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Quick Hits Week 9: In a New York state of mind

It is a huge weekend in the East region with a pair of high profile clashes amongst conference unbeatens. Our panel tackles the Empire 8 and Liberty League showdowns as well as letting you know which teams will help and hurt their regional ranking profiles before the NCAA releases the first rankings for 2019 on Wednesday.

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?

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Keith’s take: Brockport at No. 18 Cortland. Union-Ithaca works too, and there are 42,000+ folks who want the Cortaca rivals to remain atop the Empire 8 and Liberty League, respectively.
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Ryan’s take: No. 25 Union at No. 8 Ithaca. The Bombers’ dynamic pass game against a Dutchman D that hasn’t given up more than two touchdowns in any game this season.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Johns Hopkins at No. 6 Muhlenberg. The Blue Jays are mere points away from this being a battle of unbeatens, and might be able to play spoiler.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Johns Hopkins at Muhlenberg. The rivalry is the ultimate test to see if Muhlenberg has really become the team to beat in the Centennial. The Mules have looked the part thus far.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 25 Union at No. 8 Ithaca. It’s win and you’re in — and has Pool C implications. I explain this on today’s ATN Friday Podcast.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 25 Union at No. 8 Ithaca. The first ticket to the 2019 playoffs is getting punched by one of these two teams Saturday at Butterfield.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 6 Muhlenberg. There are people around the Johns Hopkins program who think the Blue Jays are better this year than last, even though the results don’t show it. This would be the time to show it.
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Ryan’s take: No. 18 Cortland.  I feel like Brockport’s season-opening loss has left this 6-1 team flying under many people’s radars most of the season.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 18 Cortland. Probably someone needs to keep picking Cortland until they get upset, and I will take the short straw this time.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No 18. Cortland. Brockport’s defense is the real deal, pitching three shutouts since allowing 33 points in a season-opening loss at Hobart. The top rushing and third down defense is also the fourth-best pass efficiency and total defense in the nation.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 8 Ithaca (vs. No. 25 Union). In 2009, the last time Ithaca was No. 8 in the D3football.com poll, Union beat the Bombers. As long as the Dutchmen come in healthy and have great ball control, history will repeat itself, this time at Butterfield.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 18 Cortland. The Golden Eagles have been largely off the radar since their week 1 loss to Hobart. Eight weeks later, that Brockport defense is as smothering as ever and are poised to take control of the E8 race.

Which conference leader or co-leader picks up a loss?

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Keith’s take: Benedictine, vs. Aurora. There are lots of candidates, but I think the front-runners will pull a near clean sweep. The Fightin’ Beebes take control in the NACC in a shootout.
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Ryan’s take: Benedictine.  A de facto NACC title bout, co-leader Aurora has been more impressive throughout the season (though these last couple of weeks have been easier matchups).
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Hanover. Mount St. Joseph will be out to obliterate people the rest of the way and Hanover stands in the Lions’ way this week.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Hanover. The Panthers go on the road to a Mount St. Joseph team playing with its season on the line. A Lions win would create a three-way tie atop the HCAC and keep MSJ’s postseason hopes alive.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Denison (vs. DePauw). DePauw’s defense should have enough in the engine to make this a close enough game to win over the Big Red.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: Cortland qualifies, but I’ll give another here- Hanover. The Panthers are hot, but taking out Chaiten Tomlin in what is likely his last home game is a tall order.

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

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Keith’s take: McMurry at Hardin-Simmons.  I just want to see how the Cowboys bounce back from last week’s last-second loss. The War Hawks are 0-7 with two recent nailbiter losses of their own.
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Ryan’s take: Fitchburg State at Worcester State. Friday night, under the light, one of these teams will get their first conference win.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Central at Simpson. If Central can’t handle Simpson, they can’t hope to challenge Wartburg in Week 10.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Marietta at Baldwin Wallace. I’m still trying to figure out who, if anyone, can give Mount Union a decent challenge in the OAC. I’ve been bullish on the Yellow Jackets since Jim Hilvert took the reins. He has his team positioned for a second straight 7-1 start.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Endicott at Western New England. It’s a huge CCC game between the co-leaders, and both teams can put up a crapload of points (wait, can I say that in Quick Hits?!).
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 15 Chapman at Pomona-Pitzer.  The last significant hurdle between Chapman and a SCIAC championship, the Panthers will have to survive do-it-all QB Karter Odermann and the Sagehens under the lights.

Which team boosts its profile ahead of Wednesday’s first regional rankings?

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Keith’s take: UW-Platteville, at home facing a 5-2 UW-Oshkosh coming off a 31-3 loss to UW-La Crosse, should make a move in the West.
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Ryan’s take: Muhlenberg. While Hopkins isn’t the beast they were last year, they’re still an above-average team that make a Mules win meaningful.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Bridgewater. Just by playing Emory & Henry, the Eagles’ strength of schedule stands to improve from .478 to around .499.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Ithaca. The Bombers should be able to lock down the number one spot in the East with a win over fellow unbeaten Union.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 18 Cortland (vs. Brockport). Cortland’s SOS will take a nice jump, and that’s going to be needed to help the Red Dragons to overtake Salisbury, especially if Ithaca loses against Union.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 14 Wesley. The Wolverines won’t have too much trouble at TCNJ, but their already robust Pool C profile will be fortified with road wins by Delaware Valley and Endicott, who I expect will be regionally ranked on Wednesday.

Which team hurts its profile ahead of Wednesday’s first regional rankings?

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Keith’s take: Western New England. The Golden Bears are at home, 6-1 and regionally ranked higher than Endicott, but the Gulls can be part of the big shuffle in the East rankings coming this weekend.
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Ryan’s take: Bethel. Yeah, they beat Hamline (of course), but Hamline isn’t a win that resonates, piled on by expected losses this week by past Royals opponents St. Olaf, River Falls and Simpson. Bethel’s criteria stock drops.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Union. Because a loss is imminent and while their SOS will increase, that won’t offset the defeat.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Bridgewater. I think Emory and Henry can pull off the upset of the unbeaten Eagles.The Wasps have averaged 50 points per game during their current five-game winning streak. This would be a Top 25 upset in my poll.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 10 Salisbury. Their next three games will kill their Strength of Schedule. With currently six undefeated teams (vs. D3) in the East, their SOS & results vs. regionally ranked opponents need to prop them up — but their remaining schedule doesn’t help.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No 10. Salisbury. Our mock regional rankings had Salisbury grade out as the top team in the East. But Salisbury is about to get a triple whammy; CNU drops their SOS, East challenger Ithaca picks up a ranked win and their own SOS boost, and UW-Oshkosh loses touch with the West rankings. It’s a fickle game this.

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.

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ATN Podcast 255: The one with November

The final few weeks of the regular season get started, well, now, as we have key showdowns in the state of New York, and Iowa, and Pennsylvania, among others. Plus, if you are looking for a better understanding of how the mock regional rankings that we put together work, well, we welcome back our chief bracketologist, Greg Thomas. He’ll tell you what goes into the mock rankings, and the real ones which we will see on Nov. 6, then Pat and Keith talk about how the field is selected and who the at-large teams might be at this point.

Plus, Pat and Keith make up a rivalry trophy for a North Region game this week. Keith picks six winners and also has to mispronounce school names, as if he were working for a national network, while Pat has to pick games in keeping with Thursday night’s Halloween.

This edition of the D3football.com Around the Nation podcast is sponsored by Gotta Have It: 3D Fan Foam Wall Signs for the D-III fan in your life.

Pat and Keith talk about it all in the latest D3football.com Around the Nation Podcast. The D3football.com 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:

You can subscribe to the Around the Nation Podcast in Apple Podcasts, and many other places. 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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Theme music: DJmentos. Cortland athletics photo by Darl Zehr Photography.

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Quick Hits Week 3: Conference clashes and crossovers

This week our panel has their eyes on a pair of Top 25 games to start CCIW play, another key conference opener down south, and a crossover challenge as non-conference play across the country winds down.

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?

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Keith’s take: No. 18 Illinois Wesleyan at No. 17 Wheaton: In a conference that could be a four-team race, there won’t be enough playoff spots for all the postseason-worthy teams, so wins Saturday are a must.
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Ryan’s take: No. 25 Susquehanna at No. 8 Muhlenberg. I’ve loved watching the rise in recent seasons of these Centennial teams, making this “academic conference” a frequent contender at higher levels.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 13 Berry at Trinity (Texas). Berry has had a good run, while Trinity is an up-and-comer which needs this win.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Alfred at No. 22 Ithaca. Lots of choices this week, but I think this one has the biggest season-defining stakes. Honorable mention to Baldwin Wallace at Mount Union..
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Stevenson at No. 21 Delaware Valley. With the balance of power in the MAC still likely residing with these two teams, they are both in desperate need of a bounce-back win after Week 2 losses.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 18 Illinois Wesleyan at No. 17 Wheaton. The CCIW is cutting right to the chase. The Titans are in familiar territory, facing a difficult bounce back game against the Thunder after a tough opening loss to UW-La Crosse.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 11 Linfield. I have the Wildcats ranked here as well, but the trip to Redlands will help determine whether that’s because of name recognition.
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Ryan’s take: No. 13 Berry (at Trinity). Trinity showed last week against Hardin-Simmons just how tough they are this year – more than able to hang with top-notch opponents.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: None. Despite all of the comparing of scores from the first two weeks, No. 4 St. John’s should be safe from Gustavus.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 13 Berry. I almost got the Trinity upset pick right last week, might as well roll the dice with the Tigers one more time.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 12 Washington & Jefferson (at Carnegie Mellon). The Tartans have looked decent in their two road wins, making this a good challenge for the Presidents. It should be close enough for a potential upset.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 5 North Central. The Bears have a pretty good QB of their own in Johnny Davidson and maybe there’s a little extra juice at Francis Field as the Larry Kindbom farewell tour officially kicks off.

Which conference opener will have the most impact in November?

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Keith’s take: No. 13 Berry at Trinity. The SAA could long be looking back at this result while waiting for the Week 11 Centre-Berry clash.
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Ryan’s take: No. 18 Illinois Wesleyan at No. 17 Wheaton. Certainly GOTW worth, too, games like this become vital in the CCIW as more teams (think: Wash U) vie for the upper tier.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 18 Illinois Wesleyan at No. 17 Wheaton. The only game close to this is the other CCIW game, as the winnowing starts early.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 5 North Central at No. 24 Wash U. How will the Bears respond in their first game since head coach Larry Kindbom publicly announced his retirement? A home game against the top team in the CCIW will have emotions running high.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 13 Berry at Trinity. The SAA race, in my estimation, is going to be headlined by these two teams — I’m not sold on Centre yet, so this is the de facto too-early championship game for me.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 13 Berry at Trinity. I think the winner of this game goes on to win the SAA and if it that team happens to be Trinity, we could wind up with three tournament teams in Texas which might force some creativity into this year’s bracket.

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

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Keith’s take: Augsburg at Concordia-Moorhead: Curious to see, after two close losses to ranked teams, what the Cobbers look like against mere mortals.
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Ryan’s take: Averett at Ferrum. Despite being 1-1, Averett has impressed this season. And Ferrum has a lot of muscle to flex behind senior running back Brian Mann.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Aurora at Hope. ut more people should be following this one, because it should be an entertaining game.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Occidental at Willamette. Two of the nation’s longest losing streaks. Occidental’s 2019 opener. This will be cathartic for whoever emerges victorious.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Rowan at Hobart. 0-2 Rowan. 2-0 Hobart. Doesn’t sound great, but Rowan played Linfield tough, and Hobart looked mortal against Morrisville St. in Week 2. Should be a tough game.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 11 Linfield at Redlands. I’ll be on site for this game between the name brand in D3 west coast football and a Redlands squad that is off to a red hot start. These two may well be playing for home field in a Round 1 rematch.

Will Thiel end its losing streak against Geneva?

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Keith’s take: No.
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Ryan’s take: Nope. The Tomcats still have a ways to go before they’re checking off the win column.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. Something something last Coke fan standing.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. Speaking of long losing streaks, Thiel went from having the fourth-longest losing streak in D-III at the end of 2018 to quickly finding itself at the bottom of the barrel. The streak continues for at least another week or two.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. But that Coke commercial…
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: Yes! This season has been extinguishing long losing streaks on the regular, so why not make it three weeks in a row? The Tomcats might not get a better shot this season than they have this week against Geneva.

Who wins the MIAA-NACC Challenge?

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Keith’s take: The MIAA.
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Ryan’s take: The MIAA. The NACC looks a little better on paper, but the Michigan-based conference has been better tested so far this season.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: MIAA. They lost just one game the last time MIAA hosted this challenge. They’ll lose more than one this time.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: MIAA. This one is nearly a toss-up. Aurora gives the NACC hope, against Hope. I’ll call a 5-3 win for the favored conference, with Adrian’s win over Wisconsin Lutheran sealing the deal.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: MIAA. They go 5-3 with the following winners in the eight games: Trine, Eureka, Aurora, Kalamazoo, Concordia-Chicago, Alma, Olivet, and Adrian.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: NACC. 5-3 with Aurora, Lakeland, Concordia-Chicago, Rockford, and Benedictine winning.

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.