post

Quick Hits: Coming down to the wire

Conference races are coming down to the wire, and some of those key matchups come this week. That includes the game for bragging rights between our founding Around the Nation columnist (Keith McMillan, former defensive back at Randolph-Macon) and our current columnist (Adam Turer, former defensive back at Washington & Lee). Our guest prognosticator this week is Doug Rothschild, a Wheaton football alum who played for coach Swider and is currently the color analyst for Wheaton’s broadcasts.

— Pat Coleman

Which Week 9 game is the must-watch game?

keith-mcmillan-150x200
Keith’s take: There are two. Rowan at Frostburg and Salisbury at CNU. If the Profs and Captains win, Wesley could be atop the heap of five NJAC 6-2 teams.
ryan-tipps-150x200
Ryan’s take: Middlebury at Trinity (Conn.). Because sometimes, you don’t have to be Top 25 teams to bring an awesome performance to the field.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Ithaca at St. John Fisher. I hear faint echoes of cries about bounced interceptions but just looking for an exciting game.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Case Western Reserve at Washington U., in a rare late-season non-conference game with playoff implications for both teams.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Brockport at No. 15 Alfred. This has national appeal as E8 is one of few East conferences with Pool C still in play. A Brockport win could undermine that.
Doug Rothschild
Doug’s take: Rowan at Frostburg. I am a sucker for good defense and these teams are 1-2 in the NJAC in scoring defense. Frostburg is 11th in D-III in defense behind Niles Scott and Will Sewell, who spend a lot of time in other team’s backfields.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

keith-mcmillan-150x200
Keith’s take: No. 15 Alfred. The Saxons’ opponent, 5-2 Brockport, is two scores from being unbeaten and has played five one-score games.
ryan-tipps-150x200
Ryan’s take: No. 24 St. John Fisher. Week in and week out, the Empire keeps striking back at one another.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 25 Case Western Reserve. In all honesty, this wouldn’t be much of an upset, either.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 19 Salisbury at Christopher Newport, because the NJAC is as balanced as ever this year.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 15 Alfred. It’s the time of year when leaves change, pumpkins are carved, and the E8 cannibalizes itself out of strong Pool C contention.
Doug Rothschild
Doug’s take: No. 25 Case Western Reserve. Easy come, easy go. They just appeared in the poll last week and a road trip to 6-1 WashU will be their stiffest test of the season.

Of the three NCAC teams ranked 20-23, which one makes the biggest statement to Top 25 voters?

keith-mcmillan-150x200
Keith’s take: Denison winning at DePauw would be more impressive than anything Wabash or Wittenberg could accomplish on Saturday. It’s not a lock to happen though.
ryan-tipps-150x200
Ryan’s take: Wabash, with a win over upward-trending OWU. Still, I have exactly zero NCAC teams on my ballot, so they’re all needing to prove themselves to me.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Denison. The question, however, is whether it’s a positive statement made by the Big Red.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Denison winning at DePauw would be the biggest statement. Wittenberg is expected to win, and I expect Wabash to struggle against a hot Ohio Wesleyan squad.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Wabash (vs. Ohio Wesleyan). After a scare vs. Wooster, Wabash needs a statement win. They’ll start this game like a cannonball to win big.
Doug Rothschild
Doug’s take: Wabash. A convincing win @OWU tells Denison they are ready for next week’s showdown, shows their Monon rival how to do what they haven’t done in 4 seasons and keeps Pool C hopes alive.

Who wins the Around the Nation Classic between Keith McMillan’s and Adam Turer’s alma mater?

keith-mcmillan-150x200
Keith’s take: I’m obligated to pick the Yellow Jackets, but there’s solid logic. The past three games have been decided by 6, 4 and 3, and none of those R-MC teams had a D as good as this one.
ryan-tipps-150x200
Ryan’s take: The nod goes to Washington & Lee. With the slate Randolph-Macon has coming up, it’s easy to get caught looking ahead.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Washington & Lee. Something in me just wants to recognize the team that scheduled Johns Hopkins, and that’s no longer Randolph-Macon.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: The mighty Generals take the hill.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Newspaper ink companies. A lot of letters & symbols for one game. (I’ll pick RMC, but Turer can gloat during our Stagg pregame show if I’m wrong.).
Doug Rothschild
Doug’s take: Randolph-Macon. While I may not be siding as much with Keith as my fellow Wheaton alum Pedro Arruza, Keith is the benefactor this week as his RM brothers have the No, 1 defense in the ODAC and defense wins championships.

Which team bounces back after a tough loss?

keith-mcmillan-150x200
Keith’s take: Hardin-Simmons. The foe is 1-6 Belhaven, which has given up 52 or more points in six straight games.
ryan-tipps-150x200
Ryan’s take: Texas Lutheran, after losing its first-ever SCAC game. The Bulldogs beat Trinity (Texas) once already this year; don’t be surprised to see them with new fire to do it again.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: UW-Platteville. After the Pioneers have run the gantlet here over the past few weeks, a trip to UW-Stout should be a little easier to take. As long as they don’t take it too easy.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Franklin can stay in the HCAC mix and keep its playoff streak alive by winning at Mount St. Joseph.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Franklin. An extremely inconsistent ship needs to be righted immediately vs. Mount St. Joseph if the Griz have any hopes of playoffs.
Doug Rothschild
Doug’s take: Franklin lost its first conference game in 3 years last week. Mount St. Joseph might be on a roll but Mike Leonard’s teams have lost two conference games in a season just once since 2005. Grizzlies roll.

Pick an under-the-radar 1-loss team which will pick up its second loss Saturday.

keith-mcmillan-150x200
Keith’s take: Wash U. is surprisingly 6-1, and 7-0 Case Western Reserve needs this win to bolster its credentials because 9-1 against its schedule might not get it in the playoffs..
ryan-tipps-150x200
Ryan’s take: Washington University, as it goes against undefeated former UAA foe Case.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Bluffton. Rose-Hulman has to have its eyes on the HCAC automatic bid and shouldn’t be subject to a letdown after beating Franklin.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Tufts is an under-the-radar 4-1, but has to travel to an angry Amherst team that just got blanked by Wesleyan. The nicknameless home team wins.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Olivet. What’s lost from the AMAZING “Play of the Week” throw: the Comets struggled vs. a middling Benedictine team. Alma wins Saturday.
Doug Rothschild
Doug’s take: Pomona-Pitzer. The SCIAC is likely decided this week as two 1-loss teams play when 5-1 Redlands visits 5-1 Pomona-Pitzer. I give the edge to Redlands despite being on the road so Pomona-Pitzer picks up loss No 2.

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.

post

ATN Podcast: A great week in Division III!

We had a game with 17,000-plus fans, a top five team save its bacon in the final seconds, and just a ton of great finishes all around the nation this week. In fact, it’s pretty clear we can consider this the best week so far of the Division III football season. So Pat and Keith take some time to go through all of it — not just Whitewater-Oshkosh, but as many of those great finishes as we can find. But Keith starts this podcast on the sidelines after getting flagged for premature tweeting …

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.

Hit play, or subscribe to get this podcast on your mobile device. 
Photo by Daryl Tessmann, d3photography.com
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
post

Quick Hits for Week 3

Sure, we’d all love to be in Hawaii, where Pacific is playing Occidental, but the D3football.com budget is really tight. We’re lucky to be able to send one person to Texas, but we really wouldn’t miss Linfield playing Mary Hardin-Baylor if at all possible. Our guest for this round of Quick Hits is Logan Hansen, a Wartburg grad who has a computer ratings system he uses to rank D-III teams and predict games. You can follow him at @LogHanRatings on Twitter. Photo by B. Scott Presley, d3photography.com

— Pat Coleman

Belton, Hawaii, or somewhere else?

keith-mcmillan-150x200
Keith’s take: Hawaii, if D3football.com is paying. Otherwise, somewhere else. Like W&J/Thomas More.
ryan-tipps-150x200
Ryan’s take: Belton. I picked it as my game of the year in Kickoff.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Belton. I leave for Austin on Friday morning. See you at the Mary Hardin-Baylor/Linfield game!
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Somewhere else. There’s a Top 25 matchup that is also a conference rivalry 25 minutes from my house. See you in Crestview Hills.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Belton. I haven’t had an authentic breakfast burrito since the 2008 playoffs, and I’ve yet to get to see the new UMHB stadium.
Guest
Logan’s take: Des Moines. I have a friend’s wedding, otherwise Hawaii, because it’s Hawaii.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

keith-mcmillan-150x200
Keith’s take: No. 15 Cortland. No. 9 North Central if you want someone not facing a Top 25 opponent.
ryan-tipps-150x200
Ryan’s take: No. 19 Huntingdon. Belhaven is proving to be tougher than I expected.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 14 Delaware Valley. Of course, King’s is a lot less likely to sneak up on anyone now.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Wesley. I’m not yet sold on the Wolverines, but I’m buying CNU, especially at home.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 9 North Central vs. Illinois Wesleyan. Being on the road against a conference rival for the first D3 game is a challenge.
Guest
Logan’s take: No. 7 Wheaton at 25%. Because it’s too easy to pick Top 25 vs. Top 25 games.

St. Lawrence and Northwestern have allowed no points through two games. Who allows more on Saturday?

keith-mcmillan-150x200
Keith’s take: Northwestern.
ryan-tipps-150x200
Ryan’s take: Northwestern, though both will get scored on at least a little.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: St. Lawrence. Endicott is 0-2, sure, but they’re the better opponent than who Northwestern is facing.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Northwestern.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Northwestern. St. Lawrence faces 0-2 Endicott, while Northwestern faces 1-0 Minnesota-Morris. It’s science.
Guest
Logan’s take: St. Lawrence. My model has St. Lawrence giving up a touchdown more.

If you were a bird, what kind of bird would you be?

keith-mcmillan-150x200
Keith’s take: Isn’t that a Nelly Furtado song? I’d be a Seahawk. From Salve Regina.
ryan-tipps-150x200
Ryan’s take: A Sea Gull. Salisbury is riding a high, and that’ll carry over into NJAC play.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: An Owl. Well, a Prof, actually. It’s just that the Rowan Profs use an owl as their mascot. Home to William Paterson.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: A Blue Jay. Johns Hopkins can make a statement at home against a Moravian team that has been very impressive since the beginning of 2015.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: A purple macaw. I mean, that bird hasn’t had its feathers in a ruffle during many regular season games in 11 years…
Guest
Logan’s take: Anything but a Kohawk. Literally means “like the hawk,” as if that clears it up.

Who bounces back best from a noteworthy loss?

keith-mcmillan-150x200
Keith’s take: St. Norbert.
ryan-tipps-150x200
Ryan’s take: Ohio Northern. No fourth-quarter collapses this time around.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Hampden-Sydney. Although I must admit some trepidation because Ferrum is playing well.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Albright gets into the win column and keeps its MAC hopes alive.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Ohio Northern. It’s a survival game at Heidelberg, and the Utica loss taught the Polar Bears a lot about closing games out after starting strong.
Guest
Logan’s take: John Carroll. 19-point favorites vs. Baldwin Wallace after Week 1 loss to UW-Oshkosh.

Which future conference matchup will be most interesting this week?

keith-mcmillan-150x200
Keith’s take: Catholic-Coast Guard.
ryan-tipps-150x200
Ryan’s take: Texas Lutheran at Louisiana College. Neither has beaten a D-III team yet this year and each needs a win — bad.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Catholic-Coast Guard. Listeners to the last podcast know why. You should listen to the podcast!
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Ithaca at Hobart. Future Liberty League rivals (for now).
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Ithaca at Hobart. It’s under the lights, has some recent playoff history attached, and matches up teams that haven’t played to potential in 2016 — that part changes Saturday.
Guest
Logan’s take: Ithaca at Hobart. Ithaca’s D should keep this close, but they need to score somehow.

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.