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Quick Hits Week 6: Welcome to hump week

We’re right at the midpoint of the Division III football regular season. Or, if you’re Mount Union, you’re about done warming up. Five weeks before this one and five weeks after, and yes, then a five-week playoff, which some of the teams we mention this week will qualify for. (Perhaps UW-Oshkosh, with quarterback Brett Kasper above, photo by Steve Frommell, d3photography.com) This week’s guest is former Linfield defensive end Ryan Carlson, who runs Catdomealumni.com and does all the great video highlights from Linfield games.

— Pat Coleman

Which game is the game this week?

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Keith’s take: No. 5 UW-Oshkosh at No. 2 UW-Whitewater. Two top-five teams and potentially key to a WIAC three-way tie.
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Ryan’s take: No. 5 UW-Oshkosh at No. 2 UW-Whitewater. UW-W’s season is a bit front-loaded.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 5 UW-Oshkosh at No. 2 UW-Whitewater. That’s why I’m going. Next question.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 5 UW-Oshkosh at No. 2 UW-Whitewater. The Titans and Warhawks have split their past four meetings. This one is a toss up.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 13 Salisbury at Rowan. No. 2 vs. No. 5 has two teams in the playoffs, win or lose. This game, though, could control an entire region’s Pool C hopes.
Ryan Carlson
Ryan C’s take: Someone will get cute and NOT say Oshkosh at Whitewater but that’s like one of those stuffy baseball writers who didn’t vote for Ken Griffey Jr. as a first ballot Hall of Famer. Of course, it’s Oshkosh at Whitewater.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 12 Hardin-Simmons (at Louisiana College). Each team is scoring about 47 points per game.
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Ryan’s take: No. 12 Hardin-Simmons, especially if they’re plagued by another tight first half.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 14 St. John Fisher. Morrisville State is 0-4, but against four quality opponents. So, could happen.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 22 Hobart. RPI has a chance, two weeks after losing by six to No. 21 St. Lawrence. There’s no dominant team in the Liberty League this year.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 22. Hobart has yet to play four quarters of football the way the Statesmen should. RPI has been their spoiler before and looks to do it again at home.
Ryan Carlson
Ryan C’s take: No. 13 Salisbury. The Sea Gulls have been on a roll in 2016 but they’re good to drop a few games a year and this matchup against Rowan is one of them.

It’s hump week in D-III: Who serves notice that they’re going to turn things around?

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Keith’s take: Ohio Northern. Polar Bears, already playing their fourth road game, finally play to their preseason expectations at 3-1 Capital.
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Ryan’s take: Albion. Winless in October is an unenviable place to be.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Lycoming. Taking out frustrations at FDU-Florham. (Ignoring failure to do so at Misericordia.)
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Whichever SCAC team off to a very disappointing start wins the Trinity, Texas (2-2) at Texas Lutheran (0-4) game.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Cortland (vs. Buffalo State). The defending E8 champs struggled to beat Hartwick’s marginal defense last week but finally seize momentum.
Ryan Carlson
Ryan C’s take: Whitworth. They dropped that tight game vs Central and struggled to put away La Verne and George Fox. This week they tighten it up to set up the Linfield showdown.

Pick an upset winner in a conference ATN ranked in the 20s.

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Keith’s take: Norwich, surprisingly 0-4, wins at 2-2 Becker by getting struggling offense on track in the No. 27 ECFC.
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Ryan’s take: Western Connecticut over Mass. Maritime, two teams on opposite ends of the No. 23 MASCAC.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: RIpon over Lake Forest. This is in the No. 21 Midwest Conference.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: From the No. 25 NACC: Concordia (Wis.) knocks off Benedictine at home this week.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Western Connecticut nearly beat other co-leader Bridgewater State last week. The Colonials haven’t maximized their offensive weapons.
Ryan Carlson
Ryan C’s take: Occidental over CMS. CMS is flirting with the Top 25 while a Caltech ultimate frisbee team could put up 30 on Oxy. But Oxy and CMS have played tight game after tight game and the Tigers might just have it in them.

What’s your over-under on the Guilford/Hampden-Sydney game?

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Keith’s take: 56. Guilford 42-14?
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Ryan’s take: 68.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: 49.5. Still grass at Hampden-Sydney, right? That should be fun.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: 54.5. The Quakers have so far had little trouble reloading at QB and WR. Now, they must replace their RB, as De’Eric Bell is lost with a knee injury.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: 33. With rain in the forecast, I see this traditional track meet slowing down a bit. That said, I missed the last Over/Under by about 90 points.
Ryan Carlson
Ryan C’s take: 43.5.

Pretend you have all day Saturday to watch four D-III games in sequence, live. Which four?

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Keith’s take: Alfred State/Dean or Finlandia/Trinity Bible in the 12-2 window, then Oshkosh/Whitewater … just for the contrast. Hardin-Simmons at LC at 7, then Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at Oxy.
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Ryan’s take: DePauw/Wittenberg, Brockport/Utica, Trinity/Texas Lutheran, Pomona-Pitzer/Cal Lutheran.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Springfield at Union. Since the triple-option game is fast, I sneak in UWO/UWW before Puget Sound-Whitworth, the Belhaven-Sul Ross track meet and Chapman-Whittier, since I’ll need to multi-task.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: I’m heading to DePauw at Wittenberg, then Pacific Lutheran at Willamette, Hardin-Simmons at Louisiana College and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at Occidental.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 22 Hobart at RPI, Brockport at Utica, No. 12 Hardin-Simmons at Louisiana College, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at Occidental.
Ryan Carlson
Ryan C’s take: Oshkosh at Whitewater, Linfield at Pacific, Hardin-Simmons at Louisiana College, CMS at Occidental (and hit In-and-Out afterwards).

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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ATN Podcast: Let’s wipe our hands of that first round

Phew, that was ugly. UG-ly, with a capital U. And a G. In this case, we’re talking about most of the first round of the playoffs we have a coach talking about winning ugly, and another talking about the worst conditions he’s seen for football in 37 years of coaching. Oh, and there was like one good game, so we’ll take about that. But Pat and Keith talk about the flurry of activity in the first round and breeze into the second, plus hand out their game balls on this week’s Around the Nation 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. Photo by Jim Rosvold, d3photography.com

Hit play, or subscribe to get this podcast on your mobile device. 
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
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Division III playoffs: Triple Take sets the expectations for the Round of 32

Welcome to the most exciting Saturday of the postseason.

Thirty-two of the nation’s best teams meet in 16 first-round playoff games. Eight kick off at noon Eastern Time, and seven more at noon Central, meaning that for almost two hours, 15 14 of the games will be going on simultaneously. The first steps on the Road to Salem are a mad rush, and although you’ll likely be focused on just one game, you’ll care about what’s going on elsewhere.

Here’s how this works; it’s a bit different from the regular-season Triple Takes. The goal is for Ryan Tipps, Pat Coleman and I, each guessing a score for each game without consulting with one another, to set the national expectation. Then, we want you prove us wrong. What fun would be a playoff in which we can predict all the outcomes? We’ll set the expectation, and when the score on Saturday looks different than what we forecast below, that’s a signal to everyone across the country that something significant is happening.

[The 2015 playoff bracket | Our surprise teams and disappointments]

Each of us will correctly predict between 11 and 15 winning teams; that’s just the nature of the Round of 32. But we’re not trying to prove who’s the smartest, emulate gamblers or earn bragging rights. We provide the picks and the line of consensus as service, to advise you on what to expect from unfamiliar teams, so that when you’re sifting through 15 game scores on Saturday afternoon, you’ll recognize a surprising result in the making. (Like last season, when we all picked Delaware Valley, a Round 1 loser to Christopher Newport, or when Texas Lutheran kept it surprisingly close with Mary Hardin-Baylor.)

— Keith McMillan

Our Triple Take Crew: Keith McMillan
Keith McMillan
Ryan Tipps
Ryan Tipps
Pat Coleman
Pat Coleman

ST. THOMAS QUADRANT
Keith’s take: St. Thomas 49, La Verne 10
Ryan’s take: St. Thomas 52, La Verne 9
Pat’s take: St. Thomas 56, La Verne 7
Consensus: It’s a great year for the SCIAC champ to dodge the NWC champ … or is it?

Keith’s take: St. John’s 35, Dubuque 17
Ryan’s take: St. John’s 38, Dubuque 17
Pat’s take: St. John’s 42, Dubuque 21
Consensus: It’ll be closer than the 45-9 Sept. 5 game, but not close enough.

Keith’s take: Thomas More 38, Washington and Lee 34
Ryan’s take: Washington and Lee 45, Thomas More 42
Pat’s take: Washington and Lee 51, Thomas More 49
Consensus: This matchup of 10-0 teams will be a shootout, and a toss-up.

Keith’s take: Wabash 34, Albion 21
Ryan’s take: Wabash 48, Albion 14
Pat’s take: Wabash 56, Albion 21
Consensus: The high-octane Britons haven’t seen a defense quite like the Little Giants’ unit.

LINFIELD QUADRANT
Keith’s take: Linfield 55, Whitworth 13
Ryan’s take: Linfield 45, Whitworth 13
Pat’s take: Linfield 52, Whitworth 7
Consensus: Not all that different from the 52-10 game at the Catdome on Oct. 24.

Keith’s take: Salisbury 28, Cortland State 26
Ryan’s take: Salisbury 27, Cortland State 20
Pat’s take: Salisbury 48, Cortland State 45
Consensus: Salisbury spent four seasons going to upstate New York to beat Empire 8 teams. Cortland State runs out of close-game magic. But even so, all three think it will be close, so …

Keith’s take: Huntingdon 49, Hendrix 24
Ryan’s take: Hendrix 51, Huntingdon 45
Pat’s take: Hendrix 41, Huntingdon 28
Consensus: In the first Arkansas-Alabama playoff matchup in D-III history, two of the panelists like the upstart. It’s also the first matchup where our score guesses are wildly different.

Keith’s take: Mary Hardin-Baylor 30, Hardin-Simmons 24
Ryan’s take: Mary Hardin-Baylor 31, Hardin-Simmons 27
Pat’s take: Mary Hardin-Baylor 31, Hardin-Simmons 21
Consensus: It was a slow start and a furious fourth in HSU’s 29-26 win on Oct. 31. This time in Abilene, UMHB ekes it out.

MOUNT UNION QUADRANT
Keith’s take: Mount Union 56, St. Lawrence 14
Ryan’s take: Mount Union 55, St. Lawrence 13
Pat’s take: Mount Union 52, St. Lawrence 7
Consensus: We’re not dissing the Saints. Mount Union’s allowed 34 points all season.

Keith’s take: Albright 37, Norwich 17
Ryan’s take: Albright 38, Norwich 7
Pat’s take: Albright 38, Norwich 13
Consensus: The Cadets have lost four games. No. 5 will be the highlight of the Lions’ season before a trip to Alliance.

Keith’s take: Wesley 40, Framingham State 27
Ryan’s take: Wesley 42, Framingham State 21
Pat’s take: Wesley 47, Framingham State 28
Consensus: Not a cakewalk for the Wolverines, but they eventually pull away.

Keith’s take: Johns Hopkins 42, Western New England 21
Ryan’s take: Johns Hopkins 45, Western New England 10
Pat’s take: Johns Hopkins 38, Western New England 10
Consensus: The Bears aren’t golden against the Blue Jays. This one is for the birds.

UW-OSHKOSH QUADRANT
Keith’s take: UW-Oshkosh 63, St. Scholastica 13
Ryan’s take: UW-Oshkosh 56, St. Scholastica 3
Pat’s take: UW-Oshkosh 52, St. Scholastica 7
Consensus: UMAC champs get the MIAC or WIAC champ in Round 1, and the results haven’t been pretty.

Keith’s take: Ohio Northern 31, Franklin 30
Ryan’s take: Ohio Northern 45, Franklin 34
Pat’s take: Ohio Northern 35, Franklin 20
Consensus: Teams that have no business being in the tournament usually prove that actually, they do. Plus, it’s an OAC No. 2.

Keith’s take: UW-Whitewater 35, St. Norbert 7
Ryan’s take: UW-Whitewater 48, St. Norbert 7
Pat’s take: UW-Whitewater 35, St. Norbert 7
Consensus: So seven it is for the Green Knights, against the defending champions.

Keith’s take: Wheaton 39, Lakeland 14
Ryan’s take: Wheaton 28, Lakeland 13
Pat’s take: Wheaton 48, Lakeland 7
Consensus: You won’t even be able to tell that much of the Thunder’s offense has been banged up.

We invite you to add your predictions in the comments below, or tweet at us at @D3Keith, @NewsTipps and @d3football. Download the Around the Nation podcast on Mondays, where Pat and Keith review the picks and the highlights from Round 1.