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Quick Hits: Who will clinch

This weekend is all about who will clinch automatic bids, on top of all the things that typically go on in a Division III football weekend. Our Quick Hits crew predicts clinchers, Top 25 upsets, conference upsets and teams that will go into the offseason on a high note. 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 Patrick Bohn, an Ithaca grad who posts as Bomber798891 on D3boards.com.

— Pat Coleman

What’s Week 10’s Game of the Week?

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Keith’s take: No. 25 Salisbury at No. 13 Wesley. Route 13 Rivalry pits two of NJAC’s three 7-1 teams, which gives it conference title and playoff implications.
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Ryan’s take: No. 25 Salisbury at No. 13 Wesley. The Route 13 Rivalry is rarely one to disappoint. Honorable mention: WNE at Curry.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Alfred at No. 10 Brockport. I think this game will be telling about the shift in the balance of the force in the E8.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Union vs. Ithaca. Two first-year head coaches shaking up the Liberty League and two teams with plenty to play for.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 25 Salisbury at No. 13 Wesley. A Wesley win gives Wolverines NJAC. A Salisbury win could take NJAC out of Pool C contention.
Guest
Patrick’s take: No. 25 Salisbury at No. 13 Wesley. These two teams have played (mostly) competitive games over the past few years, and both bring stout defenses to the table.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 16 Case Western Reserve. Westminster (Pa.) has six- and one-point losses to 8-0 teams. CWRU loss would help Pool C hopefuls.
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Ryan’s take: No. 21 George Fox. If Pacific Lutheran’s performance against Linfield last week is any indication.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 20 UW-Plattevile. Because Keith will want me to pick someone, even though this would hardly be an upset.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 16 Case Western Reserve. Westminster (Pa.) is the most underrated two-loss team in the country, losing by a total of seven to unbeatens  Wittenberg and Washington & Jefferson.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 21 George Fox. Last week was a reminder that Pacific Lutheran is still a threat. They finish the deal this week.
Guest
Patrick’s take: No. 9 North Central. Carthage nearly pulled off the upset at Illinois Wesleyan, so the Cardinals should be on the lookout.

Name a team outside the Top 25 which will clinch a bid this weekend.

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Keith’s take: Huntingdon (vs. Methodist). Since a Week 1 loss to Guilford, USAC’s Hawks have averaged 37.4 points per game.
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Ryan’s take: Lakeland. The Muskies hold the tiebreaker over the two teams with one NACC loss.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Trine. For that to happen this weekend, Trine must beat Alma and another game must go Trine’s way.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Huntingdon. The Hawks will clinch the USA South, and will be a popular Quick Hit pick for the second straight week.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Husson (vs. Alfred State). One of the bigger geography challenges for the NCAA selection committee will be back once again in the Pool of 32.
Guest
Patrick’s take: Franklin. The Grizzlies should light up the scoreboard against Anderson and easily clinch the HCAC auto-bid.

How many points will be scored, total, in the Montclair State-Rowan game?

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Keith’s take: 24.
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Ryan’s take: 31. A trick question since these two teams have played the best in the NJAC in recent outings, and the scoreboard reflected that.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: 22. Only because to say “3” seems harsh.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: 29. More than the 27 total that the Profs have scored during their five-game losing streak.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: 17.
Guest
Patrick’s take: 25. Both teams have good kickers, so I’m betting on six field goals and one touchdown.

What team will end the season this week on a high note?

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Keith’s take: Thomas More. Saints get win No. 6 against Thiel, but last season in the PAC a disappointment.
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Ryan’s take: Mount St. Joseph. Sure, last year’s game vs. Defiance came down to the wire, but recent history is on the Lions’ side.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Simpson. A win vs. Nebraska Wesleyan, makes the Storm 6-4, three games better than 2016. (Plus they won’t help IWU’s and Concordia’s SOS.)
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Thomas More. The Saints will win their fifth in a row, finish above .500 for the tenth straight season, and send retiring coach Regis Scafe off with a victory.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Mount St. Joseph. After combining with Franklin to score 105 points in a loss last week, the Lions roar at home to close out their season.
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Patrick’s take: Northwestern. The Eagles’ season may have been a disappointment, but they’ll head into the offseason — and send fans home happy — on a four-game winning streak with a win over Crown.

Pick a winner in a conference upset outside the Top 25.

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Keith’s take: Ithaca, vs. Union. The Bombers’ 5-3 mark has come against tougher opposition (.559 to .521 SoS) than the Dutchmen’s 7-1, and it will show.
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Ryan’s take: MacMurray over St. Scholastica. No doubt Eureka is rooting for this outcome.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Adrian over Olivet. This is that other result Trine needs to clinch the MIAA this week. Adrian is a misleading 3-5.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. The Stags might steal a win from Chapman, but the Panthers already have  the conference title and playoff berth.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Martin Luther. After a win that looked to potentially seal the UMAC for Eureka last week, the Knights have a chance to catch the Red Devils napping.
Guest
Patrick’s take: Utica. A tough Pioneers defense catches Cortland — who were stunned by St. John Fisher last week — looking ahead to Cortaca.

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: For Duke

While we’re thinking with heavy hearts about the late Mike Donnelly and the Muhlenberg football program, we also have attention to give to the full slate of Week 6 games, including one particular game taking place in Abilene, Texas. Yes, of course we’re talking about the ballyhooed McMurry-Belhaven game. No, wait, the other one. 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 Logan Hansen, who you may have seen on Twitter as @LogHanRatings. His computer ratings system ranks D-III teams and predicts outcomes of games. And this week there are some games.

 — Pat Coleman (photo by Andrew Zavoina, d3photography.com)

Which will be the Week 6 Game of the Week?

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Keith’s take: No. 1 UMHB at No. 5 HSU. Two top-five teams; I’ll be stunned if this isn’t unanimous.
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Ryan’s take: No. 1 UMHB at No. 5 HSU. It’s hard not to spotlight this matchup — rankings, history, ASC title hopes all come to a head here.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 10 Delaware Valley at Albright. If you need counterprogramming: People presume much greatness for Del Val and have been waiting on Albright.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Surprised this didn’t come with a caveat. A great slate of games highlighted by No. 1 vs. No. 5. I’ll go with No. 19 Wesley at No. 11 Frostburg State.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 1 UMHB at No. 5 HSU. I called it my “Game of the Year” in Kickoff, and with an interesting at-large scenario in Pools B & C, this game matters A LOT.
Guest
Logan’s take: No. 16 W&J at Carnegie Mellon. Both are undefeated, and are front-runners in the PAC with CWRU & Westminster. UMHB/HSU is too obvious.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 23 UW-Stout. The rush to bury UW-Whitewater might have been premature.
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Ryan’s take: No. 16 Washington & Jefferson. Despite being 5-0, Carnegie Mellon isn’t on enough radars yet and has a chance to really make an impact.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 23 UW-Stout. After we (I) sounded the end of the UWW dynasty, now they finally have a home game and a chance to start salvaging the season.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 16 Washington & Jefferson. Again, I see a lot of great choices here.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 11 Frostburg State. No. 19 Wesley got a wake-up call when Del Val beat them, and Frostburg struggled against CNU (and even vs. Rowan a bit).
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Logan’s take: No. 23 UW-Stout. Despite their struggles, my model still thinks UW-Whitewater is a 13-point favorite at home (which might be a bit too high).

Who will win the four games between ranked teams?

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Keith’s take: Hardin-Simmons, Mount Union, St. Thomas, Frostburg State.
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Ryan’s take: Mary Hardin-Baylor, Mount Union, Concordia-Moorhead, Frostburg State.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: UMHB, Mount Union, St. Thomas, Frostburg State.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: UMHB, Mount Union, St. Thomas, Wesley.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: UMHB, Mount Union, St. Thomas, Wesley.
Guest
Logan’s take: UMHB, Mount Union, St. Thomas, Wesley.

Pick an unranked team which will get its first loss this weekend.

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Keith’s take: Carnegie Mellon. 5-0 Tartans slightly better on D, but on O, W&J averages 532 ypg to C-M’s 370.
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Ryan’s take: SUNY-Maritime. There’s no doubt Husson has its sights set on a playoff bid this fall, and Maritime is an immediate threat.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: SUNY-Maritime. This time I am picking the Privateers on a week in which they actually are scheduled to play.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Franklin & Marshall. I can’t see Johns Hopkins losing two Centennial games in a row.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Albright. The Lions have been living dangerously, and Del Val has bounced back from its Wilkes struggle.
Guest
Logan’s take: Albright. They have four wins by four points or less, and Del Val is the best team on their entire schedule.

Pick a team to win in a conference you’ve never seen play.

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Keith’s take: Olivet over Kalamazoo. Seen members of every current conference live but MIAA, and have been to both these campuses..
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Ryan’s take: Hobart, over RPI. Both are coming off of tough losses and are looking for conference win No. 1.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: MIT. (vs. Maine Maritime). I’ve seen members of the NEWMAC in their previous conferences, but haven’t seen them under the NEWMAC banner.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Lake Forest, over Knox. I’ve never seen an MWC game, but really enjoyed my conversations with both of these head coaches.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. (vs. Occidental in the SCIAC). I still think Oxy players deserve kudos for playing despite the odds they’re facing. But the Stags will pull this out.
Guest
Logan’s take: Methodist over Greensboro (USAC). I didn’t realize how many games I’ve watched from random conferences until this question.

Pick a member of the Mike Donnelly coaching tree whose team will win this weekend.

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Keith’s take: Jeff Knarr at King’s (vs. Misericordia). Bolder picks: John Troxell’s F&M over JHU, or Muhlenberg itself over Ursinus.
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Ryan’s take: Jeff Knarr of King’s. His 2-3 squad lines up against 1-4 Misericordia. Not so much a battle of giants as a battle for pride.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Tom Perkovich. I expect his Susquehanna River Hawks will be able to handle Moravian.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Jeff Knarr’s of King’s. His squad picks up the win at Misericordia.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Dan Puckhaber of St. Lawrence (vs. Union). You were a class act on and off the field, Mike. Rest In Peace, and prayers to his family, friends, and players.
Guest
Logan’s take: Tom Perkovich. Moravian’s ground game could keep it close, but their defense won’t stop Susquehanna’s O.

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: Conference leaders changing hands

It was another really interesting week in Division III football, with four teams dropping out of the Top 25, two of them plummeting. Similarly, in a handful of conferences, the first-place team and the highest-ranked team in our poll changed over based on Saturday’s results. Pat and Keith break down where things changed in the Empire 8, the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and the North Coast Athletic Conference based on Saturday’s games, plus talk to two coaches whose teams have made big turnarounds and much more.

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. 
Utica athletics photo
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