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Quick Hits Week 1: Ready, set, go!

Welcome to Quick Hits 2019! If you’ve just discovered us, this is where we get together six Division III writers and observers to give you their takes on where the best games are each week, which ranked teams are on upset alert, and many other rotating categories throughout the season.  Without further delay, here are our first set of Hits for 2019!

Our regular crew is Keith McMillan, Ryan Tipps, Pat Coleman, Adam Turer, Frank Rossi and Greg Thomas.

— Greg Thomas

Which game is the Game of the Week?

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Keith’s take: No. 18 Wittenberg at No. 21 W&J. There are better teams in action, but no matchup that already has these playoff implications. Its winner files away a potential future win over regionally ranked opponent, and the loser’s Pool C hopes are already shot.
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Ryan’s take: No. 6 Johns Hopkins at No. 24 Randolph Macon. The 2018 postseason Cinderellas: one for its deep run, the other for its epic upset. We’re all eager to see what they bring for 2019.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 18 Wittenberg at No. 21 W&J. At least one of these rankings is wrong, and we’ll know by sundown on Saturday.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 18 Wittenberg at No. 21 Washington and Jefferson. I always get excited for and appreciate Week 1 games that could just as easily be Week 13 or 14 games. Kudos to both teams for taking on the challenge.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 6 Johns Hopkins at No. 24 Randolph Macon. Emotion for Hopkins without Jim Margraff on #d3fb Opening Night in a battle of Top 25 teams – it’ll be a big night.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 18 Wittenberg at No. 21 W&J.  These are the second and third winningest teams all time in Division III with over 1,500 wins between them. The winner has a great chance at banking a regionally ranked win which will come in handy in about 11 weeks.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 13 Brockport. Hobart is tough at home, but this is about seeing how the Golden Eagles replace the seven all-Region players it lost. Is Brockport a reload program?.
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Ryan’s take: No. 19 RPI. Two teams on different trajectories: RPI graduated a huge number of starters, and Allegheny has lots coming back to upset the Engineer apple cart.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 10 Bethel. It would be unethical of me to say more, however.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Aurora defeats No. 25 St. Norbert. Don Beebe’s head coaching debut is a memorable one.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 17 John Carroll (by UW-Stevens Point). Honestly, it’s unlikely we see any upsets, but this is the one I feel least sure about.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 20 Centre. Hanover has 20 starters back from a conference championship team. Centre is going to have a lot of debutantes. Experience can carry the Panthers to a win.

Which team in Kickoff’s bottom 25 will start 2019 with a win?

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Keith’s take: No. 232 Alvernia. This one could go either way and I’d be right, but I think the Golden Wolves win in Washington against No. 235 Gallaudet.
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Ryan’s take: No. 235 Gallaudet. Granted they’re playing a team only three spots removed, yet the Bison have more than half their starters back and won’t fall off as much as some predict.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 235 Gallaudet. The Bison lost in Alvernia’s first-ever football game last fall, but Alvernia still has lots of lineup questions to answer in Year 2.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: The winner of No. 238 Cornell vs No. 248 Iowa Wesleyan. I’ll put my faith in the Rams.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 235 Gallaudet (vs. Alvernia). Assuming the game gets played, the return of senior QB Timel Benton from injury will help the Bison win Game 1.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 240 Kenyon. The Lords are headed to the nation’s capital with a 26-game losing streak, but a whole new energy under new head coach James Rosenbury. Kenyon is going to pay this long road trip off with a win.

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

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Keith’s take: Concordia-Moorhead at UW-La Crosse. These two play insane schedules already, and then lined one another up for a Week 1 doozy.
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Ryan’s take: Southwestern at Sewanee. The Pirates are stacked on defense and have school-record potential this season, while the Tigers don’t struggle the way they used to in games. A very fun opener to watch!.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Buena Vista at Hamline. The Thursday night opener comes to the Twin Cities, so I’ll be there, after work, that is.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Guilford at Huntingdon. The teams combined for 106 points last year in a game that didn’t count. Lightning forced the offensive onslaught to be called a no contest. The rematch could be just as high scoring and will hopefully enter the record books.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 14 Delaware Valley at Kean. What seems like a gimme-game for DelVal could be interesting as they adjust to life without Darden.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: Redlands at George Fox. The Bulldogs begin their NWC gauntlet this week. Head coach Mike Maynard is sitting on 197 career wins and could set up a shot at win number 200 when Redlands hosts Linfield in two weeks.

Which 2018 playoff team starts 2019 on the wrong foot?

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Keith’s take: Hanover, which won the HCAC in Week 11 last season, gets a Week 1 visit from No. 20 Centre this year. :eek emoji:.
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Ryan’s take: No. 21 Washington & Jefferson. This will be a good year for Wittenberg (despite a noticeable gap on offense) as well as a return to the playoffs. W&J has a tough outing to avoid starting 2019 the way it ended in Round 1 of 2018.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 25 St. Norbert (at Aurora). This is another upset possibility, for sure.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Hanover. The Panthers were a surprising 2018 playoff participant and face a tall task against No. 20 Centre. The Colonels needed a fourth quarter rally to eke past the Panthers in last year’s opener, but the offense should come out of the gates hotter in 2019.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: MIT (vs. Carnegie Mellon). The Battle of the Brains could go to CMU as both teams replace graduated QBs.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: Denison. The Big Red are entering the post-Gebele era, while Ohio Northern welcomes back 2017 All-American running back Christiaan Williams. The Polar Bears are going to be a big challenge for a team trying to stay on top of the NCAC.

Who has the most successful head coaching debut?

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Keith’s take: Wes Beschorner at UW-Eau Claire. There could be a ton of points scored when Beschorner, a former offensive star and whiz assistant, gets a visit from Loras.
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Ryan’s take: Mike Barainyak at Widener. The Pride haven’t been in the MAC discussion for several years — now a fresh and positive approach, coupled with lots of veterans returners, will change that against Rowan.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Jason Aubry, Concordia-Chicago. In the battle of new head coaches, taking CUC over Beloit.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Greg Chimera, Johns Hopkins. The aforementioned Beebe isn’t the only rookie head coach with a chance to knock off a ranked opponent. Chimera will lead his alma mater to victory in his debut, knocking off No. 24 Randolph-Macon.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Mike Barainyak (Widener). After the 2018 “Blame Google” debacle, the Pride seniors get their first win against Rowan with more cohesion internally.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: Greg Chimera, Johns Hopkins. Judging against expectations, other first time head coaches are likely to have more impressive wins this weekend.  This first game without Jim Margraff, however, is going to mean just a little bit more to Chimera and the Blue Jay community.

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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Quick Hits: Welcome to the season

Thirty-one teams didn’t start their season with the rest of us last week, and while 10 of those are from the NESCAC and would just never play in Week 1 and one was Occidental, which played a game against a Mexican team, basically the rest are getting on the field this week for the first time.

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 Ryan Carlson, former defensive end at Linfield, producer of any awesome Linfield football video you’ve seen in the past decade or so, and 2018 inductee into the school’s hall of fame.

— Pat Coleman

Which game is Week 2’s game of the week?

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Keith’s take: Concordia-Moorhead at No. 12 UW-Whitewater. Both are in the top 18 on my ballot.
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Ryan’s take: UW-La Crosse at No. 21 Illinois Wesleyan. I think a lot of people are curious about how good UW-L is.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 10 Hardin-Simmons at Trinity (Texas). Trinity pounded McMurry last week, but this is the much more difficult Abilene opponent.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Concordia-Moorhead at UWW. The Warhawks looked like the UWW of old in Week 1 and have a prove-it game in Week 2.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Concordia-Moorhead at UWW. The Cobbers have remained a consistent team over the last six years and can play UWW with a “nothing to lose” approach.
Ryan Carlson
Ryan’s take: Concordia-Moorhead at UWW. I was going to pick Macalester at Hamline just to give my guy Adam Johnson a thrill but that might hurt my “tremendous” amount of credibility.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to be upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 18 Johns Hopkins. Susquehanna led by 10 at the start of the fourth last year, and is at home this time.
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Ryan’s take: No. 18 Johns Hopkins. Susquehanna looked too good last week to gloss over them.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 21 Illinois Wesleyan. This is one spot where the preseason poll and my ballot diverge fairly significantly.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 21 Illinois Wesleyan. UW-La Crosse is determined to keep its momentum from 2017 going, and a non-conference win over a ranked opponent on the road would be the next step.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 24 RPI. RPI struggled early against Allegheny, and with the Transit Trophy on the line, WPI could surprise some folks.
Ryan Carlson
Ryan’s take: No. 21 Illinois Wesleyan. However, UWO is playing a second year D-II and had some struggles last weekend but would losing to a D-II really be called an upset?

Which team making its debut in Week 2 will wish it had a game under its belt?

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Keith’s take: Kean. Springfield rushed for 445 yards last week, although maybe the Cougars have had an extra week to drill triple option.
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Ryan’s take: DePauw. At least they don’t have to go on the road to play Central.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: William Paterson. What might have seemed like an achievable game in Dustin Johnson’s coaching debut changed when FDU beat TCNJ.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Texas Lutheran. Opening the season against Hendrix QB Miles Thompson is no easy task. Last year, Thompson carved up the Bulldogs for 433 yards and four TDs.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Kean. Springfield got its offense humming in Week 1, meaning the Kean defense will have a tough task right of the bat.
Ryan Carlson
Ryan’s take: Linfield. I fully believe that Linfield is going to go out to Carroll College and win, but the Saints already have two games in. That just makes the challenge that much greater.

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

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Keith’s take: Hope at Defiance. In this dictionary-words matchup, eager to see step Matsakis’ (hired July 26) Yellow Jackets take after rough first week.
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Ryan’s take: Hendrix at Texas Lutheran. A good one between teams legitimately eyeing conference titles.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Lawrence at Carleton. I’ll be spending another Saturday off the beaten path, but I love all of D-III.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 7 North Central at Lake Forest. Because I’ll be there in person to see how these two teams are replacing production of their respective 2017 all-conference running backs.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Union at Coast Guard. Both teams were supposed to beat their Maine opponents last week. We’ll learn a lot about both as this game could go either way.
Ryan Carlson
Ryan’s take: Macalester … naw, Pacific Lutheran at Cal Lutheran. This the Lutes’ first game without a Westering as head coach since 1971. I just want to know if PLU is still going to do their ridiculous pregame warmup.

Who will bounce back from a Week 1 blowout and win?

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Keith’s take: Guilford. I like the Quakers hosting Methodist; oh wait, that Week 1 game never happened. 😉
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Ryan’s take: Allegheny. The Gators’ turnaround begins Saturday.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Stevenson. I’m not sure that the Mustangs are MAC contenders but I like their chances vs. Bridgewater.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Rose-Hulman. The Fightin’ Engineers took a 54-0 beating from the defending champs. A home game against Rhodes is a lot different than a road game against Mount Union.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Hobart. Hobart didn’t quit against Brockport in a lopsided affair. I think that spirit will lend to a victory vs. a decent Morrisville State team.
Ryan Carlson
Ryan’s take: Delaware Valley.The Aggies should take care of business against Mass-Dartmouth but the Corsairs have a linebacker named Tony Slaughter and that is outstanding.

Which team will surprisingly be 2-0 after Saturday?

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Keith’s take: Lawrence. Rekindling a rivalry with Carleton, Vikings have a chance for first 2-0 start since, well, farther than our site goes back (1998).
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Ryan’s take: N.C. Wesleyan. Poised for another after already taking down Thomas More.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Sewanee. Yes, this means this is a bit of an upset pick as well.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: SUNY-Maritime. The Privateers had a very late coaching change this summer, but appear to be picking up where they left off after a nine-win 2017 season.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: FDU-Florham. The Devils won 12 games in the prior seven seasons.  A 2-0 start will be a unique position for them.
Ryan Carlson
Ryan’s take: Macalester. 

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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ATN Podcast 193: Spring is here

We are deep in the Division III football offseason. It’s already been more than 90 days since we crowned Mount Union national championship and it’s more than five months before we restart. 

Spring practice is getting started, at least in warmer climates, and there are still some open coaching positions and some 2018 schedules left to finalize. We’re curious about what the Stagg Bowl will look like in 2018, and as it turns out, the NCAA committee is waiting to hear some details as well.

On this edition of the D3football.com Around the Nation podcast, we chat with new Washington & Lee coach Garrett LeRose  (@coachlerose on Twitter) about taking over the position as a 2007 grad of W&L. Lake Forest coach Jim Catanzaro (@LFC_Football) chats both about his program and his position on the football NCAA committee, including how they make the last at-large picks and what we might expect at the Stagg Bowl in Shenandoah, Texas. And we chat with Allegheny coach B.J. Hammer (@CoachBJHammer) about rebuilding that once-proud program, the 1990 Division III national champion, as well as what he learned from his last head-coaching job.

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:

d3photography.com, Washington & Lee, Allegheny photos
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