A couple of shocking upsets took place over the weekend, with two out of the top four teams falling out of the national title picture. Iowa Western took control of the rankings and now sits on top in the No. 1 spot after wrapping up the Midwest title.
Iowa Western has made a mess of most programs they have played in 2012, and now has the task of holding on to the No. 1 spot after dismantling Ellsworth College, 65-14, over the weekend. The Reivers, however, have played arguably the softest schedule of any team in the top-20 in the country, which will leave them with a very difficult road if they are going to hang on to the top spot. On the positive side, Iowa Western has won by an average of 49 points-per-game in their eight NJCAA sanctioned wins. However, the Reivers have zero wins against programs currently ranked in the Dirty 30 Rankings, which will have an effect on the final rankings should they not play a highly ranked program in their final bowl game.
Iowa Western's likely opponent in the NJCAA title game is Butler, who has played arguably the second softest schedule among NJCAA programs. The Grizzlies wrapped up yet another Jayhawk Conference title with their annual curb-stomp of Hutchinson (40-7). Unfortunately for them, Hutchinson (No. 23) is their only win against Dirty 30 ranked teams, which also makes their case somewhat weak as well.
Things out west will start to take shape in the coming weeks as they wind down their regular season schedule in the coming weeks. San Francisco moved up into the No. 2 spot in the rankings after cruising past Foothill College on Saturday (51-13). The Rams will face No. 15 Butte a week from Saturday in what should end up being the NorCal title game.
Southern California is wide open, with No. 4 Mt. San Antonio, No. 5 Ventura and No. 7 Riverside all looking like program that could represent the south in the state championship game. The beauty of SoCal is the playoff formula, which is likely to feature all three teams.
The Mississippi ranks are as deep as any conference in the country, which is why previous top-ranked East Mississippi took a hit this past weekend in losing to Itawamba (23-24), a program that won't even qualify for the state playoffs. The Lions dropped to No. 8 with the loss, but will have some opportunities to gain ground in the coming weeks as No. 9 Northwest, No. 6 Gulf Coast and No. 20 Copiah-Lincoln could provide them with some added quality opponents in the Mississippi playoffs.
The Western States Football League also saw its top dog from a season ago take a hit when Arizona Western lost in overtime to No. 30 Glendale, 34-33. The Matadors dropped to No. 13 with the loss, and now have a lot of catching up to do given a conference that does not have a conference playoff structure. Arizona Western hopes for an outright WSFL title are slim at-best, as the likely best-case scenario is a three-way tie with Glendale and No. 14 Snow, who they play in two weeks.
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