The 2019 DII football season is creeping closer. The season kicks off Thursday, Sept. 5, with 2018 national runners-up Ferris State amongst a slew of DII football opening night games.

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With the bulk of teams, including reigning national champion Valdosta State, getting things started on Saturday, Sept. 7, the 11-week grind of the DII football season begins. That’s when 28 teams begin their quest to find a slot in the 2019 DII football championship playoff bracket. 

This season’s tournament begins with first-round action on Nov. 23. Four rounds will follow each week before culminating in the national championship game on Dec. 21 at McKinney Independent School District Stadium in McKinney, Texas — the second-straight season the title game returns to McKinney.

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Nine of the 28 DII football championship tournament teams commence the 2019 season on Thursday night, including an opening night matchup between Ouachita Baptist and Harding, two 2018 playoff teams. Here are some of the bigger matchups from the Thursday night slate.

Thursday, Sept. 5 (all times ET):

  • Slippery Rock at Wayne State (MI), 6 p.m.
  • Indianapolis at Ashland, 7 p.m.  
  • Wingate at Johnson C. Smith, 7 p.m.
  • Ferris State vs. Findlay, 7:30 p.m. 
  • Fort Hays State at Central Missouri, 8 p.m.
  • Harding at Ouachita Baptist, 8 p.m.
  • Northwest Missouri State at Missouri Western, 8 p.m.
  • Minot State at Minnesota Duluth, 8:05 p.m.

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The Saturday slate is highlighted by a DII football first: an international game. Texas A&M-Commerce will host Selección Nuevo León, one of the top football programs from Mexico. Also, Tarleton — a DII football championship quarterfinalist a year ago — hits the road in an FCS matchup against Stephen F. Austin, as does MSU Texas who faces Northwestern State, Central Washington who travels to Idaho, and Virginia Union who faces Hampton.

Here’s when the teams we expected to be in the hunt for the preseason top 25 play on Saturday.

Saturday, Sept. 7 (all times ET):

  • Bowie State at American International, noon
  • Notre Dame (OH) vs. Concord, noon
  • West Chester vs. Bentley, noon
  • West Georgia at Catawba, noon
  • Hillsdale vs. Michigan Tech, 1 p.m.
  • New Haven at Indiana (Pa.), 1 p.m. 
  • Colorado Mesa at South Dakota Mines, 3 p.m.
  • Colorado School of Mines at Adams State, 3 p.m.

2019 EARLY PRESEASON RANKINGS: The DII football top 10?

  • Florida Tech at Savannah State, 6 p.m.
  • Lenoir-Rhyne vs. St. Augustine’s, 6 p.m.
  • Virginia Union at Hampton, 6 p.m.
  • Grand Valley State vs. Edinboro, 7 p.m.
  • Minnesota State at Southwest Minnesota State, 7 p.m.
  • MSU Texas at Northwestern State, 7 p.m. 
  • Tarleton at Stephen F. Austin, 7 p.m. 
  • Texas A&M-Commerce vs. Selección Nuevo León, 7 p.m.
  • Valdosta State at Albany State, 7 p.m.
  • Azusa Pacific at West Texas A&M, 8 p.m.
  • Colorado State-Pueblo at Dixie State, 9 p.m.
  • Central Washington at Idaho, TBD

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