October could be a big month for the Northwestern Rangers if they can pass the road tests they will face in September.
Northwestern opens the season at home on a Thursday night as it faces the once and future conference rival Southwestern. See the full schedule here.
Then the travel begins.
There are three straight weeks of out-of-state road games to Pueblo, Colo. (Colorado State-Pueblo), Vermillion, S.D. (University of South Dakota) and Tyler, Texas (Texas College). The Texas College game kicks off the conference slate for NWOSU in the Central States Football League.
The Rangers play 80 percent of their games in Alva during October, as well as their final four conference matchups. If coach Keith Barefield’s team can find its midseason form in the, um, well, midseason, the Rangers can come away with another CSFL title and push toward the NAIA playoffs.
Northwestern is in its first year of the three-year membership process of becoming a Division II program. It is likely that this will be the final year in the Central States Football League for NWOSU because it will probably take on a schedule that includes its new Great American Conference foes in 2012.