ATN Podcast 180: Heavy on lightning, light on thunder

A little bit of rain (OK, a lot of rain), a little lightning, half the usual Thunder and a few unbeaten teams getting their first loss made up a good part of the news in Week 7. This was definitely a common sight, and in the case of the Wheaton-North Central game, it didn’t end on Saturday, and it’s still not over. We break down the first half of that game, plus the Oshkosh win over Platteville and look at first losses for Alfred, Wabash, Framingham State and UW-La Crosse. That plus more in this week’s podcast.

This week, we thank Fanraise for sponsoring our podcast. Also, visit the new store on Fanraise!

Pat and Keith hand out game balls, find the hidden highlights, the correct pronunciations (it basically doesn’t end in D-III), the interesting stats and much more in the Around the Nation Podcast. In addition, Keith gives his take on how Albright College chose to handle its national anthem situation.

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. 

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Wheaton athletics video frame grab
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Quick Hits: On the flip side

We’re on the downhill slope now to Selection Sunday. Six weeks down, and five weeks left, with lots of questions to be answered. We’ll try to answer part of one-fifth of those questions here with our Quick Hits crew.

Our regular crew is Keith McMillan, Ryan Tipps, Pat Coleman, Adam Turer and Frank Rossi. Our sixth spot goes to a guest each week, and this week’s is Dave McHugh, the host of Hoopsville over at He typically pays enough attention to football to not pick Calvin, Connecticut College or either Centenary.

— Pat Coleman

What’s the Week 7 game of the week?

Keith’s take: No. 3 UW-Oshkosh at No. 9 UW-Platteville. With Wheaton’s struggles taking the luster off the Little Brass Bell clash, no game is even close.
Ryan’s take: No. 3 UW-Oshkosh at No. 9 UW-Platteville. Since 2013, the Pioneers have narrowly missed the postseason more than once. Here’s their 2017 chance.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 3 UW-Oshkosh at No. 9 UW-Platteville. I mean, God forbid I suggest another game is worth paying attention to.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 3 UW-Oshkosh at No. 9 UW-Platteville. Here’s the Pioneers’ real chance to silence the doubters.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 25 Springfield at Merchant Marine. This is a test for the Pride in a must-win for Pool B/C playoff consideration.
Dave’s take: No. 3 UW-Oshkosh at No. 9 UW-Platteville. Unfortunately, it has been awhile since these two have played as intriguing a matchup in basketball.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

Keith’s take: No. 19 Berry. The Vikings have had Hendrix’s number. The 5-1 Warriors will need a big game from its 194th-best defense.
Ryan’s take: No. 17 Alfred. Opponent Cortland is a two-loss team and will be fighting to stay in E8 playoff discussion.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 19 Berry. From just outside the rankings, to top 20, to playing the other team with playoff experience.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 17 Alfred at Cortland. But honestly it feels more like a “Pat’s special” week, aka no upsets.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 4 North Central. After a hellacious couple of weeks, Wheaton has a chance to turn the season back around here with nothing left to lose.
Dave’s take: No. 4 North Central. I am not one to think Wheaton is down and out. I suspect the Cardinals get tripped up by the Thunder, who right the ship after a few distraction-filled weeks.

Which team is probably safe to focus more on next week?

Keith’s take: No. 18 Frostburg State. William Paterson has just three touchdowns in five games and field the nation’s least-successful offense.
Ryan’s take: No. 12 Wittenberg. Allegheny is improved, but a win should be easy, and Witt should be more worried about DePauw on the horizon.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 7 Linfield. Lewis & Clark is improved, but if the Wildcats were prepping for George Fox this week, I don’t think it’ll be an issue.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 18 Frostburg State (at William Paterson). Coaches gonna hate you for this one, Pat. will bounce back in time for Montclair State on Oct. 21.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 14 Wesley (vs. Kean). Rowan should put up a better fight against Wesley next week.
Dave’s take: I can only pick one? Ok. I’ll go with Mount Union. Nothing against Capital, but I just don’t see the Raiders being challenged. Sorry Crusaders..

Which early-season surprise team will get some reality?

Keith’s take: DePauw, with a 5-0 start and lofty defensive stats game against average-at-best teams. After Witt, Wabash losses, Denison set to bust out.
Ryan’s take: UW-La Crosse. Is this the easy pick with Whitewater on the other sideline?
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Williams. Because, on the other side, there’s Middlebury, and Williams sweeping C-B-B is less impressive.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Ursinus. Bears will drop second straight, at Susquehanna, putting JHU back in the Centennial driver’s seat just two weeks after being upset.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Plymouth State. Quron Wright & Co. for Framingham State will take a huge step toward winning the MASCAC at one-loss PSU’s expense.
Dave’s take: UW-La Crosse. Undefeated and probably looking at Whitewater and thinking the scary monster isn’t that scary. I think Whitewater is still very scary.

Who will get their first win this weekend?

Keith’s take: Kenyon. The 0-5 Lords were thwarted by a late Ohio Wesleyan score last week, and host 1-4 Hiram this week.
Ryan’s take: Hamilton. Against winless Bowdoin in a conference with lots of disparity.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: FInlandia. Utterly devoid of games which count, the Lions have a home-and-home remaining with Trinity Bible and that’s it for 2017.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Hamilton. The 0-4 NESCAC team faces 0-4 Bowdoin. I’m rolling with the Continentals.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Kenyon. With Hiram at one win, this is probably Kenyon’s best chance for a 2017 win.
Dave’s take: Hamilton. I have no choice. It is my maternal family’s “school” and my grandfather was a trustee. That trumps any Maine connections I have — sorry, Bowdoin.

Pick a game where the winner has the less fierce mascot.

Keith’s take: Guilford. Quakers’ record is deceiving because of two FCS losses. More-fierce Generals of W&L are six points from being unbeaten, though.
Ryan’s take: St. Scholastica Saints. The UMAC contender faces the Knights of Martin Luther.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Carnegie Mellon (vs. Geneva). Tartans over Golden Wave. Water-logged swatches of material for the win.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Redlands. The Bulldogs defeat the Chapman Panthers. Everyone gets treats for the short trip home
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Trinity (Conn.). The Bantams over the Tufts Jumbos. Chickens may be no match for elephants in nature, but this will be a plucking win for the Bantams.
Dave’s take: Otterbein (vs. Heidelberg). Nothing puts the fear in people than Cardinals playing Princes. This feels like a Medieval times or Dark Ages matchup where royalty and the church clashed.

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 Quick Hits that were prescient, and the Quick Misses that were terribly off base.

Triple Take: Conference clashes underway

In 2005, Kyle Gearman shocked Concordia-Moorhead with a 74-yard touchdown catch with under 30 seconds left. SJU hosts the Cobbers this weekend.
Photo by Ryan Coleman,

Almost every team in an automatic-qualifying conference will have a conference game under its belt by the end of the weekend.

For those teams off to a rough start in nonconference action, now is the time to refocus and use what was learned in previous weeks to try to make a mark in conference play and reach for the AQ. For many, it is, or was, a new beginning to the season.

So which teams can turn things around, and which ones are out to prove that they’re more than just their nonconference record? Pat Coleman, Keith McMillan and Ryan Tipps walk you through some of the best this weekend has to offer.

Game of the week.
Ryan’s take: Hope at Illinois Wesleyan.
I’m veering off the Top 25 pack a bit this week, but both teams are undefeated, with the Titans getting a fair number of votes in the poll. More significantly, though, is that each of these teams have been putting up some wild numbers against the competition, with neither team scoring fewer than 37 points in their five combined victories. And no opponent has been within 20 points at the end of four quarters. What does this mean? Well, each team is facing its stiffest test of the season, and this could be a breakout moment for one of them.
Keith’s take: No. 11 Wesley at Birmingham Southern. This is the first time in the history of Triple Take I’ve filled out all the below categories first, while skipping over Game of the Week to come back to it. It’s that kind of week. I nearly went with Cortland State at St. John Fisher or Pat’s game below in this slot, but it’s been a long time since the Wolverines were beaten so thoroughly in a regular season game, and the fate of the top 25 and Pool B rests on how they respond. B-SC is 3-0 and along with Huntingdon and Louisiana College is a deep south team that’s had its shot to beat the Wolverines but hasn’t been able to close the deal. All three of those teams are in the ‘can win 7-8 games and occasionally make the playoffs’ tier, and B-SC is the latest to get a chance at national recognition. The host Panthers have a shot because they can score — 143 points in three wins — but they’ve only been able to outscore in 2013 — they’ve allowed at least 32 points in each game, and Wesley brings a caliber of athlete B-SC hasn’t faced since a 26-17 loss in Delaware last season.

Hope has started off 3-0, but faces a more significant test this week in Illinois Wesleyan.
Hope College photo by Tom Renner

Pat’s take: Concordia-Moorhead at No. 21 St. John’s. This series has had a recent history of tight games and dramatic finishes. And St. John’s has had a particularly recent history of both, having won its three games this year by a TOTAL of eight points. All the signs point to a great game. Will it be a letdown for the Johnnies after the big win last week?

Surprisingly close game.
Ryan’s take: Washington at Centre.
The Colonels are riding a three-game win streak, while the Bears are just 1-2. However, WashU hasn’t let opponents get out of reach (and that includes UW-Whitewater), and that striking distance could work out to their benefit. Centre has a defense that can be taken advantage of at times, and WashU can be in the game if they spot those times.
Keith’s take: Olivet at North Park. The more I looked at the slate, the more I found games I want to be tight but I think are going to be surprisingly not close (like Illinois College at Ripon, Montclair State at Rowan, or Williams at Trinity, Conn.). The Comets are 3-0, the Vikings 0-2. But Olivet is new money — at 1-39 the previous four seasons, they aren’t used to going on the road and winning. North Park (7-31 from 2009 to 2012) earned its only win last season, 46-21 in Michigan. This time around Olivet is making the three-hour bus ride to Chicago, and North Park is coming off a bye week.
Pat’s take: Stevenson at No. 22 Delaware Valley. Pretty sure Stevenson has never started a season 4-0. Stevenson had only won four games in the entire history of the program before the season started. I could consider picking this game in the next category down, as well. If you haven’t paid that close attention the first couple of weeks this year, you might get caught unaware of where the Mustangs have come, and there are enough questions about the Aggies to give one pause, that’s all.

Most likely Top 25 team to get upset.
Ryan’s take: None.
On paper, this appears to be an easy week for the Top 25, as long as one of the teams at the top doesn’t get caught sleeping….
Keith’s take: No. 16 Johns Hopkins. Since it wouldn’t be much of an upset if Concordia-Moorhead beat No. 21 St. John’s or Lycoming beat No. 24 Widener, I’ll ride the Mules. The Blue Jays are still favorites, and for the upset to happen, Muhlenberg would have to figure out how to score on Johns Hopkins, which has given up no more than 14 points in each of its three games. The Mules have hung a 59 and a 58 on the score board this season, but against its only quality opponent, they scored 21 (in a loss to Franklin & Marshall).
Pat’s take: No. 11 Wesley. This probably comes from seeing the Wolverines dismantled by Mary Hardin-Baylor last week, but I’m a little concerned about Wesley in this key Pool B clash. Without the diversity on offense … or even a lot of success last week, Wesley looked a little ordinary and could be in trouble this week.

They’ll be on your radar.
Ryan’s take: East Texas Baptist.
If you read this week’s Around the South column, you know that ETBU has been lighting things up through the air, with a nation-leading 435.5 yards per game passing. However, the opponents from the Tigers’ first two games are currently winless. Not so with Saturday’s opponent, Willamette. The Bearcats gave up a lot of points in their wins, so ETBU (which posted 50-plus in its two outings) might be able to run away with this one. Let’s just see which quarterback they use most.
Keith’s take: The Cleveland area. My friends Lacy and Kipp are heading to Cleveland for other sporting events this weekend, and asked me a few weeks ago how good the Otterbein at John Carroll game would be, since they were going to go. That, plus a tweet that noted that No. 1 Mount Union and No. 2 Linfield will be playing on miles apart on Saturday, got me intrigued. Someone interested in seeing a bunch of competitive D-III teams on one day — a WesleyDad of the Midwest, as it were — could catch six without leaving the Cleveland area. Linfield is at Case Western Reserve at noon, Muskingum is at Baldwin-Wallace at 2 p.m., and then the aforementioned Cardinals face the Blue Streaks at 7 p.m., which leaves just enough time for dinner in between Games 2 and 3.
Pat’s take: Huntingdon. Yeah. I’m a week late to this party. Keith was all over this last week. Struggling Ferrum makes the trip to Alabama for the first time to see the Hawks and I don’t expect the southern hospitality to extend between the lines.

Which team could get caught looking ahead?
Ryan’s take: Wooster.
Hiram is coming off its first shutout win in nearly two decades, and Wooster has Wabash on the horizon in Week 5. The Scots would do themselves a favor to make sure they focus on the task at hand rather than the beast that lies beyond.
Keith’s take: No. 10 Pacific Lutheran. The Lutes’ game at Linfield is by far the most compelling matchup of Week 5, and of the other teams that have big games next week, most don’t have games they could possibly lose this week. There’s Wesley, which plays Birmingham Southern and then Huntingdon, but after being humbled more or less in consecutive weeks, there’s no way they look ahead. I don’t expect PLU to lose, but it’s all I got.
Pat’s take: No. 10 Pacific Lutheran. The Lutes travel to UW-Eau Claire, a team St. Thomas beat 52-7. Pacific Lutheran has Linfield next week. That, plus the trip a little over halfway across the continent could spell trouble for Pacific Lutheran if not handled well.

Which undefeated team is going to pick up its first loss?
Ryan’s take: Merchant Marine.
While the Mariners are an impressive 3-0, they’ve hardly been getting in the victory column in convincing fashion. And that bodes poorly when lining up against a Top 10 team like Hobart.
Keith’s take: Juniata. So far the Eagles are one of my favorite stories of the season, so if they win at Franklin & Marshall, I will eat crow for all the long-suffering Juniata fans. The Diplomats — I couldn’t decide if they were historical peoples, a joke you’ll understand in a few paragraphs — are 1-2, but nearly won the opener at defending ODAC champion Washington & Lee, and beat Muhlenberg before losing at Ursinus. So the slate is a little tougher than what Juniata has faced so far — Thiel, Dickinson and Gettysburg are 2-7, and the records coming in could be misleading. It’s about to get real for Ward Udinski and the Eagles anyway; If they win at F&M, they should enjoy it. Johns Hopkins, Ursinus and Muhlenberg are the next three opponents.
Pat’s take: UW-Stevens Point. A trip to North Central isn’t really a good sign the way things are clicking for the Cardinals right now. North Central has run through the middle-to-bottom of the WIAC the past couple of weeks and there isn’t much reason to think this will be different.

Which historical peoples is most intriguing?
Ryan’s take: The Pioneers of Grinnell.
Grinnell is hunting for its first win and is clearly not the same kind of team offensively in the wake of injured quarterback Sam Poulos. Last week, especially, the defense was tasked with keeping the team in its game against MWC leader Lake Forest, and the unit was largely successful – evidence of how senior-laden the team is on that side of the ball. If the Pioneers can manage a game when both sides are clicking, they can log wins this weekend against Beloit and onward through the season.
Keith’s take: The Saints of Thomas More. One of my favorite parts of Triple Take each week is scrolling down to see what Ryan has picked as the last question. Waynesburg’s visit to Kentucky is intriguing because the Yellow Jackets, 3-0 this season, have won 14 of their past 15 games. But during that stretch, they haven’t had to win a big game on the road. Muskingum, Bethany, Geneva and Thiel were all three-win teams last season, St. Vincent was 0-10 and the Yellow Jackets’ road win this year was at 1-2 Frostburg State. Thomas More is 2-0, back in the top 25 and hasn’t surrendered a point. So for both sides it’s the first test of how legitimate a contender each will be, and the winner gets a leg up in the PAC title race.
Pat’s take: The Colonials of Western Connecticut. I’m very interested to see how the Colonials do against Framingham State. Western Connecticut has started the season 2-0, but has done so against teams that were a combined 3-17 last season. Here they’ll take on the MASCAC favorite and we’ll find out how close Western is to actually contending for the MASCAC title. We already knew they would be competitive in the new league, where they were not competitive in the NJAC. But while Rowan held Melikke Van Alstyne to 63 yards, Western Connecticut may not be so lucky.