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Occidental Wins Title, but Not Playoff Berth

November 17, 1988|SAM FARMER

Despite winning the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship with a 27-10 victory at Whittier last Saturday, the Occidental College football team failed to make the Division III playoffs for the third consecutive year.

Occidental (7-2 overall, 5-0 in conference play) was not among the 4 teams chosen to represent the 52 schools in the Western region. Selected were 2 teams from Iowa--Central (8-1) and Simpson (8-1)--Concordia (9-1) of Minnesota and Wisconsin-Whitewater (8-2).

Coach Dale Widolff says the 71-0 thrashing the Tigers took from Central College of Iowa in the second round of the 1985 playoffs might still have an effect on Occidental's chances of making the playoffs for years to come.

"That loss really, really hurts us," said Widolff after playoff pairings were announced Monday. "I'm starting to worry because I think there's . . . a prejudice against West Coast teams. I think the committee is looking for an excuse to exclude them.

"It's unfair but I think that's being used against us."

Central Coach Ron Schipper disagrees.

"I like to think everybody has forgotten about those things," Schipper said. "I think (the selection committee) is going to keep its eye on the California teams. At least I hope it does."

Occidental has won 7 or more games only 9 times in school history, including 4 times in Widolff's 7 years as head coach.

"Seven and two is a good season--something to be proud of," Widolff said. "But we feel like we were a couple of plays away from going eight and one."

The Tigers' defense posted 2 shutouts, held opponents to 11.3 points per game and did not allow more than 2 touchdowns in any game.

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