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Quick Hits: Games to keep an eye on

Lots of eyes on Iowa, where the first automatic bid of the season could be clinched, as well as on Indiana, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. But also, perhaps there’s something in Connecticut to note, or Oregon, or Washington (D.C., that is). 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 Doug Samuels. A former Division III football player at Defiance, Doug is currently a high school coach and is also content manager for FootballScoop.

— Pat Coleman

Which Week 9 game is the game of the week?

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Keith’s take: Dubuque at No. 19 Wartburg. No no-brainer this week. Let’s see how Knights look vs. toughest opponent since the opener.
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Ryan’s take: No. 13 Wittenberg at Wabash. Few young rivalries have this level of intensity to them.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: UW-La Crosse at No. 9 UW-Platteville. La Crosse showed last week it has multiple capable QBs, much like UWP.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 13 Wittenberg at Wabash. Doubtful the Tigers can repeat last week’s dominance, but another win could pretty much clinch the NCAC title..
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 14 Wesley at Montclair State. With the Salisbury showdown awaiting Wesley, this feels like a trap game. Not saying Wesley loses, but I think it could be closer than expected.
Guest
Doug’s take: No. 13 Wittenberg at Wabash. The Little Giants lost a close one in Week 7 and have a bad taste in their mouth with a change to get things back on track against a quality ranked Wittenberg team.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 24 Johns Hopkins. Blue Jays have hit their stride in October, but Muhlenberg is two three-point losses from being unbeaten.
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Ryan’s take: No. 24 Johns Hopkins. The kicker being that they only made it back onto my ballot last week.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 19 Wartburg. I’m basing this solely on the amount of talk from Dubuque players on Twitter after our preseason poll. Make the talk stand up.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 19 Wartburg. Dubuque is very nearly 7-0 and the 5-2 Spartans should at least make a very close game of this.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 13 Wittenberg. “The rumors of [Wabash’s] demise have been greatly exaggerated” — because “Wabash always fights.” I know… How cliché..,
Guest
Doug’s take: No. 9 UW-Platteville. Word is UW-La Crosse has their D-I transfer back at QB, and they’ve lost a few close ones. Think they break through this week.


Which team will hurt its regional ranking this week before we even get to see it?

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Keith’s take: Lake Forest. Five of Foresters’ 7 wins vs. teams with two wins or fewer. Monmouth would be impressive; MWC won’t have two ranked.
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Ryan’s take: Millikin. If Carthage can follow through with playing spoiler this time around.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: George Fox. And they won’t lose to Lewis & Clark — but their strength of schedule will go down.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Franklin and Marshall. Diplomats are fighting for a 9-1 season and playoff bid, but faces a surprisingly 1-6 Moravian.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Western Connecticut. Colonials might be ranked in the East at one loss — if they can beat Fitchburg. Inconsistent play suggests they might not before the big game at Framingham.
Guest
Doug’s take: If we never see their hypothetical rankings from this week, is it logical to suggest that no one’s ranking gets hurt?.

Which team bounces back after a tough loss?

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Keith’s take: George Fox. After rainy, offensively challenged loss at Linfield, Bruins reawaken vs. a Lewis & Clark that’s lost three straight since 2-1 start.
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Ryan’s take: Heidelberg. The Student Princes won’t be the head-scratchers they were last week.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Catholic. After being thoroughly unable to stop Springfield, CUA gets Norwich at home.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Heidelberg. The Student Princes took an unexpected beating last week, but will bounce back against Wilmington at home.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: George Fox. After a one-possession loss to the juggernaut known as Linfield, this game will be a walk in the park for the Bruins vs. Lewis & Clark.
Guest
Doug’s take: Hamline. After losing to St. Thomas 84-0, this week they get 3-5 Augsburg. Gotta think Hamline (2-5) is ready for a team they measure up with better.

Hartwick has the weekend off. So which team with Hawks in its name will score the most points?

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Keith’s take: Huntingdon. Loras Duhawks (36.1 ppg) are highest-scoring ‘hawks, but Huntingdon faces 1-6 Greensboro, which allows 45.1 ppg.
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Ryan’s take: Huntingdon. Opponent Greensboro gave up 59 last week, and that wasn’t even their biggest blowout this year.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Huntingdon. Greensboro won’t put up too much of a fight, so it’ll be whatever the Hawks feel like scoring.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Salve Regina. But the Seahawks might not score much against a stout Western New England defense.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Huntingdon. They may play with Pride, but Greensboro has just one win as they prepare for a rested Huntingdon Hawks. This might get lopsided early.
Guest
Doug’s take: UW-Whitewater. The Warhawks will score the most AND – bonus info here – Montclair State (vs. Wesley) will score the LEAST.

Which game featuring a ranked team will be the closest?

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Keith’s take: UW-La Crosse at No. 9 UW-Platteville. Eagles have been competitive but are 0-2 in the meat of their schedule.
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Ryan’s take: Wash U at No. 17 Case Western Reserve. The Bears have a lot of losses, but their competition has been fierce.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 18 Berry at Birmingham-Southern. I should double down on my first pick but BSC has been playing tight games and Berry is defense-oriented.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Elmhurst will push No. 12 Illinois Wesleyan to the brink. The CCIW is deep this year.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 24 Johns Hopkins at Muhlenberg. I foresee a one-possession decision here in favor of JHU, but I expect it to be a great game between Centennial stalwarts.
Guest
Doug’s take: Dubuque at No. 19 Wartburg. Last year, Dubuque lost by eight. They’ll have some extra motivation to knock off the ranked Knights this year and I’m betting it’s close again.

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: The 35,000-foot view

The biggest show in Division III is coming to a major league baseball stadium. Perhaps you’ve heard. But there are 100 other games on Saturday as well, and if you’re not named Tommie or Johnnie, perhaps you’re wondering if we’ll be paying any attention. Our regular Quick Hits 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 Howard Sinker. In our attempts to find a neutral Minnesotan to talk about this week, we found Howard, Minneapolis Star Tribune digital sports editor, Minnesota Public Radio sports commentator and senior instructor of Media and Cultural Studies at Macalester College.

— Pat Coleman

What’s the best game this week that hasn’t sold 30,000 tickets?

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Keith’s take: Centre at Berry. Preseason, I’d have circled Stevenson-DelVal, but this SAA clash of styles takes the sliver of spotlight left.
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Ryan’s take: Stevenson at No. 12 Delaware Valley. Can’t remember the last year the MAC was clear cut. This will give some clarity.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 5 North Central at Millikin. This is a game that is usually a cakewalk but Millikin is on the upswing. It’s under the radar this week.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Stevenson at Delaware Valley. The Mustangs have a chance to prove that they’ve gotten right by upsetting the No. 12 Aggies.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Utica at No. 19 Brockport. Utica loves to play the spoiler, and their defense may be able to slow down Germinerio and Morris somewhat..
Howard Sinker
Howard’s take: Monmouth at Macalester. Battle of Scots in St. Paul features two MWC contenders; Mac opened with ‘hardware game’ victories vs. Carleton and Hamline.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 9 John Carroll. Host Heidelberg has hung 40 twice in road wins over solid teams.
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Ryan’s take: No. 9 John Carroll. I’ve been a little uncertain of JCU so far, and last week didn’t help their case.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: None. And fully aware I’m doing this for a second consecutive week. But I don’t see JCU losing like others do..
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 13 UW-Platteville. The Pioneers have not impressed in either of their wins, and Lakeland has a potent offense that will test UW-P.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 6 St. John’s. Not much of an upset, except through rankings. Every game is a must-win for St. Thomas now.
Howard Sinker
Howard’s take: No. 9 John Carroll. Tough matchup with the Student Princes of Heidelberg.

Will Wheaton miss a beat?

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Keith’s take: No. This is really for the Thunder to answer; Five players are out, program is national news. But Elmhurst looks beatable amid all that.
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Ryan’s take: Yes. But it really won’t be apparent until next week.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. I mean, not this week, at least.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. The players on the roster will be determined to prove that they can overcome their teammates’ absences.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Yes. Focus after the trainwreck of a week will be off, and loss of five players will hurt. But Elmhurst won’t beat the Thunder.
Howard Sinker
Howard’s take: Hard thinking of Wheaton in ‘game terms’ after hazing publicity, but Elmhurst led Thunder until fourth-quarter turnover last year in 10-6 game.

Which surprise 3-0 team makes it 4-0 this week?

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Keith’s take: Wooster. Scots have a tough matchup at DePauw, but might be inspired following the death of Clayton Geib.
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Ryan’s take: Salve Regina. Although, it’s no cakewalk with undefeated Western Connecticut on the other side.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: SUNY-Maritime. The Privateers have been 4-0 once before, in the year they went 10-0. Alfred State won’t stop them..
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Franklin & Marshall. The Dips have a tough task at Susquehanna, but have been the surprise of the Centennial so far this season.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: RPI. Buffalo State’s two wins were by a total of six points. RPI has rolled. Engineers win their fourth..
Howard Sinker
Howard’s take: Cheating a bit: Knox. Knox beats Ripon to go 3-0. Surprise? Knox hasn’t won more than three in a season since 2005.

Which team won’t be able to repeat last week’s success?

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Keith’s take: Mass. Maritime. Bucs held off Maine Maritime last week. Going to Framingham State is much tougher.
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Ryan’s take: Berry. I think opponent Centre is the SAA’s best this year.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: George Fox. I think that even on the road, a WIAC team is better than what Redlands is prepared for.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Rowan. Profs posted a big road win over William Paterson in Week 3, but will suffer a big home loss at the hands of Frostburg State in Week 4.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Widener. Albright could’ve fit my surprising 4-0 team, as Lions have looked decent since the big Salisbury win..
Howard Sinker
Howard’s take: St. Thomas won’t win by 63, St. John’s won’t win by 49.

Official attendance in the Tommie-Johnnie game? (Price is Right rules apply)

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Keith’s take: 33,316, clearly a sign from God.
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Ryan’s take: 31,157.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: 37,535. Tell me that’s one above anyone else’s pick.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: 33,069. Nice.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: 36,106. It’s No 10 vs. No. 6. So, there had to be at least one of each in my number.
Howard Sinker
Howard’s take: 34,567. 

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: One big shakeup

There was one huge upset this week, but that left a lot of room to talk about other games as well. So in addition to Dubuque-Wartburg, let’s take a few minutes to focus on the “middle class” of Division III football, as it were. Or at least, teams trying to break into the Top 25, or trying to break through and win a conference. Which are the teams on the rise? What key highlights happened below the radar? Pat and Keith answer those questions, plus hand out their game balls, on this week’s Around the Nation Podcast.

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