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Quick Hits: Bringing your ‘A’ game

It’s too early for this group to be peaking and on the way down, so we’ve exhorted our panel to continue to bring their best here in Week 8. Our guest this week is Derek Jones, who has called Rowan games on WGLS for more than a decade and not long ago became the station’s general manager.

— Pat Coleman

This week, which game?

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Keith’s take: No. 11 Hardin-Simmons at No. 3 UMHB. Could make a case for games that will eliminate teams from playoff race, but I’d rather see if UMHB is No. 1-worthy.
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Ryan’s take: No. 11 Hardin-Simmons at No. 3 UMHB. This is my favorite conference rivalry in the nation — and that’s been the case for more than a decade.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 7 UW-Platteville at No. 5 UW-Oshkosh. I’m just going to play the full Midwesterner card here, plus note that the loser is in a world of hurt for playoffs.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: I want to see what No. 8 Linfield does in its second big test of the season. The Wildcats can prove something with a convincing win at 5-1 Whitworth.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 25 Delaware Valley at No. 15 Stevenson. The Mustangs are one of three undefeated East teams left but DelVal is on a roll. Loser might be eliminated from playoffs.
Guest
Derek’s take: Rowan vs. Wesley. It’s a must win for Wesley with Salisbury looming in a few weeks. The door on the postseason may close if they can’t win. If Rowan prevails, it puts them a step closer to an NJAC title.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 16 St. Lawrence. This may be a reach, but all but one Merchant Marine game has been decided by 4 or fewer, and the Saints only give up 7 a game. In NYC rain, could get interesting.
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Ryan’s take: No. 21 Rowan. Can we assume that Wesley has found it’s groove by now?
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 2 UW-Whitewater. Going up to the top for this one, at home to UW-Stevens Point. UWW has given up a ton of yards in recent weeks and needs to get healthy on defense. Soon.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 21 Rowan, by Wesley. Despite two losses, the Wolverines are very much alive. To keep intact Wesley’s goal of extending its playoff streak to 12 years, this is a must-win.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 16 St. Lawrence, at Merchant Marine. I picked it on “In the HuddLLe,” so I’ll stay with it here. With rain in the forecast, the triple-option will lead the Mariners to a major upset.
Guest
Guest’s take: No. 15 Stevenson. They’ve had a terrible time with Delaware Valley no matter where the game is. The Aggies responded well after the loss to Albright and need this one to keep their postseason hopes afloat.

Which game between ranked teams will be the closest?

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Keith’s take: No. 25 Delaware Valley at No. 15 Stevenson. The Mustangs probably pull it out, but they have to work for it.
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Ryan’s take: No. 7 UW-Platteville at No. 5 UW-Oshkosh. Fully expect this to be a one-score game.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 25 Delaware Valley at No. 15 Stevenson. That should be a barn-burner, perhaps the best atmosphere for a game this week.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 7 UW-Platteville at No. 5 UW-Oshkosh. Point differential against UWW and UWSP: Titans plus-7, Pioneers plus-10. Both teams narrowly lost to the Warhawks and defeated the Pointers.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 7 UW-Platteville at No. 5 UW-Oshkosh. They played UW-Whitewater virtually evenly in narrow losses. It’s doubtful either pulls away here.
Guest
Guest’s take: No. 11 Hardin-Simmons at No. 3 Mary Hardin-Baylor. Both teams know how to score but the defenses will come to play.

Which team brings its ‘A’ game this weekend?

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Keith’s take: Alma and their odd helmets continue the turnaround under Greg Pscodna vs. Albion, which is stunningly 0-6 after a nine-win season.
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Ryan’s take: Adrian, over Kalamazoo. To stay in the hunt, the Bulldogs need to take care of business.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Adrian, vs. Kalamazoo. The Bulldogs have to be smarting from their unexpected loss to Hope last week and will be bringing their ‘A’ game.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Albright. After starting 0-2, the Lions can force a four-way tie atop the MAC if they can defeat Wilkes and No. 25 Delaware Valley knocks off No. 15 Stevenson.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Albright, at Wilkes. The Lions will make it five straight wins after an 0-2 start, giving them slight hope in the MAC race.
Guest
Guest’s take: Averett, my father’s alma mater. They’ve scored 117 points in their last two games and play at Maryville on Saturday in a USAC battle.

There are 25 winless teams remaining. Pick one to win this week.

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Keith’s take: Morrisville State. The Mustangs are gaining 400 yards a game, about 40% of it on the ground, but are giving up 39 points.
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Ryan’s take: Morrisville State. Playing the E8 wild card here.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Loras, at Simpson. The Duhawks have a disappointing record but have only been blown out once.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Dickinson finds just enough offense to snap a nine-game losing streak. The Red Devils win on the road at McDaniel.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Finlandia, vs. Maranatha Baptist. Time to give our independent teams some love. Finlandia beat them twice last year, so here’s to a three-peat.
Guest
Guest’s take: TCNJ. They allowed 116 points vs. Salisbury, Wesley, and Frostburg State. Granted, it’s at Montclair State but the low-scoring Red Hawks will feel like a vacation in comparison.

Rowan, Salisbury, Frostburg and CNU each enter the weekend with one loss. Which team(s) stay that way?

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Keith’s take: The Maryland two. Rowan won’t score enough to beat Wesley, and I have to pick the Bobcats, even if out of totally transparent allegiance to the sleepers piece I wrote for Kickoff.
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Ryan’s take: Salisbury and CNU. Both are ready to shake off their losses to Rowan.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Salisbury and Frostburg. I like home field for Frostburg after a long drive for CNU, but that’s about the only factor I could use.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: The NJAC tie is down to three teams–Wesley, Salisbury, CNU–after this week.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Salisbury and Frostburg. Rowan will struggle vs. Wesley. Frostburg will handle a struggling CNU offense. I can’t see Kean beating Salisbury, especially in rain.
Guest
Guest’s take: Rowan, Salisbury, and Frostburg. It will not be easy for Rowan or Frostburg but their defenses could carry them through tough opponents. If so, that sets up quite the battle next week when Rowan travels to Frostburg State.

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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Quick Hits Week 5: Welcome to October

Month No. 2, Week No. 5, and one big game right at the top of the Top 25 list to talk about this week. Our guest picker is Ray Biggs, who we think of more specifically as the managing editor of D3hockey.com, but whom also contributes to Kickoff on D3football.com and broadcasts Utica games on ESPN Utica Rome. (You’d have heard his voice twice this season already on Play of the Week highlights.) Westminster (Pa.) athletics photo by Jason Kapusta

— Pat Coleman

My Game of the Week for Week 5 is …

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Keith’s take: No. 2 UW-Whitewater at No. 8 Platteville. Nowhere else has greater implications, especially if the Pioneers, who have only given up one garbage-time TD, win.
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Ryan’s take: No. 2 UW-Whitewater at No. 8 Platteville. There’s just no question about the magnitude of this one.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 2 UW-Whitewater at No. 8 Platteville. Gonna be a few like this this season. Here’s the first of the showdowns.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 16 Thomas More at Westminster (Pa.). The loser of Whitewater at Platteville still has a very good chance at the playoffs. If the host Titans upset the Saints, the PAC race goes into disarray.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 22 CNU at Rowan. This game could have major Pool C implications and help determine what path Wesley might have to make the playoffs.
Ray
Ray’s take: Cortland at Hartwick. Cortland’s offense should get back on track against a porous defense in a must-win. Hartwick can score like crazy.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 24 Central. Dubuque winning wouldn’t really be an upset, but Pat’s questions took up all the other possibilities.
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Ryan’s take: No. 24 Central. The risk is always there when your opponent is 4-0.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 24 Central. Barely an upset, but by the rankings, yes.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 24 Central. Dubuque believes it should be in the Top 25 and will state its case with a road win.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 16 Thomas More. Westminster (Pa.) has given up 16 points in three games, and hosts an inconsistent Thomas More team.
Ray
Ray’s take: No. 21 Hobart. Hobart has fought a bit against the run. They take on D3’s top rushing team, Merchant Marine.

Who gets a first dose of reality?

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Keith’s take: Westminster (Pa.). This was one of the possibilities, but No. 16 Thomas More scored the first 45 points in their matchup last season.
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Ryan’s take: St. Vincent. Though winning, they have’t been winning by enough to show they’re at Case’s level.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Centre. Off to a great start at 4-0, the Colonels are heading to Hendrix, where the competition moves up a notch.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: St. Vincent. The 4-0 Bearcats have already equaled its 2014 and 2015 win totals. Case Western Reserve will remind St. Vincent what defeat feels like.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Central. Central isn’t on my ballot yet; I’m waiting for this game vs. Dubuque to help me figure the Dutch out.
Ray
Ray’s take: Thomas More. (Call it a second dose.) Westminster (Pa.) should worry the Saints. The Titans play great defense, and keep drives alive on third down.

Which once-competitive rivalry goes off the rails?

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Keith’s take: St. John’s at Bethel. Other possibilities include Trinity at Williams, Widener at Lycoming and Hampden-Sydney at Bridgewater.
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Ryan’s take: F&M at Dickinson. It’s likely F&M will win the Conestoga Wagon Trophy in a landslide.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Hampden-Sydney at Bridgewater. Once upon a time, this game was the centerpiece for the ODAC season. Now they’re a combined 1-5.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: F&M-Dickinson. F&M is eager for revenge after Dickinson won the Conestoga Wagon Trophy the past two seasons.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Whitewater at Platteville. Something tells me the Warhawks are out to prove something this season, and Saturday’s game could be lopsided.
Ray
Ray’s take: RPI and Rochester. They’ve had some great battles recently, but this may be the year RPI runs away with one.

Which fading rivalry gets new life?

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Keith’s take: Wartburg at Coe. The Kohawks are 4-0, and the Knights have only beaten D-III noobs.
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Ryan’s take: CNU at Rowan. Few probably remember these two teams playing six years straight when CNU was in its infancy and Rowan was the Beast of the East.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Rhodes at Sewanee. Rhodes has won this rivalry game nine times in the past 10 meetings, but this could be a year Sewanee gets one.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Ohio Wesleyan and Denison. They are fierce rivals — in lacrosse, where both are usually ranked. The rivalry is not at the same level in football but OWU would love to hand the Big Red their first loss.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Widener at Lycoming. This game doesn’t have the excitement that it used to, but both desperately need a win. Expect a shootout.
Ray
Ray’s take: McDaniel-Gettysburg. With McDaniel posting a win, and Gettysburg off to a tough start, this could be the best edition since a one-score game in 2011.

Who makes this week’s NJAC statement?

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Keith’s take: Rowan. It promises to be a sloppy game in Glassboro, but that might suit the Profs fine vs. CNU.
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Ryan’s take: Frostburg State. A loss here sends them and their record toward the wrong side of the NJAC tracks.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Kean. I see the Cougars extending their win streak to four on Saturday vs. Frostburg.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: CNU. A convincing win at Rowan will prove that CNU belongs in the, uh, captain’s seat in the NJAC.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Wesley. The statement will be the way they win at Southern Virginia, as they remind us they aren’t dead yet in the NJAC chase.
Ray
Ray’s take: CNU. Again. They’ve posted wins over two traditionally strong programs, but both have been slow out of the gate. Rowan presents another test.

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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Around the Nation Podcast: Still many unbeatens

Chicago had its hands full at Bethel on Saturday. (Photo by Ryan Coleman, d3photography.com)

Chicago had its hands full at Bethel on Saturday. (Photo by Ryan Coleman, d3photography.com)

A few unbeaten but unranked teams had the opportunity to prove themselves against opponents with a little more prestige on Saturday. But in the end, Chicago, Gustavus and Emory & Henry couldn’t get over the hump.

Of course, those losses, and others by UW-Stevens Point and Wesleyan, still leave Division III with nearly two dozen unbeaten teams. That seems like a lot for this time of year, but that’s not too unusual.

We remember what an unpopular decision it was to hire the guy who has won 100 of his first 106 career games as a head coach and talk about who to re-evaluate in the Top 25. Plus, Pat and Keith each give out their game balls, look beyond the obvious games to some underappreciated highlights and much more.

Hit play, or subscribe to get this podcast on your phone or portable 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

Plus, all the highlights and interviews from around Division III in the postgame show: