Like the West, the Midwest/South Round of 32 competition features just three games, as Boca Raton opted not to travel to Midwest champs Palmer.
Unlike in the West, though, a sweep could well be on. In the two-year history of the Round of 32, the South is 1-7 against the Midwest, with Life being the only team to advance to the Sweet 16 in that time.
The South’s best shot to get a win is supposed to be in New Orleans, where South champs NOLA host the Chicago Lions. The Lions, having dropped out of the Super League this competitive cycle, had a less-than-stellar fall, but rebounded in the spring in a big way, beating the Detroit Tradesmen 32-14 and Buffalo 71-12 to reach the Round of 32.
Given that the Lions are used to playing their meaningful season in the spring, it would make sense for them to be considerably stronger now than in the autumn. Both them and New Orleans have received boosts this season from recent college grads.
Former Bowling Green standout Nick Viviani is at No. 10 for the Lions, and Bobby Johns, Adam Ducoing and Cullen Glennon, all former LSU Tigers, are contributing to the New Orleans’ DI ascension in a big way. This match might be the most interesting in all of the country.
The other team in the South getting to host a playoff game is the Atlanta Renegades, who welcome the Cincinnati Wolfhounds. This could, in reality, be the South’s best shot at a win. The ‘Gades are coming off of a season-ending loss to Charlotte, but they’d already sewn up second place by then.
The Wolfhounds come from the Midwest’s weaker division, and haven’t had much success this spring. They lost both Midwest playoff games, to Metropolis (56-26) and Palmer (38-15), fell to Davenport University and have only won 80-minute matches over lower-level competition.
In the north, Metropolis welcomes Charlotte to Minneapolis. Metro has had a productive spring, beating the Kansas City Blues on neutral ground and DII Midwest playoff contenders Wisconsin and the Eastside Banshees, in addition to the 30-point victory over Cincinnati.
This is the first year the Midwest has had their DI playoff in the spring.
“It gave us an automatic two hard games. In the past it’s been hard, with the Minnesota weather, to get some decent friendlies without having to play the same guys over and over again,” said Metro coach Nate Osborne.
“We always played Palmer again. We probably played Palmer five times a year, because they’re a great team and they’re in our backyard.”
Charlotte’s had mixed results on the road this spring, losing 67-0 in New Orleans and winning 36-17 in Boca Raton.