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Quick Hits Week 4: The big games, upset picks

Like last week there’s one huge game in the rankings and I’ll be there. And this week, it won’t require a boarding pass. Will this one live up to the hype better than last week’s? Our guest is Gene Schatz, a Division III football fan whose son played quarterback at Wesley a few years back. Gene has continued to follow Division III very closely and was at both the Salisbury-Montclair State game and the Wesley-Christopher Newport game last week. That’s dedication, Division III parents! (Photo by Scott Pierson, d3photography.com)

— Pat Coleman

On Saturday, I’d rather be at …

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Keith’s take: Clemens Stadium. No. 4 St. Thomas at No. 6 St. John’s in an idyllic setting. It’ll probably be the best game-watching experience in D-III all season.
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Ryan’s take: In Springfield, Ohio, at Bash vs. Witt. Going off-grid with so many other eyes likely on Tommie-Johnnie game.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Collegeville, Minn. There’s a pretty cool game going on up there. What, you’ve heard of it? Never mind.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Tommie-Johnnie. For the third time in 364 days. Collegeville will be boppin’ as the home team tries to prevent a St. Thomas three-peat.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Clemens Stadium. I’ve always wanted to experience the atmosphere at this stadium, especially for this game. Their rankings make this year’s game a bonus.
Guest
Gene’s take: Collegeville, Minn. Would love to see if St. John’s can take the top spot back in the MIAC and break up the purple powers.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 13 Wabash. Didn’t have the guts to take Baldwin Wallace vs. Mount Union or pick against Cortland for the second week in a row.
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Ryan’s take: No. 11 Johns Hopkins. A solid Muhlenberg is as good a team as any to end JHU’s 29-game conference win streak.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 16 St. John Fisher. Under the assumption a huge Courage Bowl crowd fires up Brockport and the E8 refuses to be so easily predicted.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 13 Wabash. On the road against a Wittenberg team playing with a purpose this season.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 11 Johns Hopkins. Muhlenberg has built up well so far, while the Blue Jays have had some close results. A late score could decide it.
Guest
Gene’s take: No. 14 Delaware Valley. Taking a chance that Albright will live up to the preseason billing.

Who gets a sorely needed win this week?

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Keith’s take: UW-River Falls. Southwestern appears much improved, while the Falcons nearly beat Gustavus and get one more shot before WIAC play.
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Ryan’s take: Bethel. It’s already a big slide fof a once-major power.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Allegheny. Kenyon is 2-1, but that loss is a 45-7 drubbing by Hiram and Allegheny needs this one since they might not win another all year.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Ursinus. Two of the three winless Centennial teams meet when the Bears travel to McDaniel.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: UW-Eau Claire (at Wisconsin Lutheran). The Blugolds, with a 14-game losing streak, have a winnable game in front of them before WIAC play begins.
Guest
Gene’s take: Bethel. Just 3 years ago they went undefeated in the MIAC. Hard to believe they could start the season 0-4.

Name any Empire 8 team which will win on Saturday:

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Keith’s take: Alfred, against Ithaca. All the games are good, but I’ve warmed up to the Saxons, who are averaging 34 points a game and have two road wins.
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Ryan’s take: St. John Fisher. I added them to my Top 25 ballot last week.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Morrisville State. I’ll let the rest of these guys take the easy pick and I’ll move further down the alphabet.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Alfred. The Saxons have been as impressive as anyone in the E8. Alfred hosts an Ithaca team that has one offensive TD in two games.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Alfred. The Bombers can’t find an offensive stride still, while Alfred has scored 30-plus in each of their three games. Advantage: Saxons.
Guest
Gene’s take: Alfred. The Saxons take advantage of a struggling Ithaca offense.

Pick an unranked, unvoted-for 3-0 team that will win this week:

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Keith’s take: Berry, vs. Sewanee. The Tigers have lost their first three games by 21-17 twice and 21-16. So give me Berry, scoring three TDs and winning by four.
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Ryan’s take: Plymouth State, keeping this Cinderella season rolling.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Coe. And Nebraska Wesleyan still won’t have beaten a Division III team since …
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Northwestern. They should beat Martin Luther; the bigger question is, will they allow points for the first time this season?
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Centre (vs. Chicago). It’s revenge for Centre after their 2015 loss to the Maroons in what could be a key SAA matchup.
Guest
Gene’s take: St. Vincent. The Bearcats who have only won more than four games once since bringing the program back look to go 4-0.

Which NESCAC game should I care about?

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Keith’s take: Wesleyan at Tufts. It’s the only game between teams picked to have winning records (both 6-2) in Kickoff, or teams that had them last year.
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Ryan’s take: Wesleyan at Tufts, possibly the day’s most competitive matchup.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Wesleyan at Tufts. Night games in the NESCAC are pretty darn rare, so this could be fun.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Wesleyan at Tufts. Can reigning NESCAC player of the year Chance “the Running Back” Brady start another dominant rushing campaign?
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Colby at Williams. For the start of the Mark Raymond era, as he tries to turn around the Ephs the same way he turned around St. Lawrence.
Guest
Gene’s take: Wesleyan at Tufts. Two teams near the top of the NESCAC last year don’t want to start the season 0-1.

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: Shaking off the big loss

It was definitely a tough weekend for Linfield and Washington & Jefferson, and a great weekend for Mary Hardin-Baylor and Thomas More, and we had people at both games and talk with the people involved. But we also have to re-evaluate what we thought we learned about some teams in the first two weeks — is Delaware Valley’s win vs. Wesley, or Utica’s win vs. Ohio Northern as big as we thought? Pat and Keith walk us through it in the 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. 
Photo by Joe Fusco, 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
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Quick Hits for Week 3

Sure, we’d all love to be in Hawaii, where Pacific is playing Occidental, but the D3football.com budget is really tight. We’re lucky to be able to send one person to Texas, but we really wouldn’t miss Linfield playing Mary Hardin-Baylor if at all possible. Our guest for this round of Quick Hits is Logan Hansen, a Wartburg grad who has a computer ratings system he uses to rank D-III teams and predict games. You can follow him at @LogHanRatings on Twitter. Photo by B. Scott Presley, d3photography.com

— Pat Coleman

Belton, Hawaii, or somewhere else?

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Keith’s take: Hawaii, if D3football.com is paying. Otherwise, somewhere else. Like W&J/Thomas More.
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Ryan’s take: Belton. I picked it as my game of the year in Kickoff.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Belton. I leave for Austin on Friday morning. See you at the Mary Hardin-Baylor/Linfield game!
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Somewhere else. There’s a Top 25 matchup that is also a conference rivalry 25 minutes from my house. See you in Crestview Hills.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Belton. I haven’t had an authentic breakfast burrito since the 2008 playoffs, and I’ve yet to get to see the new UMHB stadium.
Guest
Logan’s take: Des Moines. I have a friend’s wedding, otherwise Hawaii, because it’s Hawaii.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 15 Cortland. No. 9 North Central if you want someone not facing a Top 25 opponent.
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Ryan’s take: No. 19 Huntingdon. Belhaven is proving to be tougher than I expected.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 14 Delaware Valley. Of course, King’s is a lot less likely to sneak up on anyone now.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Wesley. I’m not yet sold on the Wolverines, but I’m buying CNU, especially at home.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 9 North Central vs. Illinois Wesleyan. Being on the road against a conference rival for the first D3 game is a challenge.
Guest
Logan’s take: No. 7 Wheaton at 25%. Because it’s too easy to pick Top 25 vs. Top 25 games.

St. Lawrence and Northwestern have allowed no points through two games. Who allows more on Saturday?

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Keith’s take: Northwestern.
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Ryan’s take: Northwestern, though both will get scored on at least a little.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: St. Lawrence. Endicott is 0-2, sure, but they’re the better opponent than who Northwestern is facing.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Northwestern.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Northwestern. St. Lawrence faces 0-2 Endicott, while Northwestern faces 1-0 Minnesota-Morris. It’s science.
Guest
Logan’s take: St. Lawrence. My model has St. Lawrence giving up a touchdown more.

If you were a bird, what kind of bird would you be?

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Keith’s take: Isn’t that a Nelly Furtado song? I’d be a Seahawk. From Salve Regina.
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Ryan’s take: A Sea Gull. Salisbury is riding a high, and that’ll carry over into NJAC play.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: An Owl. Well, a Prof, actually. It’s just that the Rowan Profs use an owl as their mascot. Home to William Paterson.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: A Blue Jay. Johns Hopkins can make a statement at home against a Moravian team that has been very impressive since the beginning of 2015.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: A purple macaw. I mean, that bird hasn’t had its feathers in a ruffle during many regular season games in 11 years…
Guest
Logan’s take: Anything but a Kohawk. Literally means “like the hawk,” as if that clears it up.

Who bounces back best from a noteworthy loss?

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Keith’s take: St. Norbert.
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Ryan’s take: Ohio Northern. No fourth-quarter collapses this time around.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Hampden-Sydney. Although I must admit some trepidation because Ferrum is playing well.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Albright gets into the win column and keeps its MAC hopes alive.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Ohio Northern. It’s a survival game at Heidelberg, and the Utica loss taught the Polar Bears a lot about closing games out after starting strong.
Guest
Logan’s take: John Carroll. 19-point favorites vs. Baldwin Wallace after Week 1 loss to UW-Oshkosh.

Which future conference matchup will be most interesting this week?

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Keith’s take: Catholic-Coast Guard.
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Ryan’s take: Texas Lutheran at Louisiana College. Neither has beaten a D-III team yet this year and each needs a win — bad.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Catholic-Coast Guard. Listeners to the last podcast know why. You should listen to the podcast!
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Ithaca at Hobart. Future Liberty League rivals (for now).
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Ithaca at Hobart. It’s under the lights, has some recent playoff history attached, and matches up teams that haven’t played to potential in 2016 — that part changes Saturday.
Guest
Logan’s take: Ithaca at Hobart. Ithaca’s D should keep this close, but they need to score somehow.

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.