It seemed like just yesterday (or two days ago) it was unseasonable warm for college football.
Actually, it was.
We almost made it through a season with no real cold-weather games. Saturday’s home games at South Dakota School of Mines, Black Hills State and Chadron State felt like September contests weather-wise. An arctic blast coming in Monday will last a while and this Saturday’s home contests for Chadron State and South Dakota Mines will be a tad chilly, at best.
Mentally and record-wise with what they now know, it would safe to say that all three programs would like to go back to early September and start again.
Physically, maybe not so much.
All three programs will close the season on Saturday hoping for something positive to come out of an otherwise disappointing season. Well, at least disappointing record-wise for Black Hills State and South Dakota School of Mines.
Chadron State will be the only local college team to escape 2014 with a winning record as the Eagles are 7-3 on the season, 6-2 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.
It has been a good season for the Eagles, but not quite good enough to challenge for the league title. Chadron State was picked second in the RMAC preseason coaches’ poll with hopes of returning to the postseason. But losses to nationally-ranked Colorado School of Mines and Colorado State-Pueblo, along with a non-conference defeat at FCS Idaho State will likely keep the Eagles from the playoffs.
Chadron State will close the season at home against Fort Lewis.
Black Hills State will at least get to duck the cold weather on Saturday as it travels to Silver City, N.M., to face Western New Mexico. The temperatures there are expected to be in the 50s and 60s.
The Jackets also hope to close with a win and finish the season with two straight victories after snapping a six-game slide on Saturday, 30-27 over New Mexico Highlands on Senior Day. Black Hills State is 2-6 in the RMAC and 3-7 overall. BHSU has a history of finishing better than how it started in the last few years and it hopes that trend continues.
Black Hills State’s problem again has been consistency, from week-to-week and quarter-to-quarter. The Jackets have lost a couple of close games this year against good teams, but after the 2-1 start, there’s no doubt that expectations were higher for the program a month or so ago.
For the Hardrockers, last year’s 6-4 record brought excitement back to the program and optimism for the 2014 season. That optimism possibly could have been overshadowed by the fact that their schedule was much more difficult this season than last year, with the team joining the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (for two years before joining the RMAC in 2016).
Little here (and by here, I mean by me and 'Rocker fans) was known of the GNAC, but it soon became apparent that it was a pretty good conference as both Azusa State and Humboldt State University have been ranked in the Top 25 this season.
The Hardrockers, however, have not been able to stop anybody this season, giving up an average of 48.5 points a game. Two non-conference losses to Division III Wisconsin-River Falls and a young and struggling Southwest Baptist team this past weekend haven’t helped.
The ‘Rockers (2-8 overall, 1-4 GNAC) can play offense with the best of them (32.5 points a game), but much more work is needed on the defensive side of the ball if they are to compete down the road. Mines will close the season on Saturday when it hosts Western Oregon in a GNAC tilt.
And FYI, when I say it will be really, really chilly this Saturday for the final local home games, I say this knowing that I'll be Vermillion to cover the St. Thomas More-Parkston 11B high school title game on Friday.
Inside in the DakotaDome. I'm guessing the temperature will be in the low 70s ... inside.
Yeah, I know what you're thinking, and I probably better not repeat it.