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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.

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Quick Hits: Don’t go 0-2

Some teams can’t go 0-2 because they won last week and some can’t because they didn’t play. But either way, you don’t want to be 0-2 after Week 2. Who will be? Our guest this week is Greg Thomas, a Wabash grad known as Wally Wabash on our message boards and who has been part of our bracketology team. Since we already have a Wabash grad on the panel (Ryan Tipps), we figured we’d better bring Greg in during Wabash’s bye week.

— Pat Coleman

Where in Division III would you prefer to be this weekend?

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Keith’s take: At Coast Guard, watching the Secretaries’ Cup game. It’ll be 78 in New London, Conn., on Saturday.
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Ryan’s take: The Stevenson/Albright game, two teams that may be going different directions in this pollster’s eyes.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Hotchkiss Field. That’s Gallaudet’s home field, to see Earlham and Gallaudet on a level playing field.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Shirk Stadium, for Stevenson at Albright #MACtion.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: At my computer. I can watch Stevenson/Albright in the AM, Alfred/RPI, and the Secretaries’ Cup with the A/C on.
Guest
Greg’s take: New London, Conn. Seeing a rivalry game between service academies is a bucket list item.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 18 Ohio Northern. I’d say they and every other Top 25 aren’t likely to lose but Utica has a shot at home.
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Ryan’s take: None, a pick I try to make only once a season.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 17 Wesley. Pardon me if I’m piling on here a little but now I’m selling on Wesley for the moment.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 21 Huntingdon, vs. Birmingham-Southern.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 18 Ohio Northern. Utica has a game played, ONU does not, and I’m not sold on ONU’s poll strength.
Guest
Greg’s take: No. 16 Cortland. Framingham State is due to get a big win over an E8 contender.

Which team is going to wish it had played in Week 1?

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Keith’s take: Chapman. Playing Linfield is hard enough without it being a road season opener.
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Ryan’s take: Massachusetts Maritime, as its rival already has a game under its belt.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Merchant Marine. The Secretaries’ Cup is just the biggest game of the year. Coast Guard played last week.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Chapman. A chance to tune up before Linfield would probably have been helpful.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Rochester. With just a 75-man roster in camp, on-field experience is at a premium against a Catholic team that rallied for a Week 1 OT win.
Guest
Greg’s take: Wartburg. Monmouth can run away and hide if there is too much first-game rust on the Knights’ armor.

Which conference game will we be most likely to remember on Selection Sunday?

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Keith’s take: Stevenson at Albright, in the MAC.
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Ryan’s take: Frostburg State at Wesley, this one will get people’s blood pumping.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Stevenson at Albright. Who wrote this question? Not enough choices. Oh wait, I did …
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Franklin and Marshall at Muhlenberg. Recent history shows that this is a playoff elimination game, even this early.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Stevenson at Albright. The loser may be in the discussion for a Pool C bid in an interesting MAC race.
Guest
Greg’s take: Frostburg State at Wesley. With the Pool C safety net perhaps gone, every NJAC game is a big deal for Wesley.

Which game involving a non-Division III school should I care about?

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Keith’s take: I had to look this up, but NAIA No. 18 St. Francis — not No. 4 — at No. 10 UW-Platteville.
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Ryan’s take: Franklin at Butler, mostly because we care not to see any Griz players get hurt ahead of conference play.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Brevard at Emory & Henry. You can’t make me care about too many non-Division III teams but Brevard is moving to D-III starting next year.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: St. Francis (Ill.) at UW-Platteville.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Franklin at Butler. If Franklin loses the HCAC for some reason, this result could actually matter for Pool C purposes.
Guest
Greg’s take: Franklin at Butler. Interested to see how they back up the Thomas More win and after this the Grizzlies are in the weeds until November.

Which team starts a surprising 0-2?

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Keith’s take: Texas Lutheran, which follows up the ETBU defeat with a UMHB L.
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Ryan’s take: St. Norbert, but that means Benedictine will have to play tough to make this come true.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Pacific. With both Adrian and Dubuque coming to town the first two weeks, you’d have thought one win …
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Hampden-Sydney.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Probably none is a surprise. If forced, I’d say Thomas More may be flat after last week’s late loss.
Guest
Greg’s take: Texas Lutheran. Maybe less surprised at 0-2 than I am at the Bulldogs getting there via a pair of lopsided games.

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: Two results throw it wide open

Wesley and Hardin-Simmons could have made it easy on the committee and on all the bracketologists in Division III who are trying to figure out where they’ll go in the playoffs. Instead, Salisbury upset the Wolverines and East Texas Baptist knocked off the Cowboys. What are the ramifications? What do the at-large bids look like now? (A hint, they look awesome.) Plus, which are the teams on the rise in the playoff hunt? What key highlights happened below the radar? Pat and Keith answer those questions, plus hand out their game balls, on this week’s Around the Nation Podcast.

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. 
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