It’s been such a long week in Division III football, but game day is finally here. (Apologies to Guilford, Catholic and Randolph-Macon.) Our regular crew for picking games 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 broadcaster and longtime friend of the site John McGraw, who is broadcasting Hamilton football this weekend.
— Pat Coleman
Photo: Defensive lineman Mike Williams for W&J, by Martin Santek Photography
Which game is the Week 3 game of the week?
Keith’s take: Redlands at No. 11 Linfield. The Bulldogs’ second trip to the Pacific NW could prevent a third in the postseason.
Ryan’s take: No. 12 Wheaton at Illinois Wesleyan. Last year, IWU’s win shook up the conference race — and perceptions — big time.
Pat’s take: Carnegie Mellon at No. 15 W&J. Lots of quality games this week — I like that this is the first solid test for each of these teams.
Adam’s take: No. 18 Berry at Rhodes. The SAA has impressed in non-conference play and the Lynx could serve notice that this race is wide open.
Frank’s take: Redlands at No. 11 Linfield. Was Linfield’s loss to a middling NAIA team a fluke, or are the Wildcats taking a step backward? Playing 2-0 Redlands could help answer this.
John’s take: No. 12 Wheaton at Illinois Wesleyan.Two of the preseason favorites in the CCIW not named North Central go head-to-head under the lights.
Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?
Keith’s take: No. 6 Frostburg seems upset that its home game vs. CNU is canceled. (And Rhodes could beat No. 18 Berry).
Ryan’s take: No. 6 Frostburg State. They, along with CNU, are “upset” that they won’t be playing on Saturday.
Pat’s take: No. 21 RPI. Going to take a flier here vs. Utica. If nothing else, really think Ithaca should be ranked from LL, not RPI.
Adam’s take: No. 18 Berry. Rhodes dual-threat quarterback PJ Settles has accounted for 524 yards through two games while the Lynx defense has held opponents to 448 yards.
Frank’s take: No. 25 Springfield. The teams have split their last ten matchups with five wins apiece. Union’s air attack looks legit, so it’s a real test for the Pride on both sides of the ball.
John’s take: No. 16 UW-Platteville. Started slow in week 1 against ETBU. Another slow start could doom them against TMC.
Pick a home team to win a NESCAC game.
Keith’s take: Wesleyan. Hosting Middlebury, the Cardinals are the only team Kickoff ’18 picked to finish top half of NESCAC that’s home.
Ryan’s take: Hamilton. Even if I’m wrong, with the starters returning for both Hamilton and Tufts, this should be a good one.
Pat’s take: Hamilton. Wesleyan is the “easy pick” but I am taking a flier on Dave Murray moving the needle in his fifth year in charge.
Adam’s take: Wesleyan. The Cardinals’ fourth quarter rally came up short at Middlebury last year. The home team gets revenge to open the 2018 season.
Frank’s take: Wesleyan. The home team won last year, 30-27. Flip the script for Wesleyan’s hosting duties this year.
John’s take: Hamilton. While Tufts has one of the stronger offenses in the NESCAC behind dual-threat QB Ryan McDonald, the Jumbos have holes to fill on defense.
Which game are you following that nobody else on this panel is following?
Keith’s take: Maine Maritime at Mass. Maritime. The 46th Admiral’s Cup features teams that lost openers by four scores (or, by 28 and 30).
Ryan’s take: Muhlenberg at Susquehanna. The River Hawks are the newest entries on my ballot, and this is another stiff test.
Pat’s take: McMurry at Howard Payne. Teams have lost by a combined score of 116-9 so far and interested to see them face more even matches.
Adam’s take: Southwestern at East Texas Baptist. Y’all like offense? These offenses have collectively averaged 41 points per game. Expect a speedy back-and-forth shootout.
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.
We’re under a week from Selection Sunday. Only seven automatic bids are still up for grabs, and most will be really hard to pry away from the favorites. But what if both Washington & Jefferson and Case Western Reserve run the table? What if Widener upsets Delaware Valley? What if (insert your scenario here)? You can find out more in this week’s D3football.com Around the Nation podcast.
This weekend is all about who will clinch automatic bids, on top of all the things that typically go on in a Division III football weekend. Our Quick Hits crew predicts clinchers, Top 25 upsets, conference upsets and teams that will go into the offseason on a high note. 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 Patrick Bohn, an Ithaca grad who posts as Bomber798891 on D3boards.com.
— Pat Coleman
What’s Week 10’s Game of the Week?
Keith’s take: No. 25 Salisbury at No. 13 Wesley. Route 13 Rivalry pits two of NJAC’s three 7-1 teams, which gives it conference title and playoff implications.
Ryan’s take: No. 25 Salisbury at No. 13 Wesley. The Route 13 Rivalry is rarely one to disappoint. Honorable mention: WNE at Curry.
Pat’s take: Alfred at No. 10 Brockport. I think this game will be telling about the shift in the balance of the force in the E8.
Adam’s take: Union vs. Ithaca. Two first-year head coaches shaking up the Liberty League and two teams with plenty to play for.
Frank’s take: No. 25 Salisbury at No. 13 Wesley. A Wesley win gives Wolverines NJAC. A Salisbury win could take NJAC out of Pool C contention.
Patrick’s take: No. 25 Salisbury at No. 13 Wesley. These two teams have played (mostly) competitive games over the past few years, and both bring stout defenses to the table.
Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?
Keith’s take: No. 16 Case Western Reserve. Westminster (Pa.) has six- and one-point losses to 8-0 teams. CWRU loss would help Pool C hopefuls.
Ryan’s take: No. 21 George Fox. If Pacific Lutheran’s performance against Linfield last week is any indication.
Pat’s take: No. 20 UW-Plattevile. Because Keith will want me to pick someone, even though this would hardly be an upset.
Adam’s take: No. 16 Case Western Reserve. Westminster (Pa.) is the most underrated two-loss team in the country, losing by a total of seven to unbeatens Wittenberg and Washington & Jefferson.
Frank’s take: No. 21 George Fox. Last week was a reminder that Pacific Lutheran is still a threat. They finish the deal this week.
Patrick’s take: No. 9 North Central. Carthage nearly pulled off the upset at Illinois Wesleyan, so the Cardinals should be on the lookout.
Name a team outside the Top 25 which will clinch a bid this weekend.
Keith’s take: Huntingdon (vs. Methodist). Since a Week 1 loss to Guilford, USAC’s Hawks have averaged 37.4 points per game.
Ryan’s take: Lakeland. The Muskies hold the tiebreaker over the two teams with one NACC loss.
Pat’s take: Trine. For that to happen this weekend, Trine must beat Alma and another game must go Trine’s way.
Adam’s take: Huntingdon. The Hawks will clinch the USA South, and will be a popular Quick Hit pick for the second straight week.
Frank’s take: Husson (vs. Alfred State). One of the bigger geography challenges for the NCAA selection committee will be back once again in the Pool of 32.
Patrick’s take: Franklin. The Grizzlies should light up the scoreboard against Anderson and easily clinch the HCAC auto-bid.
How many points will be scored, total, in the Montclair State-Rowan game?
Keith’s take: 24.
Ryan’s take: 31. A trick question since these two teams have played the best in the NJAC in recent outings, and the scoreboard reflected that.
Pat’s take: 22. Only because to say “3” seems harsh.
Adam’s take: 29. More than the 27 total that the Profs have scored during their five-game losing streak.
Frank’s take: 17.
Patrick’s take: 25. Both teams have good kickers, so I’m betting on six field goals and one touchdown.
What team will end the season this week on a high note?
Keith’s take: Thomas More. Saints get win No. 6 against Thiel, but last season in the PAC a disappointment.
Ryan’s take: Mount St. Joseph. Sure, last year’s game vs. Defiance came down to the wire, but recent history is on the Lions’ side.
Pat’s take: Simpson. A win vs. Nebraska Wesleyan, makes the Storm 6-4, three games better than 2016. (Plus they won’t help IWU’s and Concordia’s SOS.)
Adam’s take: Thomas More. The Saints will win their fifth in a row, finish above .500 for the tenth straight season, and send retiring coach Regis Scafe off with a victory.
Frank’s take: Mount St. Joseph. After combining with Franklin to score 105 points in a loss last week, the Lions roar at home to close out their season.
Patrick’s take: Northwestern. The Eagles’ season may have been a disappointment, but they’ll head into the offseason — and send fans home happy — on a four-game winning streak with a win over Crown.
Pick a winner in a conference upset outside the Top 25.
Keith’s take: Ithaca, vs. Union. The Bombers’ 5-3 mark has come against tougher opposition (.559 to .521 SoS) than the Dutchmen’s 7-1, and it will show.
Ryan’s take: MacMurray over St. Scholastica. No doubt Eureka is rooting for this outcome.
Pat’s take: Adrian over Olivet. This is that other result Trine needs to clinch the MIAA this week. Adrian is a misleading 3-5.
Adam’s take: Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. The Stags might steal a win from Chapman, but the Panthers already have the conference title and playoff berth.
Frank’s take: Martin Luther. After a win that looked to potentially seal the UMAC for Eureka last week, the Knights have a chance to catch the Red Devils napping.
Patrick’s take: Utica. A tough Pioneers defense catches Cortland — who were stunned by St. John Fisher last week — looking ahead to Cortaca.
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.