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Around the Nation Podcast 222: We predict at-large teams

Often this time of year we do a projected Division III NCAA Tournament field, but this year we’re so busy making podcasts that we didn’t do one. Instead, Pat and Keith are doing both at the same time: talking through the process of selecting at-large teams right on this podcast.

This is a projected playoff field if the season ended today. All six teams that we got to choose can affect their playoff resume on the field on Saturday, and for that matter, so can all of the teams with automatic bids. Even those who are already in the field could impact their seeding with a loss or by winning while others around them lose.

And those are just the normal scenarios. We could see crazy scenarios, such as, say, last year when Carnegie Mellon committed a penalty and had a punt blocked to kill its potential upset of Case Western Reserve. What are the unlikely, but awesome scenarios that could occur? Greg Thomas threw a few out there and we discuss those as well.

Plus Kevin Bullis tells us how his UW-Whitewater team is looking entering Week 11, Keith asks Pat what could go wrong with this projection and Pat asks Keith to figure out what the Mayors Cup is. That and more in 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

Link: NCAA Division III playoff criteria, from our FAQ
Link: Playoff primer podcast (No. 216, with committee chair Jim Catanzaro)

Photo: Frostburg State back Grayson Boyce (Frostburg State athletics photo)

Theme music: DJmentos.

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Quick Hits: Clinching time

We detail in the game day podcast how many teams might clinch on Saturday. Here our crew will tackle the game of the week, potential upsets, and tell you who might clinch today aside from, say, Mount Union.

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 Sean Greene, who does play-by-play for Wesley football games on WDEL radio as well as Wesley’s video stream.

— Pat Coleman

Which game is the Week 10 game of the week?

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Keith’s take: No. 10 North Central at No. 13 Illinois Wesleyan. I’ll go with the Titans for a second straight week instead of E8, NJAC clashes and an NCC win could have a cascade effect.
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Ryan’s take: No. 10 North Central at No. 13 Illinois Wesleyan. I think IWU should be ranked higher, and I’ve got them pegged to win.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 10 North Central at No. 13 Illinois Wesleyan. I’m going to assume most of my colleagues here have good reasons, so read theirs.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 10 North Central at No. 13 Illinois Wesleyan. I think the Cardinals are the more talented team, but the Titans have been the more impressive team so far. With a win, IWU can clinch its first outright CCIW title since 2009.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Cortland at No. 3 Brockport. I explain why in the ATN Friday podcast.
Sean
Sean’s take: No. 10 North Central at No. 13 Illinois Wesleyan. IWU clinches the CCIW Pool A with a win, while the loser gets a potential Pool C-crushing second loss. Doesn’t get much better in Week 10.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 4 UW-Whitewater. UW-Stevens Point beat Oshkosh last week, but this only happens if Warhawks relax after clinching a playoff spot.
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Ryan’s take: No. 14 Trine. I think the Thunder have floated high up the poll, and with the way the MIAA has been this year, another shakeup would fit right in.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 18 Salisbury. Wesley has had Salisbury’s number in recent years, so hopefully they lead by enough that a missed PAT won’t matter.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 18 Salisbury. Wesley may take its frustration of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2004 out on the Sea Gulls.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 14 Trine. Yo, Adrian. Your inconsistent season has shown you know how to score plenty. Trine seems fatigued, and here’s your chance to knock them out.
Sean
Sean’s take: No. 18 Salisbury. In 13 years calling Wesley games, they are 11-1 against their Route 13 rivals. Curious to see if Wesley’s scheme changes against the triple-option after the death of head coach/defensive coordinator Mike Drass.

Which non-purple team clinches an automatic bid this weekend?

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Keith’s take: The Yellow Jackets from Randolph-Macon, although The Game is more fun with something to play for.
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Ryan’s take: Eureka. The Red Devils haven’t gotten much national love yet, so I’m sure they’re itching to show their stuff in the postseason.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Brockport. No purple in them Golden Eagles.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Randolph-Macon. The streaking Yellow Jackets just need to get past Ferrum to make this season one of the least wacky in recent ODAC memory.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Husson. Gallaudet’s SOS is less than .200. The thought that they could beat the Eagles is highly unlikely in the ECFC.
Sean
Sean’s take: Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.No violet, lavender, mauve, or lilac to be found in the shadow of Mount Baldy. The Cardinal and Gold-clad Stags win the SCIAC for the first time since 1987.

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

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Keith’s take: Amherst and Trinity (Conn.). Because I’m endlessly fascinated by projecting how the NESCAC’s best would fare if it chose to participate in the playoffs.
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Ryan’s take: Wash. U. at Millikin. Neither are going to the playoffs, but the Bears continue to show why they belong in the CCIW.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Middlebury at Hamilton. The Rocking Chair has been won by Middlebury more times than I care to count, but some inconsistent results just have me wondering if the Continentals might take it home.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Defiance at Earlham. I probably won’t be the only one. But if the Quakers can’t defeat winless Defiance this week, I don’t know when the record-breaking losing streak will end.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Potentially up to 16 of them in nine East Region conferences and Pool B in our “In the Huddle” D3BlitzER whiparound show, noon to 4 p.m. ET on the D3Huddle Facebook channel.
Sean
Sean’s take: Rowan at Montclair State. The 6-2 Red Hawks could still play into the East Regional Rankings which would benefit Frostburg or Salisbury for seeding or a Pool C bid.

Who will still be tied for first in the ARC after this week’s games?

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Keith’s take: Simpson and Wartburg.
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Ryan’s take: Wartburg and Dubuque. Simpson has been hanging on too closely in games this season to remain with the leaders.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Simpson and Wartburg. Wartburg won’t have much trouble with archrival Luther and Simpson has surprised all season, so now we should expect the win.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Dubuque and Wartburg. The Knights take care of Luther with ease at home, while the Spartans get past Simpson on the road. That sets up a winner-take-all showdown in Week 11.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Wartburg and Simpson. Simpson has played somewhat better defense than Dubuque this season. And Wartburg is playing a much lesser opponent.
Sean
Sean’s take: Wartburg and Dubuque. Wartburg should conquer the Norse, but Dubuque won’t need to rely on a Simpson missed PAT this year to stay on top (painful topic for Wesley fans).

Who goes into a rivalry game on a down note?

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Keith’s take: Hard for me not to say Cortland here, although the Red Dragons can surprise us all.
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Ryan’s take: Gettysburg. The Bullets have a very tough Muhlenberg team before taking the field against century-long rival F&M for the Lincoln Trophy.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Cortland. A super down note that’s probably included minus-40 yards rushing.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Hanover. The Panthers could play rival Franklin for the Victory Bell and the HCAC title in Week 11. But first, they have to get past a hot Rose-Hulman team. The Fightin’ Engineers have more recent big-game experience.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Amherst. Trinity has steadily regained traction after a stunning loss to Williams. The Bantams nip the Mammoths before The Biggest Little Game in America next week vs. the Ephs.
Sean
Sean’s take: Carnegie Mellon. While they’re studying to cram Case Western Reserve’s Pool C dreams in the Academic Bowl, Westminster could pin a fourth demerit on the Tartans’ report card.

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 218: The bid-clinching has begun!

Yep, three teams have clinched their automatic bids to the NCAA Division III football playoffs, with 23 more to go, plus five true at-large bids. And it’s those at-large bids which will receive a ton of attention … first off, because they’re the most difficult decisions the committee will make, and secondly, because those teams are going to be candidates to get a first-round home game, and perhaps win a game or two.

Who played their way into consideration? Who played their way out? Which teams are being set up for multiple home games in the tournament, should they win out? Plus, how did Pat and Keith deal with this weekend’s losses on their Top 25 ballots? Who had amazing games that were just a bit under the radar? Which conference has games that just aren’t competitive at all? And everyone’s favorite backup quarterback wasn’t a backup this week.

Plus game balls, the week’s interesting stats and more in the latest 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

Link: NCAA Division III playoff criteria, from our FAQ
Link: Playoff primer podcast (No. 216, with committee chair Jim Catanzaro)

Photo: St. John’s, UW-Whitewater and Berry athletics photos

Theme music: DJmentos.