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Quick Hits: All the marbles

This is it — the last regular-season weekend of the season. Maybe there’s snow on the ground where you are. Maybe you have a bitter rival coming to town and an epic tailgate with old friends — well, that’s what Quick Hits is like for us, too. Our regular crew is Keith McMillan, Ryan Tipps, Pat Coleman, Adam Turer and Frank Rossi. Our sixth spot each week goes to a guest prognosticator, and this week’s is Greg Thomas, our bracketology guru. He’ll be joining us through the playoffs as well, when Quick Hits shifts to predicting the final score of each game.
Photo: File photo from 2017 Shoes game, by Mick Neal, RPI athletics

— Pat Coleman

What will be the Week 11 Game of the Week?

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Keith’s take: No. 25 Baldwin Wallace at No. 8 John Carroll/No. 9 St. Thomas at No. 22 Bethel. Both games match 8-1 teams; winners should be first at-large teams in field, losers’ seasons are over.
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Ryan’s take: Thomas More at No. 4 St. John’s. After the way their season began, the Saints should be stoked they’re still so relevant to the conversation.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 25 Baldwin Wallace at No. 8 John Carroll. Not only does it have all the playoff implications, but it’s a bona fide local rivalry as well.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 9 St. Thomas at No. 22 Bethel. A rivalry game with a playoff berth at stake. Nothing better in Week 11.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Salisbury at No. 6 Frostburg State. It’s the NJAC championship, and a Pool C bid could be taken from a bubble team if Salisbury wins. Hear more about it in today’s ATN Gameday Podcast.
Guest
Greg’s take: St. Thomas at Bethel. There are many good games, but this is a Top 25 showdown and a de facto elimination game between two teams that have the chops to make deep tournament runs.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 6 Frostburg State. Not because the Bobcats are vulnerable so much as their Regents Cup opponent, 8-1 Salisbury, has had a great defense and running game all year.
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Ryan’s take: No. 11 Berry. The Vikings may be sailing high right now, but Trinity has already shown this year that they can hold their own against tough competition.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 24 Linfield. Wildcats’ scare last week might give Pacific something on tape to work with.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 14 RPI. The resurgence of the Dutchmen has revitalized the Shoes rivalry. The Engineers have already clinched the LL title. Union could pull off the upset.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 11 Berry. Berry has won the SAA already, so how the Vikings will approach the game at Trinity (Texas) will be interesting. Remember, Trinity challenged HSU earlier this season.
Guest
Greg’s take: No. 14 RPI. This game is actually pretty even on paper and I believe QH is contractually obligated to have one panelist pick RPI to be upset.

Which rivalry game will have the closest score?

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Keith’s take: Dutchman Shoes. Almost all of them look like tight matchups. Union and RPI have already played one-point games; what’s one more?
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Ryan’s take: The Secretaries Cup. Coast Guard’s resurgence this year has added some new life to the annual game against Merchant Marine — and could shake up the NEWMAC significantly.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: The Game. It wouldn’t be a “Game” between Randolph-Macon and Hampden-Sydney if it didn’t have some grinding and a little bitterness to boot.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Monon Bell. The last two meetings were decided by a total of four points. DePauw will keep it close against No. 20 Wabash, trying to avoid its first losing season since 2013.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Dutchman Shoes. RPI has won more with great defense in close games this year. I think this game lines up the same way.
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Greg’s take: Cortaca Jug. This game looks like a low scoring grinder to me with a single point keeping the winner’s tournament hopes alive into Selection Sunday.

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

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Keith’s take: Alvernia at UNE. Both first-year programs have a win, but the Wolves haven’t scored since a garbage-time TD Oct. 13, and the Nor’Easters have been outscored by 117 since their win a week earlier.
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Ryan’s take: N.C. Wesleyan at Maryville. Even with a loss, the Scots are in the playoffs, but if they do lose, it’s worth noting that Google Maps has them at 485 miles from Alliance, Ohio.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Maine Maritime at Catholic. Just to hope that the alma mater doesn’t finish 0-10 this year. Go Cards!
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Shenandoah at Washington & Lee. I doubt anyone else is interested to see if my alma mater can win at least six games for the fourth straight year, a feat not accomplished since back when Garret LeRose and I were playing for the Generals.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Coast Guard at Merchant Marine. More than 600 votes determined that I’d attend the Secretaries Cup Game between these two service academies. The Mariners even have a potential playoff bid still alive.
Guest
Greg’s take: Berry at Trinity (Texas).Berry has already clinched and Trinity isn’t in the playoff picture but a Berry loss here could significantly impact the playoff fortunes of Centre, Hardin-Simmons, and Muhlenberg. All the pieces matter.

Which team plays its way in or out of a home playoff game?

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Keith’s take: North Central, in. Based on its result against Millikin, NCC has the widest range of outcomes; winnable home game in Round 1 or season over. I’ll guess the former.
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Ryan’s take: Baldwin Wallace, out. I’m guessing that the matchup with JCU is someone’s game of the week, and I think BW will be out and JCU a shoo-in for Pool C after Saturday.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: St. Thomas, in. Despite the fact that Bethel looked better against St. John’s, the Royals don’t have Jackson Erdmann at QB to test Tommie DBs.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 25 Baldwin Wallace. With a win over John Carroll, the Yellow Jackets would get in via Pool C and likely host a first round game. A loss to JCU not only means no home game, but likely no playoff appearance at all.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Frostburg State. If the Bobcats lose, they could still win a Pool C bid but drop below fourth in the East because of a lack of regionally ranked opponents in their profile.
Guest
Greg’s take: John Carroll. The Streaks are a lock for an at-large bid and a home game with a win against Baldwin Wallace. A loss, and the Streaks are most likely done for 2018.

Pick a random Week 11 game and give it a trophy name.

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Keith’s take: Tufts at Middlebury. Most of the season-ending games in the NESCAC are longstanding rivalries. This is what … the Tuftlebury Classic?
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Ryan’s take: Olivet at Albion. The Six-Letter Shuffle — or — The MIAA Founder’s Faceoff.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Alma at Finlandia, for the 445 Mile Marker Trophy. Finlandia is in the same state as almost everyone else in the MIAA, but it’s hideously far. Alma is its closest MIAA opponent, at 445 miles.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Pacific at No. 24 Linfield. The Mass Hysteria Bowl. Dogs and cats living together! No human sacrifice, please. (Yes, I know Boxer the mascot isn’t technically a dog.)
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Alvernia at University of New England, for The 2018 Debut Supremacy Cup.
Guest
Greg’s take: Benedictine vs. Concordia-Chicago, for the I-88 Trophy.The Chicagoland rivals square off for a trophy which doesn’t actually exist yet as it is perpetually under construction.

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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Around the Nation Podcast 222: We predict at-large teams

Often this time of year we do a projected Division III NCAA Tournament field, but this year we’re so busy making podcasts that we didn’t do one. Instead, Pat and Keith are doing both at the same time: talking through the process of selecting at-large teams right on this podcast.

This is a projected playoff field if the season ended today. All six teams that we got to choose can affect their playoff resume on the field on Saturday, and for that matter, so can all of the teams with automatic bids. Even those who are already in the field could impact their seeding with a loss or by winning while others around them lose.

And those are just the normal scenarios. We could see crazy scenarios, such as, say, last year when Carnegie Mellon committed a penalty and had a punt blocked to kill its potential upset of Case Western Reserve. What are the unlikely, but awesome scenarios that could occur? Greg Thomas threw a few out there and we discuss those as well.

Plus Kevin Bullis tells us how his UW-Whitewater team is looking entering Week 11, Keith asks Pat what could go wrong with this projection and Pat asks Keith to figure out what the Mayors Cup is. That and more in the 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.

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

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

Link: NCAA Division III playoff criteria, from our FAQ
Link: Playoff primer podcast (No. 216, with committee chair Jim Catanzaro)

Photo: Frostburg State back Grayson Boyce (Frostburg State athletics photo)

Theme music: DJmentos.

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Quick Hits Week 7: Eyes on the rivalry and the streak

In addition to the big game between St. Thomas and St. John’s, there are lots of other key games, including one at the other end of the rankings. That’s where Earlham, which has lost 49 consecutive games, faces Anderson. A win will keep Earlham from grabbing a share of the record for the longest Division III football losing streak, ever.

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 James Baker, Frank Rossi’s co-host on In The Huddle. That’s the two of them staring at each other.

Photo: UW-Oshkosh Kyle Radavich stands in the pocket. (Photo by Daryl Tessmann, d3photography.com)

Which game is the Week 7 game of the week?

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Keith’s take: The Tommie-Johnnie game. Next question.
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Ryan’s take: Tommie-Johnnie game. Ranked teams. Fierce rivalry. Smothering defenses. The recent loss of a legend. MIAC title hopes. Sentence fragments.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 3 St. Thomas at No. 8 St. John’s. The game of any week.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Tommie-Johnnie. A battle of top ten teams that means even more in light of the great John Gagliardi’s passing.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: St. Thomas at St. John’s. When John passed away last weekend, it made this game even more special. The emotion here will be intense, leading to a back-and-forth affair.
James Baker
James’ take: St. Thomas at St. John’s. With all due respect to No. 4 Brockport and Alfred, this is the easy pick, especially with the passing of legendary SJU coach John Gagliardi weighing heavily.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 13 UW-Oshkosh. UW-Platteville, which is one six-minute stretch vs. Thomas More from being unbeaten, is likely the better team.
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Ryan’s take: No. 13 UW-Oshkosh. If not for a loss to Thomas More early in the season, Platteville would be ranked and this would seem even less of an upset.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 23 Muhlenberg. If Thomas More could do it to Platteville, it could do the same in this game.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 13 UW-Oshkosh. The Titans still have not discovered an offensive identity, and UW-Platteville can remain squarely in the WIAC title mix.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 13 UW-Oshkosh. I just don’t see where the Titans are going to find the points to beat UW-Platteville. The better offense will win a close one here.
James Baker
James’ take: No. 23 Muhlenberg. While I don’t want to root against the Mike Cragg coaching tree, Thomas More needs to win this game more than the Mules to stay in the hunt for a playoff bid.

Who bounces back from a noteworthy loss?

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Keith’s take: No. 9 Hardin-Simmons. Shut out by UMHB, the Cowboys should go back to scoring 50-plus vs. Sul Ross State.
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Ryan’s take: George Fox. Fell to ranked Whitworth last week and is now hunting for its first conference win (as is opponent Willamette).
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Chapman. The Panthers should find Occidental a different challenge than Redlands was.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Hardin-Simmons. The Cowboys should avenge last week’s rare shutout by bouncing back with a vengeance against winless Sul Ross State.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Ithaca. The Bombers have a tremendous defense that can tame Union’s offense enough to allow Ithaca to sneak out with a win in essentially an elimination game.
James Baker
James’ take: No. 7 Wesley.The Wolverines will take out their frustrations over losing by one point to Frostburg State with a methodical thumping of 1-4 Kean, who’s been outscored 117-25 this season.

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

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Keith’s take: Montclair State at Salisbury. I might be overhyping this, but I’m curious if either 5-0 NJAC team can push Wesley or Frostburg State.
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Ryan’s take: Simpson at Central. Not far from the beaten path since both are undefeated in conference play, but I’ve been itching to see someone really stand out in ARC action.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Hartwick at St. John Fisher. Sounds random, but tune into the podcast to find out why.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Averett at N.C. Wesleyan. The Cougars last shared a conference title in 2006. The Battling Bishops won the USA South in 2009 and shared the title in 2010.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Endicott at UNE. After their first program victory against Curry, the Nor’easters have a chance to create chaos in the CCC if they can play well again on their blue turf.
James Baker
James’ take: Ithaca vs. Union. In what amounts to a playoff-elimination game for both teams, Liberty League preseason favorite Ithaca needs to win out and RPI to lose to have any shot.

Six NACC teams are 1-4 overall. Which ones will move to 2-4?

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Keith’s take: Lakeland and Benedictine.
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Ryan’s take: Lakeland and Wisconsin Lutheran. The Muskies have faced some good nonconference teams, which helps in NACC play, and the Warriors is where my gut’s at.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Lakeland and Benedictine. Lakeland over Rockford, Benedictine over Wisconsin Lutheran.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Lakeland. The Muskies have a recent winning pedigree, while the Regents have not posted a winning season since joining the NACC.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Benedictine and Lakeland.
James Baker
James’ take: Benedictine and Rockford. 

Does Earlham get off the schneid this week?

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Keith’s take: No. I said they would not in the podcast, so I’m obligated to stick with Anderson here.
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Ryan’s take: No. The Quakers haven’t yet figured out how to keep a game close let alone win one.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Reply hazy, try again. Seems unlikely, unfortunately. And Macalester fans seem to enjoy holding the record for longest losing streak, too.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. The Quakers’ best chance will come on Nov. 3 against Defiance, after the record for futility has been broken.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. There really is a difference between being outscored 341-39 (Earlham) vs. 209-72 (Anderson).
James Baker
James’ take: Nope. Sorry, Quakers.

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.