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Quick Hits: Games to keep an eye on

Lots of eyes on Iowa, where the first automatic bid of the season could be clinched, as well as on Indiana, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. But also, perhaps there’s something in Connecticut to note, or Oregon, or Washington (D.C., that is). 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 Doug Samuels. A former Division III football player at Defiance, Doug is currently a high school coach and is also content manager for FootballScoop.

— Pat Coleman

Which Week 9 game is the game of the week?

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Keith’s take: Dubuque at No. 19 Wartburg. No no-brainer this week. Let’s see how Knights look vs. toughest opponent since the opener.
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Ryan’s take: No. 13 Wittenberg at Wabash. Few young rivalries have this level of intensity to them.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: UW-La Crosse at No. 9 UW-Platteville. La Crosse showed last week it has multiple capable QBs, much like UWP.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 13 Wittenberg at Wabash. Doubtful the Tigers can repeat last week’s dominance, but another win could pretty much clinch the NCAC title..
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 14 Wesley at Montclair State. With the Salisbury showdown awaiting Wesley, this feels like a trap game. Not saying Wesley loses, but I think it could be closer than expected.
Guest
Doug’s take: No. 13 Wittenberg at Wabash. The Little Giants lost a close one in Week 7 and have a bad taste in their mouth with a change to get things back on track against a quality ranked Wittenberg team.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 24 Johns Hopkins. Blue Jays have hit their stride in October, but Muhlenberg is two three-point losses from being unbeaten.
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Ryan’s take: No. 24 Johns Hopkins. The kicker being that they only made it back onto my ballot last week.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 19 Wartburg. I’m basing this solely on the amount of talk from Dubuque players on Twitter after our preseason poll. Make the talk stand up.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 19 Wartburg. Dubuque is very nearly 7-0 and the 5-2 Spartans should at least make a very close game of this.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 13 Wittenberg. “The rumors of [Wabash’s] demise have been greatly exaggerated” — because “Wabash always fights.” I know… How cliché..,
Guest
Doug’s take: No. 9 UW-Platteville. Word is UW-La Crosse has their D-I transfer back at QB, and they’ve lost a few close ones. Think they break through this week.


Which team will hurt its regional ranking this week before we even get to see it?

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Keith’s take: Lake Forest. Five of Foresters’ 7 wins vs. teams with two wins or fewer. Monmouth would be impressive; MWC won’t have two ranked.
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Ryan’s take: Millikin. If Carthage can follow through with playing spoiler this time around.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: George Fox. And they won’t lose to Lewis & Clark — but their strength of schedule will go down.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Franklin and Marshall. Diplomats are fighting for a 9-1 season and playoff bid, but faces a surprisingly 1-6 Moravian.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Western Connecticut. Colonials might be ranked in the East at one loss — if they can beat Fitchburg. Inconsistent play suggests they might not before the big game at Framingham.
Guest
Doug’s take: If we never see their hypothetical rankings from this week, is it logical to suggest that no one’s ranking gets hurt?.

Which team bounces back after a tough loss?

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Keith’s take: George Fox. After rainy, offensively challenged loss at Linfield, Bruins reawaken vs. a Lewis & Clark that’s lost three straight since 2-1 start.
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Ryan’s take: Heidelberg. The Student Princes won’t be the head-scratchers they were last week.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Catholic. After being thoroughly unable to stop Springfield, CUA gets Norwich at home.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Heidelberg. The Student Princes took an unexpected beating last week, but will bounce back against Wilmington at home.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: George Fox. After a one-possession loss to the juggernaut known as Linfield, this game will be a walk in the park for the Bruins vs. Lewis & Clark.
Guest
Doug’s take: Hamline. After losing to St. Thomas 84-0, this week they get 3-5 Augsburg. Gotta think Hamline (2-5) is ready for a team they measure up with better.

Hartwick has the weekend off. So which team with Hawks in its name will score the most points?

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Keith’s take: Huntingdon. Loras Duhawks (36.1 ppg) are highest-scoring ‘hawks, but Huntingdon faces 1-6 Greensboro, which allows 45.1 ppg.
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Ryan’s take: Huntingdon. Opponent Greensboro gave up 59 last week, and that wasn’t even their biggest blowout this year.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Huntingdon. Greensboro won’t put up too much of a fight, so it’ll be whatever the Hawks feel like scoring.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Salve Regina. But the Seahawks might not score much against a stout Western New England defense.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Huntingdon. They may play with Pride, but Greensboro has just one win as they prepare for a rested Huntingdon Hawks. This might get lopsided early.
Guest
Doug’s take: UW-Whitewater. The Warhawks will score the most AND – bonus info here – Montclair State (vs. Wesley) will score the LEAST.

Which game featuring a ranked team will be the closest?

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Keith’s take: UW-La Crosse at No. 9 UW-Platteville. Eagles have been competitive but are 0-2 in the meat of their schedule.
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Ryan’s take: Wash U at No. 17 Case Western Reserve. The Bears have a lot of losses, but their competition has been fierce.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 18 Berry at Birmingham-Southern. I should double down on my first pick but BSC has been playing tight games and Berry is defense-oriented.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Elmhurst will push No. 12 Illinois Wesleyan to the brink. The CCIW is deep this year.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 24 Johns Hopkins at Muhlenberg. I foresee a one-possession decision here in favor of JHU, but I expect it to be a great game between Centennial stalwarts.
Guest
Doug’s take: Dubuque at No. 19 Wartburg. Last year, Dubuque lost by eight. They’ll have some extra motivation to knock off the ranked Knights this year and I’m betting it’s close again.

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: 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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ATN Podcast: Two results throw it wide open

Wesley and Hardin-Simmons could have made it easy on the committee and on all the bracketologists in Division III who are trying to figure out where they’ll go in the playoffs. Instead, Salisbury upset the Wolverines and East Texas Baptist knocked off the Cowboys. What are the ramifications? What do the at-large bids look like now? (A hint, they look awesome.) Plus, which are the teams on the rise in the playoff hunt? What key highlights happened below the radar? Pat and Keith answer those questions, plus hand out their game balls, on this week’s Around the Nation Podcast.

The Around the Nation Podcast is a weekly conversation between Pat Coleman and Keith McMillan covering the wide range of Division III football. It drops on Monday morning weekly throughout the season.

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