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Quick Hits: One last week for all the marbles

As this portion of the Quick Hits season draws to a close, we tackle the big rivalry games, the playoff picture and all the rest. Our guest prognosticator is Frank Rajkowski, who covers St. John’s football for the St, Cloud Times.

— Pat Coleman

Which Week 11 game is the game of the week?

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Keith’s take: No. 18 St. John Fisher at No. 14 Alfred. There are other big games, but none impact the potential playoff field like whether or not the Cardinals are in Pool C.
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Ryan’s take: No. 18 St. John Fisher at No. 14 Alfred. Likely to be much more of a dogfight than the other game between Top 25 teams.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 8 St. John’s at Concordia-Moorhead. This game is frequently given to last-second heroics, and it has playoff implications.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 18 St. John Fisher at No. 14 Alfred. Every team on the Pool C bubble will have an eye on this one.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 16 John Carroll at No. 1 Mount Union. The Purple Raiders haven’t had a real test. This will show us where they’re at.
Frank Rajkowski
Frank’s take: I want to say St. John’s at Concordia since a lot is on the line and, you know, I’ll be covering it. But it’s hard to pick against ranked teams playing for a conference title, when top-ranked Mount Union plays host to No. 16 John Carroll.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 8 St. John’s, and to a lesser degree No. 17 Wabash. Each puts its 8-1 record on the line vs. 7-2 foe; Johnnies have lost 3 of 4 to Concordia-Moorhead.
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Ryan’s take: No. 25 St. Lawrence. WPI played Hobart close — in fact, the Engineers’ three losses all season were by a total of nine points.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: None. Going with a good old-fashioned slate of chalk. Get it, slate? Chalk?
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 8 St. John’s at Concordia-Moorhead. The Cobbers create some more Pool C chaos and stake a claim to one of the six bids.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 21 Case Western Reserve vs. Carnegie Mellon. CMU has been playing consistent ball while Case had a scare last week.
Frank Rajkowski
Frank’s take: I guess the Top 25 team with the toughest test is No. 8 St. John’s, which travels to Concordia in a game that both teams have to win if they want to keep their shot at an at-large bid alive.

Who salvages a poor season with a win in the finale?

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Keith’s take: Pacific has won six or seven games for three seasons running, but has three losses by four points or fewer this season. The Boxers win at home vs. Puget Sound to get to 4-5.
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Ryan’s take: Albion. My, how far the Britons have fallen.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Williams. I’m going with the Ephs because Amherst is having an uncharacteristically bad year and Williams, while winless, should smell a chance.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Hampden-Sydney defeats rival Randolph-Macon in The Game, because the ODAC can’t possibly have a clear outright champion two years in a row, can it?
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Wesley. “Poor” is a relative term, and a two-loss season is considered such for Wesley. A win salvages the season with a playoff berth.
Frank Rajkowski
Frank’s take: Bethel can salvage a .500 season with a win at Hamline. The Pipers are already assured of finishing .500 for the first time since 1997. A victory would give Hamline its first winning season since 1995.

Which team ranked No. 1 in its region has the closest game in Week 11?

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Keith’s take: Mount Union. The Purple Raiders look as dominant as always, especially with a D that’s allowed 42 points in six games, but the Blue Streaks (39 in past six) could be their equal.
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Ryan’s take: Alfred, but I guess that goes without saying based on my answer to the first question.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Mount Union, vs. John Carroll. Going with an alternate view here.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Alfred is the top team in the East, but plays No. 2 St. John Fisher. It would be a stunner if this isn’t the closest.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Alfred, vs. St. John Fisher. Their closeness in ranking is fitting as these teams should battle to the finish line.
Frank Rajkowski
Frank’s take: Pretty obviously Alfred, which is ranked No. 1 in the East, but faces St. John Fisher, ranked No. 2.

Who goes into the playoffs without momentum?

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Keith’s take: I really looked for other options here, but Alfred seems like the likeliest team to both lose and still get into the postseason..
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Ryan’s take: John Carroll. Finishing out the season against The Machine takes its toll.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: The winner of the ODAC. The fact that I can’t even easily determine who that will be says it all.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 23 Stevenson may have peaked too soon. The Mustangs enter the playoffs following a loss to 3-6 Wilkes and an uninspiring performance against 3-6 Lycoming.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Western New England. With a QB named “Victory,” Coast Guard ends the season with a victory as the Golden Bears potentially rest some players.
Frank Rajkowski
Frank’s take: Olivet has already wrapped up an automatic bid. But the Comets have given up 115 points over three games. That could continue against Trine (6-3), averaging 35.4 points per game.

Alma mater excluded, pick a winner in a rivalry game.

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Keith’s take: Wesleyan (6-1) keeps Trinity Conn. from an unbeaten season and opens the door for Tufts (6-1) to claim NESCAC by beating Middlebury (6-1).
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Ryan’s take: Case Western Reserve over Carnegie Mellon. Finishing undefeated, this is a team that WILL be riding high going into the postseason.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Monmouth. Haven’t lost to Knox in how long? Add one year to the streak.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 17 Wabash could extend its Monon Bell win streak to a record eight in a row. A win could also secure a Pool C berth for the Little Giants. I’m picking the Tigers to play spoiler and snap DePauw’s losing streak.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: RPI, vs. Union. RPI has played very strong football at home vs. Union over the past years, even as the underdog. Their experience at defense helps keep it close enough for a late win.
Frank Rajkowski
Frank’s take: Well, I went to St. Cloud State (which closes its season vs. Minnesota-Duluth). But Mount Union-John Carroll is usually a game to watch. I’m not going out on any limb here. But I’ll take the Purple Raiders.

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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ATN Podcast: Playoff picture update

About half of the automatic bids have been handed out to the Field of 32 teams which will play for the 2016 Division III football championship. But while two of the remaining ones will be battled out head to head this week, and some are cut-and-dried if teams take care of business, there’s still a lot of intrigue and a lot of moving parts. What might the at-large bids look like? Pat and Keith take a quick tour through that and more in 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
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ATN Podcast: A great week in Division III!

We had a game with 17,000-plus fans, a top five team save its bacon in the final seconds, and just a ton of great finishes all around the nation this week. In fact, it’s pretty clear we can consider this the best week so far of the Division III football season. So Pat and Keith take some time to go through all of it — not just Whitewater-Oshkosh, but as many of those great finishes as we can find. But Keith starts this podcast on the sidelines after getting flagged for premature tweeting …

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. 
Photo by Daryl Tessmann, d3photography.com
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