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. We also looped in the Hansen Ratings, updated with playoff experience as a factor, for anther objective take. The algorithm takes into account both home-field advantage and playoff experience, so a game such as Hardin-Simmons and Linfield, between teams with identical team ratings, ends up with Linfield given a 65 percent chance to win.
Hansen odds to advance: Wesley, 91%
Consensus: Wesley makes it final: No upsets expected in this bracket.
Here’s more data from Hansen Ratings. Select any two playoff teams to see how they would compare in a real or hypothetical matchup
We invite you to add your predictions in the comments below, or tweet at @d3football. Download the Around the Nation podcast on Mondays, where Pat and Keith review the picks and the highlights from the first round.
So, we’ve become accustomed to a bracket with two flights in the first round, instead of one. Last year they told us it was no longer a one-time thing, and this year they followed through on that. But why is it that we can only keep two highly ranked teams apart for a round? Why do No. 5 and No. 8 play in order to potentially play No. 1 in the next round? You can find out more in this week’s D3football.com Around the Nation podcast.
Pat and Keith hand out game balls, find the hidden highlights, the interesting stats and then a whole bunch of bracket-specific items in the D3football.com Around the Nation Podcast. You do not want to leave this podcast early, before you hear the bonus picks.
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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This weekend is all about who will clinch automatic bids, on top of all the things that typically go on in a Division III football weekend. Our Quick Hits crew predicts clinchers, Top 25 upsets, conference upsets and teams that will go into the offseason on a high note. Our regular crew is Keith McMillan, Ryan Tipps, Pat Coleman, Adam Turer and Frank Rossi. Our sixth spot goes to a guest each week, and this week’s is Patrick Bohn, an Ithaca grad who posts as Bomber798891 on D3boards.com.
— Pat Coleman
What’s Week 10’s Game of the Week?
Keith’s take: No. 25 Salisbury at No. 13 Wesley. Route 13 Rivalry pits two of NJAC’s three 7-1 teams, which gives it conference title and playoff implications.
Ryan’s take: No. 25 Salisbury at No. 13 Wesley. The Route 13 Rivalry is rarely one to disappoint. Honorable mention: WNE at Curry.
Pat’s take: Alfred at No. 10 Brockport. I think this game will be telling about the shift in the balance of the force in the E8.
Adam’s take: Union vs. Ithaca. Two first-year head coaches shaking up the Liberty League and two teams with plenty to play for.
Frank’s take: No. 25 Salisbury at No. 13 Wesley. A Wesley win gives Wolverines NJAC. A Salisbury win could take NJAC out of Pool C contention.
Patrick’s take: No. 25 Salisbury at No. 13 Wesley. These two teams have played (mostly) competitive games over the past few years, and both bring stout defenses to the table.
Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?
Keith’s take: No. 16 Case Western Reserve. Westminster (Pa.) has six- and one-point losses to 8-0 teams. CWRU loss would help Pool C hopefuls.
Ryan’s take: No. 21 George Fox. If Pacific Lutheran’s performance against Linfield last week is any indication.
Pat’s take: No. 20 UW-Plattevile. Because Keith will want me to pick someone, even though this would hardly be an upset.
Adam’s take: No. 16 Case Western Reserve. Westminster (Pa.) is the most underrated two-loss team in the country, losing by a total of seven to unbeatens Wittenberg and Washington & Jefferson.
Frank’s take: No. 21 George Fox. Last week was a reminder that Pacific Lutheran is still a threat. They finish the deal this week.
Patrick’s take: No. 9 North Central. Carthage nearly pulled off the upset at Illinois Wesleyan, so the Cardinals should be on the lookout.
Name a team outside the Top 25 which will clinch a bid this weekend.
Keith’s take: Huntingdon (vs. Methodist). Since a Week 1 loss to Guilford, USAC’s Hawks have averaged 37.4 points per game.
Ryan’s take: Lakeland. The Muskies hold the tiebreaker over the two teams with one NACC loss.
Pat’s take: Trine. For that to happen this weekend, Trine must beat Alma and another game must go Trine’s way.
Adam’s take: Huntingdon. The Hawks will clinch the USA South, and will be a popular Quick Hit pick for the second straight week.
Frank’s take: Husson (vs. Alfred State). One of the bigger geography challenges for the NCAA selection committee will be back once again in the Pool of 32.
Patrick’s take: Franklin. The Grizzlies should light up the scoreboard against Anderson and easily clinch the HCAC auto-bid.
How many points will be scored, total, in the Montclair State-Rowan game?
Keith’s take: 24.
Ryan’s take: 31. A trick question since these two teams have played the best in the NJAC in recent outings, and the scoreboard reflected that.
Pat’s take: 22. Only because to say “3” seems harsh.
Adam’s take: 29. More than the 27 total that the Profs have scored during their five-game losing streak.
Frank’s take: 17.
Patrick’s take: 25. Both teams have good kickers, so I’m betting on six field goals and one touchdown.
What team will end the season this week on a high note?
Keith’s take: Thomas More. Saints get win No. 6 against Thiel, but last season in the PAC a disappointment.
Ryan’s take: Mount St. Joseph. Sure, last year’s game vs. Defiance came down to the wire, but recent history is on the Lions’ side.
Pat’s take: Simpson. A win vs. Nebraska Wesleyan, makes the Storm 6-4, three games better than 2016. (Plus they won’t help IWU’s and Concordia’s SOS.)
Adam’s take: Thomas More. The Saints will win their fifth in a row, finish above .500 for the tenth straight season, and send retiring coach Regis Scafe off with a victory.
Frank’s take: Mount St. Joseph. After combining with Franklin to score 105 points in a loss last week, the Lions roar at home to close out their season.
Patrick’s take: Northwestern. The Eagles’ season may have been a disappointment, but they’ll head into the offseason — and send fans home happy — on a four-game winning streak with a win over Crown.
Pick a winner in a conference upset outside the Top 25.
Keith’s take: Ithaca, vs. Union. The Bombers’ 5-3 mark has come against tougher opposition (.559 to .521 SoS) than the Dutchmen’s 7-1, and it will show.
Ryan’s take: MacMurray over St. Scholastica. No doubt Eureka is rooting for this outcome.
Pat’s take: Adrian over Olivet. This is that other result Trine needs to clinch the MIAA this week. Adrian is a misleading 3-5.
Adam’s take: Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. The Stags might steal a win from Chapman, but the Panthers already have the conference title and playoff berth.
Frank’s take: Martin Luther. After a win that looked to potentially seal the UMAC for Eureka last week, the Knights have a chance to catch the Red Devils napping.
Patrick’s take: Utica. A tough Pioneers defense catches Cortland — who were stunned by St. John Fisher last week — looking ahead to Cortaca.
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 Quick Hits that were prescient, and the Quick Misses that were terribly off base.