Since 2007, the MIAA football league has been completely dominated by Trine (Ind.). The Thunder has not lost a game in league play in over two seasons and is picked to place first in MIAA again this year by the conference coach’s poll.
Is the Thunder too good to be in the MIAA?
Trine won 14 straight games in the MIAA dating back to 2007, and has become the first MIAA team in 16 seasons to win an NCAA Division III playoff game. Seventeen starters are returning from last years’ team, and the Thunder is currently ranked in four national pre-season polls.
They are 22 in the USA Today Preview poll, fifth in the Lindy’s poll, 20 in the Sporting News poll and 19 in the D3football.com poll.
The Thunder has not lost a single game in league play in almost three years. The last time a team went undefeated for this long in the MIAA was in 1995 and 1996 when Albion went undefeated two seasons in succession.
Aside from their winning record, Trine has dominated league play in almost every major statistical category. In the past two seasons, they have finished first and second in turnover margin and red zone offense. Both of these are the key to the Thunder’s success—this helps them control both sides of the ball.
The Thunder represented the MIAA as the first team in the conference to win a Division III playoff game in over 15 seasons. Due to the fact that it was such a long drought, almost two decades, Trine should be strongly considered to advance into a more competitive division.
Being ranked second in the pre-season coach’s poll, Albion does present a good opportunity to go undefeated for their first four conference games. However, the Britons play third-ranked Adrian College on Oct. 30, and are scheduled to close their season against Trine on Nov. 15, in a game that could decide the MIAA champion.
A complete schedule is available online on the Albion College sports directory—http://www.albion.edu/sports/mens-sports/football/varsity-schedule/1174.