All of a sudden we drop a few big games into the mix, set a couple of Top 25 ballots on fire, and then it’s not too early to talk about strength of schedule, and the playoffs, and how at-large bids might be even more at a premium this year than usual. Pat and Keith talk first about the games that caused all that upheaval, then later dive into a couple of playoff scenarios. Plus, find out who Keith thinks could stick around in the playoff bracket a little longer than normal this November or December.
Some teams can’t go 0-2 because they won last week and some can’t because they didn’t play. But either way, you don’t want to be 0-2 after Week 2. Who will be? Our guest this week is Greg Thomas, a Wabash grad known as Wally Wabash on our message boards and who has been part of our bracketology team. Since we already have a Wabash grad on the panel (Ryan Tipps), we figured we’d better bring Greg in during Wabash’s bye week.
— Pat Coleman
Where in Division III would you prefer to be this weekend?
Keith’s take: At Coast Guard, watching the Secretaries’ Cup game. It’ll be 78 in New London, Conn., on Saturday.
Ryan’s take: The Stevenson/Albright game, two teams that may be going different directions in this pollster’s eyes.
Pat’s take: Hotchkiss Field. That’s Gallaudet’s home field, to see Earlham and Gallaudet on a level playing field.
Adam’s take: Shirk Stadium, for Stevenson at Albright #MACtion.
Frank’s take: At my computer. I can watch Stevenson/Albright in the AM, Alfred/RPI, and the Secretaries’ Cup with the A/C on.
Greg’s take: New London, Conn. Seeing a rivalry game between service academies is a bucket list item.
Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?
Keith’s take: No. 18 Ohio Northern. I’d say they and every other Top 25 aren’t likely to lose but Utica has a shot at home.
Ryan’s take: None, a pick I try to make only once a season.
Pat’s take: No. 17 Wesley. Pardon me if I’m piling on here a little but now I’m selling on Wesley for the moment.
Adam’s take: No. 21 Huntingdon, vs. Birmingham-Southern.
Frank’s take: No. 18 Ohio Northern. Utica has a game played, ONU does not, and I’m not sold on ONU’s poll strength.
Greg’s take: No. 16 Cortland. Framingham State is due to get a big win over an E8 contender.
Which team is going to wish it had played in Week 1?
Keith’s take: Chapman. Playing Linfield is hard enough without it being a road season opener.
Ryan’s take: Massachusetts Maritime, as its rival already has a game under its belt.
Pat’s take: Merchant Marine. The Secretaries’ Cup is just the biggest game of the year. Coast Guard played last week.
Adam’s take: Chapman. A chance to tune up before Linfield would probably have been helpful.
Frank’s take: Rochester. With just a 75-man roster in camp, on-field experience is at a premium against a Catholic team that rallied for a Week 1 OT win.
Greg’s take: Wartburg. Monmouth can run away and hide if there is too much first-game rust on the Knights’ armor.
Which conference game will we be most likely to remember on Selection Sunday?
Keith’s take: Stevenson at Albright, in the MAC.
Ryan’s take: Frostburg State at Wesley, this one will get people’s blood pumping.
Pat’s take: Stevenson at Albright. Who wrote this question? Not enough choices. Oh wait, I did …
Adam’s take: Franklin and Marshall at Muhlenberg. Recent history shows that this is a playoff elimination game, even this early.
Frank’s take: Stevenson at Albright. The loser may be in the discussion for a Pool C bid in an interesting MAC race.
Greg’s take: Frostburg State at Wesley. With the Pool C safety net perhaps gone, every NJAC game is a big deal for Wesley.
Which game involving a non-Division III school should I care about?
Keith’s take: I had to look this up, but NAIA No. 18 St. Francis — not No. 4 — at No. 10 UW-Platteville.
Ryan’s take: Franklin at Butler, mostly because we care not to see any Griz players get hurt ahead of conference play.
Pat’s take: Brevard at Emory & Henry. You can’t make me care about too many non-Division III teams but Brevard is moving to D-III starting next year.
Adam’s take: St. Francis (Ill.) at UW-Platteville.
Frank’s take: Franklin at Butler. If Franklin loses the HCAC for some reason, this result could actually matter for Pool C purposes.
Greg’s take: Franklin at Butler. Interested to see how they back up the Thomas More win and after this the Grizzlies are in the weeds until November.
Which team starts a surprising 0-2?
Keith’s take: Texas Lutheran, which follows up the ETBU defeat with a UMHB L.
Ryan’s take: St. Norbert, but that means Benedictine will have to play tough to make this come true.
Pat’s take: Pacific. With both Adrian and Dubuque coming to town the first two weeks, you’d have thought one win …
Adam’s take: Hampden-Sydney.
Frank’s take: Probably none is a surprise. If forced, I’d say Thomas More may be flat after last week’s late loss.
Greg’s take: Texas Lutheran. Maybe less surprised at 0-2 than I am at the Bulldogs getting there via a pair of lopsided games.
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.
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.