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Quick Hits on the quarterfinals

Is there enough offense in Anthony Moeglin’s right arm to overcome a stout Whitewater defense? Can Oshkosh manage to put enough points on the board to win at St. Thomas, or, for that matter, can St. Thomas manage to do enough to put away the Titans? Those are the games there’s the most dispute about this weekend, as our Quick Hits crew takes you through each of the four quarterfinals.

— Pat Coleman

Wheaton (Ill.) at Mary Hardin-Baylor

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Keith’s take: UMHB 38, Wheaton 24. Two great D-lines cause havoc early, and the Thunder make it interesting before the Cru pull away.
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Ryan’s take: UMHB 31, Wheaton 14. It’s very likely that UMHB is the best team in the country, and while Wheaton has been admirable, it’s hard to see them stop the Cru’s dual-threat offense or break through that hard-nosed defense.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: UMHB 38, Wheaton 14. Team speed and defensive pressure just too much for the Thunder to handle without a little lightning.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: UMHB 41, Wheaton 24. The Thunder are certainly peaking at the right time, but the Crusaders have too many weapons in all three phases. A big special teams play or turnover(s) will be too much for Wheaton to overcome.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: UMHB 31, Wheaton 21. Wheaton’s win vs. NCC was impressive, but the Cru’s win vs. Linfield showed the team’s level of consistency this season.
Guest
Josh’s take: UMHB 28, Wheaton 10. The Thunder’s defense was impressive last week vs. North Central. But this UMHB team is a different kind of beast.

Mount Union at Alfred

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Keith’s take: Mount Union 35, Alfred 21. The Purple Raiders get the ground game going, and the purple Saxons run out of late-game heroics.
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Ryan’s take: Mount Union 45, Alfred 17. Neither team has impressed this postseason, and Alfred, especially, has allowed an ugly amount of points the last two weeks against teams that are far less polished and prominent as The Machine.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Mount Union 38, Alfred 10.
This ends up being the textbook definition of handily. Mount names its score.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Mount Union 35, Alfred 23. I guess it’s time for me to stop doubting the Purple Raiders. The Saxons defense has been bending all postseason, and the offense will be facing its toughest test as well.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Mount Union 33, Alfred 20. Both teams have underwhelmed so far in the playoffs, but Mount Union still retains the edge in this one, having won in less-cardiac form.
Guest
Josh’s take: Mount Union 34, Alfred 14.
Mount Union’s playoff experience pays off in this matchup, and the Purple Raiders win comfortably.

UW-Oshkosh at St. Thomas

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Keith’s take: St. Thomas 20, UW-Oshkosh 17. The winner of this game could well win the Stagg Bowl; Love the Titans but hard to see the Tommies’ D giving up many points.
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Ryan’s take: UW-Oshkosh 20, St. Thomas 13. I picked the Titans to win this bracket before the playoffs started, and I still feel good about that. You can’t go into this not expecting it to be a defensive battle with two Top 5 scoring defenses.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: UW-Oshkosh 17, St. Thomas 13. Or 17-15 if UWO’s two-point conversion defense isn’t ready. Defense and special teams battle.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: St. Thomas 17, UW-Oshkosh 14. These two teams and programs have a lot of similarities. The team with home field advantage and playoff pedigree gets the slight edge.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: St. Thomas 27, UW-Oshkosh 17. The teams have won by a combined 178-36 score in their four games. Give the edge to the home team, when all else fails.
Guest
Josh’s take: St. Thomas 31, UW-Oshkosh 30.
This looks like a great game on paper, and on the field. St. Thomas has just enough, but it’s a game D-III fans talk about for several days after.

John Carroll at UW-Whitewater

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Keith’s take: UW-Whitewater 21, John Carroll 13. What could be more exciting than 11 defensive linemen rotating in against perennially the best O-line in D-III? Lots of things, but, uh, this could be a classic game.
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Ryan’s take: John Carroll 21, UW-Whitewater 17. I tossed and turned over this pick, but the recent tests that JCU has embraced and overcome gives them the edge after UW-W’s victories over teams with poor records or from weaker conferences.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: UW-Whitewater 26, John Carroll 13. JCU manages to slow the Whitewater offense, but the Warhawks do even more on defense and the UWW offense gets just enough done to win here.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: John Carroll 21, UW-Whitewater 20. JCU has come a long, long way since the season-opening loss at UW-Oshkosh. As long as Anthony Moeglin protects the ball on offense, the Blue Streaks defense will make enough plays in the red zone to deliver a statement win.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: UW-Whitewater 13, John Carroll 10. John Carroll’s defense was tremendous against Wesley, but their offense may not be able to score against the Warhawks. This may be the closest game of the four.
Guest
Josh’s take: UW-Whitewater 35, John Carroll 21. The Warhawks have endured injuries at several positions. But many of those players are coming back just in time to make a late-season push.

We invite you to add your predictions in the comments below. Download the Around the Nation podcast on Mondays, where Pat and Keith review the picks that were prescient, and those that were terribly off base.

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Quick Hits: Predicting first-round playoff scores

The story goes, one day on a long ride to a playoff game at Thiel (which tells you how long ago this happened), Pat and Keith decided to pass the time by guessing not just the winner of each first-round playoff game, but the score. And there was born the expectations game: Do we expect a close game? A high-scoring game? A blowout? Does everyone agree on who will win? Those are the factors worth looking at.

Keith McMillan, Ryan Tipps, Pat Coleman, Adam Turer, Frank Rossi and Josh Smith each take their guesses at scores for each first-round game.

— Pat Coleman (d3photography.com photo)

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Mary Hardin-Baylor bracket
Keith’s take: UMHB 55, Redlands 14
Ryan’s take: UMHB 63, Redlands 7
Pat’s take: UMHB 56, Redlands 7
Adam’s take: UMHB 52, Redlands 10
Frank’s take: UMHB 47, Redlands 10
Josh’s take: UMHB 56, Redlands 6
Consensus: Mary Hardin-Baylor, by quite a lot.
Keith’s take: Hardin-Simmons 31, Linfield 30
Ryan’s take: Linfield 33, Hardin-Simmons 28
Pat’s take: Hardin-Simmons 35, Linfield 34
Adam’s take: Linfield 24, Hardin-Simmons 23
Frank’s take: Linfield 35, Hardin-Simmons 24
Josh’s take: Linfield 24, Hardin-Simmons 21
Consensus: A split decision favoring the visitors, but since all comers think the game will be close, looks like a toss-up.
Keith’s take: Wheaton 29, Huntingdon 27
Ryan’s take: Huntingdon 35, Wheaton 31
Pat’s take: Wheaton 45, Huntingdon 13
Adam’s take: Huntingdon 40, Wheaton 34
Frank’s take: Wheaton 30, Huntingdon 20
Josh’s take: Wheaton 38, Huntingdon 24
Consensus: Almost everyone thinks Huntingdon can score on Wheaton, with a couple people thinking they can score more.
Keith’s take: N. Central 52, Rose-Hulman 35
Ryan’s take: N. Central 49, Rose-Hulman 7
Pat’s take: N. Central 56, Rose-Hulman 17
Adam’s take: N. Central 45, Rose-Hulman 24
Frank’s take: N. Central 37, Rose-Hulman 13
Josh’s take: N. Central 48, Rose-Hulman 14
Consensus: North Central will win, but Rose-Hulman might score some points. Or might not.
Alfred bracket
Keith’s take: Alfred 40, Bridgewater State 17
Ryan’s take: Alfred 41, Bridgewater State 10
Pat’s take: Alfred 54, Bridgewater State 7
Adam’s take: Alfred 35, Bridgewater State 6
Frank’s take: Alfred 40, Bridgewater State 24
Josh’s take: Alfred 38, Bridgewater State 28
Consensus: If you’re an Alfred fan, stop reading after the first four predictions.
Keith’s take: Husson 27, Western New England 24
Ryan’s take: Western New England 31, Husson 24
Pat’s take: Husson 45, Western New England 41
Adam’s take: Western New England 27, Husson 24
Frank’s take: Husson 30, Western New England 27
Josh’s take: Western New England 24, Husson 23
Consensus: The biggest wild card in the entire first round. Three each way. But seven points is the widest margin.
Keith’s take: Mount Union 33, Hobart 21
Ryan’s take: Mount Union 45, Hobart 23
Pat’s take: Mount Union 41, Hobart 31
Adam’s take: Mount Union 41, Hobart 20
Frank’s take: Mount Union 34, Hobart 20
Josh’s take: Mount Union 28, Hobart 10
Consensus: Hobart will make a good showing, but Mount Union will win.
Keith’s take: Johns Hopkins 38, Randolph-Macon 21
Ryan’s take: Johns Hopkins 34, Randolph-Macon 21
Pat’s take: Johns Hopkins 51, Randolph-Macon 10
Adam’s take: Johns Hopkins 31, Randolph-Macon 13
Frank’s take: Johns Hopkins 34, Randolph-Macon 23
Josh’s take: Johns Hopkins 42, Randolph-Macon 17
Consensus: Various ways of saying Johns Hopkins will win.
St. Thomas bracket
Keith’s take: St. Thomas 55, Northwestern (Minn.) 7
Ryan’s take: St. Thomas 52, Northwestern (Minn.) 13
Pat’s take: St. Thomas 63, Northwestern (Minn.) 7
Adam’s take: St. Thomas 56, Northwestern (Minn.) 0
Frank’s take: St. Thomas 35, Northwestern (Minn.) 10
Josh’s take: St. Thomas 49, Northwestern (Minn.) 3
Consensus: St. Thomas in a win worthy of a 1-seed.
Keith’s take: Coe 16, Monmouth 13
Ryan’s take: Coe 31, Monmouth 27
Pat’s take: Coe 31, Monmouth 24
Adam’s take: Coe 28, Monmouth 27
Frank’s take: Monmouth 27, Coe 24
Josh’s take: Coe 21, Monmouth 7
Consensus: Fairly confident Coe will win, but not by much.
Keith’s take: St. John’s 30, UW-Platteville 28
Ryan’s take: St. John’s 42, UW-Platteville 33
Pat’s take: UW-Platteville 31, St. John’s 27
Adam’s take: UW-Platteville 24, St. John’s 21
Frank’s take: UW-Platteville 34, St. John’s 30
Josh’s take: UW-Platteville 35, St. John’s 34
Consensus: A great game with the slight edge to UW-Platteville. Total of scores, UW-Platteville, 185-184.
Keith’s take: UW-Oshkosh 49, Washington U. 20
Ryan’s take: UW-Oshkosh 42, Washington U. 27
Pat’s take: UW-Oshkosh 56, Washington U. 10
Adam’s take: UW-Oshkosh 52, Washington U. 28
Frank’s take: UW-Oshkosh 34, Washington U. 14
Josh’s take: UW-Oshkosh 54, Washington U. 3
Consensus: UW-Oshkosh, even if Wash U might score some points.
Whitewater bracket
Keith’s take: John Carroll 28, Olivet 10
Ryan’s take: John Carroll 56, Olivet 3
Pat’s take: John Carroll 40, Olivet 14
Adam’s take: John Carroll 42, Olivet 10
Frank’s take: John Carroll 42, Olivet 21
Josh’s take: John Carroll 42, Olivet 10
Consensus: John Carroll will win. And apparently hit all of its extra points.
Keith’s take: Wesley 24, Stevenson 23
Ryan’s take: Stevenson 35, Wesley 34
Pat’s take: Wesley 38, Stevenson 28
Adam’s take: Wesley 38, Stevenson 14
Frank’s take: Wesley 40, Stevenson 30
Josh’s take: Wesley 35, Stevenson 17
Consensus: Generally Wesley in a good game, but not unanimous.
Keith’s take: Thomas More 35, Wittenberg 24
Ryan’s take: Wittenberg 28, Thomas More 27
Pat’s take: Thomas More 27, Wittenberg 21
Adam’s take: Thomas More 42, Wittenberg 24
Frank’s take: Wittenberg 20, Thomas More 17
Josh’s take: Thomas More 28, Wittenberg 24
Consensus: Thomas More as the home in a 4-5 game is getting those kind of predictions.
Keith’s take: UW-Whitewater 35, Lakeland 10
Ryan’s take: UW-Whitewater 59, Lakeland 7
Pat’s take: UW-Whitewater 56, Lakeland 14
Adam’s take: UW-Whitewater 49, Lakeland 13
Frank’s take: UW-Whitewater 35, Lakeland 7
Josh’s take: UW-Whitewater 63, Lakeland 7
Consensus: UW-Whitewater, although a four-touchdown range in what UWW might score.

We invite you to add your predictions in the comments below, or tweet at us at @D3Keith, @NewsTipps and @d3football. Download the Around the Nation podcast on Mondays, where Pat and Keith review the picks and the highlights from Round 1.

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ATN Podcast: The bracket reaction

We’re still feeling really good about this bracket — about the teams selected, about the first-round pairings, about so much of it. We’ll hear from the NCAA committee chair, Jack McKiernan, gets Keith’s view on watching his alma mater clinch an automatic bid and talk about that John Carroll-Mount Union game. Plus, we’ll discuss who got the best and the toughest draws, what the best first-round games are, what (if anything) the committee got wrong and more in this week’s Around the Nation Podcast.

This week’s podcast is sponsored by the City of Salem, hosts of Stagg Bowl XLIV. For more information about the Stagg Bowl or any national championship Salem hosts, visit salemchampionships.com.

The Around the Nation Podcast is a weekly conversation between Pat Coleman and Keith McMillan covering the wide range of Division III football. It drops on Monday morning weekly throughout the season.

Hit play, or subscribe to get this podcast on your mobile device. 
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