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Quick Hits: Don’t go 0-2

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?

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Keith’s take: At Coast Guard, watching the Secretaries’ Cup game. It’ll be 78 in New London, Conn., on Saturday.
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Ryan’s take: The Stevenson/Albright game, two teams that may be going different directions in this pollster’s eyes.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Hotchkiss Field. That’s Gallaudet’s home field, to see Earlham and Gallaudet on a level playing field.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Shirk Stadium, for Stevenson at Albright #MACtion.
Frank Rossi
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.
Guest
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?

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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.
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Ryan’s take: None, a pick I try to make only once a season.
Pat Coleman
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 Turer
Adam’s take: No. 21 Huntingdon, vs. Birmingham-Southern.
Frank Rossi
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.
Guest
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?

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Keith’s take: Chapman. Playing Linfield is hard enough without it being a road season opener.
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Ryan’s take: Massachusetts Maritime, as its rival already has a game under its belt.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Merchant Marine. The Secretaries’ Cup is just the biggest game of the year. Coast Guard played last week.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Chapman. A chance to tune up before Linfield would probably have been helpful.
Frank Rossi
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.
Guest
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?

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Keith’s take: Stevenson at Albright, in the MAC.
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Ryan’s take: Frostburg State at Wesley, this one will get people’s blood pumping.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Stevenson at Albright. Who wrote this question? Not enough choices. Oh wait, I did …
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Franklin and Marshall at Muhlenberg. Recent history shows that this is a playoff elimination game, even this early.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Stevenson at Albright. The loser may be in the discussion for a Pool C bid in an interesting MAC race.
Guest
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?

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Keith’s take: I had to look this up, but NAIA No. 18 St. Francis — not No. 4 — at No. 10 UW-Platteville.
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Ryan’s take: Franklin at Butler, mostly because we care not to see any Griz players get hurt ahead of conference play.
Pat Coleman
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 Turer
Adam’s take: St. Francis (Ill.) at UW-Platteville.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Franklin at Butler. If Franklin loses the HCAC for some reason, this result could actually matter for Pool C purposes.
Guest
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?

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Keith’s take: Texas Lutheran, which follows up the ETBU defeat with a UMHB L.
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Ryan’s take: St. Norbert, but that means Benedictine will have to play tough to make this come true.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Pacific. With both Adrian and Dubuque coming to town the first two weeks, you’d have thought one win …
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Hampden-Sydney.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Probably none is a surprise. If forced, I’d say Thomas More may be flat after last week’s late loss.
Guest
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.

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ATN Podcast: Now those were some playoffs!

After a disappointing first round, this was exactly what Division III football needed, including competitive games, a big play for the ages and more. Pat and Keith talk about each second round game, give their takeaways for each game, plus preview the quarterfinals and 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. Photo by Caleb Williams, d3photography.com

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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Triple Take: Our guesses at the Round 2 scores

The road to Salem gets a little more rugged in Round 2.

Photo by Jamie Wilson, d3photography.com

Photo by Jamie Wilson, d3photography.com

Here are the matchups by Top 25 ranking:
No. 10 St. Johns at No. 4 St. Thomas
No. 9 Thomas More at No. 7 Wabash
No. 25 Cortland State at No. 2 Linfield
Huntingdon at No. 13 Mary Hardin-Baylor
No. 20 Albright at No. 1 Mount Union
No. 11 Wesley at No. 8 Johns Hopkins
Ohio Northern at No. 3 UW-Oshkosh
No. 5 UW-Whitewater at No. 6 Wheaton

The top 11 teams in our poll are all still alive, and eight of them play one another head-to-head in Round 2. One of the teams outside that group is traditional power Mary Hardin-Baylor, which is ranked No. 13 but would be expected to beat just about everyone outside the top 5. Likewise, Wesley is a lower-ranked road team in Round 2, but nobody who’s followed Division III for any amount of time would be surprised if we all picked the Wolverines to triumph.

Here are the matchups by where each team was likely seeded in its quadrant:
3 St. Johns at 1 St. Thomas
4 Thomas More at 2 Wabash
4 Cortland State at 1 Linfield
7 Huntingdon at 3 Mary Hardin-Baylor
4 Albright at 1 Mount Union
3 Wesley at 2 Johns Hopkins
5 Ohio Northern at 1 UW-Oshkosh
3 UW-Whitewater at 2 Wheaton

There are no official seeds released for D-III brackets, but we can determine them based on how the teams are ordered in the regional rankings and by selection criteria, and by where they are placed in the brackets. Only two lower seeds advanced, Ohio Northern in a mild upset at Franklin, and Huntingdon, only because trips longer than 500 miles are discouraged and so second seed Hardin-Simmons faced UMHB in the first round instead of Huntingdon, which was “seeded” seventh and beat No. 8 Hendrix.

Here’s how Triple Takes work during the playoffs. Around the Nation columnist Ryan Tipps, editor and publisher Pat Coleman and I each guess a score for each game without consulting with one another. This sets our national expectation. Then, it’s up to you prove us wrong. What fun would be a playoff in which we can predict all the outcomes? When the score on Saturday looks different than what we forecast below, that’s a signal that something significant is happening.

[The 2015 playoff bracket | Bracket challenge leaders | Surprises and disappointments]

Round 1 was easy picking. Around the Mid-Atlantic columnist Adam Turer and I each got 15 of 16 correct; Ryan and Pat each got 13. (We all missed Cortland State’s win, and Hendrix and Washington and Lee tripped up Tipps and Coleman). This round should be tougher. Turer made his picks in the comments section, and we invite you to do the same. You want to taunt us when we’re wrong? Put your picks on record before kickoff, below.

— Keith McMillan

Our Triple Take Crew: Keith McMillan
Keith McMillan
Ryan Tipps
Ryan Tipps
Pat Coleman
Pat Coleman

ST. THOMAS QUADRANT
Keith’s take: St. Thomas 38, St. John’s 21
Ryan’s take: St. Thomas 34, St. John’s 24
Pat’s take: St. Thomas 31, St. John’s 23
Consensus: It was Tommies, 35-14, on the road back in Week 4. We don’t see why this outcome would be much different, other than the margin.

Keith’s take: Wabash 26, Thomas More 24
Ryan’s take: Wabash 38, Thomas More 35
Pat’s take: Wabash 30, Thomas More 21
Consensus: This will probably be one of the most entertaining games of Round 2.

LINFIELD QUADRANT
Keith’s take: Linfield 52, Cortland 24
Ryan’s take: Linfield 48, Cortland 27
Pat’s take: Linfield 45, Cortland 17
Consensus: We all respect what the Red Dragons have done this season, but two-thirds of these panelists think the Wildcats are the No. 1 team in the country.

Keith’s take: Mary Hardin-Baylor 57, Huntingdon 19
Ryan’s take: Mary Hardin-Baylor 48, Huntingdon 13
Pat’s take: Mary Hardin-Baylor 42, Huntingdon 10
Consensus: This is what happens when a seven seed takes on a national power.

MOUNT UNION QUADRANT
Keith’s take: Mount Union 47, Albright 10
Ryan’s take: Mount Union 48, Albright 17
Pat’s take: Mount Union 54, Albright 6
Consensus: Don’t let the 55-23 final from Round 1 fool you. The Purple Raiders led 55-7 early in the third.

Keith’s take: Wesley 30, Johns Hopkins 28
Ryan’s take: Wesley 45, Johns Hopkins 28
Pat’s take: Wesley 34, Johns Hopkins 28
Consensus: We’re pretty sure the Blue Jays are going to score 28. We just have to see them get over the Wesley hump before we pick it.

UW-OSHKOSH QUADRANT
Keith’s take: UW-Oshkosh 44, Ohio Northern 17
Ryan’s take: UW-Oshkosh 38, Ohio Northern 14
Pat’s take: UW-Oshkosh 34, Ohio Northern 20
Consensus: The Polar Bears were the stars of Round 1. We don’t see the Titans starring in the ONU season highlights video.

Keith’s take: UW-Whitewater 21, Wheaton 20
Ryan’s take: UW-Whitewater 35, Wheaton 20
Pat’s take: UW-Whitewater 20, Wheaton 17
Consensus: Two of us see Whitewater prevailing, but barely. Clearly we wouldn’t be stunned by a Thunder victory, either.

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 Round 1.