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Quick Hits: Picking a number to beat

There are three games between ranked teams this week, and a fourth which could have been (stares at Whitewater’s goal-line stats), But there are also other battles between unbeatens, and games worthy staying up late for, and that’s what Quick Hits is looking at this week.

Our regular crew is Keith McMillan, Ryan Tipps, Pat Coleman, Adam Turer and Frank Rossi. Our sixth spot goes to a guest each week, and this week’s is Gene Schatz, a Division III football fan whose son played quarterback at Wesley a few years back. Gene has continued to follow Division III very closely and still travels to see D-III games. Take note, D-III parents. You don’t have to leave when your player graduates.

— Pat Coleman (photo by d3photography.com)

What’s the Week 5 game of the week?

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Keith’s take: UW-Whitewater at No. 3 UW-Oshkosh. By a hair over Whitworth at Linfield.
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Ryan’s take: UW-Whitewater at No. 3 UW-Oshkosh. Preseason, this was a no-brainer. Even now, still a good one as UW-W vies to stay in the playoff hunt.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 14 Whitworth at No. 8 Linfield. Also like the Wisconsin game but now have questions about UWO thanks to JCU’s first four weeks.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 14 Whitworth at No. 8 Linfield. The Pirates can shake up the NWC, for one year at least.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 19 Illinois Wesleyan at No. 5 Wheaton. Thunder can use field to escape bad news, but losing five players never helps midway through.
Guest
Gene’s take: No. 14 Whitworth at No. 8 Linfield. Interested to see if Whitworth can finally get past the NWC king who lost plenty from last year’s team.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 13 Johns Hopkins. Ursinus has scored 35 points in each of its four wins.
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Ryan’s take: No. 20 Alfred. With a lot left to prove, they’re not even on my ballot yet.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 15 Wittenberg. This is a team which is in a significantly different place on my Top 25 ballot than 15.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 15 Wittenberg. The Tigers will have their hands full with Denison’s prolific offense led by QB Canaan Gebele.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 20 Alfred. Alfred has seemed leg-weary at times, while Buffalo State seems to be improving a little each week.
Guest
Gene’s take: No. 12 UW-Platteville. Stout is coming off of the victory over St. Thomas and 2 weeks prep could make for a tough game for Platteville.

Who has a letdown after a big game last week?

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Keith’s take: Wilmington. After an overtime win vs. Capital, winning at John Carroll would be a stunner.
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Ryan’s take: Muhlenberg. Opponent F&M has been hot this year, though this should be a close one.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Luther. A win at home is one thing, but on the road at a rejuvenated program in BVU is something else.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: East Texas Baptist. The Tigers hung 79 last week, but will be lucky to score half that against HSU. Not discounting ETBU’s chances, though.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Christopher Newport. CNU had decent bounce-back game at Montclair, but Rowan’s defense could derail their momentum.
Guest
Gene’s take: Buffalo State, coming off a big win over RPI after trailing at the half, heads to Alfred to take on the Saxons and remain at the top of the E8.

Which game should people be watching at the end of the night?

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Keith’s take: Redlands at Occidental. In support of the fact there’s a game to watch.
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Ryan’s take: No. 6 Hardin-Simmons at East Texas Baptist. Two undefeated power-conference teams — a perfect recipe.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Pacific at George Fox. Unless I’m watching Redlands-Occidental or the archive of UWW/UWO.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Redlands at Occidental. I can’t wait to see how hungry the Tigers are to finally play their second game of the season.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Redlands at Occidental. D3 Nation should be rooting for Oxy’s players, who are severely undermanned but want to play, to keep this game close.
Guest
Gene’s take: UWW vs. Oshkosh. Does UWW continue to struggle this year and the loss puts them out of the playoffs or do they climb back into the discussion?

Who surpasses their 2016 win total this week?

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Keith’s take: Rochester (2). At Becker, the Yellowjackets get their second 2017 win following a 1-8 2016.
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Ryan’s take: Birmingham-Southern (2). Against Trinity, they’re looking for win No. 2.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Allegheny (2). The Gators will have a challenge from the Hiram offense but the rebuild will move forward.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Rochester (2). The Yellowjackets pick up the win against a winless Becker squad.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Hartwick (2). Utica has failed to meet expectations while the Hawks’ offense has clicked..
Guest
Gene’s take: McDaniel (4). At 3-7 last year, McDaniel looks to pick up win No. 4 against the 1-3 Juniata Eagles.

How many NCAC teams will remain unbeaten, and which ones will they be?

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Keith’s take: Three. DePauw, Wabash, Denison.
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Ryan’s take: Three: DePauw, Bash and Witt.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Three. DePauw, Wabash, Denison.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Three. Wabash, DePauw, and Denison.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Three. DePauw, Wabash, Wittenberg.
Guest
Gene’s take: Three. Wabash, DePauw, and Wittenberg.

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 Quick Hits that were prescient, and the Quick Misses that were terribly off base.

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Quick Hits: The 35,000-foot view

The biggest show in Division III is coming to a major league baseball stadium. Perhaps you’ve heard. But there are 100 other games on Saturday as well, and if you’re not named Tommie or Johnnie, perhaps you’re wondering if we’ll be paying any attention. Our regular Quick Hits crew is Keith McMillan, Ryan Tipps, Pat Coleman, Adam Turer and Frank Rossi. Our sixth spot goes to a guest each week, and this week’s is Howard Sinker. In our attempts to find a neutral Minnesotan to talk about this week, we found Howard, Minneapolis Star Tribune digital sports editor, Minnesota Public Radio sports commentator and senior instructor of Media and Cultural Studies at Macalester College.

— Pat Coleman

What’s the best game this week that hasn’t sold 30,000 tickets?

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Keith’s take: Centre at Berry. Preseason, I’d have circled Stevenson-DelVal, but this SAA clash of styles takes the sliver of spotlight left.
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Ryan’s take: Stevenson at No. 12 Delaware Valley. Can’t remember the last year the MAC was clear cut. This will give some clarity.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 5 North Central at Millikin. This is a game that is usually a cakewalk but Millikin is on the upswing. It’s under the radar this week.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Stevenson at Delaware Valley. The Mustangs have a chance to prove that they’ve gotten right by upsetting the No. 12 Aggies.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Utica at No. 19 Brockport. Utica loves to play the spoiler, and their defense may be able to slow down Germinerio and Morris somewhat..
Howard Sinker
Howard’s take: Monmouth at Macalester. Battle of Scots in St. Paul features two MWC contenders; Mac opened with ‘hardware game’ victories vs. Carleton and Hamline.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 9 John Carroll. Host Heidelberg has hung 40 twice in road wins over solid teams.
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Ryan’s take: No. 9 John Carroll. I’ve been a little uncertain of JCU so far, and last week didn’t help their case.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: None. And fully aware I’m doing this for a second consecutive week. But I don’t see JCU losing like others do..
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 13 UW-Platteville. The Pioneers have not impressed in either of their wins, and Lakeland has a potent offense that will test UW-P.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 6 St. John’s. Not much of an upset, except through rankings. Every game is a must-win for St. Thomas now.
Howard Sinker
Howard’s take: No. 9 John Carroll. Tough matchup with the Student Princes of Heidelberg.

Will Wheaton miss a beat?

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Keith’s take: No. This is really for the Thunder to answer; Five players are out, program is national news. But Elmhurst looks beatable amid all that.
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Ryan’s take: Yes. But it really won’t be apparent until next week.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. I mean, not this week, at least.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. The players on the roster will be determined to prove that they can overcome their teammates’ absences.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Yes. Focus after the trainwreck of a week will be off, and loss of five players will hurt. But Elmhurst won’t beat the Thunder.
Howard Sinker
Howard’s take: Hard thinking of Wheaton in ‘game terms’ after hazing publicity, but Elmhurst led Thunder until fourth-quarter turnover last year in 10-6 game.

Which surprise 3-0 team makes it 4-0 this week?

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Keith’s take: Wooster. Scots have a tough matchup at DePauw, but might be inspired following the death of Clayton Geib.
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Ryan’s take: Salve Regina. Although, it’s no cakewalk with undefeated Western Connecticut on the other side.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: SUNY-Maritime. The Privateers have been 4-0 once before, in the year they went 10-0. Alfred State won’t stop them..
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Franklin & Marshall. The Dips have a tough task at Susquehanna, but have been the surprise of the Centennial so far this season.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: RPI. Buffalo State’s two wins were by a total of six points. RPI has rolled. Engineers win their fourth..
Howard Sinker
Howard’s take: Cheating a bit: Knox. Knox beats Ripon to go 3-0. Surprise? Knox hasn’t won more than three in a season since 2005.

Which team won’t be able to repeat last week’s success?

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Keith’s take: Mass. Maritime. Bucs held off Maine Maritime last week. Going to Framingham State is much tougher.
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Ryan’s take: Berry. I think opponent Centre is the SAA’s best this year.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: George Fox. I think that even on the road, a WIAC team is better than what Redlands is prepared for.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Rowan. Profs posted a big road win over William Paterson in Week 3, but will suffer a big home loss at the hands of Frostburg State in Week 4.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Widener. Albright could’ve fit my surprising 4-0 team, as Lions have looked decent since the big Salisbury win..
Howard Sinker
Howard’s take: St. Thomas won’t win by 63, St. John’s won’t win by 49.

Official attendance in the Tommie-Johnnie game? (Price is Right rules apply)

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Keith’s take: 33,316, clearly a sign from God.
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Ryan’s take: 31,157.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: 37,535. Tell me that’s one above anyone else’s pick.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: 33,069. Nice.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: 36,106. It’s No 10 vs. No. 6. So, there had to be at least one of each in my number.
Howard Sinker
Howard’s take: 34,567. 

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 Quick Hits that were prescient, and the Quick Misses that were terribly off base.

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Quick Hits: Name this rivalry

We all know what the big game is this week and you don’t need a poll on social media to tell you. But there are 110…109… make that 108 other games this week, at least as of Friday at midnight, and even though No. 1 is playing No. 6, some of those other games might be worth looking at. That’s what our crew does in Quick Hits.

Our regular crew is Keith McMillan, Ryan Tipps, Pat Coleman, Adam Turer and Frank Rossi. Our sixth spot goes to a guest each week, and this week’s is Kevin Niehus, former Thomas More quarterback.

— Pat Coleman; photo by Joe Fusco, d3photography.com

Other than UMHB-Linfield, what’s the game of the week?

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Keith’s take: No. 16 Illinois Wesleyan at No. 5 North Central. With the Titans’ hot start and the Carthage-Wheaton clash, we’ll get an idea how CCIW will shake out.
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Ryan’s take: No. 16 Illinois Wesleyan at No. 5 North Central. Curious how the Titans fare against their second tough foe of 2017.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Carthage at No. 4 Wheaton. While everyone is focused on a different CCIW game, I’m wondering how many points Carthage allows.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Thomas More at No. 18 Washington and Jefferson. The playoffs start now for the Saints.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 16 Illinois Wesleyan at No. 5 North Central. Some folks have doubts about the rankings of both — winner justifies ranking.

Kevin’s take: John Carroll at Baldwin Wallace. Just a hunch; Coach Hilvert will have his kids jacked up for their home opener.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 23 Concordia-Moorhead. Excluding the six teams in Question 1 (not brave enough to pick Carthage), Bethel could take advantage if Cobbers are still patting themselves on the back.
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Ryan’s take: No. 9 John Carroll. Baldwin Wallace has kept this matchup interesting in recent years.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: None. I don’t see it this week. Too many head-to-head games that don’t qualify for upset status.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 9 John Carroll. Baldwin Wallace makes a statement in Jim Hilvert’s home debut.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 18 Washington & Jefferson. vs. Thomas More — Saints will bounce back from loss; haven’t lost two straight in season since 2012.
Guest
Kevin’s take: No. 18 Washington & Jefferson. Saints leave the PAC following the season. There’s no love lost here. Both teams’ run defenses will be tested.

Who wins the UMHB-Linfield game and why?

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Keith’s take: UMHB. Neither wowed in opener, and both lost a lot from last season. Linfield might have lost more.
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Ryan’s take: UMHB. They’re back this year more loaded than the Wildcats are.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: UMHB. But for a game that’s picked unanimously, it will be competitive.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: UMHB. Championship pedigree separates two evenly matched teams.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: UMHB. In battle of new starting QBs, edge goes to the Cru.
Guest
Guest’s take: UMHB. Division III fans are the big winner with a great early-season matchup which probably determines home field in the semifinals.

Which team picks up a much-needed win after a winless start?

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Keith’s take: Augustana. I jumped the gun on St. Norbert; The Vikings have been competitive, and should win at Carroll in the third of three road games to open, and four against “C” teams.
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Ryan’s take: No. 24 Wesley. There’s no doubt the sting from two weeks ago lingers — now conference play starts.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Pacific. Oh, wait, never mind. There are no forfeits awarded for a program refusing to take the field. Thanks, Obama (‘s alma mater).
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: UW-Whitewater. The Warhawks take care of the football and avoid an 0-3 start.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Franklin vs. Defiance — rough schedule in first two games will make this game seem like a cakewalk.
Guest
Guest’s take: Gettysburg. Also Franklin. And Chicago.

Pick a winner in the NESCAC not named Amherst or Trinity.

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Keith’s take: Wesleyan. The game at Middlebury will be the NESCAC’s closest this week, and it’ll require stout defense vs. UNLV transfer QB Jared Lebowitz and the Panthers.
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Ryan’s take: Wesleyan. Though the matchup against Middlebury is pretty even.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Tufts. Although Hamilton is an improving program, I still like the Jumbos in a big way. No, that’s just the play on words talking. In a medium way.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Williams. Either Williams or Bowdoin will earn its first win since 2015. I’m picking the Ephs.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Williams vs. Bowdoin — Mark Raymond gets his first NESCAC head-coaching victory.
Guest
Guest’s take: Middlebury. My cousin Tim’s Panthers open at home.

Which two teams playing in Week 3 should have a traveling trophy for their game but don’t yet? What would you call it?

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Keith’s take: TMC and W&J. The PACto Defacto Title Game. Or Shenandoah-Hobart Yoder Bowl. The Loras-Dubuque Battle for Dubuque. Stop me anytime.
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Ryan’s take: Averett Cougars and Ferrum Panthers. Call it The Cat Scratcher.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Redlands and George Fox. Remember GFU’s surprise 2015 win? Calling this the Red-Fox Cup. This has nothing to do with red cups and everything to do with Sanford & Son, kids.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Randolph-Macon and Catholic. The Guru Bowl participants need a trophy featuring prominent alums Pat and Keith. (Ed. note, no they don’t!)
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Catholic vs. Randolph-Macon. The Around the Nation Trophy-cast.
Guest
Kevin’s take: Mount St. Joseph vs. Bluffton. The Bridge Bowl 2: there ARE bridges along I-75 in Ohio. They could use the original ceramic bowl, currently collecting dust in Crestview Hills.

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 Quick Hits that were prescient, and the Quick Misses that were terribly off base.