Storm football prepares for tough 2020 schedule


Screenshot taken from the Simpson athletics website.

by Gunnar Davis, Editor-in-Chief

While most Division III college football teams would see one, maybe two, playoff football teams in their 10-game schedule, Simpson College has three slated for next fall.

On Feb. 10, the Storm released its football schedule for the upcoming season, highlighted by three games against nationally-ranked opponents, two games in different states and two night games.

The schedule is already speculated by head football coach Matt Jeter to be one of the top five toughest schedules to play in the country.

“I think from a scheduling standpoint, it’s going to be top five hardest,” Jeter said. “I mean, last year we played the 13th toughest schedule in the country and played two top 20 teams. This year, we’re playing three.”

Jeter says he wants to play a tough schedule for many reasons, but the primary one is the fact that playoff schedulers look at the strength of schedule and use that as a factor when deciding on at-large bids.

“I want the kids and I want the program to play the ten best games we can play,” Jeter said. “For us to play a Mary Hardin-Baylor or a Bethel last year, it puts us in a position when we get to a situation at the end of the season, whether you’re in the conference championship or not, to be able to get an at-large bid if you didn’t win the conference.”

The Storm opens up with a road game at top-ranked Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, TX, whose last loss was to eventual national championship runner-up UW-Whitewater in the NCAA Division III quarterfinals.

“I think it’s great for our conference, and also our institution, to get national exposure and go down there and play a school like Mary Hardin-Baylor,” Jeter said.

It has not been decided yet if Simpson will fly or make the 12-and-a-half hour drive down to Texas for the game.

After that, the Storm turns around and travels again for another away game against Wisconsin Stevens Point. 

Jeter says that the decision to play two away games at the start of the season was a little bit unlucky as the game against Stevens Point was already scheduled when Mary Hardin-Baylor needed a home game for their upcoming season.

“It kind of puts us in a pinch a little bit this season, with only having four home games,” Jeter said. “But then you flip to the other side of it in 2021, you have six home games.”

The Storm then gets into the teeth of their schedule against five American Rivers Conference opponents before the bye week on Oct. 24.

Simpson’s final three games are the toughest stretch of the season. The squad’s final three games are against teams that gave the Storm three of their four conference losses last season.

The Storm travels to Waverly, IA to take on three-time defending conference champion Wartburg, then come back home to play Coe and finish in Pella against rival Central College, who also won a game in the playoffs last season.

“I break the season into quarters, and that’s going to be our fourth quarter,” Jeter said. “For us to do the things we want to do, we want to compete for the American Rivers Conference championship; everybody has to go through that gauntlet. Ours just happens to be at the end of the season.”

Some players on the squad, like returning first-team all-conference offensive lineman Mason Spree, are tired of hearing about how tough the schedule will be.

“The schedule is set,” Spree said. “We’re not changing how we do things. We’re going to handle what gets thrown at us and go 1-0 each week.”