Rams In, Blazers Out - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Rams In, Blazers Out

November 12, 2006

The Albany State football team is going back to the postseason.

The Rams given the nod Sunday by the Division II selection committee.

ASU is the sixth-seed in the southeast, and will travel to play at Newberry (10-1) next weekend.

The Indians are in the playoffs for the first time, and lost their only game of the season Saturday against Presbyterian.

Albany State finished the regular season 7-3 and captured its fourth-straight SIAC title.

Rams head coach Mike White says, "The bottom line is the goal was to win the conference and get to the postseason, and we're here. You win, you're in, you lose and you go home. Just a great feeling to have another opportunity to play in the postseason."

The Rams are actually the eighth-ranked team in the Southeast, but were given a spot in the playoffs thanks to the "Earned Access Availability," which secures a spot in the tournament to the top team in a conference ranked in the top ten not already in the tournament.

The team bumped from the postseason with Albany State's admission is Valdosta State.

The Blazers defeated the Rams 20-16 in their first game of the season, and finished the year 8-2.

Valdosta's States only loses were close matches on the road at Delta State and North Alabama.

Both those schools made the tournament.

The Blazers fell three spots in the rankings after their overtime loss at North Alabama three weeks ago.

Elizabeth City State lost on the road at North Carolina Central Saturday and didn't drop in the rankings at all.

In a conference call Sunday, Selection Committee Chairman Greg Baumberger said Valdosta State didn't do anything to play itself out of the postseason.

Blazers head coach Chris Hatcher says its hard to explain that to the VSU community.

"We're very disappointed," says Hatcher. "We feel like it's a disservice not only to out players and out coaches, but to the entire Valdosta State nation. We felt like we were very deserving of a playoff spot. We really felt like we had a team that could compete for the national championship, and now we're left out in the cold."

Valdosta State had been in the postseason for six straight years, winning the national championship in 2004.

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