Quick Hits Week 1: Ready, set, go!

Welcome to Quick Hits 2019! If you’ve just discovered us, this is where we get together six Division III writers and observers to give you their takes on where the best games are each week, which ranked teams are on upset alert, and many other rotating categories throughout the season.  Without further delay, here are our first set of Hits for 2019!

Our regular crew is Keith McMillan, Ryan Tipps, Pat Coleman, Adam Turer, Frank Rossi and Greg Thomas.

— Greg Thomas

Which game is the Game of the Week?

Keith’s take: No. 18 Wittenberg at No. 21 W&J. There are better teams in action, but no matchup that already has these playoff implications. Its winner files away a potential future win over regionally ranked opponent, and the loser’s Pool C hopes are already shot.
Ryan’s take: No. 6 Johns Hopkins at No. 24 Randolph Macon. The 2018 postseason Cinderellas: one for its deep run, the other for its epic upset. We’re all eager to see what they bring for 2019.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 18 Wittenberg at No. 21 W&J. At least one of these rankings is wrong, and we’ll know by sundown on Saturday.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 18 Wittenberg at No. 21 Washington and Jefferson. I always get excited for and appreciate Week 1 games that could just as easily be Week 13 or 14 games. Kudos to both teams for taking on the challenge.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 6 Johns Hopkins at No. 24 Randolph Macon. Emotion for Hopkins without Jim Margraff on #d3fb Opening Night in a battle of Top 25 teams – it’ll be a big night.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 18 Wittenberg at No. 21 W&J.  These are the second and third winningest teams all time in Division III with over 1,500 wins between them. The winner has a great chance at banking a regionally ranked win which will come in handy in about 11 weeks.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

Keith’s take: No. 13 Brockport. Hobart is tough at home, but this is about seeing how the Golden Eagles replace the seven all-Region players it lost. Is Brockport a reload program?.
Ryan’s take: No. 19 RPI. Two teams on different trajectories: RPI graduated a huge number of starters, and Allegheny has lots coming back to upset the Engineer apple cart.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 10 Bethel. It would be unethical of me to say more, however.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Aurora defeats No. 25 St. Norbert. Don Beebe’s head coaching debut is a memorable one.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 17 John Carroll (by UW-Stevens Point). Honestly, it’s unlikely we see any upsets, but this is the one I feel least sure about.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 20 Centre. Hanover has 20 starters back from a conference championship team. Centre is going to have a lot of debutantes. Experience can carry the Panthers to a win.

Which team in Kickoff’s bottom 25 will start 2019 with a win?

Keith’s take: No. 232 Alvernia. This one could go either way and I’d be right, but I think the Golden Wolves win in Washington against No. 235 Gallaudet.
Ryan’s take: No. 235 Gallaudet. Granted they’re playing a team only three spots removed, yet the Bison have more than half their starters back and won’t fall off as much as some predict.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 235 Gallaudet. The Bison lost in Alvernia’s first-ever football game last fall, but Alvernia still has lots of lineup questions to answer in Year 2.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: The winner of No. 238 Cornell vs No. 248 Iowa Wesleyan. I’ll put my faith in the Rams.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 235 Gallaudet (vs. Alvernia). Assuming the game gets played, the return of senior QB Timel Benton from injury will help the Bison win Game 1.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 240 Kenyon. The Lords are headed to the nation’s capital with a 26-game losing streak, but a whole new energy under new head coach James Rosenbury. Kenyon is going to pay this long road trip off with a win.

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

Keith’s take: Concordia-Moorhead at UW-La Crosse. These two play insane schedules already, and then lined one another up for a Week 1 doozy.
Ryan’s take: Southwestern at Sewanee. The Pirates are stacked on defense and have school-record potential this season, while the Tigers don’t struggle the way they used to in games. A very fun opener to watch!.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Buena Vista at Hamline. The Thursday night opener comes to the Twin Cities, so I’ll be there, after work, that is.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Guilford at Huntingdon. The teams combined for 106 points last year in a game that didn’t count. Lightning forced the offensive onslaught to be called a no contest. The rematch could be just as high scoring and will hopefully enter the record books.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 14 Delaware Valley at Kean. What seems like a gimme-game for DelVal could be interesting as they adjust to life without Darden.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: Redlands at George Fox. The Bulldogs begin their NWC gauntlet this week. Head coach Mike Maynard is sitting on 197 career wins and could set up a shot at win number 200 when Redlands hosts Linfield in two weeks.

Which 2018 playoff team starts 2019 on the wrong foot?

Keith’s take: Hanover, which won the HCAC in Week 11 last season, gets a Week 1 visit from No. 20 Centre this year. :eek emoji:.
Ryan’s take: No. 21 Washington & Jefferson. This will be a good year for Wittenberg (despite a noticeable gap on offense) as well as a return to the playoffs. W&J has a tough outing to avoid starting 2019 the way it ended in Round 1 of 2018.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 25 St. Norbert (at Aurora). This is another upset possibility, for sure.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Hanover. The Panthers were a surprising 2018 playoff participant and face a tall task against No. 20 Centre. The Colonels needed a fourth quarter rally to eke past the Panthers in last year’s opener, but the offense should come out of the gates hotter in 2019.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: MIT (vs. Carnegie Mellon). The Battle of the Brains could go to CMU as both teams replace graduated QBs.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: Denison. The Big Red are entering the post-Gebele era, while Ohio Northern welcomes back 2017 All-American running back Christiaan Williams. The Polar Bears are going to be a big challenge for a team trying to stay on top of the NCAC.

Who has the most successful head coaching debut?

Keith’s take: Wes Beschorner at UW-Eau Claire. There could be a ton of points scored when Beschorner, a former offensive star and whiz assistant, gets a visit from Loras.
Ryan’s take: Mike Barainyak at Widener. The Pride haven’t been in the MAC discussion for several years — now a fresh and positive approach, coupled with lots of veterans returners, will change that against Rowan.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Jason Aubry, Concordia-Chicago. In the battle of new head coaches, taking CUC over Beloit.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Greg Chimera, Johns Hopkins. The aforementioned Beebe isn’t the only rookie head coach with a chance to knock off a ranked opponent. Chimera will lead his alma mater to victory in his debut, knocking off No. 24 Randolph-Macon.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Mike Barainyak (Widener). After the 2018 “Blame Google” debacle, the Pride seniors get their first win against Rowan with more cohesion internally.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: Greg Chimera, Johns Hopkins. Judging against expectations, other first time head coaches are likely to have more impressive wins this weekend.  This first game without Jim Margraff, however, is going to mean just a little bit more to Chimera and the Blue Jay community.

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.


Around the Nation Podcast 225: Just good enough

Keith McMillan pleaded for a first round of the playoffs that didn’t stink. And he got it, if nothing else, because his alma mater, Randolph-Macon, upset John Carroll.

Now, your mileage may have varied. With a margin of victory of nearly 34 points on average, these were not great games. With a near quadruple monkey stomp and several other games that looked like the usual top seed vs. No. 8 seed contests, there weren’t many worth watching for a neutral Division III fan. Unless, of course, you hooked into the Randolph-Macon win, or St. Norbert’s upset of Trine, or Muhlenberg’s dramatic finish at Delaware Valley.

Hear highlights from Saturday, postgame commentary from teams advancing to the Round of 16, and more in the Around the Nation Podcast.

The 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:

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Link: Our full NCAA playoff coverage
Mentioned in the podcast: Defense lights UW-Whitewater’s fire, feature by Joe Sager

Photo: Eric Hoy needs several John Carroll defenders to bring him down. (John Carroll athletics photo)

Theme music: DJmentos.


Quick Hits: Predicting the first-round scores

The story goes, one day on a long ride to a playoff game at Thiel (which tells you how long ago this happened), Pat and Keith decided to pass the time by guessing not just the winner of each first-round playoff game, but the score. And there was born the expectations game: Do we expect a close game? A high-scoring game? A blowout? Does everyone agree on who will win? Those are the factors worth looking at.

Keith McMillan, Ryan Tipps, Pat Coleman, Adam Turer, Frank Rossi and Greg Thomas each take their guesses at scores for each first-round game. Plus, we have Logan Hansen’s odds to advance and at the bottom, a widget you can manipulate to get details on all 32 teams and compare teams head-to-head in a multitude of categories.

— Pat Coleman ( photo)

Mary Hardin-Baylor bracket
Keith’s take: UMHB 34, Hardin-Simmons 10
Ryan’s take: UMHB 31, Hardin-Simmons 14
Pat’s take: UMHB 34, Hardin-Simmons 7
Adam’s take: UMHB 38, Hardin-Simmons 17
Frank’s take: UMHB 44, Hardin-Simmons 10
Greg’s take: UMHB 35, Hardin-Simmons 10
Hansen odds to advance: UMHB, 93.7%
Strong consensus for a Mary Hardin-Baylor win, of around five scores to two.
Keith’s take: Berry 34, Maryville 10
Ryan’s take: Berry 34, Maryville 13
Pat’s take: Berry 35, Maryville 10
Adam’s take: Berry 31, Maryville 13
Frank’s take: Berry 37, Maryville 30
Greg’s take: Berry 28, Maryville 20
Hansen odds to advance: Berry, 70.8%
The first meeting was 38-3 and the second meeting isn’t expected to be much different.
Keith’s take: St. John’s 56, Martin Luther 0
Ryan’s take: St. John’s 52, Martin Luther 7
Pat’s take: St. John’s 62, Martin Luther 8
Adam’s take: St. John’s 63, Martin Luther 0
Frank’s take: St. John’s 54, Martin Luther 7
Greg’s take: St. John’s 58, Martin Luther 7
Hansen odds to advance: St. John’s, 100.0%
 St. John’s in a runaway.
Keith’s take: Whitworth 21, C-M-S 17
Ryan’s take: Whitworth 45, C-M-S 6
Pat’s take: Whitworth 24, C-M-S 6
Adam’s take: Whitworth 35, C-M-S 3
Frank’s take: Whitworth 49, C-M-S 14
Greg’s take: Whitworth 31, C-M-S 10
Hansen odds to advance: Whitworth, 92.1%
Wide range of scores by which Whitworth is expected to advance.
UW-Whitewater bracket
Keith’s take: UW-Whitewater 49, Eureka 6
Ryan’s take: UW-Whitewater 52, Eureka 10
Pat’s take: UW-Whitewater 58, Eureka 12
Adam’s take: UW-Whitewater 42, Eureka 6
Frank’s take: UW-Whitewater 41, Eureka 3
Greg’s take: UW-Whitewater 48, Eureka 7
Hansen odds to advance: UW-Whitewater, 99.9%
Whitewater by a lot.
Keith’s take: Trine 27, St. Norbert 17
Ryan’s take: St. Norbert 24, Trine 17
Pat’s take: Trine 42, St. Norbert 16
Adam’s take: St. Norbert 20, Trine 17
Frank’s take: Trine 37, St. Norbert 27
Greg’s take: Trine 28, St. Norbert 27
Hansen odds to advance: Trine, 70.5%
A split decision favoring Trine, but by varying margins.
Keith’s take: North Central 35, Hanover 14
Ryan’s take: North Central 48, Hanover 7
Pat’s take: North Central 51, Hanover 14
Adam’s take: North Central 56, Hanover 13
Frank’s take: North Central 47, Hanover 10
Greg’s take: North Central 40, Hanover 17
Hansen odds to advance: North Central, 98.3%
North Central advancing easily.
Keith’s take: Bethel 28, Wartburg 17
Ryan’s take: Bethel 31, Wartburg 23
Pat’s take: Wartburg 24, Bethel 13
Adam’s take: Bethel 28, Wartburg 17
Frank’s take: Wartburg 27, Bethel 24
Greg’s take: Wartburg 17, Bethel 14
Hansen odds to advance: Bethel, 67.2%
A pure 50-50 split decision which is likely headed for a recount.
Mount Union bracket
Keith’s take: Mount Union 49, Denison 21
Ryan’s take: Mount Union 63, Denison 7
Pat’s take: Mount Union 28, Denison 10
Adam’s take: Mount Union 49, Denison 20
Frank’s take: Mount Union 67, Denison 3
Greg’s take: Mount Union 42, Denison 14
Hansen odds to advance: Mount Union, 98.7%
Mount Union wins in a day which is a struggle for the Denison offense.
Keith’s take: Centre 28, W&J 27
Ryan’s take: Centre 38, W&J 31
Pat’s take: W&J 34, Centre 24
Adam’s take: Centre 31, W&J 24
Frank’s take: Centre 37, W&J 34
Greg’s take: Centre 28, W&J 24
Hansen odds to advance: Centre, 76.7%
Non-unanimous consensus that Centre wins one of the best games of the day.
Keith’s take: John Carroll 41, Randolph-Macon 17
Ryan’s take: John Carroll 49, Randolph-Macon 13
Pat’s take: John Carroll 42, Randolph-Macon 14
Adam’s take: John Carroll 42, Randolph-Macon 16
Frank’s take: John Carroll 40, Randolph-Macon 13
Greg’s take: John Carroll 35, Randolph-Macon 17
Hansen odds to advance: John Carroll, 85.4%
John Carroll winning easily.
Keith: Muhlenberg 23, Delaware Valley 20
Ryan: Muhlenberg 28, Delaware Valley 27
Pat: Muhlenberg 34, Delaware Valley 17
Adam: Muhlenberg 35, Delaware Valley 32
Frank: Muhlenberg 34, Delaware Valley 31
Greg: Muhlenberg 31, Delaware Valley 28
Hansen odds to advance: Muhlenberg, 56.0%, the lowest odds of any predicted winner.
Unanimous picks of road teams are rare, but note that five of the six pick margins of three or less.
Brockport bracket
Keith’s take: Brockport 35, Framingham St. 7
Ryan’s take: Brockport 49, Framingham St. 10
Pat’s take: Brockport 48, Framingham St. 10
Adam’s take: Brockport 38, Framingham St. 6
Frank’s take: Brockport 42, Framingham St. 10
Greg’s take: Brockport 42, Framingham St. 13
Hansen odds to advance: Brockport, 97.7%
Brockport moving on in the style of their choosing.
Keith’s take: Husson 10, RPI 9
Ryan’s take: RPI 23, Husson 21
Pat’s take: RPI 30, Husson 17
Adam’s take: RPI 24, Husson 20
Frank’s take: RPI 30, Husson 27
Greg’s take: RPI 20, Husson 10
Hansen odds to advance: RPI, 62.6%
RPI in a non-unanimous game that’s generally expected to be close.
Keith’s take: Frostburg St. 42, Western N.E. 14
Ryan’s take: Frostburg St. 42, Western N.E. 10
Pat’s take: Frostburg St. 45, Western N.E. 10
Adam’s take: Frostburg St. 45, Western N.E. 10
Frank’s take: Frostburg St. 44, Western N.E. 14
Greg’s take: Frostburg St. 38, Western N.E. 7
Hansen odds to advance: Frostburg State, 92.4%
Frostburg advancing with ease.
Keith’s take: Johns Hopkins 42, MIT 10
Ryan’s take: Johns Hopkins 45, MIT 7
Pat’s take: Johns Hopkins 45, MIT 16
Adam’s take: Johns Hopkins 43, MIT 14
Frank’s take: Johns Hopkins 35, MIT 17
Greg’s take: Johns Hopkins 38, MIT 10
Hansen odds to advance: Johns Hopkins, 96.8%
 Johns Hopkins winning the brainiac bowl.

We invite you to add your predictions in the comments below, or tweet at us at @D3Keith, @NewsTipps, @d3football, @adamturer, @frankrossi and @wallywabash. Download the Around the Nation podcast on Mondays, where Pat and Keith review the picks and the highlights from the weekend’s playoff games.