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Quick Hits: Eyes on Texas, New York, Maryland

And as the end of the football regular season approaches and a bunch of schools turn their sights on basketball, we figured it was time to bring in a basketball expert to join us on Quick Hits. Hence, Dave McHugh, of Hoopsville and D3hoops.com, stops by to give us hits that resemble quickness. (Possibly edited for extra quickness.) Who will clinch this week? Who can still play their way into the regional rankings? We predict that and more in this week’s Quick Hits.

— Pat Coleman

Which game would you rather be at this weekend?

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Keith’s take: No. 21 ETBU at No. 10 HSU is the best game. But I’ve never seen a game at Westminster (Pa.), and their battle with Case should be huge.
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Ryan’s take: No. 21 ETBU at No. 10 HSU. A one-loss ASC team should be primed for a Pool C spot, which means this is likely a game to determine who gets to take the field on Nov. 19.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Hobart at No. 16 St. Lawrence. I’m taking a pretty crazy trip to get there, so what else would I say?
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: The only game between ranked opponents, No. 21 East Texas Baptist’s electric offense against No. 10 Hardin-Simmons’ stout defense.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Hobart at No. 16 St. Lawrence. I cover the Liberty League on “In the HuddLLe” each week. Where else would I be?  Plus, Pat Coleman will be there. That’s like the sprinkles on an already great sundae.
Guest
Dave’s take: Lycoming at Delaware Valley. While the Warriors are not in the race, they have Del Val this week and Stevenson the next and could change the complexion of the conference. The Aggies have to stay in postseason position.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 18 Salisbury. The Sea Gulls finally beat their Route 13 rival last season, but Wesley is scrapping for its playoff life.
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Ryan’s take: No. 18 Salisbury. Wesley’s slow start is behind them, and they’re trending upward going into the famed Route 13 rivalry game.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 18 Salisbury. It might be a chic pick by this point, but I’m going to buy into the Wesley resurgence and see if they can’t go down Rte. 13 and get a W.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Wesley is playing with its back against the wall, needing to upset No. 18 Salisbury on the road. I think the Wolverines pull it off to keep their playoff streak alive, for now.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 16 St. Lawrence. SLU hasn’t faced an air attack like Hobart’s. While I don’t usually favor one-dimensional offenses, SLU’s offense has also been somewhat off since their bye. Close game favors Hobart’s cardiac kids.
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Dave’s take: No. 16 St. Lawrence. I decided to look for the best basketball matchup. The teams’ similar outcomes against common opponents intrigues me. I like Hobart finishing on top Saturday and in February, too.

Pick a Chicago-area team to win and a Cleveland-area team to lose.

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Keith’s take: Baldwin Wallace has lost its past three by a total of five points, and Heidelberg should send them to another loss. Benedictine, while keeping one eye on Aurora-Lakeland, tops Concordia-Chicago.
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Ryan’s take: North Central and Oberlin. NCC will notch an impressive and SOS-boosting win over 6-2 Cathage. Oberlin’s first win of the season will continue to be elusive against DePauw.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Elmhurst and Oberlin. Elmhurst hosts Millikin, which is having a strong season, but I like the Bluejays at home. Oberlin hosts DePauw and it’s not enough of a trap game for the Tigers to lose.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Wheaton and Case. Wheaton continues to build its Pool C resume. I have a feeling Westminster (Pa.) is going to resolve a lot of playoff questions by ending Case’s perfect season, sending Indians fans into a deeper spiral.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: North Central and Case Western Reserve. NCC will beat a Carthage team with just two losses (both by 19-14 scores), and Case will lose against Westminster (Pa.), which would potentially open up a Pool C bid.
Guest
Dave’s take: Benedictine and Baldwin Wallace. The Cubs already won. Why do we need to pick someone else? Benedictine’s men’s basketball tournament run allowed me to get back to my childhood home of Chicago, and sorry, Baldwin Wallace — Heidelberg wins this.

How many yards will Belhaven throw for vs. Mary Hardin-Baylor?

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Keith’s take: Belhaven averages 420. UMHB allows 194. So let’s split the difference and say 307.
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Ryan’s take: 305. The Cru defense is sure to rein in the average.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: 347. Not a random number — this is the number of yards Linfield threw for vs. UMHB in September.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: 298, with the majority coming in fourth-quarter garbage time.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: 307. Belhaven averages 419.75 yards per game, and UMHB gives up 193.9 yards in the air. I split the difference here.
Guest
Dave’s take: 450. A top 5 squad whose pass defense is not the strongest suit against an offense that likes to throw. This is like when basketball teams play Grinnell. I would be surprised if they throw for less than 450 yards.

Pick a team outside the regional rankings who will clinch an automatic bid.

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Keith’s take: Husson clinches the ECFC by beating Norwich, and causes a 500-mile radius problem for the playoff field.
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Ryan’s take: Redlands, back in the dance after missing the last two seasons.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Eureka. When I predicted in Kickoff the Red Devils would go 8-2, that left them one game short of the playoffs. They’re in position to do that prediction one better if they beat Northwestern.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Bridgewater State. The Bears opened the season 0-2 but have been perfect in MASCAC play. A win at Framingham State will clinch the conference title, but it won’t be easy.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Husson. This takes two events: 1) Husson beats 4-4 Norwich; and 2) SUNY-Maritime beats 4-4 Mount Ida (the Privateers nearly beat Norwich a week earlier).
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Dave’s take: Eureka! The Red Devils are having an outstanding season. Despite the fact Northwestern has been on top of the conference and now regionally ranked, I think Eureka pulls off the upset.

Who plays their way into next week’s regional rankings?

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Keith’s take: Salve Regina moves in if it beats Western New England, although I am not making a pick one way or another in that clash.
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Ryan’s take: Huntingdon. Against Maryville, this is basically for the conference crown.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Redlands. I’m not sure why the Bulldogs weren’t in there already. They have a similar record to Northwestern and a much better strength of schedule.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: At least two ranked East Region teams are guaranteed to lose on Saturday. That opens the door for a two-loss Delaware Valley team to creep into next week’s rankings.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Husson. Staying at one loss should be enough for the Eagles to crawl into the East Regional Rankings.
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Dave’s take: I think the matchup between Wash U and Hendrix could potentially result in one of them being regionally ranked, though the Bears have the best chance. Wash U enters the week with a .564 SOS. The bottom of the South Region appears to be rather fluid.

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 picks that were prescient, and those that were terribly off base.

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ATN Podcast: Breaking down the conference races

We started our deep dive into the playoffs on last week’s edition and we know we had a lot of new listeners — now we have to really talk about some of the automatic bids. Some conferences have pretty interesting races here in the final two weeks of the regular season and Pat Coleman and Keith McMillan look closely at the PAC, where two teams could finish unbeaten and never play each other, along with the NACC, NCAC, NJAC and the American Southwest Conference. Plus, even though this never has any playoff relevance, Pat and Keith debate whether you can rank a NESCAC team in the Top 25.

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
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Quick Hits: Coming down to the wire

Conference races are coming down to the wire, and some of those key matchups come this week. That includes the game for bragging rights between our founding Around the Nation columnist (Keith McMillan, former defensive back at Randolph-Macon) and our current columnist (Adam Turer, former defensive back at Washington & Lee). Our guest prognosticator this week is Doug Rothschild, a Wheaton football alum who played for coach Swider and is currently the color analyst for Wheaton’s broadcasts.

— Pat Coleman

Which Week 9 game is the must-watch game?

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Keith’s take: There are two. Rowan at Frostburg and Salisbury at CNU. If the Profs and Captains win, Wesley could be atop the heap of five NJAC 6-2 teams.
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Ryan’s take: Middlebury at Trinity (Conn.). Because sometimes, you don’t have to be Top 25 teams to bring an awesome performance to the field.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Ithaca at St. John Fisher. I hear faint echoes of cries about bounced interceptions but just looking for an exciting game.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Case Western Reserve at Washington U., in a rare late-season non-conference game with playoff implications for both teams.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Brockport at No. 15 Alfred. This has national appeal as E8 is one of few East conferences with Pool C still in play. A Brockport win could undermine that.
Doug Rothschild
Doug’s take: Rowan at Frostburg. I am a sucker for good defense and these teams are 1-2 in the NJAC in scoring defense. Frostburg is 11th in D-III in defense behind Niles Scott and Will Sewell, who spend a lot of time in other team’s backfields.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 15 Alfred. The Saxons’ opponent, 5-2 Brockport, is two scores from being unbeaten and has played five one-score games.
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Ryan’s take: No. 24 St. John Fisher. Week in and week out, the Empire keeps striking back at one another.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 25 Case Western Reserve. In all honesty, this wouldn’t be much of an upset, either.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 19 Salisbury at Christopher Newport, because the NJAC is as balanced as ever this year.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 15 Alfred. It’s the time of year when leaves change, pumpkins are carved, and the E8 cannibalizes itself out of strong Pool C contention.
Doug Rothschild
Doug’s take: No. 25 Case Western Reserve. Easy come, easy go. They just appeared in the poll last week and a road trip to 6-1 WashU will be their stiffest test of the season.

Of the three NCAC teams ranked 20-23, which one makes the biggest statement to Top 25 voters?

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Keith’s take: Denison winning at DePauw would be more impressive than anything Wabash or Wittenberg could accomplish on Saturday. It’s not a lock to happen though.
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Ryan’s take: Wabash, with a win over upward-trending OWU. Still, I have exactly zero NCAC teams on my ballot, so they’re all needing to prove themselves to me.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Denison. The question, however, is whether it’s a positive statement made by the Big Red.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Denison winning at DePauw would be the biggest statement. Wittenberg is expected to win, and I expect Wabash to struggle against a hot Ohio Wesleyan squad.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Wabash (vs. Ohio Wesleyan). After a scare vs. Wooster, Wabash needs a statement win. They’ll start this game like a cannonball to win big.
Doug Rothschild
Doug’s take: Wabash. A convincing win @OWU tells Denison they are ready for next week’s showdown, shows their Monon rival how to do what they haven’t done in 4 seasons and keeps Pool C hopes alive.

Who wins the Around the Nation Classic between Keith McMillan’s and Adam Turer’s alma mater?

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Keith’s take: I’m obligated to pick the Yellow Jackets, but there’s solid logic. The past three games have been decided by 6, 4 and 3, and none of those R-MC teams had a D as good as this one.
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Ryan’s take: The nod goes to Washington & Lee. With the slate Randolph-Macon has coming up, it’s easy to get caught looking ahead.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Washington & Lee. Something in me just wants to recognize the team that scheduled Johns Hopkins, and that’s no longer Randolph-Macon.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: The mighty Generals take the hill.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Newspaper ink companies. A lot of letters & symbols for one game. (I’ll pick RMC, but Turer can gloat during our Stagg pregame show if I’m wrong.).
Doug Rothschild
Doug’s take: Randolph-Macon. While I may not be siding as much with Keith as my fellow Wheaton alum Pedro Arruza, Keith is the benefactor this week as his RM brothers have the No, 1 defense in the ODAC and defense wins championships.

Which team bounces back after a tough loss?

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Keith’s take: Hardin-Simmons. The foe is 1-6 Belhaven, which has given up 52 or more points in six straight games.
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Ryan’s take: Texas Lutheran, after losing its first-ever SCAC game. The Bulldogs beat Trinity (Texas) once already this year; don’t be surprised to see them with new fire to do it again.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: UW-Platteville. After the Pioneers have run the gantlet here over the past few weeks, a trip to UW-Stout should be a little easier to take. As long as they don’t take it too easy.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Franklin can stay in the HCAC mix and keep its playoff streak alive by winning at Mount St. Joseph.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Franklin. An extremely inconsistent ship needs to be righted immediately vs. Mount St. Joseph if the Griz have any hopes of playoffs.
Doug Rothschild
Doug’s take: Franklin lost its first conference game in 3 years last week. Mount St. Joseph might be on a roll but Mike Leonard’s teams have lost two conference games in a season just once since 2005. Grizzlies roll.

Pick an under-the-radar 1-loss team which will pick up its second loss Saturday.

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Keith’s take: Wash U. is surprisingly 6-1, and 7-0 Case Western Reserve needs this win to bolster its credentials because 9-1 against its schedule might not get it in the playoffs..
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Ryan’s take: Washington University, as it goes against undefeated former UAA foe Case.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Bluffton. Rose-Hulman has to have its eyes on the HCAC automatic bid and shouldn’t be subject to a letdown after beating Franklin.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Tufts is an under-the-radar 4-1, but has to travel to an angry Amherst team that just got blanked by Wesleyan. The nicknameless home team wins.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Olivet. What’s lost from the AMAZING “Play of the Week” throw: the Comets struggled vs. a middling Benedictine team. Alma wins Saturday.
Doug Rothschild
Doug’s take: Pomona-Pitzer. The SCIAC is likely decided this week as two 1-loss teams play when 5-1 Redlands visits 5-1 Pomona-Pitzer. I give the edge to Redlands despite being on the road so Pomona-Pitzer picks up loss No 2.

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 picks that were prescient, and those that were terribly off base.