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Quick Hits Week 10: It’s Bid Clinching Season!

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?

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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.
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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 Coleman
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 Turer
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 Rossi
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 Thomas
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?

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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.
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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 Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 18 St. Thomas. Gustavus Adolphus almost pulled this off last year, and it seems more likely in 2019.
Adam Turer
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 Rossi
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 Thomas
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?

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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.”
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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 Coleman
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 Turer
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 Rossi
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 Thomas
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?

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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.
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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 Coleman
Pat’s take: Springfield at Maine Maritime. If you’re following, don’t blink. Game should last about 2 hours, 15 minutes.
Adam Turer
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 Rossi
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 Thomas
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?

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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.
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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 Coleman
Pat’s take: Rowan, with a loss on the grass at CNU before their big game with rival TCNJ next week.
Adam Turer
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 Rossi
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 Thomas
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?

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Keith’s take: Randolph-Macon.  (drops mic, struts out of room)
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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 Coleman
Pat’s take: Hanover. And if they don’t, I blame the next guy on the list.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: SUNY-Maritime. Although it comes with an asterisk, it’s still an impressive debut for rookie head coach Mickey Rehring.
Frank Rossi
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 Thomas
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.

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ATN Podcast 252: Johnnies and Tommies and Panthers (oh my)

One of Saturday’s big games was well-known, well-promoted, and lived up to the hype of 19,508 fans. The other was played in front of a little bit fewer people, and was hardly predicted. So when the Johnnies beat the Tommies, sure, we knew that would be a big deal — but when Birmingham-Southern knocked off No. 7 Berry …

Berry had two chances to get back into the game in the third quarter, but Birmingham-Southern held firm. We talked with Panthers coach Tony Joe White about his team’s game plan, their star running back, and the mess created at the top of the Southern Athletic Association.

Plus, Keith gave his game ball to an offensive line, while one off-the-beaten path highlight was a Maine event. Someone threw nine touchdowns. UK soccer teams were cited. And rushing yards were a big negative. Plus, are the Johnnies a national title contender? Pat has seen them the past two weeks against top-notch competition and reveals where he moved SJU to on his Top 25 ballot.

This edition of the D3football.com Around the Nation podcast is sponsored by Gotta Have It: 3D Fan Foam Wall Signs for the D-III fan in your life.

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.

Show links: Miracle in Mississippi

Hit play, or subscribe to get this podcast on your mobile device.

Full episode:

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Theme music: DJmentos. Photo by Thomas Nettleton, d3photography.com.

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Quick Hits Week 3: Conference clashes and crossovers

This week our panel has their eyes on a pair of Top 25 games to start CCIW play, another key conference opener down south, and a crossover challenge as non-conference play across the country winds down.

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. 18 Illinois Wesleyan at No. 17 Wheaton: In a conference that could be a four-team race, there won’t be enough playoff spots for all the postseason-worthy teams, so wins Saturday are a must.
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Ryan’s take: No. 25 Susquehanna at No. 8 Muhlenberg. I’ve loved watching the rise in recent seasons of these Centennial teams, making this “academic conference” a frequent contender at higher levels.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 13 Berry at Trinity (Texas). Berry has had a good run, while Trinity is an up-and-comer which needs this win.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Alfred at No. 22 Ithaca. Lots of choices this week, but I think this one has the biggest season-defining stakes. Honorable mention to Baldwin Wallace at Mount Union..
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Stevenson at No. 21 Delaware Valley. With the balance of power in the MAC still likely residing with these two teams, they are both in desperate need of a bounce-back win after Week 2 losses.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 18 Illinois Wesleyan at No. 17 Wheaton. The CCIW is cutting right to the chase. The Titans are in familiar territory, facing a difficult bounce back game against the Thunder after a tough opening loss to UW-La Crosse.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 11 Linfield. I have the Wildcats ranked here as well, but the trip to Redlands will help determine whether that’s because of name recognition.
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Ryan’s take: No. 13 Berry (at Trinity). Trinity showed last week against Hardin-Simmons just how tough they are this year – more than able to hang with top-notch opponents.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: None. Despite all of the comparing of scores from the first two weeks, No. 4 St. John’s should be safe from Gustavus.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 13 Berry. I almost got the Trinity upset pick right last week, might as well roll the dice with the Tigers one more time.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 12 Washington & Jefferson (at Carnegie Mellon). The Tartans have looked decent in their two road wins, making this a good challenge for the Presidents. It should be close enough for a potential upset.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 5 North Central. The Bears have a pretty good QB of their own in Johnny Davidson and maybe there’s a little extra juice at Francis Field as the Larry Kindbom farewell tour officially kicks off.

Which conference opener will have the most impact in November?

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Keith’s take: No. 13 Berry at Trinity. The SAA could long be looking back at this result while waiting for the Week 11 Centre-Berry clash.
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Ryan’s take: No. 18 Illinois Wesleyan at No. 17 Wheaton. Certainly GOTW worth, too, games like this become vital in the CCIW as more teams (think: Wash U) vie for the upper tier.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 18 Illinois Wesleyan at No. 17 Wheaton. The only game close to this is the other CCIW game, as the winnowing starts early.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 5 North Central at No. 24 Wash U. How will the Bears respond in their first game since head coach Larry Kindbom publicly announced his retirement? A home game against the top team in the CCIW will have emotions running high.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 13 Berry at Trinity. The SAA race, in my estimation, is going to be headlined by these two teams — I’m not sold on Centre yet, so this is the de facto too-early championship game for me.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 13 Berry at Trinity. I think the winner of this game goes on to win the SAA and if it that team happens to be Trinity, we could wind up with three tournament teams in Texas which might force some creativity into this year’s bracket.

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

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Keith’s take: Augsburg at Concordia-Moorhead: Curious to see, after two close losses to ranked teams, what the Cobbers look like against mere mortals.
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Ryan’s take: Averett at Ferrum. Despite being 1-1, Averett has impressed this season. And Ferrum has a lot of muscle to flex behind senior running back Brian Mann.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Aurora at Hope. ut more people should be following this one, because it should be an entertaining game.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Occidental at Willamette. Two of the nation’s longest losing streaks. Occidental’s 2019 opener. This will be cathartic for whoever emerges victorious.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Rowan at Hobart. 0-2 Rowan. 2-0 Hobart. Doesn’t sound great, but Rowan played Linfield tough, and Hobart looked mortal against Morrisville St. in Week 2. Should be a tough game.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 11 Linfield at Redlands. I’ll be on site for this game between the name brand in D3 west coast football and a Redlands squad that is off to a red hot start. These two may well be playing for home field in a Round 1 rematch.

Will Thiel end its losing streak against Geneva?

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Keith’s take: No.
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Ryan’s take: Nope. The Tomcats still have a ways to go before they’re checking off the win column.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. Something something last Coke fan standing.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. Speaking of long losing streaks, Thiel went from having the fourth-longest losing streak in D-III at the end of 2018 to quickly finding itself at the bottom of the barrel. The streak continues for at least another week or two.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. But that Coke commercial…
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: Yes! This season has been extinguishing long losing streaks on the regular, so why not make it three weeks in a row? The Tomcats might not get a better shot this season than they have this week against Geneva.

Who wins the MIAA-NACC Challenge?

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Keith’s take: The MIAA.
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Ryan’s take: The MIAA. The NACC looks a little better on paper, but the Michigan-based conference has been better tested so far this season.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: MIAA. They lost just one game the last time MIAA hosted this challenge. They’ll lose more than one this time.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: MIAA. This one is nearly a toss-up. Aurora gives the NACC hope, against Hope. I’ll call a 5-3 win for the favored conference, with Adrian’s win over Wisconsin Lutheran sealing the deal.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: MIAA. They go 5-3 with the following winners in the eight games: Trine, Eureka, Aurora, Kalamazoo, Concordia-Chicago, Alma, Olivet, and Adrian.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: NACC. 5-3 with Aurora, Lakeland, Concordia-Chicago, Rockford, and Benedictine winning.

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.