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Quick Hits: All the marbles

This is it — the last regular-season weekend of the season. Maybe there’s snow on the ground where you are. Maybe you have a bitter rival coming to town and an epic tailgate with old friends — well, that’s what Quick Hits is like for us, too. Our regular crew is Keith McMillan, Ryan Tipps, Pat Coleman, Adam Turer and Frank Rossi. Our sixth spot each week goes to a guest prognosticator, and this week’s is Greg Thomas, our bracketology guru. He’ll be joining us through the playoffs as well, when Quick Hits shifts to predicting the final score of each game.
Photo: File photo from 2017 Shoes game, by Mick Neal, RPI athletics

— Pat Coleman

What will be the Week 11 Game of the Week?

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Keith’s take: No. 25 Baldwin Wallace at No. 8 John Carroll/No. 9 St. Thomas at No. 22 Bethel. Both games match 8-1 teams; winners should be first at-large teams in field, losers’ seasons are over.
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Ryan’s take: Thomas More at No. 4 St. John’s. After the way their season began, the Saints should be stoked they’re still so relevant to the conversation.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 25 Baldwin Wallace at No. 8 John Carroll. Not only does it have all the playoff implications, but it’s a bona fide local rivalry as well.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 9 St. Thomas at No. 22 Bethel. A rivalry game with a playoff berth at stake. Nothing better in Week 11.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Salisbury at No. 6 Frostburg State. It’s the NJAC championship, and a Pool C bid could be taken from a bubble team if Salisbury wins. Hear more about it in today’s ATN Gameday Podcast.
Guest
Greg’s take: St. Thomas at Bethel. There are many good games, but this is a Top 25 showdown and a de facto elimination game between two teams that have the chops to make deep tournament runs.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 6 Frostburg State. Not because the Bobcats are vulnerable so much as their Regents Cup opponent, 8-1 Salisbury, has had a great defense and running game all year.
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Ryan’s take: No. 11 Berry. The Vikings may be sailing high right now, but Trinity has already shown this year that they can hold their own against tough competition.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 24 Linfield. Wildcats’ scare last week might give Pacific something on tape to work with.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 14 RPI. The resurgence of the Dutchmen has revitalized the Shoes rivalry. The Engineers have already clinched the LL title. Union could pull off the upset.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 11 Berry. Berry has won the SAA already, so how the Vikings will approach the game at Trinity (Texas) will be interesting. Remember, Trinity challenged HSU earlier this season.
Guest
Greg’s take: No. 14 RPI. This game is actually pretty even on paper and I believe QH is contractually obligated to have one panelist pick RPI to be upset.

Which rivalry game will have the closest score?

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Keith’s take: Dutchman Shoes. Almost all of them look like tight matchups. Union and RPI have already played one-point games; what’s one more?
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Ryan’s take: The Secretaries Cup. Coast Guard’s resurgence this year has added some new life to the annual game against Merchant Marine — and could shake up the NEWMAC significantly.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: The Game. It wouldn’t be a “Game” between Randolph-Macon and Hampden-Sydney if it didn’t have some grinding and a little bitterness to boot.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Monon Bell. The last two meetings were decided by a total of four points. DePauw will keep it close against No. 20 Wabash, trying to avoid its first losing season since 2013.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Dutchman Shoes. RPI has won more with great defense in close games this year. I think this game lines up the same way.
Guest
Greg’s take: Cortaca Jug. This game looks like a low scoring grinder to me with a single point keeping the winner’s tournament hopes alive into Selection Sunday.

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

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Keith’s take: Alvernia at UNE. Both first-year programs have a win, but the Wolves haven’t scored since a garbage-time TD Oct. 13, and the Nor’Easters have been outscored by 117 since their win a week earlier.
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Ryan’s take: N.C. Wesleyan at Maryville. Even with a loss, the Scots are in the playoffs, but if they do lose, it’s worth noting that Google Maps has them at 485 miles from Alliance, Ohio.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Maine Maritime at Catholic. Just to hope that the alma mater doesn’t finish 0-10 this year. Go Cards!
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Shenandoah at Washington & Lee. I doubt anyone else is interested to see if my alma mater can win at least six games for the fourth straight year, a feat not accomplished since back when Garret LeRose and I were playing for the Generals.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Coast Guard at Merchant Marine. More than 600 votes determined that I’d attend the Secretaries Cup Game between these two service academies. The Mariners even have a potential playoff bid still alive.
Guest
Greg’s take: Berry at Trinity (Texas).Berry has already clinched and Trinity isn’t in the playoff picture but a Berry loss here could significantly impact the playoff fortunes of Centre, Hardin-Simmons, and Muhlenberg. All the pieces matter.

Which team plays its way in or out of a home playoff game?

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Keith’s take: North Central, in. Based on its result against Millikin, NCC has the widest range of outcomes; winnable home game in Round 1 or season over. I’ll guess the former.
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Ryan’s take: Baldwin Wallace, out. I’m guessing that the matchup with JCU is someone’s game of the week, and I think BW will be out and JCU a shoo-in for Pool C after Saturday.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: St. Thomas, in. Despite the fact that Bethel looked better against St. John’s, the Royals don’t have Jackson Erdmann at QB to test Tommie DBs.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 25 Baldwin Wallace. With a win over John Carroll, the Yellow Jackets would get in via Pool C and likely host a first round game. A loss to JCU not only means no home game, but likely no playoff appearance at all.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Frostburg State. If the Bobcats lose, they could still win a Pool C bid but drop below fourth in the East because of a lack of regionally ranked opponents in their profile.
Guest
Greg’s take: John Carroll. The Streaks are a lock for an at-large bid and a home game with a win against Baldwin Wallace. A loss, and the Streaks are most likely done for 2018.

Pick a random Week 11 game and give it a trophy name.

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Keith’s take: Tufts at Middlebury. Most of the season-ending games in the NESCAC are longstanding rivalries. This is what … the Tuftlebury Classic?
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Ryan’s take: Olivet at Albion. The Six-Letter Shuffle — or — The MIAA Founder’s Faceoff.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Alma at Finlandia, for the 445 Mile Marker Trophy. Finlandia is in the same state as almost everyone else in the MIAA, but it’s hideously far. Alma is its closest MIAA opponent, at 445 miles.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Pacific at No. 24 Linfield. The Mass Hysteria Bowl. Dogs and cats living together! No human sacrifice, please. (Yes, I know Boxer the mascot isn’t technically a dog.)
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Alvernia at University of New England, for The 2018 Debut Supremacy Cup.
Guest
Greg’s take: Benedictine vs. Concordia-Chicago, for the I-88 Trophy.The Chicagoland rivals square off for a trophy which doesn’t actually exist yet as it is perpetually under construction.

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 200: What people don’t want to admit

We are getting back into the flow in the D3football.com Around the Nation Podcast. This is the 200th edition of this podcast, entering its 12th season, and Pat and Keith use it to run down the Week 1 games. Plus, we use it as a way to get into talking about a couple of uncomfortable subjects — there are two possibilities about the 2018 season that people seem afraid to admit, and Pat and Keith attack them head-on.

D3football.com staffer Gordon Mann was at Wesley’s opener and talked with Chip Knapp afterward. Pat saw four games this weekend (no, really) and talks about his trip, plus talks with a player who picked off three passes. In all, the guys hand out their game balls, talk about the teams rising and falling in the poll, find highlights off the beaten path and pick out the big numbers of the week. Plus, what happened this weekend that could make the podcast go channel Allen Iverson?

That and more on our Week 1 Monday 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:

UW-Platteville file photo
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

Bonus content: Here’s the 1999 Bridgewater-Johns Hopkins game Pat mentioned in the podcast.

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Quick Hits: Welcome to 2018

Quick Hits returns for the 2018 season! If you’re new to Division III football or D3football.com, this is our weekly predictions page. We assemble a crew of a half-dozen Division III football writers and observers and give you the best take on what the best games are, which ranked team is most likely to get upset, and a variety of other categories. Six six-packs of opinions ought to cover you!

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 former Thomas More quarterback Kevin Niehus.

— Pat Coleman (Westminster, Pa., athletics photo by Jason Kapusta)

What’s this week’s Game of the Week?

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Keith’s take: No. 17 Delaware Valley at No. 9 Wesley. There are lots of tempting matchups, but Del Val at Wesley is the only clash of Top 25 teams, and it should be highly emotional.
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Ryan’s take: Delaware Valley at Wesley. More than a Top 25 matchup, it’s a look at the new man at the Wolverines’ helm.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Delaware Valley at Wesley. I’ll be more clever later in the rundown and later in the season, but this one is obvious.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Delaware Valley at Wesley. Getting back on the field should be cathartic for the Wolverines.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Hobart at No. 6 Brockport. A lot of changes for Hobart, a team that has been uncharacteristically quiet. Brockport’s young O-Line could mean a close important matchup.

Kevin’s take: Delaware Valley at Wesley. An emotional first game in Dover between two playoff-level programs.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 8 Frostburg State, by Stevenson. Couldn’t talk myself into Westminster, UW-Stout, ETBU or Hobart.
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Ryan’s take: No. 15 Washington and Jefferson. St. John Fisher is poised to sneak up on some folks after a dismal 2017.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 14 Wittenberg, by Westminster (Pa.). Wittenberg wants this credit for playing this opponent; I’m not penciling in a W.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 19 Johns Hopkins. Randolph-Macon returns a ton of starters. Plus, I had a dream this week that R-MC won this game.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 15 Washington and Jefferson. Fisher wants to rebound, and what better way than at home against a W&J team that might underestimate them.

Kevin’s take: None. The closest game will be W&J at St. John Fisher.

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

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Keith’s take: Adrian at Ohio Northern. The Emmanuel Stewart feature in Kickoff ’18 has me eyeing this game with interest.
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Ryan’s take: Emory & Henry at Ferrum. My wife’s alma mater gets new life as an ODAC member, plus this is a big rivalry game.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Anderson at North Park. In this case, literally, as the last game of four I’ll see this week.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: George Fox at Redlands. Because I’ll be driving back from the beach all day and won’t be able to watch anything earlier.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Western New England at Springfield. The Pynchon SAW game between two 2017 conference champs with some major losses to graduation will prove to be an interesting opener.

Kevin’s take: George Fox at Redlands. In a game between teams forecasted to each win 7 games it’s a matchup of defense (George Fox) vs efficient QB and Redlands offense.

Which new program has the better debut?

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Keith’s take: Alvernia, with a home opener, against a program that’s won seven games the past four seasons.
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Ryan’s take: Alvernia. Opponent Gallaudet has yet to break out of a five-year slump.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Alvernia. Not enough to win but enough to get a little confidence early on.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Alvernia. The Golden Wolves have a home game, plus two more days of preparation than University of New England.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Alvernia. The Golden Wolves are hosting a team that struggled in 2017, setting them up for a chance for a big crowd and a potential win.

Kevin’s take: Alvernia. With nine QBs and 13 RBs among their numbers, the Golden Wolves will be athletic.

Who has a long, disappointing trip home?

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Keith’s take: La Verne could be competitive at Whitworth, but it’s a trek back to SoCal from Spokane.
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Ryan’s take: Denison. Opponent Southwestern is going to be particularly tough this season.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Husson. It’s a long trip from Husson to anywhere, including back to Maine after a loss at Union.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Denison. Southwestern returns the favor to the Big Red in year two of this rare Ohio-Texas matchup.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Husson. With graduation of John Smith, the ultimate difference maker last year, Husson may see their regular season winning streak snapped.

Kevin’s take: Sounds like John Carroll could be a candidate based upon the Case Western Reserve scrimmage.

Whose head coaching debut are you most interested in?

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Keith’s take: WNE’s Jason LeBeau gets a challenge from a rival coming off a 10-win season in his head-coaching debut.
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Ryan’s take: Trevor Stellman at Thomas More. Will be interested from Week 1 through their final days in D-III.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Defiance’s Manny Matsakis. Having only just met his team when camp started, this is a challenge.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Garrett LeRose. My former teammate is now the head coach of our alma mater (W&L). I’m proud and excited to see what he accomplishes.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Chad Martinovich at University of Rochester. He left academic-minded MIT for academic-minded U of R. Can he turn them around like MIT, starting with a tough Case?

Kevin’s take: Trevor Stellman, Thomas More. Are the Saints good enough to play spoiler on their way to Pool B during their D3 curtain call?

We invite you to add your predictions in the comments below. Download the Monday Around the Nation podcast to wrap up the week that was, and the Friday Around the Nation podcast, where Pat and Keith review the Quick Hits that were prescient, and the Quick Misses that were terribly off base.