BOULDER, Colo. – The D1A Quarterfinals are finally here. Eight teams have risen above the rest and are ready to make a run to the National Championship on May 18. I expect to see some fierce battles this weekend, particularly in the Mid-South/East match-ups.
With teams moving out-of-conference for the playoffs, fans can finally compare apples to apples. A team might have done well in their conference, but how does that compare to the rest of the league? Those questions will be answered on the field, something I’m anxious to see.
With everything to play for, let’s have a look at my picks for the week:
Colorado @ St. Mary’s (1 p.m. PT)
Pick: St. Mary’s. Head Coach Tim O’Brien might not like being a favorite but that doesn’t change the fact that his team is heavily favored in this one, with good reason. They’ve been excellent, but not flawless, which has provided many coachable moments for the Gaels. CU finished second in the West, but we’ll see this weekend how the West teams stand up to teams in the California Conference. Speaking of…
Cal Poly @ Colorado State (1 p.m. MT)
Pick: Poly. Colorado State has been surprising to many, myself included. They clinched the West Conference in a tight match over the Buffs and went undefeated in conference play. But this is the postseason and they’re playing a very good Cal Poly team. Poly gave St. Mary’s all they could handle back in March and played a good game against Central Washington two weeks ago (both were losses though). I’m afraid CSU’s season will come to an end on Saturday and Poly will be semifinal bound where they’ll get another swipe at the Gaels.
Kutztown @ Arkansas State (1 p.m. CT)
Pick: My pick is Arkansas State, but I think it will be closer than a lot of people might think. Kutztown is extremely physical and will look to disrupt Arkansas State with that physicality. If Arkansas State can play the expansive game they love to play, Kutztown might be in for a long day. But Kutztown is a tough bunch and they’ll throw everything they have into this game. There will be some very sore bodies at the end of this one.
Life @ Army (1 p.m. ET)
Pick: I’m picking Life, but it wasn’t easy. Both teams have great forward packs, great kickers, and very good discipline. I think the back three for Life are going to have a big impact on this game. Army’s defense is good so I think a lot of the chances for Life are going to come from the counterattack. It’s going to be an intense battle, there is no doubt about it.