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Quick Hits: All the marbles

This is it — the last regular-season weekend of the season. Maybe there’s snow on the ground where you are. Maybe you have a bitter rival coming to town and an epic tailgate with old friends — well, that’s what Quick Hits is like for us, too. Our regular crew is Keith McMillan, Ryan Tipps, Pat Coleman, Adam Turer and Frank Rossi. Our sixth spot each week goes to a guest prognosticator, and this week’s is Greg Thomas, our bracketology guru. He’ll be joining us through the playoffs as well, when Quick Hits shifts to predicting the final score of each game.
Photo: File photo from 2017 Shoes game, by Mick Neal, RPI athletics

— Pat Coleman

What will be the Week 11 Game of the Week?

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Keith’s take: No. 25 Baldwin Wallace at No. 8 John Carroll/No. 9 St. Thomas at No. 22 Bethel. Both games match 8-1 teams; winners should be first at-large teams in field, losers’ seasons are over.
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Ryan’s take: Thomas More at No. 4 St. John’s. After the way their season began, the Saints should be stoked they’re still so relevant to the conversation.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 25 Baldwin Wallace at No. 8 John Carroll. Not only does it have all the playoff implications, but it’s a bona fide local rivalry as well.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 9 St. Thomas at No. 22 Bethel. A rivalry game with a playoff berth at stake. Nothing better in Week 11.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Salisbury at No. 6 Frostburg State. It’s the NJAC championship, and a Pool C bid could be taken from a bubble team if Salisbury wins. Hear more about it in today’s ATN Gameday Podcast.
Guest
Greg’s take: St. Thomas at Bethel. There are many good games, but this is a Top 25 showdown and a de facto elimination game between two teams that have the chops to make deep tournament runs.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 6 Frostburg State. Not because the Bobcats are vulnerable so much as their Regents Cup opponent, 8-1 Salisbury, has had a great defense and running game all year.
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Ryan’s take: No. 11 Berry. The Vikings may be sailing high right now, but Trinity has already shown this year that they can hold their own against tough competition.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 24 Linfield. Wildcats’ scare last week might give Pacific something on tape to work with.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 14 RPI. The resurgence of the Dutchmen has revitalized the Shoes rivalry. The Engineers have already clinched the LL title. Union could pull off the upset.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 11 Berry. Berry has won the SAA already, so how the Vikings will approach the game at Trinity (Texas) will be interesting. Remember, Trinity challenged HSU earlier this season.
Guest
Greg’s take: No. 14 RPI. This game is actually pretty even on paper and I believe QH is contractually obligated to have one panelist pick RPI to be upset.

Which rivalry game will have the closest score?

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Keith’s take: Dutchman Shoes. Almost all of them look like tight matchups. Union and RPI have already played one-point games; what’s one more?
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Ryan’s take: The Secretaries Cup. Coast Guard’s resurgence this year has added some new life to the annual game against Merchant Marine — and could shake up the NEWMAC significantly.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: The Game. It wouldn’t be a “Game” between Randolph-Macon and Hampden-Sydney if it didn’t have some grinding and a little bitterness to boot.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Monon Bell. The last two meetings were decided by a total of four points. DePauw will keep it close against No. 20 Wabash, trying to avoid its first losing season since 2013.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Dutchman Shoes. RPI has won more with great defense in close games this year. I think this game lines up the same way.
Guest
Greg’s take: Cortaca Jug. This game looks like a low scoring grinder to me with a single point keeping the winner’s tournament hopes alive into Selection Sunday.

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

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Keith’s take: Alvernia at UNE. Both first-year programs have a win, but the Wolves haven’t scored since a garbage-time TD Oct. 13, and the Nor’Easters have been outscored by 117 since their win a week earlier.
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Ryan’s take: N.C. Wesleyan at Maryville. Even with a loss, the Scots are in the playoffs, but if they do lose, it’s worth noting that Google Maps has them at 485 miles from Alliance, Ohio.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Maine Maritime at Catholic. Just to hope that the alma mater doesn’t finish 0-10 this year. Go Cards!
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Shenandoah at Washington & Lee. I doubt anyone else is interested to see if my alma mater can win at least six games for the fourth straight year, a feat not accomplished since back when Garret LeRose and I were playing for the Generals.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Coast Guard at Merchant Marine. More than 600 votes determined that I’d attend the Secretaries Cup Game between these two service academies. The Mariners even have a potential playoff bid still alive.
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Greg’s take: Berry at Trinity (Texas).Berry has already clinched and Trinity isn’t in the playoff picture but a Berry loss here could significantly impact the playoff fortunes of Centre, Hardin-Simmons, and Muhlenberg. All the pieces matter.

Which team plays its way in or out of a home playoff game?

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Keith’s take: North Central, in. Based on its result against Millikin, NCC has the widest range of outcomes; winnable home game in Round 1 or season over. I’ll guess the former.
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Ryan’s take: Baldwin Wallace, out. I’m guessing that the matchup with JCU is someone’s game of the week, and I think BW will be out and JCU a shoo-in for Pool C after Saturday.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: St. Thomas, in. Despite the fact that Bethel looked better against St. John’s, the Royals don’t have Jackson Erdmann at QB to test Tommie DBs.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 25 Baldwin Wallace. With a win over John Carroll, the Yellow Jackets would get in via Pool C and likely host a first round game. A loss to JCU not only means no home game, but likely no playoff appearance at all.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Frostburg State. If the Bobcats lose, they could still win a Pool C bid but drop below fourth in the East because of a lack of regionally ranked opponents in their profile.
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Greg’s take: John Carroll. The Streaks are a lock for an at-large bid and a home game with a win against Baldwin Wallace. A loss, and the Streaks are most likely done for 2018.

Pick a random Week 11 game and give it a trophy name.

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Keith’s take: Tufts at Middlebury. Most of the season-ending games in the NESCAC are longstanding rivalries. This is what … the Tuftlebury Classic?
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Ryan’s take: Olivet at Albion. The Six-Letter Shuffle — or — The MIAA Founder’s Faceoff.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Alma at Finlandia, for the 445 Mile Marker Trophy. Finlandia is in the same state as almost everyone else in the MIAA, but it’s hideously far. Alma is its closest MIAA opponent, at 445 miles.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Pacific at No. 24 Linfield. The Mass Hysteria Bowl. Dogs and cats living together! No human sacrifice, please. (Yes, I know Boxer the mascot isn’t technically a dog.)
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Alvernia at University of New England, for The 2018 Debut Supremacy Cup.
Guest
Greg’s take: Benedictine vs. Concordia-Chicago, for the I-88 Trophy.The Chicagoland rivals square off for a trophy which doesn’t actually exist yet as it is perpetually under construction.

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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Around the Nation Podcast 221: What do you want to know?

The number of teams in the tournament now is up to 13 teams which have clinched automatic bid to the 2018 Division III playoffs. But even though some parts of the Division III playoff picture got clearer, others got cloudier — and that’s even assuming you could see the picture on Saturday. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say some of us were shut out of some of the big games.

We went mailbag this week and let your Twitter questions guide us through the first half of the podcast, talking about which regions seemed most likely to get at-large bids, whether Brockport would get a No. 1 seed or two teams from the West Region might get the nod. Would Baldwin Wallace get an at-large bid with a loss on Saturday? With a win?

Plus game balls, the week’s interesting stats and more 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 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

Link: NCAA Division III playoff criteria, from our FAQ
Link: Playoff primer podcast (No. 216, with committee chair Jim Catanzaro)

Photo: Plymouth State athletics photo of Framingham State receiver Napoleon Miller

Theme music: DJmentos.

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Quick Hits: Clinching time

We detail in the game day podcast how many teams might clinch on Saturday. Here our crew will tackle the game of the week, potential upsets, and tell you who might clinch today aside from, say, Mount Union.

Our regular crew is Keith McMillan, Ryan Tipps, Pat Coleman, Adam Turer and Frank Rossi. Our sixth spot each week goes to a guest prognosticator, and this week’s is Sean Greene, who does play-by-play for Wesley football games on WDEL radio as well as Wesley’s video stream.

— Pat Coleman

Which game is the Week 10 game of the week?

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Keith’s take: No. 10 North Central at No. 13 Illinois Wesleyan. I’ll go with the Titans for a second straight week instead of E8, NJAC clashes and an NCC win could have a cascade effect.
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Ryan’s take: No. 10 North Central at No. 13 Illinois Wesleyan. I think IWU should be ranked higher, and I’ve got them pegged to win.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 10 North Central at No. 13 Illinois Wesleyan. I’m going to assume most of my colleagues here have good reasons, so read theirs.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 10 North Central at No. 13 Illinois Wesleyan. I think the Cardinals are the more talented team, but the Titans have been the more impressive team so far. With a win, IWU can clinch its first outright CCIW title since 2009.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Cortland at No. 3 Brockport. I explain why in the ATN Friday podcast.
Sean
Sean’s take: No. 10 North Central at No. 13 Illinois Wesleyan. IWU clinches the CCIW Pool A with a win, while the loser gets a potential Pool C-crushing second loss. Doesn’t get much better in Week 10.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 4 UW-Whitewater. UW-Stevens Point beat Oshkosh last week, but this only happens if Warhawks relax after clinching a playoff spot.
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Ryan’s take: No. 14 Trine. I think the Thunder have floated high up the poll, and with the way the MIAA has been this year, another shakeup would fit right in.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 18 Salisbury. Wesley has had Salisbury’s number in recent years, so hopefully they lead by enough that a missed PAT won’t matter.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 18 Salisbury. Wesley may take its frustration of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2004 out on the Sea Gulls.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 14 Trine. Yo, Adrian. Your inconsistent season has shown you know how to score plenty. Trine seems fatigued, and here’s your chance to knock them out.
Sean
Sean’s take: No. 18 Salisbury. In 13 years calling Wesley games, they are 11-1 against their Route 13 rivals. Curious to see if Wesley’s scheme changes against the triple-option after the death of head coach/defensive coordinator Mike Drass.

Which non-purple team clinches an automatic bid this weekend?

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Keith’s take: The Yellow Jackets from Randolph-Macon, although The Game is more fun with something to play for.
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Ryan’s take: Eureka. The Red Devils haven’t gotten much national love yet, so I’m sure they’re itching to show their stuff in the postseason.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Brockport. No purple in them Golden Eagles.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Randolph-Macon. The streaking Yellow Jackets just need to get past Ferrum to make this season one of the least wacky in recent ODAC memory.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Husson. Gallaudet’s SOS is less than .200. The thought that they could beat the Eagles is highly unlikely in the ECFC.
Sean
Sean’s take: Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.No violet, lavender, mauve, or lilac to be found in the shadow of Mount Baldy. The Cardinal and Gold-clad Stags win the SCIAC for the first time since 1987.

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

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Keith’s take: Amherst and Trinity (Conn.). Because I’m endlessly fascinated by projecting how the NESCAC’s best would fare if it chose to participate in the playoffs.
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Ryan’s take: Wash. U. at Millikin. Neither are going to the playoffs, but the Bears continue to show why they belong in the CCIW.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Middlebury at Hamilton. The Rocking Chair has been won by Middlebury more times than I care to count, but some inconsistent results just have me wondering if the Continentals might take it home.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Defiance at Earlham. I probably won’t be the only one. But if the Quakers can’t defeat winless Defiance this week, I don’t know when the record-breaking losing streak will end.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Potentially up to 16 of them in nine East Region conferences and Pool B in our “In the Huddle” D3BlitzER whiparound show, noon to 4 p.m. ET on the D3Huddle Facebook channel.
Sean
Sean’s take: Rowan at Montclair State. The 6-2 Red Hawks could still play into the East Regional Rankings which would benefit Frostburg or Salisbury for seeding or a Pool C bid.

Who will still be tied for first in the ARC after this week’s games?

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Keith’s take: Simpson and Wartburg.
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Ryan’s take: Wartburg and Dubuque. Simpson has been hanging on too closely in games this season to remain with the leaders.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Simpson and Wartburg. Wartburg won’t have much trouble with archrival Luther and Simpson has surprised all season, so now we should expect the win.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Dubuque and Wartburg. The Knights take care of Luther with ease at home, while the Spartans get past Simpson on the road. That sets up a winner-take-all showdown in Week 11.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Wartburg and Simpson. Simpson has played somewhat better defense than Dubuque this season. And Wartburg is playing a much lesser opponent.
Sean
Sean’s take: Wartburg and Dubuque. Wartburg should conquer the Norse, but Dubuque won’t need to rely on a Simpson missed PAT this year to stay on top (painful topic for Wesley fans).

Who goes into a rivalry game on a down note?

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Keith’s take: Hard for me not to say Cortland here, although the Red Dragons can surprise us all.
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Ryan’s take: Gettysburg. The Bullets have a very tough Muhlenberg team before taking the field against century-long rival F&M for the Lincoln Trophy.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Cortland. A super down note that’s probably included minus-40 yards rushing.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Hanover. The Panthers could play rival Franklin for the Victory Bell and the HCAC title in Week 11. But first, they have to get past a hot Rose-Hulman team. The Fightin’ Engineers have more recent big-game experience.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Amherst. Trinity has steadily regained traction after a stunning loss to Williams. The Bantams nip the Mammoths before The Biggest Little Game in America next week vs. the Ephs.
Sean
Sean’s take: Carnegie Mellon. While they’re studying to cram Case Western Reserve’s Pool C dreams in the Academic Bowl, Westminster could pin a fourth demerit on the Tartans’ report card.

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.