The staff at BSN is going to be bringing you, the readers, a brand new series in which we’ll cover each Division II conference and their notable games to watch. Some games will be sure fire bets to watch and others will be more of a prediction based on our staff’s knowledge. At the end of each segment we will predict the conference champion and a sleeper team to watch. So, sit back and enjoy!
Game #1: Azusa Pacific at Humboldt State (September 8, 2012): This is a tough conference opener for the newcomer to the GNAC, Azusa Pacific.
They are facing the reigning conference champion and twenty-fifth ranked Lumberjacks of Humboldt State. Humboldt State will be breaking in a new QB, RB, and new WR with all statistical leaders graduating. This game will be interesting to watch to see if Azusa Pacific can take down or at least hang with the conference favorite.
Game #2: Grand Valley St. at Western Oregon (September 1, 2012): This game is a huge non-conference game for the wolves of Western Oregon. Grand Valley State comes in ranked ninth in the nation. Western Oregon will need to settle on a QB before the season, but whoever is behind center will need to play solid to give them a chance at the upset. Grand Valley returns 44 letter winners which include the QB-WR duo of Heath Parling, the nation’s leader in pass efficiency and Charles Johnson who had 56 catches for 15 tds and 1,030 yards. The Lakers will have a solid defense once again to rely on, but we’ll need to bring their A game to leave with the W.
Game #3: Dixie State at Azusa Pacific (September 15, 2012) or Azusa Pacific at Dixie State (November 3, 2012): These games are intriguing because Azusa Pacific might be able to squeak out the W at home or on the road and possibly get their first GNAC win in the school’s history. Azusa Pacific will need a talent upgrade going from the NAIA level to DII, but Dixie State only won one game last year, so these games are possible W’s for newcomer Azusa Pacific. For Dixie State, they’ll rely on All American Tight End Joe Don Duncan along with their improved defense.
Game #4: Humboldt State at Central Washington (September 29, 2012): This is a trap game for the Lumberjacks as they enter a hostile crowd at Central Washington. Humboldt might be looking forward to the next week’s matchup against conference foe Western Oregon. If QB Ryan Robertson can keep the offense running at a high level and the Central Washington defense can cause some havoc and turnovers then they’ve used the perfect recipe for success. Humboldt should be comfortable with the new players they have in place, but these players will have to stay focused on this game and not be caught looking ahead.
GNAC Champion: Humboldt State
Sleeper: Central Washington