The Blitz: Breaking down the ASUN-WAC automatic qualifier, ACU and Tarleton name starting QB

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Who doesn’t love a good weekend news dump? If you’ve never heard the phrase before, it refers to news being put out on a Friday or Saturday with the intent to keep it out of the public realm of discussion on the following Monday.

The University of Texas gave us a perfect example of a weekend news dump when they announced Tom Herman was fired on a Saturday morning, and releasing the news the day after New Year's Day made the news dump even better.

Granted, the release of the ASUN-WAC formula to determine its automatic qualifier (AQ) isn’t as juicy as what Texas pulled in 2021. Still, it is noteworthy and worth a breakdown here.

“Each conference shall nominate its regular season champion (by the conference’s own formula) for AQ comparison.” That is step one. Note it says “nominate” because each conference has a team moving to FBS next year. 

If Jacksonville State or Sam Houston finishes atop its conference standings, the conference will select the next highest qualifying team. If the two nominated teams have the same win-loss record, a power ranking will be used to determine the AQ.

A “countable” game is a game against an FCS team eligible for the FCS playoffs, a team transitioning to FCS (Tarleton), a win against an FBS opponent, or a team reclassifying to FBS (Sam Houston). Losses to FBS and transitioning FBS teams do not count against a team.

The power rankings will be calculated by Warren Nolan and published weekly following the conclusion of Week 5 games. The formula is similar to the NCAA RPI and will only include “countable” contests.

Stephen F. Austin hopes to earn a spot in the FCS playoffs this year, but its schedule is not helping the ‘Jacks. SFA has three games against FBS teams (JSU, SHSU, and La. Tech) that only “count” with a win and one game against an NAIA opponent that will not count regardless of the result.

Typically, a team needs seven “countable” wins for selection to the playoffs, which leaves the ‘Jacks needing to win out against their remaining FCS opponents or pull off an upset against either SHSU or La. Tech. 

One could argue SFA must defeat one of its remaining FBS opponents to secure a playoff bid after the ‘Jacks loss to JSU. But fortunately for SFA, they still control their fate.

Western Athletic Conference

Southland Conference

  • Lamar previewed its defensive backs and quarterbacks as the Cardinals prepare to play at Abilene Christian this week.

  • Matt Faye penned a preview of the Cardinals before their Week 1 game at ACU for the Beaumont Enterprise, which discusses Mike Chandler being named starting QB over Daelyn Williams and UTEP transfer Jakolby Longino.

  • S Prudy Calderon is no longer on the Texas A&M-Commerce roster and is not participating in football activities this season after transferring to the Lions from Rice during the offseason.

  • The Lions' depth chart for week one doesn't designate a starting QB, with Eric Rodriguez and Jagger LaRoe expected to see playing time early in the season.

Southwestern Athletic Conference

American Southwest Conference

  • Mary Hardin-Baylor QB Kyle King appeared on the In The (D3FB) Huddle podcast and stated that WR Brandon Jordan is back for the Cru, which makes the offense more potent as they defend their national title.
  • Riley Zayas wrote his three takeaways for True To The Cru from UMHB coach Larry Harmon's first press conference as a head coach. Among the notable topics are comments from scrimmages and Kyle King starting the season as QB and P.

Southern Athletic Association

  • Trinity was selected to repeat as SAA champs in the Preseason Poll. The Tigers received seven first-place votes from the league’s eight head coaches. Sewanee received the other first-place vote but finished eighth in the poll.

Sooner Athletic Conference

  • Texas Wesleyan rolled past Arkansas State-Queretaro in the Global Clasico, 54-0, in a game called in the third quarter. The rest of the SAC will begin their season this week.

Southwestern Junior College Football Conference

  • The Trinity Valley quarterback situation could remain an issue throughout the season after a 36-14 loss to Snow College. Tucker Yarbrough (5-for-17, 69 yds) got the start before Darion Peace (7-for-16, 121 yds, TD) entered in the second quarter and began moving the offense. However, Peace was injured in the second half and did not return. Yarbrough and Riggs McDonald (1-for-2, 5 yds) split time following Peace’s injury.

  • An impressive streak ended for Navarro in a 42-0 loss to Hutchinson. The Bulldogs were held scoreless for the first time since their fifth game in 1997 against Tyler, a span of 257 consecutive games.

  • Kilgore is ranked No. 8 in the NJCAA Division I rankings this week. The Rangers travel to play Tyler.

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