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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 8: Tricks, Treats, and a Top 25 Texas Showdown

This week’s main event features a top 25 showdown in Belton with major ASC and playoff implications. Our panel has thoughts on that one, which other top 25 teams have spooky matchups, and which other games around the country may treat D3 fans.

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

— Greg Thomas
Hardin-Simmons athletics photo
by Scott Burkhalter

Which game is the Game of the Week?

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Keith’s take: No. 15 Hardin-Simmons at No. 1 Mary Hardin-Baylor. No. 15 Hardin-Simmons at No. 1 Mary Hardin-Baylor: Even with some luster off this after the Cowboys’ early-October loss, it’s still matchup of juggernaut offenses.
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Ryan’s take: No. 15 Hardin-Simmons at No. 1 Mary Hardin-Baylor. It was my conference GMOY pick in Kickoff, though the Cowboys’ blemish adds significantly to its playoff stakes.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 15 Hardin-Simmons at No. 1 Mary Hardin-Baylor. If this is a chance UMHB gets upset, it not only upturns the poll, but also the ASC AQ race.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 15 Hardin-Simmons at No. 1 Mary Hardin-Baylor. One of this season’s greatest mysteries lies in Belton. This is the biggest test for the Cru this season, and how they respond will set the tone for the remainder of the 2019 season.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Keith talked me out of picking Ohio Wesleyan at Hiram on the ATN Friday Podcast. So I guess I’ll have to pick No. 15 Hardin-Simmons at No. 1 Mary Hardin-Baylor instead.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: UW-Oshkosh at UW-La Crosse. Probably an at-large eliminator for the loser, while the winner will stay alive in the WIAC and take their swing at Whitewater in November.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 17 Chapman. Mostly because Cal Lutheran is 3-3 with three one-possession losses and can probably keep this one close to the end too.
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Ryan’s take: None. I looked long and hard at several games, but any underdog will really have to catch lighting in a bottle to come away with a W this week. I can’t pull the trigger on any of them.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 19 Cortland. If St. John Fisher could play Ithaca that closely, and Cortland wasn’t able to put Morrisville away until late and was nearly doubled in yardage by Alfred…
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 20 Susquehanna. This feels like the week of “none” but the Centennial has been chock full of upsets this season, and an Ursinus win would also shake up the Pool C picture.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 13 Wesley (vs. Montclair). I explain what’s at stake and how it can happen on today’s Podcast.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 19 Cortland. There were some red flags from the Red Dragons last week where a couple of special teams scored bailed out a rough offensive effort. This week Cortland goes on the road to a St. John Fisher squad that can put up major points.

Which one-loss team has its postseason hopes dashed?

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Keith’s take: Also Hardin-Simmons.  Sorry.
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Ryan’s take: Denison. Last year’s playoff run won’t repeat itself, and I’ve seen how well Witt can play with its back against the wall.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Hardin-Simmons. Even if we have reason to question the UMHB O, the D can get the job done.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Denison. The Big Red, one of four teams tied at the 4-1 logjam atop the NCAC, travel to Wittenberg. The Tigers keep their playoff hopes alive while dashing Denison’s.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Wilkes (at Misericordia). Wilkes ran into a buzzsaw last week but still has a very remote chance for a playoff berth — until Misericordia QB Brady Williams continues to dazzle Saturday.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 15. Hardin-Simmons. The Cowboys have their backs against the wall, but on the road for UMHB’s homecoming is about the worst possible spot to have to play a must win game. The Texas pod gets sorted out before Round 1 this year.

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

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Keith’s take: Texas Lutheran at Sul Ross State. The Bulldogs look to win their sixth straight in the only game that kicks off after 4 ET; the other panelists will be on dates or doing things besides staring into a laptop screen on a Saturday night.
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Ryan’s take: Texas Lutheran at Sul Ross State. While the ASC’s traditional big dogs battle it out this week, TLU has a tough one against a rising SRSU to stay in the playoff hunt.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Transcendental at Rare font-Bud-Ships. Listen to the pod to crack the code.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Bridgewater at Washington and Lee. The Eagles are the most impressive unranked unbeaten, in my opinion. The alma mater could throw a wrench in the ODAC race by unseating the Eagles. I’d be there if I didn’t have other, not so D-III plans on Saturday.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Dean at Gallaudet. If Dean wins, the ECFC AQ would go to a team no better than 4-4 or 6-4 (and potentially worse). It might force the NCAA to re-evaluate football playoff access with so few at-large berths left.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: Mt. St. Joseph at Rose-Hulman. But for a brazen Braden Smith two point conversion in Terre Haute, this would be a game between undefeated HCAC squads. Hanover is still going to have a say in how this league turns out, but the winnowing of contenders starts here.

Which WIAC game will be the closest?

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Keith’s take: UW-Oshkosh at UW-La Crosse. They haven’t looked like the title contenders we expected, but they do look like they’d battle one another tough.
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Ryan’s take: UW-Oshkosh at UW-La Crosse. Hopefully, the Eagles’ defense tightens down after last week.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: UW-River Falls is only 47 miles away, but the Stevens Point-Stout game will have a closer score.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: UW-Oshkosh at UW-La Crosse. The teams have each played three one-score contests this season. The Titans have more riding on this one, while the Eagles try to play spoiler at home. I’ll set the line at UW-Oshkosh -4.5, for entertainment only.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: UW-Oshkosh at UW-La Crosse. I see defenses digging in enough to keep scoring reasonable and close in a game between two strong teams.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: UW-Stevens Point at UW-Stout. Going with recent history here, this series has been decided by seven points or less for six years running.

Pick a team that wears orange and black to win on Halloween week.

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Keith’s take: Lewis and Clark. These guys will make easy picks, but yours truly is leaning on a squad that’s allowed 134 points in its past to games to beat Willamette (which has allowed 136).
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Ryan’s take: Hendrix. For someone like me who’s color blind, even locating a team with those colors is a win.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Hendrix. Austin will be shooting at the walls of heartache.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Ohio Northern. The Polar Bears face winless Capital. The Crusaders have been outscored by an average of 59.7 to 4.5 points per game, the worst margin in all of D-III. That’s scary.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Hendrix (at Austin). I figure the easy choice is ONU over Capital — but when have I ever picked the conventional option? If you don’t believe me, see my Stagg Bowl sideline outfits from the past three years.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: Hendrix. The Warriors have had a tough couple of weeks in the SAA, but get back into the win column this weekend at Austin.

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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ATN Podcast 248: The one with fourth-quarter comebacks

We’ve often said in the course of writing about and covering Division III that you can find everything in Division III. That is definitely true in football, where when you have more than 110 games, there are bound to be interesting and unexpected performances.

For example, Pat and Keith this week bring you multiple games in which teams rallied from fourth-quarter two-touchdown deficits to win. But there are also big games that are not surprises, such as Wheaton and North Central playing another classic, and some that are, such as Texas Lutheran’s unexpected prowess scoring with its defense.

Plus, the most surprising result for one of these two was a game in the MIAA, but not the one you think it is, and we have another classic no-broadcaster Division III highlight where anyone who knows the rules about offside can have a laugh, or shake their head. Plus, find out which Super Bowl head coach performed the ceremonial coin toss at a D-III school, and where, and we definitely invite you to assemble the Around the Nation Podcast drinking game. Or just give us a thumbnail sketch.

This edition of the D3football.com Around the Nation podcast is sponsored by Gotta Have It: 3D Fan Foam Wall Signs for the D-III fan in your life.

Plus, the guys hand out their game balls, find the off-the-beaten-path highlights and more from Week 5.

Pat and Keith talk about it all in the latest 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:

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Theme music: DJmentos. Photo by Union athletics