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Quick Hits: Picking a number to beat

There are three games between ranked teams this week, and a fourth which could have been (stares at Whitewater’s goal-line stats), But there are also other battles between unbeatens, and games worthy staying up late for, and that’s what Quick Hits is looking at this week.

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 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 still travels to see D-III games. Take note, D-III parents. You don’t have to leave when your player graduates.

— Pat Coleman (photo by d3photography.com)

What’s the Week 5 game of the week?

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Keith’s take: UW-Whitewater at No. 3 UW-Oshkosh. By a hair over Whitworth at Linfield.
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Ryan’s take: UW-Whitewater at No. 3 UW-Oshkosh. Preseason, this was a no-brainer. Even now, still a good one as UW-W vies to stay in the playoff hunt.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 14 Whitworth at No. 8 Linfield. Also like the Wisconsin game but now have questions about UWO thanks to JCU’s first four weeks.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 14 Whitworth at No. 8 Linfield. The Pirates can shake up the NWC, for one year at least.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 19 Illinois Wesleyan at No. 5 Wheaton. Thunder can use field to escape bad news, but losing five players never helps midway through.
Guest
Gene’s take: No. 14 Whitworth at No. 8 Linfield. Interested to see if Whitworth can finally get past the NWC king who lost plenty from last year’s team.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 13 Johns Hopkins. Ursinus has scored 35 points in each of its four wins.
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Ryan’s take: No. 20 Alfred. With a lot left to prove, they’re not even on my ballot yet.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 15 Wittenberg. This is a team which is in a significantly different place on my Top 25 ballot than 15.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 15 Wittenberg. The Tigers will have their hands full with Denison’s prolific offense led by QB Canaan Gebele.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 20 Alfred. Alfred has seemed leg-weary at times, while Buffalo State seems to be improving a little each week.
Guest
Gene’s take: No. 12 UW-Platteville. Stout is coming off of the victory over St. Thomas and 2 weeks prep could make for a tough game for Platteville.

Who has a letdown after a big game last week?

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Keith’s take: Wilmington. After an overtime win vs. Capital, winning at John Carroll would be a stunner.
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Ryan’s take: Muhlenberg. Opponent F&M has been hot this year, though this should be a close one.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Luther. A win at home is one thing, but on the road at a rejuvenated program in BVU is something else.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: East Texas Baptist. The Tigers hung 79 last week, but will be lucky to score half that against HSU. Not discounting ETBU’s chances, though.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Christopher Newport. CNU had decent bounce-back game at Montclair, but Rowan’s defense could derail their momentum.
Guest
Gene’s take: Buffalo State, coming off a big win over RPI after trailing at the half, heads to Alfred to take on the Saxons and remain at the top of the E8.

Which game should people be watching at the end of the night?

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Keith’s take: Redlands at Occidental. In support of the fact there’s a game to watch.
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Ryan’s take: No. 6 Hardin-Simmons at East Texas Baptist. Two undefeated power-conference teams — a perfect recipe.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Pacific at George Fox. Unless I’m watching Redlands-Occidental or the archive of UWW/UWO.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Redlands at Occidental. I can’t wait to see how hungry the Tigers are to finally play their second game of the season.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Redlands at Occidental. D3 Nation should be rooting for Oxy’s players, who are severely undermanned but want to play, to keep this game close.
Guest
Gene’s take: UWW vs. Oshkosh. Does UWW continue to struggle this year and the loss puts them out of the playoffs or do they climb back into the discussion?

Who surpasses their 2016 win total this week?

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Keith’s take: Rochester (2). At Becker, the Yellowjackets get their second 2017 win following a 1-8 2016.
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Ryan’s take: Birmingham-Southern (2). Against Trinity, they’re looking for win No. 2.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Allegheny (2). The Gators will have a challenge from the Hiram offense but the rebuild will move forward.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Rochester (2). The Yellowjackets pick up the win against a winless Becker squad.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Hartwick (2). Utica has failed to meet expectations while the Hawks’ offense has clicked..
Guest
Gene’s take: McDaniel (4). At 3-7 last year, McDaniel looks to pick up win No. 4 against the 1-3 Juniata Eagles.

How many NCAC teams will remain unbeaten, and which ones will they be?

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Keith’s take: Three. DePauw, Wabash, Denison.
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Ryan’s take: Three: DePauw, Bash and Witt.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Three. DePauw, Wabash, Denison.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Three. Wabash, DePauw, and Denison.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Three. DePauw, Wabash, Wittenberg.
Guest
Gene’s take: Three. Wabash, DePauw, and Wittenberg.

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.

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ATN Podcast 175: Defenses keep showing up

Offensive numbers catch the eye, whether it’s 98 points or this week’s 79 or 332 receiving yards and six touchdowns. But Keith has this thing about defense also being part of the game, and that’s hard to argue, as long as we still play 11 on a side. In this week’s D3football.com Around the Nation Podcast, Pat Coleman and Keith McMillan take a look at some of the places where defense shows up, expectedly or not so much.

Pat and Keith run through all the top news, the hidden highlights, the risers and sliders, the quick hits and quick misses and more from the week in Division III football. That, plus the game(s) which weren’t played, and what that means for the programs affected

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. During the season, it hits your feed weekly on Monday morning. This week, we thank Fanraise for sponsoring our podcast.

Hit play, or subscribe to get this podcast on your mobile device. 
Wheaton photo by Michael Hudson photography; Linfield  athletics photo
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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Quick Hits: One last week for all the marbles

As this portion of the Quick Hits season draws to a close, we tackle the big rivalry games, the playoff picture and all the rest. Our guest prognosticator is Frank Rajkowski, who covers St. John’s football for the St, Cloud Times.

— Pat Coleman

Which Week 11 game is the game of the week?

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Keith’s take: No. 18 St. John Fisher at No. 14 Alfred. There are other big games, but none impact the potential playoff field like whether or not the Cardinals are in Pool C.
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Ryan’s take: No. 18 St. John Fisher at No. 14 Alfred. Likely to be much more of a dogfight than the other game between Top 25 teams.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 8 St. John’s at Concordia-Moorhead. This game is frequently given to last-second heroics, and it has playoff implications.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 18 St. John Fisher at No. 14 Alfred. Every team on the Pool C bubble will have an eye on this one.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 16 John Carroll at No. 1 Mount Union. The Purple Raiders haven’t had a real test. This will show us where they’re at.
Frank Rajkowski
Frank’s take: I want to say St. John’s at Concordia since a lot is on the line and, you know, I’ll be covering it. But it’s hard to pick against ranked teams playing for a conference title, when top-ranked Mount Union plays host to No. 16 John Carroll.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 8 St. John’s, and to a lesser degree No. 17 Wabash. Each puts its 8-1 record on the line vs. 7-2 foe; Johnnies have lost 3 of 4 to Concordia-Moorhead.
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Ryan’s take: No. 25 St. Lawrence. WPI played Hobart close — in fact, the Engineers’ three losses all season were by a total of nine points.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: None. Going with a good old-fashioned slate of chalk. Get it, slate? Chalk?
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 8 St. John’s at Concordia-Moorhead. The Cobbers create some more Pool C chaos and stake a claim to one of the six bids.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 21 Case Western Reserve vs. Carnegie Mellon. CMU has been playing consistent ball while Case had a scare last week.
Frank Rajkowski
Frank’s take: I guess the Top 25 team with the toughest test is No. 8 St. John’s, which travels to Concordia in a game that both teams have to win if they want to keep their shot at an at-large bid alive.

Who salvages a poor season with a win in the finale?

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Keith’s take: Pacific has won six or seven games for three seasons running, but has three losses by four points or fewer this season. The Boxers win at home vs. Puget Sound to get to 4-5.
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Ryan’s take: Albion. My, how far the Britons have fallen.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Williams. I’m going with the Ephs because Amherst is having an uncharacteristically bad year and Williams, while winless, should smell a chance.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Hampden-Sydney defeats rival Randolph-Macon in The Game, because the ODAC can’t possibly have a clear outright champion two years in a row, can it?
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Wesley. “Poor” is a relative term, and a two-loss season is considered such for Wesley. A win salvages the season with a playoff berth.
Frank Rajkowski
Frank’s take: Bethel can salvage a .500 season with a win at Hamline. The Pipers are already assured of finishing .500 for the first time since 1997. A victory would give Hamline its first winning season since 1995.

Which team ranked No. 1 in its region has the closest game in Week 11?

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Keith’s take: Mount Union. The Purple Raiders look as dominant as always, especially with a D that’s allowed 42 points in six games, but the Blue Streaks (39 in past six) could be their equal.
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Ryan’s take: Alfred, but I guess that goes without saying based on my answer to the first question.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Mount Union, vs. John Carroll. Going with an alternate view here.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Alfred is the top team in the East, but plays No. 2 St. John Fisher. It would be a stunner if this isn’t the closest.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Alfred, vs. St. John Fisher. Their closeness in ranking is fitting as these teams should battle to the finish line.
Frank Rajkowski
Frank’s take: Pretty obviously Alfred, which is ranked No. 1 in the East, but faces St. John Fisher, ranked No. 2.

Who goes into the playoffs without momentum?

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Keith’s take: I really looked for other options here, but Alfred seems like the likeliest team to both lose and still get into the postseason..
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Ryan’s take: John Carroll. Finishing out the season against The Machine takes its toll.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: The winner of the ODAC. The fact that I can’t even easily determine who that will be says it all.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 23 Stevenson may have peaked too soon. The Mustangs enter the playoffs following a loss to 3-6 Wilkes and an uninspiring performance against 3-6 Lycoming.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Western New England. With a QB named “Victory,” Coast Guard ends the season with a victory as the Golden Bears potentially rest some players.
Frank Rajkowski
Frank’s take: Olivet has already wrapped up an automatic bid. But the Comets have given up 115 points over three games. That could continue against Trine (6-3), averaging 35.4 points per game.

Alma mater excluded, pick a winner in a rivalry game.

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Keith’s take: Wesleyan (6-1) keeps Trinity Conn. from an unbeaten season and opens the door for Tufts (6-1) to claim NESCAC by beating Middlebury (6-1).
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Ryan’s take: Case Western Reserve over Carnegie Mellon. Finishing undefeated, this is a team that WILL be riding high going into the postseason.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Monmouth. Haven’t lost to Knox in how long? Add one year to the streak.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 17 Wabash could extend its Monon Bell win streak to a record eight in a row. A win could also secure a Pool C berth for the Little Giants. I’m picking the Tigers to play spoiler and snap DePauw’s losing streak.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: RPI, vs. Union. RPI has played very strong football at home vs. Union over the past years, even as the underdog. Their experience at defense helps keep it close enough for a late win.
Frank Rajkowski
Frank’s take: Well, I went to St. Cloud State (which closes its season vs. Minnesota-Duluth). But Mount Union-John Carroll is usually a game to watch. I’m not going out on any limb here. But I’ll take the Purple Raiders.

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.