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Beavers to face Crookston, playoff hopes alive

The Bemidji State football team wraps up the regular season today at 1 p.m. on the road at Minnesota-Crookston.

Should the Beavers win and other Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference games fall the right way, the Beavers could play into the postseason.

There are only two ways for a NSIC team to reach the postseason in Division II football: the NCAA Tournament or the Mineral Water Bowl.

The Beavers (7-3, 6-3 NSIC) rebounded from back-to-back losses to beat No. 6 St. Cloud State 19-14 last weekend in the final home game of the year.

Despite the win, the two losses hurt BSU in the NCAA Super Region III rankings and odds are slim the Beavers will qualify for an NCAA berth.

The NCAA Selection Committee selects six teams from each of the four super regions to compose the tournament field and it usually takes the top six ranked teams. The regional rankings list the top 10 teams and BSU is not on that list this week.

So the Beavers need help in having most of those ranked teams lose in order to climb into contention.

Should BSU win and not make the NCAA Tournament, the Mineral Water Bowl is a possibility.

The Mineral Water Bowl pits the top teams from the NSIC and MIAA not to make the playoffs in a Dec. 3 game in Excelsior Springs, Mo.

The Beavers last played in the Mineral Water Bowl in 2006 when they lost to Pittsburg State 35-27.

If St. Cloud State, MSU, Mankato and Minnesota-Duluth make the national tournament, the Beavers will need help in the form of a Winona State (6-4 overall) win at Wayne State (7-3 overall) today in Nebraska.

The Warriors and the Beavers are tied in the conference standings and are one win behind the Wildcats.

If Winona wins, BSU will move ahead of both teams in the overall standings. That would also give all three teams identical conference records and give the Mineral Water Bowl selection committee a choice to make.

First and foremost, the Beavers will need to beat last-place Crookston (1-9 overall, 0-9 NSIC) at Ed Widseth Field or postseason talk is irrelevant.

Crookston opened the season with a 31-29 win over Mayville State and has not won since. The Golden Eagles have played in some competitive games this year, most notably a 35-24 home loss to Wayne State in the second week of the season.

BSU and Crookston have played for the Highway 2 Hubcap traveling trophy since 2004 and the Beavers have won it every time. BSU is 17-1 all-time against the Golden Eagles and have won the last 12 games since a 1998 loss in Crookston.