end zone on CUW's drive in OT) before Danny Colapietro kicked a season-long 44-yard field goal to win it.
Rushing/passing yards per game: 235.6/250.5
Rushing/passing yards allowed: 212.2/219.4
How far can they go? They may not live up to their seeding.
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Cal Lutheran Kingsmen
Seed: Likely No. 4, Linfield bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: No. 8, Week 11 2012
Location: Thousand Oaks, CA
Enrollment: 2001
Stadium: William Rolland Stadium (4000)
Playing surface: Turf
Conference: SCIAC
Preseason ranking from Kickoff: 12
Head coach: Ben McEnroe (Cal Lutheran '92)
Career record: 35-11 (.761)
Base offense: Multiple
Base defense: 3-3-5
Record in NCAA playoffs: 0-3 (2009-11)
Championships: None
D3football.com team page: Schedule and results, more news
How they got here: Pool A, SCIAC champ
You'll know they're playing well if: Eric Rogers does his thing on offense, which he's been doing despite playing with a broken hand, although the offense is balanced. They're able to get some stops on defense.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: They have to throw on every down and don't play defense all four quarters. If Whittier can put three touchdown drives of 70 yards or more up in one quarter and La Verne can do the same, what could a playoff team do?
This season's turning point: Needs to come at this point in the season after the Kingsmen defense has been gashed down the stretch. Giving up more than 400 yards per game won't get it done here.
Rushing/passing yards per game: 217.9/308.3
Rushing/passing yards allowed: 195.4/229.7
How far can they go? Depends on which North Central team shows up. A one-and-out is a distinct possibility for a team that seemed destined for the Top 5.
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North Central (Ill.) Cardinals
Seed: Likely No. 5, Linfield bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: No. 14, Week 11 2012
Location: Naperville, IL
Enrollment: 2167
Stadium: Bendetti-Wehrli Stadium (5500)
Playing surface: Turf
Conference: CCIW
Preseason ranking from Kickoff: 6
Head coach: John Thorne (Illinois Wesleyan '69)
Career record: 87-23 (.791)
Base offense: Spread
Base defense: 4-3
Record in NCAA playoffs: 6-7 (2005-08, 2010-11)
Championships: None
D3football.com team page: Schedule and results, more news
How they got here: Pool A, CCIW champ
You'll know they're playing well if: They are getting to the quarterback with their front four. They led the CCIW with 32 sacks but don't blitz much. Wabash (last year) and Wheaton solved that by keeping extra blockers in to give the quarterback time to find receivers with longer developing routes against their zone.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: If they are not getting the defense off the field on third down. In their worst losses over the past two seasons opponents combined to convert over 51% on third down. They usually hold opponents to about 26% on third downs. Offensively if they are passing the ball more than they are running it and if they are turning it over, they are in trouble. They have been a 60-40 team run vs. pass.
This season's turning point: The end of the Little Brass Bell game, where Wheaton elected not to press ahead for the touchdown necessary to win the CCIW tiebreaker, leaving North Central to get the automatic bid.
Rushing/passing yards per game: 209.1/217.6
Rushing/passing yards allowed: 97.3/161.8
How far can they go? They could be making back-to-back trips to the west coast.
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Pacific Lutheran Lutes
Seed: Likely No. 6, Linfield bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: No. 20, Week 11 2012
Location: Tacoma, WA
Enrollment: 3109
Stadium: Sparks Stadium (3500)
Playing surface: Turf
Conference: NWC
Preseason ranking from Kickoff: 63
Head coach: Scott Westering (Pacific Lutheran '81)
Career record: 47-34
Base offense: Multiple
Base defense: 3-4
Record in NCAA playoffs: 8-3 (1998-2001)
Championships: 1999
D3football.com team page: Schedule and results, more news
How they got here: Pool C
You'll know they're playing well if: They're creating turnovers on defense and featuring a balanced offensive attack. The Lutes ran for just 67 yards combined in their two losses.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: They're allowing teams to run the ball on them and not hitting big offensive plays.
This season's turning point: Beating Willamette 41-27 in Week 8 after having lost to the other two tougest teams on their schedule previously, Cal Lutheran and Linfield. They knew they could hang with a good team but hadn't put one of them away.
Rushing/passing yards per game: 138.6/273.4
Rushing/passing yards allowed: 90.0/247.2
How far can they go? The first meeting was close, so it's not impossible to think the Lutes could pull off the upset and reprise 1999 for a couple rounds.
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Bethel Royals
Seed: Likely No. 7, Linfield bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: No. 21, Week 11 2012
Location: Arden Hills, MN
Enrollment: 2699
Stadium: Royal Stadium (3500)
Playing surface: Grass
Conference: MIAC
Preseason ranking from Kickoff: 17
Head coach: Steve Johnson (Bethel '79)
Career record: 172-78-1 (.690)
Base offense: Multiple pro
Base defense: 4-3
Record in NCAA playoffs: 6-6 (2000-01, 2003, 2006-07, 2010)
Championships: None
D3football.com team page: Schedule and results, more news
How they got here: Pool C
You'll know they're playing well if: Jesse Phenow can handle a full load in the backfield, freeing up Brandon Marquardt to catch passes and relegating freshman Marshall Klitzke to relief duty.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: Their receivers get pushed around and the offense gets one-dimensional, or the defense has trouble containing a mobile quarterback.
This season's turning point: Concordia-Moorhead players running onto the field to celebrate their win against Bethel before the game was over, giving the Royals new life.
Rushing/passing yards per game: 135.6/196.3
Rushing/passing yards allowed: 126.9/158.4
How far can they go? To Oshkosh, but not further.
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St. Scholastica Saints
Seed: Likely No. 8, Linfield bracket
Last Top 25 ranking: Never ranked
Location: Duluth, MN
Enrollment: 2492
Stadium: Public School Stadium/MN-Duluth (5000)
Playing surface: Turf
Conference: UMAC
Preseason ranking from Kickoff: 169
Head coach: Greg Carlson (UW-Oshkosh)
Career record: 30-20 (.600), 147-99-2 overall
Base offense: Spread
Base defense: 4-3
Record in NCAA playoffs: 2011 (0-1)
Championships: None
D3football.com team page: Schedule and results, more news
How they got here: Pool A, UMAC champ
You'll know they're playing well if: They're converting for six in the red zone and Tyler Harper is doing enough in the passing game to keep defenses honest.
You'll know they're playing poorly if: The offense can't get a push up front and ends up in third-and-long situations. Special teams gives up good field position, putting the defense on edge.
This season's turning point: Winning in overtime at Presentation, a puzzling result against a team that finished 2-8. The Saints then edged Minnesota-Morris and saw their name drawn at random for the UMAC automatic bid.
Rushing/passing yards per game: 200.3/157.0
Rushing/passing yards allowed: 88.3/170.2
How far can they go? One and out. But every playoff experience is a chance for this program to grow and someday become a threat to win a playoff game.
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