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Quick Hits: Reaching the midway point

It’s hump week in Division III football: five weeks down, and five weeks remaining after this one. Does it feel like a Wednesday to you? If so, it can only be the best Wednesday ever! Here’s our crew’s predictions for Week 6.

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 Paul Schreel. Paul is an Ohio Northern grad and former Division III broadcaster now coaching high school football in Arizona.

— Pat Coleman

Which game is the Week 6 game of the week?

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Keith’s take: No. 7 Hardin-Simmons at No. 2 Mary Hardin-Baylor. Red-hot teams could serve notice and crack top 5 or flip No. 1 votes.
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Ryan’s take: No. 7 Hardin-Simmons at No. 2 Mary Hardin-Baylor. This is my most-anticipated conference title bout every year, and neither team has disappointed this year.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 5 Frostburg State at No. 6 Wesley. The first big battle in the NJAC, which might only have one big battle.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 5 Frostburg State at No. 6 Wesley. A rivalry, in its final year, likely with the conference title at stake. Last year’s OT thriller will be topped.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 5 Frostburg State at No. 6 Wesley. It’s the lowest combined ranking in an East Region matchup I can remember, and the stakes are major with just five Pool C bids available this year.  I expect a low-scoring affair.
Paul Schreel
Paul’s take: No. 7 Hardin-Simmons at No. 2 Mary Hardin-Baylor. With the No. 1 and No. 6 total offenses in Division III facing off, the first defense to force a punt could decide the game.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 9 St. John’s. There’s a Johnnies fan at work and he’s worried about quarterback Jaran Roste and the Royals.
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Ryan’s take: No. 9 St. John’s. Bethel is having a resurgence this year and could catch the Johnnies looking ahead to the biggin on Oct. 13.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 22 Whitworth. All the Top 25-on-Top 25 games mean qualifying upset opportunities are few. This pick relies on some overconfidence.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 24 Muhlenberg. The Centennial cannibalization continues as the Mules join Ursinus in the “previously unbeaten” ranks.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 20 RPI. It wouldn’t be an upset on my ballot, because I’ve had Ithaca higher all season. Ithaca’s body of work thus far has been better. Home field helps Bombers win a close game.
Paul Schreel
Paul’s take: No. 22 Whitworth. A week after a tough win over Linfield, the Pirates will have their hands full traveling to George Fox.

Outside of the ‘big six,’ which Top 25 game will be the most interesting?

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Keith’s take: Carthage at Illinois Wesleyan. Remember, Red Men gave UW-Oshkosh a run for its money.
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Ryan’s take: No. 22 Whitworth at George Fox. Coming off last week’s win, I’m curious if Whitworth is that good or Linfield was that bad. This’ll help me sort that out.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Chapman at Redlands. The last game of the night should be a good one, and the SCIAC automatic bid will likely go to the winner.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 22 Whitworth at George Fox. The Bruins could make it two in a row over the Pirates and the NWC could enter Week 3 of conference play wide open.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Willamette at No. 25 Linfield. Linfield should win big, but their performance so far places a lot in doubt. If Willamette keeps it close, I’d consider dropping Linfield out of my ballot entirely.
Paul Schreel
Paul’s take: No. 24 Muhlenberg at UrsinusThe Centennial Conference has four legitimate challengers for a title this year. The loser of this game is out of that conversation, though.

Which game are you following that nobody else on this panel is following?

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Keith’s take: Alvernia at Misericordia. New and new-ish program have combined for four wins so far this season.
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Ryan’s take: Johns Hopkins at Franklin & Marshall. Two teams with a blemish and outside the T25, but I’m not ready to cast either to the curb just yet.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Whittier at Occidental. Oxy did the right thing and gave Whittier The Shoes after Oxy failed to make the 2017 game. Could Whittier snap its 33-game skid and win them outright?
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Manchester at Mount St. Joseph. I’ll be there to see how these prolific offenses stack up against quality competition, which is not always on the opposite sideline in the HCAC.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Norwich at Merchant Marine. I’ll be attending this game, as it’s a nearby matchup between two military service academies. If it’s anything like Norwich/Coast Guard two weeks ago, it will be a classic.
Paul Schreel
Paul’s take: Chapman at Redlands. It looks like the winner will be in the driver’s seat for a SCIAC title and the automatic playoff berth.

It’s hump week in D-III: Who serves notice that they’re going to turn things around?

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Keith’s take: Linfield. The 1-2 Wildcats chase a record 63rd consecutive winning season by winning at Willamette.
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Ryan’s take: Southwestern. After a solid ASC debut in 2017, my expectations were a lot higher for the Pirates, and the next couple of games are winnable ones.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Aurora. An 0-4 start, albeit against a slate of decent teams, is unexpected and the Spartans should bounce back.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Albright (vs. Wilkes). The Lions have played a brutal schedule and have taken a beating. They could start a run to finish over .500 in their final five games.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Buffalo State. With Alfred coming off a close game vs. Morrisville St., Buffalo State with their first win last week might have enough momentum to upset the Saxons in Buffalo.
Paul Schreel
Paul’s take: Cal Lutheran. The offense looked good last week against an overmatched Occidental but they will prove it wasn’t a fluke and go on a run in SCIAC play.

Pick an unranked unbeaten team which will lose (to an unranked team) this week?

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Keith’s take: Albion. At Hope, which knocks off one of the three 4-0 MIAA teams.
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Ryan’s take: Union. Granted, they’re not playing the Hobart of old, but this will still be a tough road for the Dutchmen.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Albion. The Britons have done well this season and that includes a win vs. Franklin but Hope comes in well-tested in the first five weeks.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Albion. Hope held a fourth quarter lead over Trine. The Flying Dutchmen regain momentum with a win over the unbeaten Britons.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Amherst. Middlebury has bounced back from its opening loss, playing winning football as consistently as Amherst. The Panthers shock the Mammoths in Vermont.
Paul Schreel
Paul’s take: Salisbury. Christopher Newport hosts the Sea Gulls and could hand them their first loss of 2018.

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

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Around the Nation Podcast 206: That one game was enough, but we still got more

We could spend a lot of time talking about the Mount Union-John Carroll game, and all of its ramifications — so we’ll do that. For a while, for sure. But there were plenty of other games of note on Saturday in Week 4, so we’ll have plenty to talk about.

Off the beaten path, we have a team which scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to win. We have a team which rushed for minus-50 yards, and won. We talk about the fifth-down play which wasn’t really a fifth-down play. We replace divots — who replaces divots anymore? Who even has grass fields anymore? And how did one MIAC team try to keep its beatdown of an opponent in check.

But hey, more about Mount Union — why is this win important? And what do Pat and Keith think should happen to John Carroll in the poll? And who gets Keith’s game ball?

That and more on the Game Day version of the D3football.com Around the Nation Podcast. The D3football.com Around the Nation Podcast is a regular conversation between Pat Coleman and Keith McMillan and guests covering the wide range of Division III football. 

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

You can subscribe to the Around the Nation Podcast in iTunes. You can also get this and any of our future Around the Nation podcasts automatically by subscribing to this RSS feed: http://www.d3blogs.com/d3football/?feed=podcast

Photo: Mount Union defender Danny Robinson with the ball in the end zone (Photo by Dan Poel, Ohiosi.com)

Purchase Football For a Buck: The Crazy Rise and Crazier Demise of the USFL from Amazon (and D3football.com gets a buck or so in the process).

 

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Quick Hits Week 4: Unleashing the Cougars

The crew is picking the Cougars to make some noise this week, as well as the Colonels, while everyone has their eyes on the clash in the OAC. 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 Greg Thomas, Wabash fan and regular D3football.com contributor.

— Pat Coleman

Photo: Centre athletics photo of Andre Evans and Luc Gendreau by Cheyenne Bunner

Which game is the Week 4 game of the week?

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Keith’s take: No. 15 John Carroll at No. 1 Mount Union. More on the line in SAA, CCIW & CC, more talent here. Ninety and 110 points over two games, so best D wins.
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Ryan’s take: No. 15 John Carroll at No. 1 Mount Union. I think JCU is a bit high in the poll, but I’m game to be proven wrong.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 15 John Carroll at No. 1 Mount Union. As said on the podcast, only wish it were later in the season.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 15 John Carroll at No. 1 Mount Union. The only game between ranked opponents; a heated rivalry between the two best teams in one of the nation’s best conferences.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 15 John Carroll at No. 1 Mount Union. No way to buck the trend here, even if voters have JCU higher than I do (20). To me, Mount Union punches its playoff ticket with a win here.
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Greg’s take: No. 15 John Carroll at No. 1 Mount Union.It isn’t too early to call this a de facto OAC championship game. The Streaks pose the last legitimate threat to Mount Union until late November.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 24 Franklin & Marshall. If the Diplomats survive Susquehanna, they’ve got Muhlenberg and Johns Hopkins next.
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Ryan’s take: No. 22 Wheaton. Millikin has been my sleeper team since the preseason. Here’s their first big test.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 20 RPI. There’s less of a chance for any losses this week, but Keith shamed me into having to pick someone.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 17 Berry. The Vikings keep proving me wrong, but a road game at Centre is yet another stiff SAA test. Win this, and I won’t pick against them again.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 17 Berry. Centre has been beating opponents handily, but Berry has not for the last two weeks. At Centre, this almost feels like a “gimme.”
Guest
Greg’s take: No. 17 Berry. Centre is red-hot and the Vikings are going on the road to play under the lights. This one has upset warning signs all over the place.

Who will allow more points this week than they have all season? (NESCAC excluded)

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Keith’s take: Augustana. IWU put up 31 on UW-La Crosse and 24 on Wheaton, so I think they can surpass 7 here.
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Ryan’s take: Belhaven. The Blazers haven’t yet faced an opponent as skilled at finding the end zone as ETBU.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Grinnell. With 20 points allowed in two games, the Pioneers travel to St. Norbert.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Augustana. The Vikings have allowed just seven points, but face IWU, which has averaged 27.5 points per game against stiff competition.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Texas Lutheran. 14 points in two games. And then UMHB comes to town, having scored 159 points to two games. Actually, this is the “gimme” pick.
Guest
Greg’s take: Texas Lutheran. The question here is really when UMHB eclipses TLU’s season points allowed total of 14. I say by the end of the first quarter.

Which game are you following that nobody else on this panel is following?

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Keith’s take: Albright at Widener. Teams that haven’t been so low as .500 since 2010 come in each 0-3. Somebody wins.
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Ryan’s take: Carthage at Washington U. Last week was tough, but I’d like to see how the Bears perform in Game 2 of their new conference.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Dean vs. Becker. Dean isn’t eligible for the playoffs yet, but their 0-3 is better than Becker’s 0-3.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Augsburg at St. Olaf. The Oles could improve to 4-0, equaling last year’s win total. The program won just six games total from 2013 through 2016.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Lycoming at FDU-Florham. In fact, I’ll be in attendance. Hear more about this game from me in today’s ATN Podcast.
Guest
Greg’s take: Carthage at Washington U. After a respectable CCIW debut against North Central, I’m curious to see if the Bears can get a league win against a team that took UW-Oshkosh to the wire.

Neither Kean nor Minnesota-Morris has scored this season. Who will score more this week?

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Keith’s take: Minnesota-Morris. It’s a coin flip. Both Cougars offenses might get right against an 0-3 opponent this week.
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Ryan’s take: Kean. The Cougars’ first two opponents were much tougher than Southern Virginia will prove to be.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Kean. I wrote this question to have no easy answer and then spent way too long trying to pick a set of Cougars.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Kean. Southern Virginia is 0-3 and has allowed 27.3 ppg. The Cougars will finally get on the scoreboard and maybe even the win column.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Kean. But this may be by a whisker, with both playing winless teams.
Guest
Greg’s take: Kean. This question is for the really serious D-III die-hards.

Which unlikely 3-0 team falls to 3-1 this week?

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Keith’s take: Millsaps. Against 2-1 Sewanee. Even the “surprise” 3-0 teams (Marietta, Kalamazoo, St. Olaf) weren’t “unlikely,” so it was either this or Rowan.
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Ryan’s take: Rowan. Against a ranked team like Frostburg, the Profs will fall.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Marietta. The stadium might not be underwater but ONU will slow right by the Pioneers.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Rowan. The Profs have to face No. 6 Frostburg State on the road. The Bobcats will be hungry to get back to dominating opponents.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Ursinus. After Moravian was side-swiped by Johns Hopkins, the Greyhounds will race circles around Ursinus on Saturday.
Guest
Greg’s take: FDU-Florham. A surprise leader of the MAC, the Devils’ bid to go 4-0 for the first time since 1988 (yes I did Google that) gets denied by Lycoming.

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