On Press Row – 11/23/15 – Presented by Whiskey Road Tavern & Grill

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It’s a special 2-hour edition of On Press Row coming off of an historic weekend for UNI Athletics. The Sportsguy Gary Rima and in-studio producer Cole Bair relive the UNI men’s basketball win over No.1 ranked North Carolina with ‘OPR Nation’ who calls in throughout the show to share their takeaways from the big weekend. In the show’s second hour the Sportsguy and Cole turn the page to UNI football who defeated the Southern Illinois Salukis 49-28 on Saturday afternoon and punched their ticket to the FCS Playoffs as an at-large team that will take on the Eastern Illinois Panthers at 4 p.m. this Saturday.

  • Jason Groomes

    There is no bracket conspiracy and SportsGuy really needs to let it go. If you look at where all the teams are on the map, it really shows exactly how the Committee put it together. With North Dakota State and Illinois State being the #2 and #3 seeds, they are on the same side. With that, that pulls South Dakota State and Western Illinois onto their side of the bracket. Northern Iowa was placed in the Portland State quarter. Portland State was paired with North Dakota State, probably for geography in the semi finals. So that’s where Northern Iowa gets pulled onto that same side also.

    Now, they could have placed McNeese State at the #2 seed, who was undefeated, but they were champions of the Southland Conference, a conference that did NOT beat another FCS team in non-conference play. So the Committee showed respect to the MVFC by giving their top two teams seeds over the Southland champ. Not to mention, placing McNeese at #4 puts them in closer proximity to Jacksonville State for a potential semifinals game(where the MVFC teams would be playing each other. It’s all geography.

    The four Colonial teams in question, are all placed within two quarters – two a piece. But the seeded teams are #5 and #7. Surely, the Committee could have placed Portland State at #5 and moved James Madison down to #6, but this would have made for unfavorable travel in later rounds.

    The way it’s set, if chalk holds and advance as they’re seeded, here are your match-ups…
    #1 Jacksonville State vs. #8 Charleston Southern…two teams in the southeast
    #2 Illinois State vs. #7 Richmond…a little stretch, but Virginia to Illinois for a quarterfinal game isn’t that bad for travel
    #3 North Dakota State vs. #6 Portland State…the two most western seeds
    #4 McNeese State vs. #5 James Madison…again, Louisiana and Virginia is a little stretch, but not horrible for a quarterfinal

    Advancing from there, given chalk holds…
    #1 Jacksonville State vs. #4 McNeese State…Louisiana to Alabama, bingo
    #2 Illinois State vs. #3 North Dakota State…two Midwestern teams, bingo

    You can see from a chalk semifinal match-up, you’d be pitting a Midwestern team against a southeastern team twice, if McNeese had been bumped into either the #2 or #3 seed. Not as good travel-wise. This is why they were placed where they were.

    Attached is a map showing where every team in the tournament resides and who they’re paired against, both in the First and Second Round. Red balls are First Round road teams, yellow balls are First Round home teams. The green balls are seeded teams, who’ll host in the Second Round. A line showing the path of play goes from the red team to the yellow team, then from the yellow to the green. This shows each quarterfinal grouping of three teams a piece.

    The Committee did a good job except for one spot. They definitely showed favoritism towards New Hampshire, giving them a home game against Colgate. This was a break of their own First Round rematch rule, as New Hampshire won at Colgate in Week 2. However, the Committee couldn’t justify sending a 9-2 Fordham to New Hampshire(7-4), so they break their rule and give New Hampshire Colgate, in a rematch. Compounding the shaft they gave to Fordham, who SHOULD have received a home game, they send them all the way to Chattanooga, instead on James Madison. The Committee should have sent Duquesne to Chattanooga instead. If you look at the map, you can see the Pittsburgh(Duquesne) to Chattanooga trip would have made more sense than sending a team from the Bronx, NY(Fordham) all the way to Tennessee.