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ATN Podcast 204: Now that was surprising

It was a surprising win for Misericordia, a surprising comeback for Thomas More. There were some great defensive performances and there was some good kicking as well. Yes, we can give a kicker or two a game ball, right? And we’ve been talking about this rant by Widener coach Mike Kelly, which came before his team lost in Misericordia’s sixth win ever, so we’ll really get down to it. We also hear from Thomas More coach Trevor Stellman about his team’s rally vs. UW-Platteville.

And with that, most of Division III’s non-conference play is over. Columnist Adam Turer will rank all of the conferences a little later in the season, but Pat and Keith take a look at which conferences are the big winners and which are on the other end after non-conference play.

Meanwhile, some teams have friends in low places, others get knocked down but get back up again, and it’s all good on the Week 3 Monday 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

Bonus link: Baldwin Wallace-Mount Union broadcast archive. The BW team runs out at about the 18:00 mark.

Purchase Football For a Buck: The Crazy Rise and Crazier Demise of the USFL from Amazon (and D3football.com gets a buck or so in the process).

Photo: Muhlenberg players celebrate. (Muhlenberg athletics photo)

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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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Quick Hits Week 5: Welcome to October

Month No. 2, Week No. 5, and one big game right at the top of the Top 25 list to talk about this week. Our guest picker is Ray Biggs, who we think of more specifically as the managing editor of D3hockey.com, but whom also contributes to Kickoff on D3football.com and broadcasts Utica games on ESPN Utica Rome. (You’d have heard his voice twice this season already on Play of the Week highlights.) Westminster (Pa.) athletics photo by Jason Kapusta

— Pat Coleman

My Game of the Week for Week 5 is …

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Keith’s take: No. 2 UW-Whitewater at No. 8 Platteville. Nowhere else has greater implications, especially if the Pioneers, who have only given up one garbage-time TD, win.
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Ryan’s take: No. 2 UW-Whitewater at No. 8 Platteville. There’s just no question about the magnitude of this one.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 2 UW-Whitewater at No. 8 Platteville. Gonna be a few like this this season. Here’s the first of the showdowns.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 16 Thomas More at Westminster (Pa.). The loser of Whitewater at Platteville still has a very good chance at the playoffs. If the host Titans upset the Saints, the PAC race goes into disarray.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 22 CNU at Rowan. This game could have major Pool C implications and help determine what path Wesley might have to make the playoffs.
Ray
Ray’s take: Cortland at Hartwick. Cortland’s offense should get back on track against a porous defense in a must-win. Hartwick can score like crazy.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 24 Central. Dubuque winning wouldn’t really be an upset, but Pat’s questions took up all the other possibilities.
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Ryan’s take: No. 24 Central. The risk is always there when your opponent is 4-0.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 24 Central. Barely an upset, but by the rankings, yes.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 24 Central. Dubuque believes it should be in the Top 25 and will state its case with a road win.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 16 Thomas More. Westminster (Pa.) has given up 16 points in three games, and hosts an inconsistent Thomas More team.
Ray
Ray’s take: No. 21 Hobart. Hobart has fought a bit against the run. They take on D3’s top rushing team, Merchant Marine.

Who gets a first dose of reality?

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Keith’s take: Westminster (Pa.). This was one of the possibilities, but No. 16 Thomas More scored the first 45 points in their matchup last season.
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Ryan’s take: St. Vincent. Though winning, they have’t been winning by enough to show they’re at Case’s level.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Centre. Off to a great start at 4-0, the Colonels are heading to Hendrix, where the competition moves up a notch.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: St. Vincent. The 4-0 Bearcats have already equaled its 2014 and 2015 win totals. Case Western Reserve will remind St. Vincent what defeat feels like.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Central. Central isn’t on my ballot yet; I’m waiting for this game vs. Dubuque to help me figure the Dutch out.
Ray
Ray’s take: Thomas More. (Call it a second dose.) Westminster (Pa.) should worry the Saints. The Titans play great defense, and keep drives alive on third down.

Which once-competitive rivalry goes off the rails?

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Keith’s take: St. John’s at Bethel. Other possibilities include Trinity at Williams, Widener at Lycoming and Hampden-Sydney at Bridgewater.
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Ryan’s take: F&M at Dickinson. It’s likely F&M will win the Conestoga Wagon Trophy in a landslide.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Hampden-Sydney at Bridgewater. Once upon a time, this game was the centerpiece for the ODAC season. Now they’re a combined 1-5.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: F&M-Dickinson. F&M is eager for revenge after Dickinson won the Conestoga Wagon Trophy the past two seasons.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Whitewater at Platteville. Something tells me the Warhawks are out to prove something this season, and Saturday’s game could be lopsided.
Ray
Ray’s take: RPI and Rochester. They’ve had some great battles recently, but this may be the year RPI runs away with one.

Which fading rivalry gets new life?

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Keith’s take: Wartburg at Coe. The Kohawks are 4-0, and the Knights have only beaten D-III noobs.
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Ryan’s take: CNU at Rowan. Few probably remember these two teams playing six years straight when CNU was in its infancy and Rowan was the Beast of the East.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Rhodes at Sewanee. Rhodes has won this rivalry game nine times in the past 10 meetings, but this could be a year Sewanee gets one.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Ohio Wesleyan and Denison. They are fierce rivals — in lacrosse, where both are usually ranked. The rivalry is not at the same level in football but OWU would love to hand the Big Red their first loss.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Widener at Lycoming. This game doesn’t have the excitement that it used to, but both desperately need a win. Expect a shootout.
Ray
Ray’s take: McDaniel-Gettysburg. With McDaniel posting a win, and Gettysburg off to a tough start, this could be the best edition since a one-score game in 2011.

Who makes this week’s NJAC statement?

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Keith’s take: Rowan. It promises to be a sloppy game in Glassboro, but that might suit the Profs fine vs. CNU.
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Ryan’s take: Frostburg State. A loss here sends them and their record toward the wrong side of the NJAC tracks.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Kean. I see the Cougars extending their win streak to four on Saturday vs. Frostburg.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: CNU. A convincing win at Rowan will prove that CNU belongs in the, uh, captain’s seat in the NJAC.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Wesley. The statement will be the way they win at Southern Virginia, as they remind us they aren’t dead yet in the NJAC chase.
Ray
Ray’s take: CNU. Again. They’ve posted wins over two traditionally strong programs, but both have been slow out of the gate. Rowan presents another test.

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.