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Quick Hits Week 11: Easy as A-B-C

It’s last call for the NCAA tournament this week as the final six Pool A bids will be decided. No Pool B bids this year, but there are plenty of Bowls and Bells to go around. Which games influence one of the best Pool C fields we’ve seen in the D3football.com era? Our panel breaks it all down for you as we deliver our final Hits of the regular season.

Our regular crew is Keith McMillan, Ryan Tipps, Pat Coleman, Adam Turer, Frank Rossi and Greg Thomas.

— Greg Thomas

Which game is the Game of the Week?

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Keith’s take: No. 3 UW-Whitewater at UW-Oshkosh. Especially with it under the lights, no game will have Pool C teams more on pins and needles.
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Ryan’s take: No. 9 Bethel at No. 17 St. Thomas. The only game between ranked teams makes this an easy pick.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 3 UW-Whitewater at UW-Oshkosh. Not only have there been a lot of close games involving Whitewater this season, but this game has the chance to upset the apple cart most in terms of playoff bids.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Cortaca. We’ve never seen anything like this before.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 3 UW-Whitewater at UW-Oshkosh. The final game of the season has the most playoff implications of the bunch this weekend.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 3 UW-Whitewater at UW-Oshkosh. It’s the title game in the Division’s best conference. There are Pool A and Pool C implications. And it is the last kickoff in the regular season. A grand finale if there ever was one.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 14 Union. RPI smoked Ithaca last week, and would be returning the favor from when the clinched-bid shoe was on the other foot last season.
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Ryan’s take: No. 10 John Carroll. This came has lost some of its cachet with BW’s loss last week, but an upset would mean the OAC is going to lose some postseason representation.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 14 Union. Not as much on Union as it is on RPI, which played with a little more fire last week and will be glad to get up for a rivalry fame and cost its archrival a playoff home game.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 14 Union. RPI has momentum and would like nothing more than to ruin its rival’s playoff seeding while reclaiming the Dutchman Shoes.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 20 Case Western Reserve (at Carnegie Mellon). The Tartans have been tough at home in season-ending games against the Spartans. This time, they knock them off.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 9 Bethel. Because, yes, you can have a top 25 team upset another top 25 team and because I trust the Tommies’ offense a hair more than I do the Royals offense this weekend.

Which rivalry game will produce the biggest upset?

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Keith’s take: Hampden-Sydney/Randolph-Macon. Psych. Dutchman Shoes, and RPI.
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Ryan’s take: RPI over Union. I’m going to duck now as Frank throws sharp objects in my direction.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Cuyahoga Gold Bowl Trophy. Playoff pictures will become a little more clear when Baldwin Wallace knocks off No. 10 John Carroll.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Monon Bell. Wabash has already clinched in what has been an overall down year for the NCAC. A DePauw upset would leave the league with a three-way tie at the top, and no team with fewer than two conference losses.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: DePauw over Wabash. Something just tells me that the Bell is going to be DePauw’s at the end of Saturday, which would make the middling Tigers season much easier to swallow.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: The Cuyahoga Gold Bowl. I’m not so sure Baldwin Wallace beating John Carroll is a massive upset, but our Top 25 certainly thinks so.

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

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Keith’s take: Huntington at LaGrange. The USA South gets wacky if the Hawks stumble.
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Ryan’s take: Millsaps at Birmingham-Southern. With seven SAA teams at .500 or better, the conference is interesting well beyond the top one or two teams.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Catholic at Maine Maritime. Hoping to see the alma mater get to 2-8 here at the end of the season, even after the 678-mile trip.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Mount St. Joseph at SUNY-Maritime. Will the Privateers be the lone playoff participant with a sub-.500 record? Will Lions quarterback Chaiten Tomlin become the HCAC’s all-time leading passer in his final game?
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 22 Brockport at Morrisville State. The Mustangs hung 49 on a decent Fisher team that Brockport couldn’t score more than 17 against. This could be a “look past” game for Brockport if they’re not careful, and playoff seeding depends on it.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: Ohio Wesleyan at Wittenberg. The Bishops are coming off of an impressive win against Denison and have a chance to take back Ye Olde Skull for the first time since 2006. Yes, they play for a skull.

Which team secures its Pool C ticket with a win?

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Keith’s take: Redlands, by winning at Occidental. I’m not confident that a win definitely gets many more teams in …
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Ryan’s take: Wartburg. With so many great 1- (and even 2-)loss teams out there, the 8-1 Knights falling to Loras would be the nail in their playoff-hopes coffin. But they have a strong SOS, so they would be a good candidate with a win on Saturday.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Redlands. As secure as anyone can be for an at-large spot, that is.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Susquehanna. With a win at Juniata, the River Hawks should clinch their first playoff berth since 2009. Back then, the team was called the Crusaders and played in the Liberty League.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 10 John Carroll (at Baldwin Wallace). This game will help keep John Carroll afloat enough to get one of the last Pool C bids.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: Wesley. The Wolverines have had a habit of making things interesting this season, but they just need to grind out one more win to see their name in the field on Sunday.

Which team will be the highest ranked team to miss the NCAA tournament?

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Keith’s take: No. 17 St. Thomas, because it moves up after beating Bethel, No. 6 North Central dodges a bullet and No. 10 JCU loses. Maybe?
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Ryan’s take: No. 15 Hardin-Simmons. They’re a great squad, but with two losses (and one of the teams that beat them also at two losses), there’s really no chance to see HSU in the mix come Sunday.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Hardin-Simmons.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: John Carroll. Many voters have the Blue Streaks ranked in their top ten. A win over Baldwin Wallace on Saturday may get them in the top 15 on my ballot. It appears that still won’t be enough to get the OAC a second team in the playoffs this year.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 15 Hardin-Simmons. Losing to only UMHB and TLU shouldn’t lead to this type of ending, but with just five at-large bids, we can say to the Cowboys, “Thanks for playing, and enjoy your lovely parting gifts.”
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: St. Thomas. With the BW assist forecasted above, a Tommies win over Bethel should push them up and over current No. 15 Hardin-Simmons and be the highest ranked team to not move on to Week 12.

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 2: Titanic games on tap

This week we’ve got our eyes on two big games featuring midwestern Titans, plenty of contests with titanic travel, a throwback Texas showdown, and a huge game between East region powers.

Our regular crew is Keith McMillan, Ryan Tipps, Pat Coleman, Adam Turer, Frank Rossi and Greg Thomas.

— Greg Thomas
Photo by Steve Frommell, d3photography.com

Which game is the Game of the Week?

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Keith’s take: No. 22 Wesley at No. 13 Delaware Valley. Even though I get all googly-eyed when Linfield and UW-Oshkosh visit the East Coast, I got assigned Wesley-Del Val for the podcast, and it holds up as GOTW.
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Ryan’s take: No. 14 Illinois Wesleyan at No. 23 UW-La Crosse. The Eagles are certainly happy to already have a game under their belt, but I’m not sure they have to tools to slow IWU’s skilled returning offense.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 14 Illinois Wesleyan at No. 23 UW-La Crosse. Losing this game last year derailed IWU’s postseason hopes, while UWL can solidify contender status with another W.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 22 Wesley at No. 13 Delaware Valley. The Wolverines are back in the Top 25. Now, they have a chance to show that they are back in contention as one of the top programs in the nation.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 22 Wesley at No. 13 Delaware Valley. With Brockport’s loss, and with RPI facing a strong WPI team this week, the winner of this game could be considered the front runner of the East Region.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 14 Illinois Wesleyan at No. 23 UW-La Crosse. The Eagles upset the Titans last year, a loss that ultimately cost IWU a spot in the playoffs. There is little reason to believe that the stakes won’t be similar this time around.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 21 Wabash. Susquehanna beat No. 7 Johns Hopkins last year, which takes a savvy pick out of the “upset” category. The Little Giants could struggle against UW-Stevens Point though.
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Ryan’s take: No. 7 Johns Hopkins. It happened last year against Susquehanna, and the River Hawks already have debuted strong this season. (Apologies for the earlier typo, River Hawks!!)
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 9 Hardin-Simmons. The game with Trinity (Texas) last year was a two-point game until the final 60 seconds and Trinity looks to be just as strong, if not better than 2018.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 9 Hardin-Simmons. The Cowboys haven’t lost a non-conference regular season game since 2014. Trinity (Texas) is a program on the rise and gave the Cowboys a battle last season. This would be Jerheme Urban’s signature win as head coach of his alma mater.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 19 RPI (at WPI). Yes, Coach Isernia, I’ll bring the thumbtacks for your bulletin board. WPI’s record-sized senior class wants a signature win to go out on; this could be it.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 9 Hardin-Simmons. A lot has to go right for Trinity to pull this off, but Jerheme Urban has been steadily building his alma mater back into a player in the South region. Knocking off the Cowboys would be the perfect springboard into SAA play.

Which team debuting this week will most wish they played in Week 1?

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Keith’s take: No. 14 Illinois Wesleyan. While this week’s opponent, No. 23 UW-La Crosse, was busy battling it out with Concordia-Moorhead, the Titans were doing who knows what.
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Ryan’s take: No. 21 Wabash. The Little Giants will need its veteran defense to really shine to help avoid the tension of last year’s narrow contest against UW-Stevens Point.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 21 Wabash. UW-Stevens Point had a quality first-week performance in a loss at No. 17 John Carroll, so the Pointers will definitely have a leg up on the Little Giants.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: DePauw. The Tigers are eager to wash away a disappointing 4-6 season marked by narrow defeats. Traveling to face a 1-0 Central team is their first chance to avenge one of those losses, but it won’t be easy.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Massachusetts Maritime. SUNY-Maritime won in a huge late comeback last week, giving the Privateers important momentum heading into this rivalry game.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 21 Wabash. The Little Giants have a tricky road trip up to UW-Stevens Point this week. The Pointers pushed Wabash in Crawfordsville last year without the benefit of one game head start.

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

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Keith’s take: Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at Northwestern (Minn.). The Stags lost in Washington last week, but hit the road again, and should bring back a W this time.
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Ryan’s take: Hampden-Sydney at Christopher Newport. Two Virginia teams (and past state powers) that faltered in Week 1 are sure to be looking for the right footing this time around.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Catholic at Georgetown. The last time these teams played, I was a senior in college and a pretty crappy broadcaster to boot. I won’t be there on Saturday, and neither will be TE Jim Opfinger, who had a huge game against the Hoyas.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Rose-Hulman at Rhodes. It’s the Fightin’ Engineers’ only non-conference game against a team without a national championship pedigree and realistic 2019 Stagg Bowl aspirations.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Montclair State at Salve Regina. Both teams were surprise losers in Week 1. They both need momentum before conference plays begins. This could be a close game.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: Aurora at Elmhurst. In this game featuring two first year head coaches, I want to see if last week’s points avalanche is going to be the norm for Don Beebe’s squad or if Jeff McDonald’s Blue Jays can slow them down.

Which team will be a surprising 0-2?

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Keith’s take: Bridgewater State. The Bears might still be contenders once MASCAC play begins, but they got roughed up by the Empire 8’s Morrisville State last weekend and go to St. John Fisher.
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Ryan’s take: George Fox. The Bruins came out flat last week — slow to score and stuggling to step up on defense. Against a team like Alfred that shut out its first opponent, that kind of play spells trouble.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Bridgewater State. The Bears have had some wild swings in won-lost record in recent seasons and with a 32-point loss to Morrisville State in Week 1, it might sound reasonable to expect a loss at St. John Fisher on Saturday..
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Misericordia. The Cougars shocked the world with an 8-win campaign in 2018. Losses to McDaniel and Lebanon Valley to start 0-2 would be more in line with the program’s historic struggles.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Framingham State. The Endicott win last week was unexpected, and Brockport needs a rebound. That ends up making the two-time reigning MASCAC champs 0-2.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: Ohio Northern. Muskingum shouldn’t be a big problem for ONU, but the Polar Bears have a lot of things to correct from their Week 1 loss at Denison.

Which region wins the East vs. West games?

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Keith’s take: West. I’ve got Linfield over Rowan, Alfred over George Fox, and UW-Oshkosh edging Salisbury to break the tie.
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Ryan’s take: East gets the majority, with Linfield being the West’s bright spot.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: West: Linfield over Rowan, UW-Oshkosh over Salisbury, but Alfred beats George Fox to avoid the sweep.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: West. Alfred notches a win for the East over George Fox. Linfield evens the score for the West by defeating Rowan. In what should be the marquee Week 2 game between unranked opponents, UW-Oshkosh squeaks past Salisbury.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: East. (Salisbury, Alfred, Linfield).
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: East. I’ll take Linfield to win at Rowan and Alfred to defeat visiting George Fox. Salisbury holds serve at home against UW-Oshkosh to give the East a 2-1 series win.

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: All the marbles

This is it — the last regular-season weekend of the season. Maybe there’s snow on the ground where you are. Maybe you have a bitter rival coming to town and an epic tailgate with old friends — well, that’s what Quick Hits is like for us, too. 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 Greg Thomas, our bracketology guru. He’ll be joining us through the playoffs as well, when Quick Hits shifts to predicting the final score of each game.
Photo: File photo from 2017 Shoes game, by Mick Neal, RPI athletics

— Pat Coleman

What will be the Week 11 Game of the Week?

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Keith’s take: No. 25 Baldwin Wallace at No. 8 John Carroll/No. 9 St. Thomas at No. 22 Bethel. Both games match 8-1 teams; winners should be first at-large teams in field, losers’ seasons are over.
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Ryan’s take: Thomas More at No. 4 St. John’s. After the way their season began, the Saints should be stoked they’re still so relevant to the conversation.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 25 Baldwin Wallace at No. 8 John Carroll. Not only does it have all the playoff implications, but it’s a bona fide local rivalry as well.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 9 St. Thomas at No. 22 Bethel. A rivalry game with a playoff berth at stake. Nothing better in Week 11.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Salisbury at No. 6 Frostburg State. It’s the NJAC championship, and a Pool C bid could be taken from a bubble team if Salisbury wins. Hear more about it in today’s ATN Gameday Podcast.
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Greg’s take: St. Thomas at Bethel. There are many good games, but this is a Top 25 showdown and a de facto elimination game between two teams that have the chops to make deep tournament runs.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 6 Frostburg State. Not because the Bobcats are vulnerable so much as their Regents Cup opponent, 8-1 Salisbury, has had a great defense and running game all year.
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Ryan’s take: No. 11 Berry. The Vikings may be sailing high right now, but Trinity has already shown this year that they can hold their own against tough competition.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 24 Linfield. Wildcats’ scare last week might give Pacific something on tape to work with.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 14 RPI. The resurgence of the Dutchmen has revitalized the Shoes rivalry. The Engineers have already clinched the LL title. Union could pull off the upset.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 11 Berry. Berry has won the SAA already, so how the Vikings will approach the game at Trinity (Texas) will be interesting. Remember, Trinity challenged HSU earlier this season.
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Greg’s take: No. 14 RPI. This game is actually pretty even on paper and I believe QH is contractually obligated to have one panelist pick RPI to be upset.

Which rivalry game will have the closest score?

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Keith’s take: Dutchman Shoes. Almost all of them look like tight matchups. Union and RPI have already played one-point games; what’s one more?
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Ryan’s take: The Secretaries Cup. Coast Guard’s resurgence this year has added some new life to the annual game against Merchant Marine — and could shake up the NEWMAC significantly.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: The Game. It wouldn’t be a “Game” between Randolph-Macon and Hampden-Sydney if it didn’t have some grinding and a little bitterness to boot.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Monon Bell. The last two meetings were decided by a total of four points. DePauw will keep it close against No. 20 Wabash, trying to avoid its first losing season since 2013.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Dutchman Shoes. RPI has won more with great defense in close games this year. I think this game lines up the same way.
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Greg’s take: Cortaca Jug. This game looks like a low scoring grinder to me with a single point keeping the winner’s tournament hopes alive into Selection Sunday.

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

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Keith’s take: Alvernia at UNE. Both first-year programs have a win, but the Wolves haven’t scored since a garbage-time TD Oct. 13, and the Nor’Easters have been outscored by 117 since their win a week earlier.
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Ryan’s take: N.C. Wesleyan at Maryville. Even with a loss, the Scots are in the playoffs, but if they do lose, it’s worth noting that Google Maps has them at 485 miles from Alliance, Ohio.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Maine Maritime at Catholic. Just to hope that the alma mater doesn’t finish 0-10 this year. Go Cards!
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Shenandoah at Washington & Lee. I doubt anyone else is interested to see if my alma mater can win at least six games for the fourth straight year, a feat not accomplished since back when Garret LeRose and I were playing for the Generals.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Coast Guard at Merchant Marine. More than 600 votes determined that I’d attend the Secretaries Cup Game between these two service academies. The Mariners even have a potential playoff bid still alive.
Guest
Greg’s take: Berry at Trinity (Texas).Berry has already clinched and Trinity isn’t in the playoff picture but a Berry loss here could significantly impact the playoff fortunes of Centre, Hardin-Simmons, and Muhlenberg. All the pieces matter.

Which team plays its way in or out of a home playoff game?

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Keith’s take: North Central, in. Based on its result against Millikin, NCC has the widest range of outcomes; winnable home game in Round 1 or season over. I’ll guess the former.
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Ryan’s take: Baldwin Wallace, out. I’m guessing that the matchup with JCU is someone’s game of the week, and I think BW will be out and JCU a shoo-in for Pool C after Saturday.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: St. Thomas, in. Despite the fact that Bethel looked better against St. John’s, the Royals don’t have Jackson Erdmann at QB to test Tommie DBs.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 25 Baldwin Wallace. With a win over John Carroll, the Yellow Jackets would get in via Pool C and likely host a first round game. A loss to JCU not only means no home game, but likely no playoff appearance at all.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Frostburg State. If the Bobcats lose, they could still win a Pool C bid but drop below fourth in the East because of a lack of regionally ranked opponents in their profile.
Guest
Greg’s take: John Carroll. The Streaks are a lock for an at-large bid and a home game with a win against Baldwin Wallace. A loss, and the Streaks are most likely done for 2018.

Pick a random Week 11 game and give it a trophy name.

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Keith’s take: Tufts at Middlebury. Most of the season-ending games in the NESCAC are longstanding rivalries. This is what … the Tuftlebury Classic?
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Ryan’s take: Olivet at Albion. The Six-Letter Shuffle — or — The MIAA Founder’s Faceoff.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Alma at Finlandia, for the 445 Mile Marker Trophy. Finlandia is in the same state as almost everyone else in the MIAA, but it’s hideously far. Alma is its closest MIAA opponent, at 445 miles.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Pacific at No. 24 Linfield. The Mass Hysteria Bowl. Dogs and cats living together! No human sacrifice, please. (Yes, I know Boxer the mascot isn’t technically a dog.)
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Alvernia at University of New England, for The 2018 Debut Supremacy Cup.
Guest
Greg’s take: Benedictine vs. Concordia-Chicago, for the I-88 Trophy.The Chicagoland rivals square off for a trophy which doesn’t actually exist yet as it is perpetually under construction.

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.