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Quick Hits: For the birds

Eagles, Cardinals — perhaps not more fierce than Bears or … more Bears, I suppose. But those are the focus this week in Week 8 of the 2018 Division III football season.

Our regular crew is Keith McMillan, Ryan Tipps, Pat Coleman, Adam Turer and Frank Rossi. Our sixth spot each week goes to a guest prognosticator, and this week’s is Logan Hansen. You may remember him as the Wartburg alumnus who does a computer ranking of D-III teams, and he is on twitter at @LogHanRatings.

— Pat Coleman

Which game is the Week 8 game of the week?

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Keith’s take: UW-La Crosse at No. 12 UW-Oshkosh. This should be closer than the rankings suggest, and could upset the playoff apple cart.
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Ryan’s take: No. 17 Illinois Wesleyan at Washington U. The Bears’ win last week over Wheaton put them on everyone’s radars, and this is another tough test.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 17 Illinois Wesleyan at Washington U. I priced out flights to St. Louis for this one. Not in the budget.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: UW-La Crosse at No. 12 UW-Oshkosh. Plenty to choose from this week, but this is essentially a WIAC and playoff elimination game.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Hobart at No. 19 RPI. This could have Pool C implications if Hobart wins. RPI’s strength of schedule is excellent and will improve — a 1-loss RPI could win an at-large bid.
Guest
Logan’s take: No. 17 IWU at Wash U. I’m not sure which result would throw the bigger wrench into the  tiebreakers, but Wash. U has shown they belong, and IWU has shown last season wasn’t a fluke.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 15 North Central. Carthage pushed UW-O, IWU and Millikin to the brink, so NCC best bring its A game.
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Ryan’s take: No. 12 UW-Oshkosh. Though Oshkosh is coming off a real quality win, UW-La Crosse has shown more than a few flashes of greatness this fall.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 17 Illinois Wesleyan. I look forward to learning if it really is as tough for teams to win in St. Louis as it is for Chicagoland teams in Bloomington.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 19 RPI. Hobart and the Engineers have both played their share of nailbiters this season. The Statesmen win another close one.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 17 Illinois Wesleyan. WashU at home, following a win vs. Wheaton … I’ll play the momentum as the Titans have looked mediocre in wins lately.
Guest
Logan’s take: No. 17 Illinois Wesleyan. The model has Wash. U favored by a field goal, 28-25.

Whose unbeaten run comes to an end this week?

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Keith’s take: Marietta. The Grey Pioneers allow 31.8 points per game, which is way too loose to beat John Carroll.
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Ryan’s take: Marietta. I expect this one to be a popular pick, as the Pioneers are facing John Carroll this week.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Kalamazoo. Kzoo’s 6-0 isn’t far from Alma’s 1-5, just a different schedule. Similar results vs. Adrian and Albion.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Marietta. The Pioneers travel to No. 10 John Carroll, and leave with their first loss of 2018. Also, RPI.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Western Connecticut. The Bridgewater State Bears have been stalking the frontrunners of the MASCAC — a win would give them a chance for the playoffs.
Guest
Logan’s take: Central. There’s a reason they haven’t cracked the Top 25 yet, because they haven’t beaten a proven team (except maybe DePauw). Wartburg by a TD according to the model.

Which game are you following that nobody else on this panel is following?

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Keith’s take: FDU-Florham at Misericordia. The former could hit five wins for the first time since 2000; the latter had won five ever before this year & now five straight.
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Ryan’s take: Hanover at Manchester. I’ve enjoyed watching the Panthers’ resurgence this season. It’s reminiscent to how I remember them from the late ’90s.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Luther at Nebraska Wesleyan. It’s part of my 25-game tour of D3 from west to east from the podcast.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Central at Wartburg. The Dutch could also fall from the ranks of the unbeaten, and the ARC race could turn into a logjam at the top.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 2 Mary Hardin-Baylor at Belhaven. UMHB wins, but will the Cru finally resolve their QB contest?  Two (let alone, three)-QB systems aren’t optimal, and could be a problem in playoffs.
Guest
Logan’s take: Emory & Henry at Shenandoah. If I’m picking a random game to watch, it would be this — the model has the spread at -3 Shenandoah, with an O/U of 93.5. Gonna get pointsy.

Which team is probably safe to focus more on next week?

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Keith’s take: Muhlenberg. By the fourth quarter vs. McDaniel, the Mules will allow themselves to ponder Week 9 vs. Johns Hopkins.
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Ryan’s take: No. 16 Trine. Opponent Finlandia has a long way before it’ll be competitive at Trine’s level.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: St. Thomas. Carleton has improved this season but won’t be a match for the Tommies.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Endicott. No coach would approve of this question, but Paul McGonagle’s team faces winless Becker a week before taking on its top CCC competition, Western New England.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Trinity (Conn.). In a topsy-turvy NESCAC race, Bowdoin is winless.  Next up would be Middlebury, the team that shocked Williams last weekend.
Guest
Logan’s take: Muhlenberg and Johns Hopkins. Both teams are greater than 97% favorites this week, and most computer models (not mine) think they’re both Top 10 teams.

Who has the edge this week: Cardinals or Eagles?

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Keith’s take: Eagles. It’s five against seven, and the Eagles have Brockport and UW-La Crosse on their side.
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Ryan’s take: Eagles. In terms of both quantity and quality (see my upset pick above).
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Eagles. But only because of the Golden Eagles of Brockport. Without them, the Cardinals would take it.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Eagles. Thanks to the Golden variety, ranked No. 3 and hosting Buffalo State.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Neither. Cardinals: North Central, St. John Fisher; Eagles: Brockport, Husson.
Guest
Logan’s take: Eagles. Brockport and Husson basically guaranteed to win. 2.1 expected wins for Cardinals, 2.8 for Eagles.

We invite you to add your predictions in the comments below. Download the Around the Nation podcast on Fridays, 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 Week 7: Eyes on the rivalry and the streak

In addition to the big game between St. Thomas and St. John’s, there are lots of other key games, including one at the other end of the rankings. That’s where Earlham, which has lost 49 consecutive games, faces Anderson. A win will keep Earlham from grabbing a share of the record for the longest Division III football losing streak, ever.

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 James Baker, Frank Rossi’s co-host on In The Huddle. That’s the two of them staring at each other.

Photo: UW-Oshkosh Kyle Radavich stands in the pocket. (Photo by Daryl Tessmann, d3photography.com)

Which game is the Week 7 game of the week?

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Keith’s take: The Tommie-Johnnie game. Next question.
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Ryan’s take: Tommie-Johnnie game. Ranked teams. Fierce rivalry. Smothering defenses. The recent loss of a legend. MIAC title hopes. Sentence fragments.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 3 St. Thomas at No. 8 St. John’s. The game of any week.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Tommie-Johnnie. A battle of top ten teams that means even more in light of the great John Gagliardi’s passing.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: St. Thomas at St. John’s. When John passed away last weekend, it made this game even more special. The emotion here will be intense, leading to a back-and-forth affair.
James Baker
James’ take: St. Thomas at St. John’s. With all due respect to No. 4 Brockport and Alfred, this is the easy pick, especially with the passing of legendary SJU coach John Gagliardi weighing heavily.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 13 UW-Oshkosh. UW-Platteville, which is one six-minute stretch vs. Thomas More from being unbeaten, is likely the better team.
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Ryan’s take: No. 13 UW-Oshkosh. If not for a loss to Thomas More early in the season, Platteville would be ranked and this would seem even less of an upset.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 23 Muhlenberg. If Thomas More could do it to Platteville, it could do the same in this game.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 13 UW-Oshkosh. The Titans still have not discovered an offensive identity, and UW-Platteville can remain squarely in the WIAC title mix.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 13 UW-Oshkosh. I just don’t see where the Titans are going to find the points to beat UW-Platteville. The better offense will win a close one here.
James Baker
James’ take: No. 23 Muhlenberg. While I don’t want to root against the Mike Cragg coaching tree, Thomas More needs to win this game more than the Mules to stay in the hunt for a playoff bid.

Who bounces back from a noteworthy loss?

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Keith’s take: No. 9 Hardin-Simmons. Shut out by UMHB, the Cowboys should go back to scoring 50-plus vs. Sul Ross State.
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Ryan’s take: George Fox. Fell to ranked Whitworth last week and is now hunting for its first conference win (as is opponent Willamette).
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Chapman. The Panthers should find Occidental a different challenge than Redlands was.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Hardin-Simmons. The Cowboys should avenge last week’s rare shutout by bouncing back with a vengeance against winless Sul Ross State.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Ithaca. The Bombers have a tremendous defense that can tame Union’s offense enough to allow Ithaca to sneak out with a win in essentially an elimination game.
James Baker
James’ take: No. 7 Wesley.The Wolverines will take out their frustrations over losing by one point to Frostburg State with a methodical thumping of 1-4 Kean, who’s been outscored 117-25 this season.

Which game are you following that nobody else on this panel is following?

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Keith’s take: Montclair State at Salisbury. I might be overhyping this, but I’m curious if either 5-0 NJAC team can push Wesley or Frostburg State.
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Ryan’s take: Simpson at Central. Not far from the beaten path since both are undefeated in conference play, but I’ve been itching to see someone really stand out in ARC action.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Hartwick at St. John Fisher. Sounds random, but tune into the podcast to find out why.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Averett at N.C. Wesleyan. The Cougars last shared a conference title in 2006. The Battling Bishops won the USA South in 2009 and shared the title in 2010.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Endicott at UNE. After their first program victory against Curry, the Nor’easters have a chance to create chaos in the CCC if they can play well again on their blue turf.
James Baker
James’ take: Ithaca vs. Union. In what amounts to a playoff-elimination game for both teams, Liberty League preseason favorite Ithaca needs to win out and RPI to lose to have any shot.

Six NACC teams are 1-4 overall. Which ones will move to 2-4?

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Keith’s take: Lakeland and Benedictine.
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Ryan’s take: Lakeland and Wisconsin Lutheran. The Muskies have faced some good nonconference teams, which helps in NACC play, and the Warriors is where my gut’s at.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Lakeland and Benedictine. Lakeland over Rockford, Benedictine over Wisconsin Lutheran.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Lakeland. The Muskies have a recent winning pedigree, while the Regents have not posted a winning season since joining the NACC.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Benedictine and Lakeland.
James Baker
James’ take: Benedictine and Rockford. 

Does Earlham get off the schneid this week?

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Keith’s take: No. I said they would not in the podcast, so I’m obligated to stick with Anderson here.
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Ryan’s take: No. The Quakers haven’t yet figured out how to keep a game close let alone win one.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Reply hazy, try again. Seems unlikely, unfortunately. And Macalester fans seem to enjoy holding the record for longest losing streak, too.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. The Quakers’ best chance will come on Nov. 3 against Defiance, after the record for futility has been broken.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. There really is a difference between being outscored 341-39 (Earlham) vs. 209-72 (Anderson).
James Baker
James’ take: Nope. Sorry, Quakers.

We invite you to add your predictions in the comments below. Download the Around the Nation podcast on Fridays, 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: Two results throw it wide open

Wesley and Hardin-Simmons could have made it easy on the committee and on all the bracketologists in Division III who are trying to figure out where they’ll go in the playoffs. Instead, Salisbury upset the Wolverines and East Texas Baptist knocked off the Cowboys. What are the ramifications? What do the at-large bids look like now? (A hint, they look awesome.) Plus, which are the teams on the rise in the playoff hunt? 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