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Around the Nation Podcast: D-III pride

There were a couple of big games and although we’ll spend a good amount of time talking about the St. Thomas-St. John’s game, that’s not all that went on this past Saturday. UW-Whitewater preserved Division III pride for a second consecutive year as the No. 2 Warhawks handled NAIA No. 2 Morningside, but the win didn’t come without questions. We hear from Whitewater coach Kevin Bullis, plus dive deep into the Mount Union quarterback rotation and more in this week’s 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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Photo by Daryl Tessmann, d3photography.com
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Quick Hits Week 4: The big games, upset picks

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 …

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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.
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Ryan’s take: In Springfield, Ohio, at Bash vs. Witt. Going off-grid with so many other eyes likely on Tommie-Johnnie game.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Collegeville, Minn. There’s a pretty cool game going on up there. What, you’ve heard of it? Never mind.
Adam Turer
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 Rossi
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.
Guest
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?

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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.
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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 Coleman
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 Turer
Adam’s take: No. 13 Wabash. On the road against a Wittenberg team playing with a purpose this season.
Frank Rossi
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.
Guest
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?

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Keith’s take: UW-River Falls. Southwestern appears much improved, while the Falcons nearly beat Gustavus and get one more shot before WIAC play.
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Ryan’s take: Bethel. It’s already a big slide fof a once-major power.
Pat Coleman
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 Turer
Adam’s take: Ursinus. Two of the three winless Centennial teams meet when the Bears travel to McDaniel.
Frank Rossi
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.
Guest
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:

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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.
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Ryan’s take: St. John Fisher. I added them to my Top 25 ballot last week.
Pat Coleman
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 Turer
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 Rossi
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.
Guest
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:

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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.
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Ryan’s take: Plymouth State, keeping this Cinderella season rolling.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Coe. And Nebraska Wesleyan still won’t have beaten a Division III team since …
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Northwestern. They should beat Martin Luther; the bigger question is, will they allow points for the first time this season?
Frank Rossi
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.
Guest
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?

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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.
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Ryan’s take: Wesleyan at Tufts, possibly the day’s most competitive matchup.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Wesleyan at Tufts. Night games in the NESCAC are pretty darn rare, so this could be fun.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Wesleyan at Tufts. Can reigning NESCAC player of the year Chance “the Running Back” Brady start another dominant rushing campaign?
Frank Rossi
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.
Guest
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.

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Quick Hits: Don’t go 0-2

Some teams can’t go 0-2 because they won last week and some can’t because they didn’t play. But either way, you don’t want to be 0-2 after Week 2. Who will be? Our guest this week is Greg Thomas, a Wabash grad known as Wally Wabash on our message boards and who has been part of our bracketology team. Since we already have a Wabash grad on the panel (Ryan Tipps), we figured we’d better bring Greg in during Wabash’s bye week.

— Pat Coleman

Where in Division III would you prefer to be this weekend?

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Keith’s take: At Coast Guard, watching the Secretaries’ Cup game. It’ll be 78 in New London, Conn., on Saturday.
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Ryan’s take: The Stevenson/Albright game, two teams that may be going different directions in this pollster’s eyes.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Hotchkiss Field. That’s Gallaudet’s home field, to see Earlham and Gallaudet on a level playing field.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Shirk Stadium, for Stevenson at Albright #MACtion.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: At my computer. I can watch Stevenson/Albright in the AM, Alfred/RPI, and the Secretaries’ Cup with the A/C on.
Guest
Greg’s take: New London, Conn. Seeing a rivalry game between service academies is a bucket list item.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 18 Ohio Northern. I’d say they and every other Top 25 aren’t likely to lose but Utica has a shot at home.
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Ryan’s take: None, a pick I try to make only once a season.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 17 Wesley. Pardon me if I’m piling on here a little but now I’m selling on Wesley for the moment.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 21 Huntingdon, vs. Birmingham-Southern.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 18 Ohio Northern. Utica has a game played, ONU does not, and I’m not sold on ONU’s poll strength.
Guest
Greg’s take: No. 16 Cortland. Framingham State is due to get a big win over an E8 contender.

Which team is going to wish it had played in Week 1?

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Keith’s take: Chapman. Playing Linfield is hard enough without it being a road season opener.
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Ryan’s take: Massachusetts Maritime, as its rival already has a game under its belt.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Merchant Marine. The Secretaries’ Cup is just the biggest game of the year. Coast Guard played last week.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Chapman. A chance to tune up before Linfield would probably have been helpful.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Rochester. With just a 75-man roster in camp, on-field experience is at a premium against a Catholic team that rallied for a Week 1 OT win.
Guest
Greg’s take: Wartburg. Monmouth can run away and hide if there is too much first-game rust on the Knights’ armor.

Which conference game will we be most likely to remember on Selection Sunday?

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Keith’s take: Stevenson at Albright, in the MAC.
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Ryan’s take: Frostburg State at Wesley, this one will get people’s blood pumping.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Stevenson at Albright. Who wrote this question? Not enough choices. Oh wait, I did …
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Franklin and Marshall at Muhlenberg. Recent history shows that this is a playoff elimination game, even this early.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Stevenson at Albright. The loser may be in the discussion for a Pool C bid in an interesting MAC race.
Guest
Greg’s take: Frostburg State at Wesley. With the Pool C safety net perhaps gone, every NJAC game is a big deal for Wesley.

Which game involving a non-Division III school should I care about?

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Keith’s take: I had to look this up, but NAIA No. 18 St. Francis — not No. 4 — at No. 10 UW-Platteville.
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Ryan’s take: Franklin at Butler, mostly because we care not to see any Griz players get hurt ahead of conference play.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Brevard at Emory & Henry. You can’t make me care about too many non-Division III teams but Brevard is moving to D-III starting next year.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: St. Francis (Ill.) at UW-Platteville.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Franklin at Butler. If Franklin loses the HCAC for some reason, this result could actually matter for Pool C purposes.
Guest
Greg’s take: Franklin at Butler. Interested to see how they back up the Thomas More win and after this the Grizzlies are in the weeds until November.

Which team starts a surprising 0-2?

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Keith’s take: Texas Lutheran, which follows up the ETBU defeat with a UMHB L.
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Ryan’s take: St. Norbert, but that means Benedictine will have to play tough to make this come true.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Pacific. With both Adrian and Dubuque coming to town the first two weeks, you’d have thought one win …
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Hampden-Sydney.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Probably none is a surprise. If forced, I’d say Thomas More may be flat after last week’s late loss.
Guest
Greg’s take: Texas Lutheran. Maybe less surprised at 0-2 than I am at the Bulldogs getting there via a pair of lopsided games.

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.