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Around the Nation Podcast 208: Going for 2

We love a gutsy call. Sure, our job isn’t being put on the line when a coach makes the decision to go for two at the end of a key game, but this is Division III — the coach’s job isn’t really on the line on one play call. We love a little gamble, especially when it pays off. Whether you call a Philly Special (or something that looks similar but fools the broadcaster) or something else, rolling the dice and getting it makes for a great highlight. So, for Marietta and Simpson, which chose to go for two, or Wittenberg, which had no choice, it was a big Week 5, and Pat and Keith honor that by going for two with the D3football.com Around the Nation Podcast.

Plus, the Little Brass Bell went back home with the team it came with, nobody was trapping Mary Hardin-Baylor or Hardin-Simmons, UW-Whitewater wore UW-La Crosse out and just maybe The Streak is in play this year. Teams mentioned: Denison, Wittenberg, Simpson, Wartburg, Marietta, Ohio Northern, Wheaton, North Central, Hardin-Simmons, Mary Hardin-Baylor, UW-La Crosse, UW-Whitewater, Linfield, Whitworth, Muhlenberg, Franklin & Marshall, St. Thomas, Concordia-Moorhead, Case Western Reserve, Illinois Wesleyan, Susquehanna, Dickinson, Greenville, Westminster (Mo.), Dubuque, Loras, Wisconsin Lutheran, Rockford, Methodist, Huntingdon, Wesley, Southern Virginia, Martin Luther, St. Scholastica, Brockport, St. John Fisher, Worcester State, Fitchburg State, Louisiana College, Sul Ross State, Millsaps, Husson, SUNY-Maritime, FDU-Florham, Misericordia, Dean, Finlandia, Olivet, Moravian, Gettysburg.

That and more on the 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

Photo: Video frame grab of Simpson’s two-point conversion to win the game. Note that this frame isn’t intended to try to show whether he got a foot down inbounds, but to show that the line judge is in a better position to make the call than any of us are.

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).

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Quick Hits Week 3: Please stay

It’s been such a long week in Division III football, but game day is finally here. (Apologies to Guilford, Catholic and Randolph-Macon.) Our regular crew for picking games 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 broadcaster and longtime friend of the site John McGraw, who is broadcasting Hamilton football this weekend.

— Pat Coleman

Photo: Defensive lineman Mike Williams for W&J, by Martin Santek Photography

Which game is the Week 3 game of the week?

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Keith’s take: Redlands at No. 11 Linfield. The Bulldogs’ second trip to the Pacific NW could prevent a third in the postseason.
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Ryan’s take: No. 12 Wheaton at Illinois Wesleyan. Last year, IWU’s win shook up the conference race — and perceptions — big time.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Carnegie Mellon at No. 15 W&J. Lots of quality games this week — I like that this is the first solid test for each of these teams.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 18 Berry at Rhodes. The SAA has impressed in non-conference play and the Lynx could serve notice that this race is wide open.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Redlands at No. 11 Linfield. Was Linfield’s loss to a middling NAIA team a fluke, or are the Wildcats taking a step backward? Playing 2-0 Redlands could help answer this.
Guest
John’s take: No. 12 Wheaton at Illinois Wesleyan.Two of the preseason favorites in the CCIW not named North Central go head-to-head under the lights.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 6 Frostburg seems upset that its home game vs. CNU is canceled. (And Rhodes could beat No. 18 Berry).
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Ryan’s take: No. 6 Frostburg State. They, along with CNU, are “upset” that they won’t be playing on Saturday.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 21 RPI. Going to take a flier here vs. Utica. If nothing else, really think Ithaca should be ranked from LL, not RPI.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 18 Berry. Rhodes dual-threat quarterback PJ Settles has accounted for 524 yards through two games while the Lynx defense has held opponents to 448 yards.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 25 Springfield. The teams have split their last ten matchups with five wins apiece. Union’s air attack looks legit, so it’s a real test for the Pride on both sides of the ball.
Guest
John’s take: No. 16 UW-Platteville. Started slow in week 1 against ETBU. Another slow start could doom them against TMC.

Pick a home team to win a NESCAC game.

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Keith’s take: Wesleyan. Hosting Middlebury, the Cardinals are the only team Kickoff ’18 picked to finish top half of NESCAC that’s home.
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Ryan’s take: Hamilton. Even if I’m wrong, with the starters returning for both Hamilton and Tufts, this should be a good one.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Hamilton. Wesleyan is the “easy pick” but I am taking a flier on Dave Murray moving the needle in his fifth year in charge.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Wesleyan. The Cardinals’ fourth quarter rally came up short at Middlebury last year. The home team gets revenge to open the 2018 season.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Wesleyan. The home team won last year, 30-27. Flip the script for Wesleyan’s hosting duties this year.
Guest
John’s take: Hamilton. While Tufts has one of the stronger offenses in the NESCAC behind dual-threat QB Ryan McDonald, the Jumbos have holes to fill on defense.

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

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Keith’s take: Maine Maritime at Mass. Maritime. The 46th Admiral’s Cup features teams that lost openers by four scores (or, by 28 and 30).
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Ryan’s take: Muhlenberg at Susquehanna. The River Hawks are the newest entries on my ballot, and this is another stiff test.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: McMurry at Howard Payne. Teams have lost by a combined score of 116-9 so far and interested to see them face more even matches.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Southwestern at East Texas Baptist. Y’all like offense? These offenses have collectively averaged 41 points per game. Expect a speedy back-and-forth shootout.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Merchant Marine at SUNY-Maritime. The Privateers have won by an average of 29 points, but this is a rivalry game.  And USMMA coach Mike Toop won the Internet leading up to it.
Guest
John’s take: Ithaca at Alfred. Ithaca held Brockport to 13 and came within one score of the Golden Eagles last weekend after rolling past St. Vincent in its opener. How good are the Bombers?

Predict a final score in the Willamette-Occidental game.

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Keith’s take: 45-21, Willamette.
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Ryan’s take: 42-7, Willamette.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: 41-12, Willamette.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: 34-13, Willamette.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: 31-24, Occidental.
You heard it here first.
Guest
John’s take: 24-10, Willamette.

The sixth question is intentionally left blank in memory of Evan Hansen.

Guest
If you need help ...
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Call 1-800-273-8255.
Guest
Tweet .
Guest
: Text HOME to 741741.
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1-866-488-7386.
Guest
Please stay

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: 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 D3hoops.com. 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?

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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.
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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
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?

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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.
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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
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?

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Keith’s take: No. 18 Frostburg State. William Paterson has just three touchdowns in five games and field the nation’s least-successful offense.
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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
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?

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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.
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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
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?

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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.
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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
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.

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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.
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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
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.