As most of you who follow the NSIC know, the University of Sioux Falls did not make the Division II football playoffs. This happened, of course, despite a 10-1 overall record with that one loss coming at Minnesota State, who's been consistently ranked the #1 team in the country for the entire season. I think we all know the arguments for why USF should've made it over the likes of Northwest Missouri State or Harding, but since you already know that, I'm going to tell you the other team it hurts...Northern State.
Because USF was the top NSIC team not to make the postseason, they got an automatic invitation to the Mineral Water Bowl. Northern State would've received that invitation had USF made the playoffs. Instead, the season for the 8-3 Wolves is over and that's honestly a shame.
Let's be frank: the North division of the NSIC did not have a lot of good teams. Of course, Minnesota Duluth went 11-0 and they'll continue in the postseason. But after some ugly losses earlier in the season, Northern State proved to be a resilient football team. This is the best season for the Wolves since 1999 when they went 9-2. Think about that for a second. The oldest players on the Wolves were six years old the last time Northern State had this much success. Tom Dosch has done a great job in his five years at the helm rebuilding this program. They're not at UMD's level quite yet, but I think an appearance in the Mineral Water Bowl would've done wonders to boost his team's confidence and help future recruits know that Aberdeen can produce some quality football talent.
And that's why the NCAA selection committee's decision not to include USF really has ramifications far beyond Sioux Falls. The Cougars have said all the right things, expresssing disappointment at the decision, yet keeping focus on their next task. But for Northern State, a team that deserved to have one more game, the disappointment comes in a season that's definitively over.
The playoff system needs to be overhauled, plain and simple. And while I won't pretend to have all the answers, I think most people can use common sense to determine one ultimate truth: One NSIC team didn't get hurt this weekend...two did.