We’re on the downhill slope now to Selection Sunday. Six weeks down, and five weeks left, with lots of questions to be answered. We’ll try to answer part of one-fifth of those questions here with our Quick Hits crew.
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 Dave McHugh, the host of Hoopsville over at D3hoops.com. He typically pays enough attention to football to not pick Calvin, Connecticut College or either Centenary.
— Pat Coleman
What’s the Week 7 game of the week?
Keith’s take: No. 3 UW-Oshkosh at No. 9 UW-Platteville. With Wheaton’s struggles taking the luster off the Little Brass Bell clash, no game is even close.
Ryan’s take: No. 3 UW-Oshkosh at No. 9 UW-Platteville. Since 2013, the Pioneers have narrowly missed the postseason more than once. Here’s their 2017 chance.
Pat’s take: No. 3 UW-Oshkosh at No. 9 UW-Platteville. I mean, God forbid I suggest another game is worth paying attention to.
Adam’s take: No. 3 UW-Oshkosh at No. 9 UW-Platteville. Here’s the Pioneers’ real chance to silence the doubters.
Frank’s take: No. 25 Springfield at Merchant Marine. This is a test for the Pride in a must-win for Pool B/C playoff consideration.
Dave’s take: No. 3 UW-Oshkosh at No. 9 UW-Platteville. Unfortunately, it has been awhile since these two have played as intriguing a matchup in basketball.
Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?
Keith’s take: No. 19 Berry. The Vikings have had Hendrix’s number. The 5-1 Warriors will need a big game from its 194th-best defense.
Ryan’s take: No. 17 Alfred. Opponent Cortland is a two-loss team and will be fighting to stay in E8 playoff discussion.
Pat’s take: No. 19 Berry. From just outside the rankings, to top 20, to playing the other team with playoff experience.
Adam’s take: No. 17 Alfred at Cortland. But honestly it feels more like a “Pat’s special” week, aka no upsets.
Frank’s take: No. 4 North Central. After a hellacious couple of weeks, Wheaton has a chance to turn the season back around here with nothing left to lose.
Dave’s take: No. 4 North Central. I am not one to think Wheaton is down and out. I suspect the Cardinals get tripped up by the Thunder, who right the ship after a few distraction-filled weeks.
Which team is probably safe to focus more on next week?
Keith’s take: No. 18 Frostburg State. William Paterson has just three touchdowns in five games and field the nation’s least-successful offense.
Ryan’s take: No. 12 Wittenberg. Allegheny is improved, but a win should be easy, and Witt should be more worried about DePauw on the horizon.
Pat’s take: No. 7 Linfield. Lewis & Clark is improved, but if the Wildcats were prepping for George Fox this week, I don’t think it’ll be an issue.
Adam’s take: No. 18 Frostburg State (at William Paterson). Coaches gonna hate you for this one, Pat. will bounce back in time for Montclair State on Oct. 21.
Frank’s take: No. 14 Wesley (vs. Kean). Rowan should put up a better fight against Wesley next week.
Dave’s take: I can only pick one? Ok. I’ll go with Mount Union. Nothing against Capital, but I just don’t see the Raiders being challenged. Sorry Crusaders..
Which early-season surprise team will get some reality?
Keith’s take: DePauw, with a 5-0 start and lofty defensive stats game against average-at-best teams. After Witt, Wabash losses, Denison set to bust out.
Ryan’s take: UW-La Crosse. Is this the easy pick with Whitewater on the other sideline?
Pat’s take: Williams. Because, on the other side, there’s Middlebury, and Williams sweeping C-B-B is less impressive.
Adam’s take: Ursinus. Bears will drop second straight, at Susquehanna, putting JHU back in the Centennial driver’s seat just two weeks after being upset.
Frank’s take: Plymouth State. Quron Wright & Co. for Framingham State will take a huge step toward winning the MASCAC at one-loss PSU’s expense.
Dave’s take: UW-La Crosse. Undefeated and probably looking at Whitewater and thinking the scary monster isn’t that scary. I think Whitewater is still very scary.
Who will get their first win this weekend?
Keith’s take: Kenyon. The 0-5 Lords were thwarted by a late Ohio Wesleyan score last week, and host 1-4 Hiram this week.
Ryan’s take: Hamilton. Against winless Bowdoin in a conference with lots of disparity.
Pat’s take: FInlandia. Utterly devoid of games which count, the Lions have a home-and-home remaining with Trinity Bible and that’s it for 2017.
Adam’s take: Hamilton. The 0-4 NESCAC team faces 0-4 Bowdoin. I’m rolling with the Continentals.
Frank’s take: Kenyon. With Hiram at one win, this is probably Kenyon’s best chance for a 2017 win.
Dave’s take: Hamilton. I have no choice. It is my maternal family’s “school” and my grandfather was a trustee. That trumps any Maine connections I have — sorry, Bowdoin.
Pick a game where the winner has the less fierce mascot.
Keith’s take: Guilford. Quakers’ record is deceiving because of two FCS losses. More-fierce Generals of W&L are six points from being unbeaten, though.
Ryan’s take: St. Scholastica Saints. The UMAC contender faces the Knights of Martin Luther.
Pat’s take: Carnegie Mellon (vs. Geneva). Tartans over Golden Wave. Water-logged swatches of material for the win.
Adam’s take: Redlands. The Bulldogs defeat the Chapman Panthers. Everyone gets treats for the short trip home
Frank’s take: Trinity (Conn.). The Bantams over the Tufts Jumbos. Chickens may be no match for elephants in nature, but this will be a plucking win for the Bantams.
Dave’s take: Otterbein (vs. Heidelberg). Nothing puts the fear in people than Cardinals playing Princes. This feels like a Medieval times or Dark Ages matchup where royalty and the church clashed.
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.
Like last week there’s one huge game in the rankings and I’ll be there. And this week, it won’t require a boarding pass. Will this one live up to the hype better than last week’s? Our guest is Gene Schatz, a Division III football fan whose son played quarterback at Wesley a few years back. Gene has continued to follow Division III very closely and was at both the Salisbury-Montclair State game and the Wesley-Christopher Newport game last week. That’s dedication, Division III parents! (Photo by Scott Pierson, d3photography.com)
— Pat Coleman
On Saturday, I’d rather be at …
Keith’s take: Clemens Stadium. No. 4 St. Thomas at No. 6 St. John’s in an idyllic setting. It’ll probably be the best game-watching experience in D-III all season.
Ryan’s take: In Springfield, Ohio, at Bash vs. Witt. Going off-grid with so many other eyes likely on Tommie-Johnnie game.
Pat’s take: Collegeville, Minn. There’s a pretty cool game going on up there. What, you’ve heard of it? Never mind.
Adam’s take: Tommie-Johnnie. For the third time in 364 days. Collegeville will be boppin’ as the home team tries to prevent a St. Thomas three-peat.
Frank’s take: Clemens Stadium. I’ve always wanted to experience the atmosphere at this stadium, especially for this game. Their rankings make this year’s game a bonus.
Gene’s take: Collegeville, Minn. Would love to see if St. John’s can take the top spot back in the MIAC and break up the purple powers.
Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?
Keith’s take: No. 13 Wabash. Didn’t have the guts to take Baldwin Wallace vs. Mount Union or pick against Cortland for the second week in a row.
Ryan’s take: No. 11 Johns Hopkins. A solid Muhlenberg is as good a team as any to end JHU’s 29-game conference win streak.
Pat’s take: No. 16 St. John Fisher. Under the assumption a huge Courage Bowl crowd fires up Brockport and the E8 refuses to be so easily predicted.
Adam’s take: No. 13 Wabash. On the road against a Wittenberg team playing with a purpose this season.
Frank’s take: No. 11 Johns Hopkins. Muhlenberg has built up well so far, while the Blue Jays have had some close results. A late score could decide it.
Gene’s take: No. 14 Delaware Valley. Taking a chance that Albright will live up to the preseason billing.
Who gets a sorely needed win this week?
Keith’s take: UW-River Falls. Southwestern appears much improved, while the Falcons nearly beat Gustavus and get one more shot before WIAC play.
Ryan’s take: Bethel. It’s already a big slide fof a once-major power.
Pat’s take: Allegheny. Kenyon is 2-1, but that loss is a 45-7 drubbing by Hiram and Allegheny needs this one since they might not win another all year.
Adam’s take: Ursinus. Two of the three winless Centennial teams meet when the Bears travel to McDaniel.
Frank’s take: UW-Eau Claire (at Wisconsin Lutheran). The Blugolds, with a 14-game losing streak, have a winnable game in front of them before WIAC play begins.
Gene’s take: Bethel. Just 3 years ago they went undefeated in the MIAC. Hard to believe they could start the season 0-4.
Name any Empire 8 team which will win on Saturday:
Keith’s take: Alfred, against Ithaca. All the games are good, but I’ve warmed up to the Saxons, who are averaging 34 points a game and have two road wins.
Ryan’s take: St. John Fisher. I added them to my Top 25 ballot last week.
Pat’s take: Morrisville State. I’ll let the rest of these guys take the easy pick and I’ll move further down the alphabet.
Adam’s take: Alfred. The Saxons have been as impressive as anyone in the E8. Alfred hosts an Ithaca team that has one offensive TD in two games.
Frank’s take: Alfred. The Bombers can’t find an offensive stride still, while Alfred has scored 30-plus in each of their three games. Advantage: Saxons.
Gene’s take: Alfred. The Saxons take advantage of a struggling Ithaca offense.
Pick an unranked, unvoted-for 3-0 team that will win this week:
Keith’s take: Berry, vs. Sewanee. The Tigers have lost their first three games by 21-17 twice and 21-16. So give me Berry, scoring three TDs and winning by four.
Ryan’s take: Plymouth State, keeping this Cinderella season rolling.
Pat’s take: Coe. And Nebraska Wesleyan still won’t have beaten a Division III team since …
Adam’s take: Northwestern. They should beat Martin Luther; the bigger question is, will they allow points for the first time this season?
Frank’s take: Centre (vs. Chicago). It’s revenge for Centre after their 2015 loss to the Maroons in what could be a key SAA matchup.
Gene’s take: St. Vincent. The Bearcats who have only won more than four games once since bringing the program back look to go 4-0.
Which NESCAC game should I care about?
Keith’s take: Wesleyan at Tufts. It’s the only game between teams picked to have winning records (both 6-2) in Kickoff, or teams that had them last year.
Ryan’s take: Wesleyan at Tufts, possibly the day’s most competitive matchup.
Pat’s take: Wesleyan at Tufts. Night games in the NESCAC are pretty darn rare, so this could be fun.
Adam’s take: Wesleyan at Tufts. Can reigning NESCAC player of the year Chance “the Running Back” Brady start another dominant rushing campaign?
Frank’s take: Colby at Williams. For the start of the Mark Raymond era, as he tries to turn around the Ephs the same way he turned around St. Lawrence.
Gene’s take: Wesleyan at Tufts. Two teams near the top of the NESCAC last year don’t want to start the season 0-1.
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.
There are lots of teams looking for at-large bids to the playoffs. Problem is, there’s only six of them. If you are new to Division III, or new to playoff contention and don’t know how the D-III playoffs work, this is the week where Keith and Pat will walk you through it. Who are the best candidates for at-large bids? What is this whole pool thing about? We’ll talk it all through for you. Plus, which are the teams on the rise? What key highlights happened below the radar? Pat and Keith answer those questions, plus 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.
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