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D2SDAY’S 2LITE EIGHT: LIGHTNING ROUND

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WHEREIN I CRAM TWO PIECES INTO ONE BECAUSE I FELL BEHIND

Previously this week, we’ve covered two of the matchups in this weekend’s coming Division II NCAA playoff quarterfinal games - Valdosta State’s matchup with Lenoir-Rhyne, and Minnesota State-Mankato’s with Tarleton State.

Today, we’re going to look at the rest of the bracket all at once, because we’re a well-oiled machine and listen I fell behind give me a break here’s some teams.

Two critical matchups remain: Notre Dame (of Ohio!) takes on Pennsylvania’s Slippery Rock, and Ouachita Baptist faces off against Ferris State. We’re going to assess this as a whole, because I don’t have to do anything consistently, do I? I root for a team that went 4-8 two years in a row and then went 10-2. Gotta stay nimble. I digress.

HOW’D WE GET HERE?

Ouachita Baptist, the #1 seed in their region, had a first-round bye and then rolled to a 35-7 victory over Indianapolis.

Ferris State fought out close victories over Harding and Northwest Missouri State.

Notre Dame (the good one) squeezed by Hillsdale in a back-and-forth game.

Slippery Rock upset LIU-Post in the first round, then pounded New Haven 59-20 to advance to the quarterfinals as a #7 seed.

WHO DO I KNOW FROM EACH SCHOOL?

Ferris State - former Illinois governor George Ryan, who fulfilled the Illinois governor prophecy by also going to federal prison

Ouachita Baptist - Internet humorist Mike Huckabee

Notre Dame (Ohio) - I’m going to provide an image of the entire “notable alumni” section of their Wikipedia page:

“Notre Dame. No, not that one, the Ohio one. Wanna fight about it?”

Slippery Rock - I don’t recognize any of the people I’ve found online, BUT:

SLIPPERY ROCK, I’VE HEARD OF THEM. WHY HAVE I HEARD OF THEM?

Slippery Rock University might have the highest profile of any Division II school, owing to the help of the Michigan Wolverines. From SRU’s athletics:

The foundation for the trips to Ann Arbor was laid many years prior when Steve Filipiak, public address announcer at Michigan Stadium from 1959-71, was one of the first people to report scores to big-time college football crowds. Initially, fans at Michigan and across the country thought the report was a joke, not believing a place called Slippery Rock could exist, let alone have a college with a football team.

Eventually, those laughs turned to genuine concern for knowing the score of “America’s favorite small-college football team,” and no major Division I football institution embraced that more than the University of Michigan, where reading the Slippery Rock score still manages to evoke some of the loudest cheers each week.

The Rock, under the guidance of SRU Athletic Hall of Famer Bob DiSpirito, met Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference-Western Division rival Shippensburg University Sept. 29, 1979 in a “Band Day” event set up by then-Michigan Athletic Director Don Canham.

A crowd of 61,143 fans was on hand for that game, an attendance figure that still ranks as the largest crowd to witness an NCAA Division II football game. The Rock lost the game by a 45-14 score.

Parlaying a silly name to great prominence. I, a grown man who writes as “Action Cookbook”, support this.

TELL ME A FUN FACT ABOUT THE OTHER SCHOOLS NOW

Ferris State: the university’s president plays in the pep band!

Ouachita Baptist: their biggest rivalry, the Battle of the Ravine, is played against Henderson State, who are located literally across the street. For the games, the visiting teams get ready in their own locker rooms and walk to the stadium!

Notre Dame (Ohio)

He’s right, you know.

OKAY, YOU’RE GETTING TIRED OF ME, LET’S PLAY THE HITS: MASCOT EVALUATION

4. Ferris State

In a regular season D2Sday, I already covered Ferris State’s perfectly good cartoon bulldog logo. So, I’m going to take this second look to appreciate their rivalry with Grand Valley State:

I like this logo a lot, but this logo is one of four things:

  • an overpriced men’s clothing store that charges $72 for a “performance” t-shirt
  • a gastropub next door to the clothing store that charges $26 for a burger
  • a secret society at an elite east coast college, full of guys who’d shop at the first two places
  • Margaritaville, but for dogs? [turns on voice recorder] “business idea-”

Anyways, none of those are football games.

3. Ouachita Baptist

I have also covered their logo before, which is a tiger saying “Ouachita-ah-ah” like that noise the guy from Disturbed makes at the beginning of “Down With The Sickness”.

In light of already covering this, I’m going to add in this bonus: the tiger statue on campus, carved in 1935 and restored in 2010:

The Tiger is a symbol of school spirit on campus. Carved by student B. F. Worley in lieu of tuition payments during the Great Depression, it was presented to the college in 1935.

The past was wild. You could just pay for college by carving a tiger. I wonder if this still works? I’m gonna send Sallie Mae some pottery, and just be like “we good?”

2. Slippery Rock

Slippery Rock has no official mascot, being known rather simply as “The Rock”. That said, they’ve adopted Rocky the Lion as a secondary symbol. Here he is, as a bootleg cartoon from 1990s that couldn’t decide if it was knocking off Aladdin or the Lion King so it just did both.

“EVERYTHING THE LIGHT TOUCHES IS [18-MINUTE PAUL LYNDE IMPRESSION]”

1. Notre Dame, but the one that doesn’t employ Brian Kelly, by which we mean, “the good one”

This is a picture of a bird kicking someone who is already on the ground. Vicious. Inspiring. Who’s on the ground? Maybe it’s that other Notre Dame. Take that, ya Indiana goobers. You’re gettin’ birdstomped!

Also, the Falcons did not go 4-8 in 2016*.

*note: I did not check whether this is true or not