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Quick Hits: Coming down to the wire

Conference races are coming down to the wire, and some of those key matchups come this week. That includes the game for bragging rights between our founding Around the Nation columnist (Keith McMillan, former defensive back at Randolph-Macon) and our current columnist (Adam Turer, former defensive back at Washington & Lee). Our guest prognosticator this week is Doug Rothschild, a Wheaton football alum who played for coach Swider and is currently the color analyst for Wheaton’s broadcasts.

— Pat Coleman

Which Week 9 game is the must-watch game?

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Keith’s take: There are two. Rowan at Frostburg and Salisbury at CNU. If the Profs and Captains win, Wesley could be atop the heap of five NJAC 6-2 teams.
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Ryan’s take: Middlebury at Trinity (Conn.). Because sometimes, you don’t have to be Top 25 teams to bring an awesome performance to the field.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Ithaca at St. John Fisher. I hear faint echoes of cries about bounced interceptions but just looking for an exciting game.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Case Western Reserve at Washington U., in a rare late-season non-conference game with playoff implications for both teams.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Brockport at No. 15 Alfred. This has national appeal as E8 is one of few East conferences with Pool C still in play. A Brockport win could undermine that.
Doug Rothschild
Doug’s take: Rowan at Frostburg. I am a sucker for good defense and these teams are 1-2 in the NJAC in scoring defense. Frostburg is 11th in D-III in defense behind Niles Scott and Will Sewell, who spend a lot of time in other team’s backfields.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 15 Alfred. The Saxons’ opponent, 5-2 Brockport, is two scores from being unbeaten and has played five one-score games.
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Ryan’s take: No. 24 St. John Fisher. Week in and week out, the Empire keeps striking back at one another.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 25 Case Western Reserve. In all honesty, this wouldn’t be much of an upset, either.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 19 Salisbury at Christopher Newport, because the NJAC is as balanced as ever this year.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 15 Alfred. It’s the time of year when leaves change, pumpkins are carved, and the E8 cannibalizes itself out of strong Pool C contention.
Doug Rothschild
Doug’s take: No. 25 Case Western Reserve. Easy come, easy go. They just appeared in the poll last week and a road trip to 6-1 WashU will be their stiffest test of the season.

Of the three NCAC teams ranked 20-23, which one makes the biggest statement to Top 25 voters?

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Keith’s take: Denison winning at DePauw would be more impressive than anything Wabash or Wittenberg could accomplish on Saturday. It’s not a lock to happen though.
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Ryan’s take: Wabash, with a win over upward-trending OWU. Still, I have exactly zero NCAC teams on my ballot, so they’re all needing to prove themselves to me.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Denison. The question, however, is whether it’s a positive statement made by the Big Red.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Denison winning at DePauw would be the biggest statement. Wittenberg is expected to win, and I expect Wabash to struggle against a hot Ohio Wesleyan squad.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Wabash (vs. Ohio Wesleyan). After a scare vs. Wooster, Wabash needs a statement win. They’ll start this game like a cannonball to win big.
Doug Rothschild
Doug’s take: Wabash. A convincing win @OWU tells Denison they are ready for next week’s showdown, shows their Monon rival how to do what they haven’t done in 4 seasons and keeps Pool C hopes alive.

Who wins the Around the Nation Classic between Keith McMillan’s and Adam Turer’s alma mater?

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Keith’s take: I’m obligated to pick the Yellow Jackets, but there’s solid logic. The past three games have been decided by 6, 4 and 3, and none of those R-MC teams had a D as good as this one.
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Ryan’s take: The nod goes to Washington & Lee. With the slate Randolph-Macon has coming up, it’s easy to get caught looking ahead.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Washington & Lee. Something in me just wants to recognize the team that scheduled Johns Hopkins, and that’s no longer Randolph-Macon.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: The mighty Generals take the hill.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Newspaper ink companies. A lot of letters & symbols for one game. (I’ll pick RMC, but Turer can gloat during our Stagg pregame show if I’m wrong.).
Doug Rothschild
Doug’s take: Randolph-Macon. While I may not be siding as much with Keith as my fellow Wheaton alum Pedro Arruza, Keith is the benefactor this week as his RM brothers have the No, 1 defense in the ODAC and defense wins championships.

Which team bounces back after a tough loss?

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Keith’s take: Hardin-Simmons. The foe is 1-6 Belhaven, which has given up 52 or more points in six straight games.
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Ryan’s take: Texas Lutheran, after losing its first-ever SCAC game. The Bulldogs beat Trinity (Texas) once already this year; don’t be surprised to see them with new fire to do it again.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: UW-Platteville. After the Pioneers have run the gantlet here over the past few weeks, a trip to UW-Stout should be a little easier to take. As long as they don’t take it too easy.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Franklin can stay in the HCAC mix and keep its playoff streak alive by winning at Mount St. Joseph.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Franklin. An extremely inconsistent ship needs to be righted immediately vs. Mount St. Joseph if the Griz have any hopes of playoffs.
Doug Rothschild
Doug’s take: Franklin lost its first conference game in 3 years last week. Mount St. Joseph might be on a roll but Mike Leonard’s teams have lost two conference games in a season just once since 2005. Grizzlies roll.

Pick an under-the-radar 1-loss team which will pick up its second loss Saturday.

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Keith’s take: Wash U. is surprisingly 6-1, and 7-0 Case Western Reserve needs this win to bolster its credentials because 9-1 against its schedule might not get it in the playoffs..
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Ryan’s take: Washington University, as it goes against undefeated former UAA foe Case.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Bluffton. Rose-Hulman has to have its eyes on the HCAC automatic bid and shouldn’t be subject to a letdown after beating Franklin.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Tufts is an under-the-radar 4-1, but has to travel to an angry Amherst team that just got blanked by Wesleyan. The nicknameless home team wins.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Olivet. What’s lost from the AMAZING “Play of the Week” throw: the Comets struggled vs. a middling Benedictine team. Alma wins Saturday.
Doug Rothschild
Doug’s take: Pomona-Pitzer. The SCIAC is likely decided this week as two 1-loss teams play when 5-1 Redlands visits 5-1 Pomona-Pitzer. I give the edge to Redlands despite being on the road so Pomona-Pitzer picks up loss No 2.

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.

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ATN Podcast: A great week in Division III!

We had a game with 17,000-plus fans, a top five team save its bacon in the final seconds, and just a ton of great finishes all around the nation this week. In fact, it’s pretty clear we can consider this the best week so far of the Division III football season. So Pat and Keith take some time to go through all of it — not just Whitewater-Oshkosh, but as many of those great finishes as we can find. But Keith starts this podcast on the sidelines after getting flagged for premature tweeting …

The Around the Nation Podcast is a weekly conversation between Pat Coleman and Keith McMillan covering the wide range of Division III football. It drops on Monday morning weekly throughout the season.

Hit play, or subscribe to get this podcast on your mobile device. 
Photo by Daryl Tessmann, d3photography.com
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 Week 6: Welcome to hump week

We’re right at the midpoint of the Division III football regular season. Or, if you’re Mount Union, you’re about done warming up. Five weeks before this one and five weeks after, and yes, then a five-week playoff, which some of the teams we mention this week will qualify for. (Perhaps UW-Oshkosh, with quarterback Brett Kasper above, photo by Steve Frommell, d3photography.com) This week’s guest is former Linfield defensive end Ryan Carlson, who runs Catdomealumni.com and does all the great video highlights from Linfield games.

— Pat Coleman

Which game is the game this week?

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Keith’s take: No. 5 UW-Oshkosh at No. 2 UW-Whitewater. Two top-five teams and potentially key to a WIAC three-way tie.
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Ryan’s take: No. 5 UW-Oshkosh at No. 2 UW-Whitewater. UW-W’s season is a bit front-loaded.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 5 UW-Oshkosh at No. 2 UW-Whitewater. That’s why I’m going. Next question.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 5 UW-Oshkosh at No. 2 UW-Whitewater. The Titans and Warhawks have split their past four meetings. This one is a toss up.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 13 Salisbury at Rowan. No. 2 vs. No. 5 has two teams in the playoffs, win or lose. This game, though, could control an entire region’s Pool C hopes.
Ryan Carlson
Ryan C’s take: Someone will get cute and NOT say Oshkosh at Whitewater but that’s like one of those stuffy baseball writers who didn’t vote for Ken Griffey Jr. as a first ballot Hall of Famer. Of course, it’s Oshkosh at Whitewater.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 12 Hardin-Simmons (at Louisiana College). Each team is scoring about 47 points per game.
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Ryan’s take: No. 12 Hardin-Simmons, especially if they’re plagued by another tight first half.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 14 St. John Fisher. Morrisville State is 0-4, but against four quality opponents. So, could happen.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 22 Hobart. RPI has a chance, two weeks after losing by six to No. 21 St. Lawrence. There’s no dominant team in the Liberty League this year.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 22. Hobart has yet to play four quarters of football the way the Statesmen should. RPI has been their spoiler before and looks to do it again at home.
Ryan Carlson
Ryan C’s take: No. 13 Salisbury. The Sea Gulls have been on a roll in 2016 but they’re good to drop a few games a year and this matchup against Rowan is one of them.

It’s hump week in D-III: Who serves notice that they’re going to turn things around?

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Keith’s take: Ohio Northern. Polar Bears, already playing their fourth road game, finally play to their preseason expectations at 3-1 Capital.
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Ryan’s take: Albion. Winless in October is an unenviable place to be.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Lycoming. Taking out frustrations at FDU-Florham. (Ignoring failure to do so at Misericordia.)
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Whichever SCAC team off to a very disappointing start wins the Trinity, Texas (2-2) at Texas Lutheran (0-4) game.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Cortland (vs. Buffalo State). The defending E8 champs struggled to beat Hartwick’s marginal defense last week but finally seize momentum.
Ryan Carlson
Ryan C’s take: Whitworth. They dropped that tight game vs Central and struggled to put away La Verne and George Fox. This week they tighten it up to set up the Linfield showdown.

Pick an upset winner in a conference ATN ranked in the 20s.

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Keith’s take: Norwich, surprisingly 0-4, wins at 2-2 Becker by getting struggling offense on track in the No. 27 ECFC.
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Ryan’s take: Western Connecticut over Mass. Maritime, two teams on opposite ends of the No. 23 MASCAC.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: RIpon over Lake Forest. This is in the No. 21 Midwest Conference.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: From the No. 25 NACC: Concordia (Wis.) knocks off Benedictine at home this week.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Western Connecticut nearly beat other co-leader Bridgewater State last week. The Colonials haven’t maximized their offensive weapons.
Ryan Carlson
Ryan C’s take: Occidental over CMS. CMS is flirting with the Top 25 while a Caltech ultimate frisbee team could put up 30 on Oxy. But Oxy and CMS have played tight game after tight game and the Tigers might just have it in them.

What’s your over-under on the Guilford/Hampden-Sydney game?

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Keith’s take: 56. Guilford 42-14?
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Ryan’s take: 68.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: 49.5. Still grass at Hampden-Sydney, right? That should be fun.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: 54.5. The Quakers have so far had little trouble reloading at QB and WR. Now, they must replace their RB, as De’Eric Bell is lost with a knee injury.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: 33. With rain in the forecast, I see this traditional track meet slowing down a bit. That said, I missed the last Over/Under by about 90 points.
Ryan Carlson
Ryan C’s take: 43.5.

Pretend you have all day Saturday to watch four D-III games in sequence, live. Which four?

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Keith’s take: Alfred State/Dean or Finlandia/Trinity Bible in the 12-2 window, then Oshkosh/Whitewater … just for the contrast. Hardin-Simmons at LC at 7, then Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at Oxy.
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Ryan’s take: DePauw/Wittenberg, Brockport/Utica, Trinity/Texas Lutheran, Pomona-Pitzer/Cal Lutheran.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Springfield at Union. Since the triple-option game is fast, I sneak in UWO/UWW before Puget Sound-Whitworth, the Belhaven-Sul Ross track meet and Chapman-Whittier, since I’ll need to multi-task.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: I’m heading to DePauw at Wittenberg, then Pacific Lutheran at Willamette, Hardin-Simmons at Louisiana College and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at Occidental.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 22 Hobart at RPI, Brockport at Utica, No. 12 Hardin-Simmons at Louisiana College, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at Occidental.
Ryan Carlson
Ryan C’s take: Oshkosh at Whitewater, Linfield at Pacific, Hardin-Simmons at Louisiana College, CMS at Occidental (and hit In-and-Out afterwards).

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.