Sure, UW-Platteville losing theoretically opened up a playoff spot, but that doesn’t mean anyone should breathe easy. Even if you don’t count Platteville, there are at least eight more teams vying for at-large spots. (And there are only five spots.) If you want one of them, what are your chances? How can your chances improve? You can find out more in this week’s D3football.com Around the Nation podcast.
Alright, so last week the crew — mostly Keith McMillan — was unimpressed with the questions provided. Perhaps they’ll learn to be glad for what they have, because this week requires them to know some stuff about how some schools operate. Or to take the easy way out and just pick schools with “Catholic” and “Lutheran” in their names. Our regular crew is Keith, Ryan Tipps, Pat Coleman, Adam Turer and Frank Rossi. Our sixth spot goes to a guest each week, and this week’s is Ryan Carlson, who can be seen at @catdomealumni on Twitter.
— Pat Coleman
Which game will be the game of the week?
Keith’s take: Westminster at No. 15 W&J. The latter doesn’t play Case, but the Titans do, and could stand in way of both PAC 10-0’s en route to AQ.
Ryan’s take: No. 19 George Fox at No. 7 Linfield. There’s probably no team in the nation I’m more curious about than the Bruins.
Pat’s take: No. 13 Wittenberg at No. 25 DePauw. It has been so, so long since Witt opened the season with Westminster (Pa.), aka its last competitive contest.
Adam’s take: No. 19 George Fox at No. 7 Linfield. This would be a program-defining victory for the Bruins.
Frank’s take: No. 13 Wittenberg at No. 25 DePauw. With the Wabash loss last week, this game takes on extra meaning for NCAC leadership and the playoffs.
Ryan’s take: No. 19 George Fox at No. 7 Linfield. Control of the NWC is on the line. I didn’t even know there were other football games this weekend.
Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?
Keith’s take: No. 11 Illinois Wesleyan. Carthage is 4th nationally in total D, 2nd in turnovers. Titans are 8th scoring D, 3rd rush D.
Ryan’s take: No. 15 Washington and Jefferson. Westminster (Pa.) is on a roll, so give them credit for having a shot.
Pat’s take: No. 11 Illinois Wesleyan. Going big or going home. Could make the case that IWU’s two big wins need asterisks.
Adam’s take: No. 12 Brockport (vs. Hartwick). The Hawks have three losses: by one, one, and four points. They also boast two of the nation’s top receivers.
Frank’s take: No. 15 Washington & Jefferson. W&J’s résumé isn’t as strong as it seemed earlier, while Westminster’s loss is by six to Wittenberg.
Ryan’s take: No. 20 Wartburg. Luther is undefeated on their new hideous blue turf and I hear that the Knights’ starting QB is deathly afraid of water.
In memory of our fallen (for now) Occidental Tigers, pick a Division III Tigers team to win on Saturday.
Keith’s take: There are seven choices. In No. 13 Wittenberg vs. No. 25 DePauw, I guarantee the Tigers win.
Ryan’s take: East Texas Baptist (vs. Louisiana College). They’ll be particularly eager to bounce back after last week’s upset.
Pat’s take: Iowa Wesleyan. In a week where there are two Tigers-Tigers clashes, I’m taking a non-obvious one.
Adam’s take: Trinity (Texas). But even if they lose, the Tigers (Sewanee) will win.
Frank’s take: Trinity (Texas). They’ll beat Sewanee in the Battle of the Tigers, reversing both teams’ Week 7 fortunes.
Ryan’s take: Bring back Dale Widolff! I’ll go with Hampden-Sydney knocking off those scoundrels from Washington & Lee.
Pick a former Mount Union regular-season non-conference opponent (1999 or later) to win a game on Saturday.
Keith’s take: Picking No. 3 UW-Oshkosh (2010-11) is too easy, so I’ll go Averett (2006-07) over NCWC, the Purple Raiders’ current non-con opponent.
Ryan’s take: Allegheny (2000-01), against Kenyon. The Gators continue to build on their best season since 2012.
Pat’s take: Allegheny (2000-01). The Gators’ rebuild continues with a home win vs. Kenyon.
Adam’s take: UW-Whitewater (2002-03) vs. UW-River Falls. Fun to remember that the Purple Powers rivalry began in the regular season back in 2002 and 2003.
Frank’s take: UW-Whitewater (2002-03). Once upon a time, this was a sure thing. This year, it’s a continuation of the Warhawks’ rebound.
Ryan’s take: Allegheny (2000-01). I didn’t even know Mount Union played a football game until the semifinals.
In this, the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, pick an unranked Lutheran school team to win and an unranked Catholic school team to lose, or vice versa.
Keith’s take: Luther to win, Catholic to lose. No need to overthink. Luther could upset rival No. 20 Wartburg on the blue turf, while Catholic loses to No. 23 Springfield.
Ryan’s take: Cal Lutheran to win, Loras to lose. Cal Lutheran should be able to handle Whittier. And I think Coe will get the best of Loras.
Pat’s take: Anna Maria to win, Augsburg to lose. Anna Maria over Alfred State, Augsburg losing to Concordia-Moorhead.
Adam’s take: Pacific Lutheran to win, Catholic to lose. PLU over Willamette. I write Snap Judgments while y’all are at church on Sunday.
Frank’s take: Pacific Lutheran to win, Catholic to lose. Who the heck wrote these things?!
Ryan’s take: Pacific Lutheran to win, Catholic to lose. PLU to knock off a terrible Willamette team and Catholic (easiest one to find) to get smacked by Springfield.
St. John Fisher and Ithaca have had some epic battles in the past 20 years. Pick a meeting from the archives that this year’s game will most resemble.
Keith’s take: Fine, Pat, I’ll never insult your easy questions again. And the 2011 OT game.
Ryan’s take: The 2002 game. This game (30-20 Ithaca) ushered in competitiveness. Let’s hope 2017 isn’t ushering it out.
Pat’s take: The 2002 game. Ithaca beat St. John Fisher 30-20 and I think it’s Ithaca by more than one score.
Frank’s take: The 2003 game. Ithaca wins a thriller, 20-19. It set up Ithaca for a playoff run (lost to RPI in the quarterfinals). Fisher may be down, but the Cardinals are still a tough out.
Ryan’s take: The 2003 game. (Ithaca 20-19). I live in the Pacific Northwest so that’s like asking someone from East Jersey what fishing season is like on the Columbia River.
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.
Aside from “the Target Field game” there were another 99 games played on Saturday, and on top of that, there was all sorts of other news in the past week to cover. Pat Coleman and Keith McMillan talk about the situation at Wheaton, the mourning at Wooster, and the hope that Occidental will play Saturday before ever getting to the Heidelberg-John Carroll game or any of the other events from Saturday that took a back seat to the big spectacle.