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Quick Hits Week 11: Easy as A-B-C

It’s last call for the NCAA tournament this week as the final six Pool A bids will be decided. No Pool B bids this year, but there are plenty of Bowls and Bells to go around. Which games influence one of the best Pool C fields we’ve seen in the D3football.com era? Our panel breaks it all down for you as we deliver our final Hits of the regular season.

Our regular crew is Keith McMillan, Ryan Tipps, Pat Coleman, Adam Turer, Frank Rossi and Greg Thomas.

— Greg Thomas

Which game is the Game of the Week?

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Keith’s take: No. 3 UW-Whitewater at UW-Oshkosh. Especially with it under the lights, no game will have Pool C teams more on pins and needles.
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Ryan’s take: No. 9 Bethel at No. 17 St. Thomas. The only game between ranked teams makes this an easy pick.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 3 UW-Whitewater at UW-Oshkosh. Not only have there been a lot of close games involving Whitewater this season, but this game has the chance to upset the apple cart most in terms of playoff bids.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Cortaca. We’ve never seen anything like this before.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 3 UW-Whitewater at UW-Oshkosh. The final game of the season has the most playoff implications of the bunch this weekend.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 3 UW-Whitewater at UW-Oshkosh. It’s the title game in the Division’s best conference. There are Pool A and Pool C implications. And it is the last kickoff in the regular season. A grand finale if there ever was one.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 14 Union. RPI smoked Ithaca last week, and would be returning the favor from when the clinched-bid shoe was on the other foot last season.
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Ryan’s take: No. 10 John Carroll. This came has lost some of its cachet with BW’s loss last week, but an upset would mean the OAC is going to lose some postseason representation.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 14 Union. Not as much on Union as it is on RPI, which played with a little more fire last week and will be glad to get up for a rivalry fame and cost its archrival a playoff home game.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 14 Union. RPI has momentum and would like nothing more than to ruin its rival’s playoff seeding while reclaiming the Dutchman Shoes.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 20 Case Western Reserve (at Carnegie Mellon). The Tartans have been tough at home in season-ending games against the Spartans. This time, they knock them off.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 9 Bethel. Because, yes, you can have a top 25 team upset another top 25 team and because I trust the Tommies’ offense a hair more than I do the Royals offense this weekend.

Which rivalry game will produce the biggest upset?

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Keith’s take: Hampden-Sydney/Randolph-Macon. Psych. Dutchman Shoes, and RPI.
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Ryan’s take: RPI over Union. I’m going to duck now as Frank throws sharp objects in my direction.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Cuyahoga Gold Bowl Trophy. Playoff pictures will become a little more clear when Baldwin Wallace knocks off No. 10 John Carroll.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Monon Bell. Wabash has already clinched in what has been an overall down year for the NCAC. A DePauw upset would leave the league with a three-way tie at the top, and no team with fewer than two conference losses.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: DePauw over Wabash. Something just tells me that the Bell is going to be DePauw’s at the end of Saturday, which would make the middling Tigers season much easier to swallow.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: The Cuyahoga Gold Bowl. I’m not so sure Baldwin Wallace beating John Carroll is a massive upset, but our Top 25 certainly thinks so.

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

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Keith’s take: Huntington at LaGrange. The USA South gets wacky if the Hawks stumble.
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Ryan’s take: Millsaps at Birmingham-Southern. With seven SAA teams at .500 or better, the conference is interesting well beyond the top one or two teams.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Catholic at Maine Maritime. Hoping to see the alma mater get to 2-8 here at the end of the season, even after the 678-mile trip.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Mount St. Joseph at SUNY-Maritime. Will the Privateers be the lone playoff participant with a sub-.500 record? Will Lions quarterback Chaiten Tomlin become the HCAC’s all-time leading passer in his final game?
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 22 Brockport at Morrisville State. The Mustangs hung 49 on a decent Fisher team that Brockport couldn’t score more than 17 against. This could be a “look past” game for Brockport if they’re not careful, and playoff seeding depends on it.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: Ohio Wesleyan at Wittenberg. The Bishops are coming off of an impressive win against Denison and have a chance to take back Ye Olde Skull for the first time since 2006. Yes, they play for a skull.

Which team secures its Pool C ticket with a win?

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Keith’s take: Redlands, by winning at Occidental. I’m not confident that a win definitely gets many more teams in …
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Ryan’s take: Wartburg. With so many great 1- (and even 2-)loss teams out there, the 8-1 Knights falling to Loras would be the nail in their playoff-hopes coffin. But they have a strong SOS, so they would be a good candidate with a win on Saturday.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Redlands. As secure as anyone can be for an at-large spot, that is.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Susquehanna. With a win at Juniata, the River Hawks should clinch their first playoff berth since 2009. Back then, the team was called the Crusaders and played in the Liberty League.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 10 John Carroll (at Baldwin Wallace). This game will help keep John Carroll afloat enough to get one of the last Pool C bids.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: Wesley. The Wolverines have had a habit of making things interesting this season, but they just need to grind out one more win to see their name in the field on Sunday.

Which team will be the highest ranked team to miss the NCAA tournament?

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Keith’s take: No. 17 St. Thomas, because it moves up after beating Bethel, No. 6 North Central dodges a bullet and No. 10 JCU loses. Maybe?
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Ryan’s take: No. 15 Hardin-Simmons. They’re a great squad, but with two losses (and one of the teams that beat them also at two losses), there’s really no chance to see HSU in the mix come Sunday.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Hardin-Simmons.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: John Carroll. Many voters have the Blue Streaks ranked in their top ten. A win over Baldwin Wallace on Saturday may get them in the top 15 on my ballot. It appears that still won’t be enough to get the OAC a second team in the playoffs this year.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 15 Hardin-Simmons. Losing to only UMHB and TLU shouldn’t lead to this type of ending, but with just five at-large bids, we can say to the Cowboys, “Thanks for playing, and enjoy your lovely parting gifts.”
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: St. Thomas. With the BW assist forecasted above, a Tommies win over Bethel should push them up and over current No. 15 Hardin-Simmons and be the highest ranked team to not move on to Week 12.

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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Quick Hits Week 10: It’s Bid Clinching Season!

We’ve reached the penultimate week of the regular season which means games with major Pool C implications, games that will decide conference champions, and a lot of teams playing the game before THE game. Our panel gets you ready for Week 10 as they take a look at who is getting in, who is getting trapped, and which bubbles are getting popped.

Our regular crew is Keith McMillan, Ryan Tipps, Pat Coleman, Adam Turer, Frank Rossi and Greg Thomas.

— Greg Thomas

Which game is the Game of the Week?

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Keith’s take: No. 25 TLU at No. 2 UMHB. It’s on the Bulldogs to hold up their end of the bargain vs. the champs to make this a GOTW, but given the defensive and turnover margin prowess by both, it should be one.
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Ryan’s take: No. 25 Texas Lutheran at No. 2 Mary-Hardin Baylor. I’ve got TLU much higher on my ballot than 25th, and this very well could be a play-in game for them for the postseason.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 11 Wartburg at Central. This has almost as much potential to mess things up, and should be a closer game.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Randolph-Macon at No. 24 Bridgewater. The overwhelming preseason ODAC favorite takes on the team that has dominated the conference all year. Each team has proven it can win with all three phases. A playoff berth is at stake. #ODACtion. .
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 25 Texas Lutheran at No. 2 Mary Hardin-Baylor. The entire Pool C nation is going to be watching this game to see if a bubble bursts, and with TLU’s win vs. the Cowboys earlier this season — it’s not an impossible situation.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: Birmingham-Southern at Trinity(TX). I preview the game and its SAA importance in today’s ATN, but Robert Shufford has been a must watch attraction for three weeks now and has his Panthers on the brink of the playoffs.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 10 John Carroll. If Heidelberg makes a two-point conversion on Sept. 28 vs. Baldwin Wallace, this is the Pool C elimination game, not BW/JCU next week, potentially.
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Ryan’s take: No. 11 Wartburg. The Knights and Central have the ARC’s top two offenses, and Central’s is balanced enough to do some real damage against a good defense like Wartburg’s.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 18 St. Thomas. Gustavus Adolphus almost pulled this off last year, and it seems more likely in 2019.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 23 Linfield. Whitworth has uncharacteristically lost two games already this season. Yet, the Pirates still have their playoff goal within reach. A win over the surging Wildcats would put Whitworth in the NWC driver’s seat.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 24 Bridgewater (vs. Randolph-Macon). I just haven’t had a high level of confidence with Bridgewater, even despite the Stevenson game earlier this season. The Yellow Jackets had their scare last week and bounce back well here.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 10 John Carroll. This one has all the makings. With a possible play-in game looming in Week 11, the Streaks have to survive a Senior Day afternoon against a quality Heidelberg side.

Which team makes a strong Pool C statement?

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Keith’s take: Bridgewater or Wartburg.  I don’t think this was the intent of the question, but the Pool C statement might be, “Come join us.”
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Ryan’s take: No. 6 North Central. IWU’s early-season losses knocked them out of many folks’ minds, but they have a good SOS and record, which will further bolster NCC’s resume with a win.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Ithaca. RPI lost twice in the past five games, and the three wins were against teams who are a combined 2-23.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 17 Ithaca. Every game from here on out is a chance for the Bombers to bounce back and prove themselves worthy of a playoff bid. But Union has already clinched the Liberty League’s automatic bid. The Bombers can’t look past RPI, even with the big game looming in Week 11.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 17 Ithaca (at RPI). Word from Ithaca was that the locker room was silent after last week’s Union loss. However, the Regional Rankings reminded the Bombers on how they can still make it into the NCAA Playoffs — they rebound in Troy.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 6 North Central. North Central’s SOS may garner a bit of side-eye from other Pool C hopefuls, but Saturday’s result against Illinois Wesleyan will be decisive and leave no doubt about the quality of these Cardinals.

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

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Keith’s take: Middlebury at Tufts. Of all the great NESCAC rivalry games, it’s a non-rival that stands between the Panthers and 9-0. And since five of their wins are by 7 points or fewer, beating the 4-4 Jumbos is no gimme.
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Ryan’s take: Oberlin at DePauw.  I’ve already seen Wabash this year, but I haven’t gotten a great look at DePauw just yet, and now’s the time with just a week before Monon Bell.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Springfield at Maine Maritime. If you’re following, don’t blink. Game should last about 2 hours, 15 minutes.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Hanover at Rose-Hulman. The HCAC championship game comes a week earlier than expected. The Panthers dispatched Mount St. Joseph in Week 9, and perennial power Franklin has already stumbled to two conference losses. The Fightin’ Engineers will host a de facto conference championship game for the first time.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Coast Guard at WPI. The NEWMAC race will become much clearer after this game. A WPI win makes it more of a WPI/MIT race in Week 11. A WPI loss makes it more of a MIT/Springfield race then, assuming MIT and Springfield win this week.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: Hiram at Wabash. The gates at Byron P. Hollett Little Giant Stadium close tomorrow for the last time, home of Wabash football since 1966. What’s that? My eyes? That’s nothing. Just a little demolition dust.

Which team stumbles before its Week 11 rivalry game?

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Keith’s take: No. 17 Ithaca.  I wouldn’t bet on the Bombers to lose, since RPI has looked nothing like the quarterfinalist it was last season. But no team has a bigger trap game, with a 42,000+ rivalry game crowd and potential play-in looming.
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Ryan’s take: Hanover. Rose-Hulman is 6-2, with a lot of similar scores against common opponents. It’ll be a very tough matchup for the Panthers ahead of the Victory Bell game against Franklin.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Rowan, with a loss on the grass at CNU before their big game with rival TCNJ next week.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Hampden-Sydney. The Tigers stumble to a shocking 1-8 start before The Game. The worst season in program history since 1999 could still be salvaged in Week 11 against rival Randolph-Macon.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: RPI (vs. No. 17 Ithaca). After RPI came and eked out a one-point win at Ithaca last year, an improved Bombers team is going to get revenge on RPI’s home turf this year.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: Ohio Wesleyan. Double dipping in the NCAC here, but Denison has looked fantastic this season outside of their trip to Wabash. The Battling Bishops may have a rough time on Saturday ahead of their Week 11 battle for Ye Olde Skull at Wittenberg.

Which unranked team clinches a bid to the tournament?

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Keith’s take: Randolph-Macon.  (drops mic, struts out of room)
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Ryan’s take: Framingham State. This is absolutely no gimme, however, going up against MASCAC No. 2 Bridgewater State, Framingham does have all the pieces in place to clinch.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Hanover. And if they don’t, I blame the next guy on the list.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: SUNY-Maritime. Although it comes with an asterisk, it’s still an impressive debut for rookie head coach Mickey Rehring.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Framingham St. (vs. Bridgewater St.). The Rams are always tough at home, and the MASCAC is up for grabs in this game — FSU wins it with a win; BSU can’t win it until next week if the Bears win.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: Hanover. I couldn’t have been more wrong about the Panthers last week, so I’m bringing them back and picking them here to win at RHIT and punch their ticket to a second consecutive NCAA tournament.

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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Quick Hits Week 6: Where the rubber meets the road

Week 6 features key games at the top of the MIAC, NJAC, PAC, SAA, and SCIAC. Not every team is playing for control of their league, and our panel also takes a look at teams likely to get their seasons jump started as the season moves into the second half.

Our regular crew is Keith McMillan, Ryan Tipps, Pat Coleman, Adam Turer, Frank Rossi and Greg Thomas.

— Greg Thomas

Which game is the Game of the Week?

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Keith’s take: No. 12 Wesley at No. 14 Salisbury.  There are MIAC, WIAC, SCIAC and SAA games that could fit here, but the Route 13 Rivalry winner will have a second victory against a playoff-caliber team and a clear path to the NJAC title and playoffs.
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Ryan’s take: No. 12 Wesley at No. 14 Salisbury. Two undefeated rivals sharing the top spot in the conference — made even more interesting by the NJAC being down this year and no guarantee the loser will make the playoffs with one loss.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 6 Bethel at No. 4 St. John’s.  Next question.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 12 Wesley at No. 14 Salisbury. The Wolverines have reversed their fortunes from 2018 and found ways to win close games. The Sea Gulls have struggled to put opponents away late but have hung on to remain unbeaten. This should be a nail-biter with the winner holding the inside track on the NJAC championship.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 12 Wesley at No. 14 Salisbury. One will be in a great NJAC race position. One will need to start counting Pool C bids and hope to win out.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 6 Bethel at No. 4 St. John’s.  Several good games on the docket this week, but 4 vs. 6 is a rare bird, indeed. The first of three titanic MIAC games this season, and the weather will give this one the late season feel it deserves.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 8 Berry.  Not that I think the Vikings aren’t favorites at home, but there’s not as much distance between them and unranked, unbeaten Hendrix as the poll might suggest.
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Ryan’s take: No. 25 Case Western Reserve. Though, admittedly, I’ve got W&J ranked on my ballot and not Case, so I wouldn’t see a Presidents’ win as being all that much of an upset.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: None.  With six ranked teams playing each other, not so many teams left in upsettable positions.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 25 Case Western Reserve. Either the Spartans create separation and set themselves up for a title tilt at Carnegie Mellon in Week 11, or the Presidents prevail and create some #PACtion chaos. A W&J win could create a five-way tie atop the conference standings.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 25 Case Western Reserve (vs. Washington & Jefferson). The merry-go-round in the PAC continues as W&J needs this win to stay alive.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 15 Redlands.  The Bulldogs are on the road at a sneaky good Chapman squad that might be flying a bit under the radar. This is a dangerous game for Redlands.

Which ECFC teams get their first wins?

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Keith’s take: Castleton. The six ECFC teams are 2-22, but only the Gallaudet-Castleton winner is guaranteed a W. Vermont is a long way from D.C., and I’ll take the Spartans at home, and that’s it.
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Ryan’s take: Castleton and Dean.  The Spartans can lean on their dual-strength offense against Gallaudet, and it shouldn’t be overlooked that Dean’s Terrell Watts is the conference’s best quarterback.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Anna Maria.  I think the AMCATs are a little further ahead in their program building than Alfred State is.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Castleton and Dean. The Spartans’ defense has kept them in close games this season and the offense should be able to do enough to defeat Gallaudet. The Bulldogs’ defense has been a weakness, but so has SUNY-Maritime’s offense. The defenses hang on for wins this week.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Castleton.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: Castleton. The wait for win number one goes on for another week for Gallaudet, Dean, and Anna Maria.

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

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Keith’s take: Occidental at Whittier.  The Tigers haven’t beaten an NCAA team since defeating the Poets 56-38 on Oct. 29, 2016, but it could happen here in 2019.
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Ryan’s take: Bowdoin at Amherst.  Last week’s narrow loss to NESCAC top dog Wesleyan puts winless Bowdoin’s outing against Amherst on my upset radar.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Brevard at Methodist.  The Tornadoes aren’t playoff-eligible yet but are unbeaten and interesting.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Heidelberg at Marietta. The middle of the OAC is crowded, with both of these teams coming off their first loss of the season. How will they respond, knowing that playoff berths are likely already out of reach with the toughest part of the conference schedule still ahead of them?
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Misericordia at Widener. I explain why in this week’s ATN Friday Podcast.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: St. Vincent at Thiel. This might be the one. It’s been a long time since Thiel has been able to Taste the Feeling of victory.

Which team with a tough first half starts the second half of the season on a positive note?

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Keith’s take: Lycoming is one point from being winless, but should start the second half off with a win over Alvernia, which hasn’t scored more than 13 in a game since Sept. 14.
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Ryan’s take: George Fox.  I did think the Bruins would be better-positioned at this point, but while the defense has largely been solid, the offense is only now starting to click. That fact alone can help turn things around.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Husson.  The Eagles are just 1-3 so far but Curry has to travel to Maine to play them.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Rowan. The Profs have played as well as any 0-4 team in the nation. Their opponents are a combined 13-4. Rowan’s last two losses were on the road to then-ranked opponents by a combined total of four points. The Profs take their frustration out on Kean in front of a home crowd this week.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Rowan (vs. Kean). Give them this much: the Profs schedule a rough beginning set of opponents. This should be their first win.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: Christopher Newport. This has just not gone the way the Captains thought it would. They should break a long touchdown drought and get one in the win column this weekend.

Which team with a strong first half starts the second half on a negative note?

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Keith’s take: Chapman  begins the middle third of its season with its first loss when Elias Hackney and Redlands take care of business.
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Ryan’s take: Westminster (Pa.).  The Titans’ four wins so far have come at the expense of teams that are a combined 2-16. Upcoming battles against Grove City (this week), W&J and Carnegie Mellon will prove difficult.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Puget Sound. Linfield’s struggles don’t go as far as losing this game.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Central. The Dutch are off to an impressive 4-0 start, but the schedule is heavily backloaded. Central closes the season against the other top three teams in the ARC (at Simpson, Wartburg, at Coe), but can’t get caught looking past a battle-tested 2-3 Dubuque squad this week.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Hobart (vs. RPI). The Statesmen failed to kick in the Union game, and RPI has bounced well since the 6-3 loss vs. WPI.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 12 Wesley. The Wolverines have been walking a tightrope for a few weeks now and I think their Route 13 rivals are going to deal the Wolverines their first loss of the season.

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.