Division II and CBS Sports Network have announced their regular-season television schedule for the 2013 football season.
The six-game Thursday night slate opens Sept. 5 and features seven teams from last year’s championship field, including two national semifinalists. Teams appearing in this year’s television package combined for a 102-30 (.773) overall record last season.
“This year’s package of games offers a tremendous representation of Division II football,” said Frank Condino, chair of the Division II Football Committee and athletics director at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
“The quality of teams and talent included is top-notch across the country. Featuring last year’s national runner-up, a game at Cowboys Stadium and a matchup pitting the defending Harlon Hill Trophy winner against last year’s third-place finisher are just a few of the highlights that make this lineup special.”
Division II enters the eighth year of its partnership with CBS Sports Network in 2013, with nearly 25 percent of the division’s football-playing members having enjoyed national television exposure over the course of the agreement.
“Institutions from seven different conferences, plus one independent, are represented this year,” said NCAA Associate Director of Division II Josh Looney. “Over the past seven years, national telecasts have originated from 35 different Division II football stadiums, and we’re adding five new venues to that list this year. In addition, eight teams will make their first football appearance on CBS Sports Network. This partnership has provided incredible visibility for our division that only continues to grow.”
The 2013 season opens Sept. 5 and features a pair of intrastate rivals with Winston-Salem State of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association traveling to Division II independent UNC Pembroke. Winston-Salem, which finished as national runner-up in 2012, escaped last year’s matchup against UNC Pembroke with a 28-23 victory.
In Week Two, the series will feature a game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, for the second consecutive year. On Sept. 12, Chadron State of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference meets West Texas A&M of the Lone Star Conference in the marquee game of the Lone Star Football Festival. In a rematch of last year’s first-round championship thriller, West Texas A&M bounced back from a 14-0 first-quarter deficit for a thrilling 38-30 win in Chadron, Neb., before losing to Winston-Salem State in the national semifinal.
On Sept. 19, Division II football returns to the state of Florida on a historic day for the division. Florida Tech begins its inaugural football season in 2013 and will host defending Gulf South Conference champion West Alabama in its first GSC game.
Following three straight weeks of action, the schedule takes an every-other-week approach for the remainder of the slate.
On Oct. 3, the Great American Conference will make its first appearance on CBS Sports Network with Southern Arkansas hosting 2012 playoff qualifier Harding. Harding topped Southern Arkansas 23-20 last season to help secure the program’s best season in 40 years and its first berth in the NCAA Division II football championship field.
Game Five has Findlay at Ohio Dominican in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference contest on Oct. 17. Both teams finished 7-3 in the highly competitive GLIAC last season and have their sights set on capturing the South Division title in 2013.
The final contest of the six-game format boasts one of the most anticipated Division II football games in 2013 when Shippensburg travels to Bloomsburg on Oct. 31. In addition to the matchup of Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference foes, the Halloween atmosphere will feature the 2012 Harlon Hill Trophy winner, Shippensburg quarterback Zach Zulli, squaring off against Bloomsburg running back Franklyn Quiteh, who finished third in Harlon Hill voting. Shippensburg scored 45 second-half points behind 469 passing yards from Zulli to erase a one-point intermission deficit and defeated Bloomsburg 58-20 in the first round of the Division II football championship last season.