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Quick Hits: Bringing your ‘A’ game

It’s too early for this group to be peaking and on the way down, so we’ve exhorted our panel to continue to bring their best here in Week 8. Our guest this week is Derek Jones, who has called Rowan games on WGLS for more than a decade and not long ago became the station’s general manager.

— Pat Coleman

This week, which game?

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Keith’s take: No. 11 Hardin-Simmons at No. 3 UMHB. Could make a case for games that will eliminate teams from playoff race, but I’d rather see if UMHB is No. 1-worthy.
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Ryan’s take: No. 11 Hardin-Simmons at No. 3 UMHB. This is my favorite conference rivalry in the nation — and that’s been the case for more than a decade.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 7 UW-Platteville at No. 5 UW-Oshkosh. I’m just going to play the full Midwesterner card here, plus note that the loser is in a world of hurt for playoffs.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: I want to see what No. 8 Linfield does in its second big test of the season. The Wildcats can prove something with a convincing win at 5-1 Whitworth.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 25 Delaware Valley at No. 15 Stevenson. The Mustangs are one of three undefeated East teams left but DelVal is on a roll. Loser might be eliminated from playoffs.
Guest
Derek’s take: Rowan vs. Wesley. It’s a must win for Wesley with Salisbury looming in a few weeks. The door on the postseason may close if they can’t win. If Rowan prevails, it puts them a step closer to an NJAC title.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 16 St. Lawrence. This may be a reach, but all but one Merchant Marine game has been decided by 4 or fewer, and the Saints only give up 7 a game. In NYC rain, could get interesting.
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Ryan’s take: No. 21 Rowan. Can we assume that Wesley has found it’s groove by now?
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 2 UW-Whitewater. Going up to the top for this one, at home to UW-Stevens Point. UWW has given up a ton of yards in recent weeks and needs to get healthy on defense. Soon.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 21 Rowan, by Wesley. Despite two losses, the Wolverines are very much alive. To keep intact Wesley’s goal of extending its playoff streak to 12 years, this is a must-win.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 16 St. Lawrence, at Merchant Marine. I picked it on “In the HuddLLe,” so I’ll stay with it here. With rain in the forecast, the triple-option will lead the Mariners to a major upset.
Guest
Guest’s take: No. 15 Stevenson. They’ve had a terrible time with Delaware Valley no matter where the game is. The Aggies responded well after the loss to Albright and need this one to keep their postseason hopes afloat.

Which game between ranked teams will be the closest?

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Keith’s take: No. 25 Delaware Valley at No. 15 Stevenson. The Mustangs probably pull it out, but they have to work for it.
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Ryan’s take: No. 7 UW-Platteville at No. 5 UW-Oshkosh. Fully expect this to be a one-score game.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 25 Delaware Valley at No. 15 Stevenson. That should be a barn-burner, perhaps the best atmosphere for a game this week.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 7 UW-Platteville at No. 5 UW-Oshkosh. Point differential against UWW and UWSP: Titans plus-7, Pioneers plus-10. Both teams narrowly lost to the Warhawks and defeated the Pointers.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 7 UW-Platteville at No. 5 UW-Oshkosh. They played UW-Whitewater virtually evenly in narrow losses. It’s doubtful either pulls away here.
Guest
Guest’s take: No. 11 Hardin-Simmons at No. 3 Mary Hardin-Baylor. Both teams know how to score but the defenses will come to play.

Which team brings its ‘A’ game this weekend?

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Keith’s take: Alma and their odd helmets continue the turnaround under Greg Pscodna vs. Albion, which is stunningly 0-6 after a nine-win season.
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Ryan’s take: Adrian, over Kalamazoo. To stay in the hunt, the Bulldogs need to take care of business.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Adrian, vs. Kalamazoo. The Bulldogs have to be smarting from their unexpected loss to Hope last week and will be bringing their ‘A’ game.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Albright. After starting 0-2, the Lions can force a four-way tie atop the MAC if they can defeat Wilkes and No. 25 Delaware Valley knocks off No. 15 Stevenson.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Albright, at Wilkes. The Lions will make it five straight wins after an 0-2 start, giving them slight hope in the MAC race.
Guest
Guest’s take: Averett, my father’s alma mater. They’ve scored 117 points in their last two games and play at Maryville on Saturday in a USAC battle.

There are 25 winless teams remaining. Pick one to win this week.

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Keith’s take: Morrisville State. The Mustangs are gaining 400 yards a game, about 40% of it on the ground, but are giving up 39 points.
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Ryan’s take: Morrisville State. Playing the E8 wild card here.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Loras, at Simpson. The Duhawks have a disappointing record but have only been blown out once.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Dickinson finds just enough offense to snap a nine-game losing streak. The Red Devils win on the road at McDaniel.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Finlandia, vs. Maranatha Baptist. Time to give our independent teams some love. Finlandia beat them twice last year, so here’s to a three-peat.
Guest
Guest’s take: TCNJ. They allowed 116 points vs. Salisbury, Wesley, and Frostburg State. Granted, it’s at Montclair State but the low-scoring Red Hawks will feel like a vacation in comparison.

Rowan, Salisbury, Frostburg and CNU each enter the weekend with one loss. Which team(s) stay that way?

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Keith’s take: The Maryland two. Rowan won’t score enough to beat Wesley, and I have to pick the Bobcats, even if out of totally transparent allegiance to the sleepers piece I wrote for Kickoff.
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Ryan’s take: Salisbury and CNU. Both are ready to shake off their losses to Rowan.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Salisbury and Frostburg. I like home field for Frostburg after a long drive for CNU, but that’s about the only factor I could use.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: The NJAC tie is down to three teams–Wesley, Salisbury, CNU–after this week.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Salisbury and Frostburg. Rowan will struggle vs. Wesley. Frostburg will handle a struggling CNU offense. I can’t see Kean beating Salisbury, especially in rain.
Guest
Guest’s take: Rowan, Salisbury, and Frostburg. It will not be easy for Rowan or Frostburg but their defenses could carry them through tough opponents. If so, that sets up quite the battle next week when Rowan travels to Frostburg State.

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.

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ATN Podcast: Kickoff and KICKOFF approaching

Every August, Keith McMillan and Pat Coleman do about a 12-hour huddle to go through the process of ranking all 248 teams, ranking the conferences, editing some of the volumes of stories that come in for Kickoff and lately, drop a new podcast on you guys. So, expect to hear some talk about who the 2016 surprise teams will be, who is expected to drop a little further down the ladder, and oh yeah, what we think about those purple powers’ chances this time around. Plus get their reaction to the news out of Susquehanna, Ithaca and Christopher Newport.

The Around the Nation Podcast is a weekly conversation (monthly in the offseason) between Pat Coleman and Keith McMillan covering the wide range of Division III football. It drops on Monday morning weekly throughout the season, starting on Labor Day.

Hit play, or subscribe to get this podcast on your mobile device. 
Frostburg State athletics file photo
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
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ATN Podcast: Two results throw it wide open

Wesley and Hardin-Simmons could have made it easy on the committee and on all the bracketologists in Division III who are trying to figure out where they’ll go in the playoffs. Instead, Salisbury upset the Wolverines and East Texas Baptist knocked off the Cowboys. What are the ramifications? What do the at-large bids look like now? (A hint, they look awesome.) Plus, which are the teams on the rise in the playoff hunt? 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.

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