That was a pretty great first round, not gonna lie. A Top 10 team nearly went down in the first round, one team came back from 18 down and another from 24, plus two games went to overtime — one of which went to three overtimes. Chapman and Linfield made the last game of the day a great capper to a thrilling day.
Pat and Keith run down all 16 of the first-round games, rank the second round games from least to most intriguing and hand out game balls. The player who returned a fumble for a touchdown, ran for a touchdown, and threw for a touchdown in overtime? Yeah, probably find him on that list. The guy who won the biggest quarterback duel of the day? OK, yes, him also. Plus we get you sounds from around the bracket.
Pat and Keith talk about it all in the latest D3football.com Around the Nation Podcast. The D3football.com Around the Nation Podcast is a regular conversation between Pat Coleman and Keith McMillan and guests covering the wide range of Division III football.
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The story goes, one day on a long ride to a playoff game at Thiel (which tells you how long ago this happened), Pat and Keith decided to pass the time by guessing not just the winner of each first-round playoff game, but the score. And there was born the expectations game: Do we expect a close game? A high-scoring game? A blowout? Does everyone agree on who will win? Those are the factors worth looking at.
Keith McMillan, Ryan Tipps, Pat Coleman, Adam Turer, Frank Rossi and Greg Thomas each take their guesses at scores for each first-round game.
Consensus: Unanimous predictions here for an easy run to the second round for the Sea Gulls.
Keith’s take: Union 31, Case 21 Ryan’s take: Union 38, Case 17 Pat’s take: Union 24, Case 17
Adam’s take: Union 34, Case 24 Frank’s take: Union 31, Case 21 Greg’s take: Union 27, Case 17
Consensus: Clean sweep for the Dutchmen, generally by about 10 points.
Keith’s take: Muhlenberg 45, MIT 10 Ryan’s take: Muhlenberg 45, MIT 14 Pat’s take: Muhlenberg 56, MIT 6
Adam’s take: Muhlenberg 45, MIT 3 Frank’s take: Muhlenberg 42, MIT 14 Greg’s take: Muhlenberg 42, MIT 7
Consensus: The Mules should overwhelm the Engineers and trot on in to the second round.
Keith’s take: Brockport 22, W. New England 19 Ryan’s take: W. New England 24, Brockport 21 Pat’s take: Brockport 24, W. New England 13
Adam’s take: Brockport 20, W. New England 14 Frank’s take: W. New England 27, Brockport 20 Greg’s take: Brockport 26, W. New England 10
Consensus: Split decision for Brockport, but this game looks to be close.
Mount Union bracket
Keith’s take: Mount Union 63, Hanover 7 Ryan’s take: Mount Union 63, Hanover 3 Pat’s take: Mount Union 56, Hanover 10
Adam’s take: Mount Union 48, Hanover 24 Frank’s take: Mount Union 59, Hanover 7 Greg’s take: Mount Union 61, Hanover 10
Consensus: No surprise here, Mount Union is predicted to advance easily.
Keith’s take: North Central 40, Wabash 25 Ryan’s take: North Central 42, Wabash 10 Pat’s take: North Central 56, Wabash 10
Adam’s take: North Central 38, Wabash 14 Frank’s take: North Central 45, Wabash 21 Greg’s take: North Central 45, Wabash 21
Consensus: North Central’s top-ranked offense sweeps the board with a comfortable win over Wabash.
Keith’s take: Wesley 17, Framingham State 14 Ryan’s take: Wesley 28, Framingham State 20 Pat’s take: Wesley 41, Framingham State 24
Adam’s take: Wesley 21, Framingham State 20 Frank’s take: Wesley 21, Framingham State 20 Greg’s take: Wesley 24, Framingham State 21
Consensus: Wesley is the unanimous pick, but five of our panelists see a one score game.
Keith’s take: Del Val 28, Bridgewater 24 Ryan’s take: Del Val 41, Bridgewater 21 Pat’s take: Bridgewater 17, Del Val 15
Adam’s take: Bridgewater 21, Del Val 14 Frank’s take: Del Val 27, Bridgewater 24 Greg’s take: Del Val 17, Bridgewater 10
Consensus: Split decision for Delaware Valley, with the panel largely seeing a close game that could go either way.
We invite you to add your predictions in the comments below, or tweet at us at @D3Keith, @NewsTipps and @d3football. Download the Around the Nation podcast on Mondays, where Pat and Keith review the picks and the highlights from the weekend’s playoff games.
We’ve reached the penultimate week of the regular season which means games with major Pool C implications, games that will decide conference champions, and a lot of teams playing the game before THE game. Our panel gets you ready for Week 10 as they take a look at who is getting in, who is getting trapped, and which bubbles are getting popped.
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?
Keith’s take: No. 25 TLU at No. 2 UMHB. It’s on the Bulldogs to hold up their end of the bargain vs. the champs to make this a GOTW, but given the defensive and turnover margin prowess by both, it should be one.
Ryan’s take: No. 25 Texas Lutheran at No. 2 Mary-Hardin Baylor. I’ve got TLU much higher on my ballot than 25th, and this very well could be a play-in game for them for the postseason.
Pat’s take: No. 11 Wartburg at Central. This has almost as much potential to mess things up, and should be a closer game.
Adam’s take: Randolph-Macon at No. 24 Bridgewater. The overwhelming preseason ODAC favorite takes on the team that has dominated the conference all year. Each team has proven it can win with all three phases. A playoff berth is at stake. #ODACtion. .
Frank’s take: No. 25 Texas Lutheran at No. 2 Mary Hardin-Baylor. The entire Pool C nation is going to be watching this game to see if a bubble bursts, and with TLU’s win vs. the Cowboys earlier this season — it’s not an impossible situation.
Greg’s take: Birmingham-Southern at Trinity(TX). I preview the game and its SAA importance in today’s ATN, but Robert Shufford has been a must watch attraction for three weeks now and has his Panthers on the brink of the playoffs.
Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?
Keith’s take: No. 10 John Carroll. If Heidelberg makes a two-point conversion on Sept. 28 vs. Baldwin Wallace, this is the Pool C elimination game, not BW/JCU next week, potentially.
Ryan’s take: No. 11 Wartburg. The Knights and Central have the ARC’s top two offenses, and Central’s is balanced enough to do some real damage against a good defense like Wartburg’s.
Pat’s take: No. 18 St. Thomas. Gustavus Adolphus almost pulled this off last year, and it seems more likely in 2019.
Adam’s take: No. 23 Linfield. Whitworth has uncharacteristically lost two games already this season. Yet, the Pirates still have their playoff goal within reach. A win over the surging Wildcats would put Whitworth in the NWC driver’s seat.
Frank’s take: No. 24 Bridgewater (vs. Randolph-Macon). I just haven’t had a high level of confidence with Bridgewater, even despite the Stevenson game earlier this season. The Yellow Jackets had their scare last week and bounce back well here.
Greg’s take: No. 10 John Carroll. This one has all the makings. With a possible play-in game looming in Week 11, the Streaks have to survive a Senior Day afternoon against a quality Heidelberg side.
Which team makes a strong Pool C statement?
Keith’s take: Bridgewater or Wartburg. I don’t think this was the intent of the question, but the Pool C statement might be, “Come join us.”
Ryan’s take: No. 6 North Central. IWU’s early-season losses knocked them out of many folks’ minds, but they have a good SOS and record, which will further bolster NCC’s resume with a win.
Pat’s take: Ithaca. RPI lost twice in the past five games, and the three wins were against teams who are a combined 2-23.
Adam’s take: No. 17 Ithaca. Every game from here on out is a chance for the Bombers to bounce back and prove themselves worthy of a playoff bid. But Union has already clinched the Liberty League’s automatic bid. The Bombers can’t look past RPI, even with the big game looming in Week 11.
Frank’s take: No. 17 Ithaca (at RPI). Word from Ithaca was that the locker room was silent after last week’s Union loss. However, the Regional Rankings reminded the Bombers on how they can still make it into the NCAA Playoffs — they rebound in Troy.
Greg’s take: No. 6 North Central. North Central’s SOS may garner a bit of side-eye from other Pool C hopefuls, but Saturday’s result against Illinois Wesleyan will be decisive and leave no doubt about the quality of these Cardinals.
Which game are you following that nobody else on this panel is following?
Keith’s take: Middlebury at Tufts. Of all the great NESCAC rivalry games, it’s a non-rival that stands between the Panthers and 9-0. And since five of their wins are by 7 points or fewer, beating the 4-4 Jumbos is no gimme.
Ryan’s take: Oberlin at DePauw. I’ve already seen Wabash this year, but I haven’t gotten a great look at DePauw just yet, and now’s the time with just a week before Monon Bell.
Pat’s take: Springfield at Maine Maritime. If you’re following, don’t blink. Game should last about 2 hours, 15 minutes.
Adam’s take: Hanover at Rose-Hulman. The HCAC championship game comes a week earlier than expected. The Panthers dispatched Mount St. Joseph in Week 9, and perennial power Franklin has already stumbled to two conference losses. The Fightin’ Engineers will host a de facto conference championship game for the first time.
Frank’s take: Coast Guard at WPI. The NEWMAC race will become much clearer after this game. A WPI win makes it more of a WPI/MIT race in Week 11. A WPI loss makes it more of a MIT/Springfield race then, assuming MIT and Springfield win this week.
Greg’s take: Hiram at Wabash. The gates at Byron P. Hollett Little Giant Stadium close tomorrow for the last time, home of Wabash football since 1966. What’s that? My eyes? That’s nothing. Just a little demolition dust.
Which team stumbles before its Week 11 rivalry game?
Keith’s take: No. 17 Ithaca. I wouldn’t bet on the Bombers to lose, since RPI has looked nothing like the quarterfinalist it was last season. But no team has a bigger trap game, with a 42,000+ rivalry game crowd and potential play-in looming.
Ryan’s take: Hanover. Rose-Hulman is 6-2, with a lot of similar scores against common opponents. It’ll be a very tough matchup for the Panthers ahead of the Victory Bell game against Franklin.
Pat’s take: Rowan, with a loss on the grass at CNU before their big game with rival TCNJ next week.
Adam’s take: Hampden-Sydney. The Tigers stumble to a shocking 1-8 start before The Game. The worst season in program history since 1999 could still be salvaged in Week 11 against rival Randolph-Macon.
Frank’s take: RPI (vs. No. 17 Ithaca). After RPI came and eked out a one-point win at Ithaca last year, an improved Bombers team is going to get revenge on RPI’s home turf this year.
Greg’s take: Ohio Wesleyan. Double dipping in the NCAC here, but Denison has looked fantastic this season outside of their trip to Wabash. The Battling Bishops may have a rough time on Saturday ahead of their Week 11 battle for Ye Olde Skull at Wittenberg.
Which unranked team clinches a bid to the tournament?
Keith’s take: Randolph-Macon. (drops mic, struts out of room)
Ryan’s take: Framingham State. This is absolutely no gimme, however, going up against MASCAC No. 2 Bridgewater State, Framingham does have all the pieces in place to clinch.
Pat’s take: Hanover. And if they don’t, I blame the next guy on the list.
Adam’s take: SUNY-Maritime. Although it comes with an asterisk, it’s still an impressive debut for rookie head coach Mickey Rehring.
Frank’s take: Framingham St. (vs. Bridgewater St.). The Rams are always tough at home, and the MASCAC is up for grabs in this game — FSU wins it with a win; BSU can’t win it until next week if the Bears win.
Greg’s take: Hanover. I couldn’t have been more wrong about the Panthers last week, so I’m bringing them back and picking them here to win at RHIT and punch their ticket to a second consecutive NCAA tournament.
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.