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?
Keith’s take: UW-Whitewater at No. 3 UW-Oshkosh. By a hair over Whitworth at Linfield.
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’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’s take: No. 14 Whitworth at No. 8 Linfield. The Pirates can shake up the NWC, for one year at least.
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.
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?
Keith’s take: No. 13 Johns Hopkins. Ursinus has scored 35 points in each of its four wins.
Ryan’s take: No. 20 Alfred. With a lot left to prove, they’re not even on my ballot yet.
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’s take: No. 15 Wittenberg. The Tigers will have their hands full with Denison’s prolific offense led by QB Canaan Gebele.
Frank’s take: No. 20 Alfred. Alfred has seemed leg-weary at times, while Buffalo State seems to be improving a little each week.
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?
Keith’s take: Wilmington. After an overtime win vs. Capital, winning at John Carroll would be a stunner.
Ryan’s take: Muhlenberg. Opponent F&M has been hot this year, though this should be a close one.
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’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’s take: Christopher Newport. CNU had decent bounce-back game at Montclair, but Rowan’s defense could derail their momentum.
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?
Keith’s take: Redlands at Occidental. In support of the fact there’s a game to watch.
Ryan’s take: No. 6 Hardin-Simmons at East Texas Baptist. Two undefeated power-conference teams — a perfect recipe.
Pat’s take: Pacific at George Fox. Unless I’m watching Redlands-Occidental or the archive of UWW/UWO.
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’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.
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?
Keith’s take: Rochester (2). At Becker, the Yellowjackets get their second 2017 win following a 1-8 2016.
Ryan’s take: Birmingham-Southern (2). Against Trinity, they’re looking for win No. 2.
Pat’s take: Allegheny (2). The Gators will have a challenge from the Hiram offense but the rebuild will move forward.
Adam’s take: Rochester (2). The Yellowjackets pick up the win against a winless Becker squad.
Frank’s take: Hartwick (2). Utica has failed to meet expectations while the Hawks’ offense has clicked..
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?
Keith’s take: Three. DePauw, Wabash, Denison.
Ryan’s take: Three: DePauw, Bash and Witt.
Pat’s take: Three. DePauw, Wabash, Denison.
Adam’s take: Three. Wabash, DePauw, and Denison.
Frank’s take: Three. DePauw, Wabash, Wittenberg.
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.
Aside from “the Target Field game” there were another 99 games played on Saturday, and on top of that, there was all sorts of other news in the past week to cover. Pat Coleman and Keith McMillan talk about the situation at Wheaton, the mourning at Wooster, and the hope that Occidental will play Saturday before ever getting to the Heidelberg-John Carroll game or any of the other events from Saturday that took a back seat to the big spectacle.
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?
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.
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’s take: Ithaca at St. John Fisher. I hear faint echoes of cries about bounced interceptions but just looking for an exciting game.
Adam’s take: Case Western Reserve at Washington U., in a rare late-season non-conference game with playoff implications for both teams.
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’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?
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.
Ryan’s take: No. 24 St. John Fisher. Week in and week out, the Empire keeps striking back at one another.
Pat’s take: No. 25 Case Western Reserve. In all honesty, this wouldn’t be much of an upset, either.
Adam’s take: No. 19 Salisbury at Christopher Newport, because the NJAC is as balanced as ever this year.
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’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?
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.
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’s take: Denison. The question, however, is whether it’s a positive statement made by the Big Red.
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’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’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?
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.
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’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’s take: The mighty Generals take the hill.
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’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?
Keith’s take: Hardin-Simmons. The foe is 1-6 Belhaven, which has given up 52 or more points in six straight games.
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’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’s take: Franklin can stay in the HCAC mix and keep its playoff streak alive by winning at Mount St. Joseph.
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’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.
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..
Ryan’s take: Washington University, as it goes against undefeated former UAA foe Case.
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’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’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’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.