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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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Quick Hits Week 2: Titanic games on tap

This week we’ve got our eyes on two big games featuring midwestern Titans, plenty of contests with titanic travel, a throwback Texas showdown, and a huge game between East region powers.

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

— Greg Thomas
Photo by Steve Frommell, d3photography.com

Which game is the Game of the Week?

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Keith’s take: No. 22 Wesley at No. 13 Delaware Valley. Even though I get all googly-eyed when Linfield and UW-Oshkosh visit the East Coast, I got assigned Wesley-Del Val for the podcast, and it holds up as GOTW.
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Ryan’s take: No. 14 Illinois Wesleyan at No. 23 UW-La Crosse. The Eagles are certainly happy to already have a game under their belt, but I’m not sure they have to tools to slow IWU’s skilled returning offense.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 14 Illinois Wesleyan at No. 23 UW-La Crosse. Losing this game last year derailed IWU’s postseason hopes, while UWL can solidify contender status with another W.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 22 Wesley at No. 13 Delaware Valley. The Wolverines are back in the Top 25. Now, they have a chance to show that they are back in contention as one of the top programs in the nation.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 22 Wesley at No. 13 Delaware Valley. With Brockport’s loss, and with RPI facing a strong WPI team this week, the winner of this game could be considered the front runner of the East Region.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 14 Illinois Wesleyan at No. 23 UW-La Crosse. The Eagles upset the Titans last year, a loss that ultimately cost IWU a spot in the playoffs. There is little reason to believe that the stakes won’t be similar this time around.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 21 Wabash. Susquehanna beat No. 7 Johns Hopkins last year, which takes a savvy pick out of the “upset” category. The Little Giants could struggle against UW-Stevens Point though.
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Ryan’s take: No. 7 Johns Hopkins. It happened last year against Susquehanna, and the River Hawks already have debuted strong this season. (Apologies for the earlier typo, River Hawks!!)
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 9 Hardin-Simmons. The game with Trinity (Texas) last year was a two-point game until the final 60 seconds and Trinity looks to be just as strong, if not better than 2018.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 9 Hardin-Simmons. The Cowboys haven’t lost a non-conference regular season game since 2014. Trinity (Texas) is a program on the rise and gave the Cowboys a battle last season. This would be Jerheme Urban’s signature win as head coach of his alma mater.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 19 RPI (at WPI). Yes, Coach Isernia, I’ll bring the thumbtacks for your bulletin board. WPI’s record-sized senior class wants a signature win to go out on; this could be it.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 9 Hardin-Simmons. A lot has to go right for Trinity to pull this off, but Jerheme Urban has been steadily building his alma mater back into a player in the South region. Knocking off the Cowboys would be the perfect springboard into SAA play.

Which team debuting this week will most wish they played in Week 1?

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Keith’s take: No. 14 Illinois Wesleyan. While this week’s opponent, No. 23 UW-La Crosse, was busy battling it out with Concordia-Moorhead, the Titans were doing who knows what.
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Ryan’s take: No. 21 Wabash. The Little Giants will need its veteran defense to really shine to help avoid the tension of last year’s narrow contest against UW-Stevens Point.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 21 Wabash. UW-Stevens Point had a quality first-week performance in a loss at No. 17 John Carroll, so the Pointers will definitely have a leg up on the Little Giants.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: DePauw. The Tigers are eager to wash away a disappointing 4-6 season marked by narrow defeats. Traveling to face a 1-0 Central team is their first chance to avenge one of those losses, but it won’t be easy.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Massachusetts Maritime. SUNY-Maritime won in a huge late comeback last week, giving the Privateers important momentum heading into this rivalry game.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 21 Wabash. The Little Giants have a tricky road trip up to UW-Stevens Point this week. The Pointers pushed Wabash in Crawfordsville last year without the benefit of one game head start.

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

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Keith’s take: Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at Northwestern (Minn.). The Stags lost in Washington last week, but hit the road again, and should bring back a W this time.
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Ryan’s take: Hampden-Sydney at Christopher Newport. Two Virginia teams (and past state powers) that faltered in Week 1 are sure to be looking for the right footing this time around.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Catholic at Georgetown. The last time these teams played, I was a senior in college and a pretty crappy broadcaster to boot. I won’t be there on Saturday, and neither will be TE Jim Opfinger, who had a huge game against the Hoyas.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Rose-Hulman at Rhodes. It’s the Fightin’ Engineers’ only non-conference game against a team without a national championship pedigree and realistic 2019 Stagg Bowl aspirations.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Montclair State at Salve Regina. Both teams were surprise losers in Week 1. They both need momentum before conference plays begins. This could be a close game.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: Aurora at Elmhurst. In this game featuring two first year head coaches, I want to see if last week’s points avalanche is going to be the norm for Don Beebe’s squad or if Jeff McDonald’s Blue Jays can slow them down.

Which team will be a surprising 0-2?

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Keith’s take: Bridgewater State. The Bears might still be contenders once MASCAC play begins, but they got roughed up by the Empire 8’s Morrisville State last weekend and go to St. John Fisher.
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Ryan’s take: George Fox. The Bruins came out flat last week — slow to score and stuggling to step up on defense. Against a team like Alfred that shut out its first opponent, that kind of play spells trouble.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Bridgewater State. The Bears have had some wild swings in won-lost record in recent seasons and with a 32-point loss to Morrisville State in Week 1, it might sound reasonable to expect a loss at St. John Fisher on Saturday..
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Misericordia. The Cougars shocked the world with an 8-win campaign in 2018. Losses to McDaniel and Lebanon Valley to start 0-2 would be more in line with the program’s historic struggles.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Framingham State. The Endicott win last week was unexpected, and Brockport needs a rebound. That ends up making the two-time reigning MASCAC champs 0-2.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: Ohio Northern. Muskingum shouldn’t be a big problem for ONU, but the Polar Bears have a lot of things to correct from their Week 1 loss at Denison.

Which region wins the East vs. West games?

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Keith’s take: West. I’ve got Linfield over Rowan, Alfred over George Fox, and UW-Oshkosh edging Salisbury to break the tie.
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Ryan’s take: East gets the majority, with Linfield being the West’s bright spot.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: West: Linfield over Rowan, UW-Oshkosh over Salisbury, but Alfred beats George Fox to avoid the sweep.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: West. Alfred notches a win for the East over George Fox. Linfield evens the score for the West by defeating Rowan. In what should be the marquee Week 2 game between unranked opponents, UW-Oshkosh squeaks past Salisbury.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: East. (Salisbury, Alfred, Linfield).
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: East. I’ll take Linfield to win at Rowan and Alfred to defeat visiting George Fox. Salisbury holds serve at home against UW-Oshkosh to give the East a 2-1 series win.

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 1: Ready, set, go!

Welcome to Quick Hits 2019! If you’ve just discovered us, this is where we get together six Division III writers and observers to give you their takes on where the best games are each week, which ranked teams are on upset alert, and many other rotating categories throughout the season.  Without further delay, here are our first set of Hits for 2019!

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. 18 Wittenberg at No. 21 W&J. There are better teams in action, but no matchup that already has these playoff implications. Its winner files away a potential future win over regionally ranked opponent, and the loser’s Pool C hopes are already shot.
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Ryan’s take: No. 6 Johns Hopkins at No. 24 Randolph Macon. The 2018 postseason Cinderellas: one for its deep run, the other for its epic upset. We’re all eager to see what they bring for 2019.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 18 Wittenberg at No. 21 W&J. At least one of these rankings is wrong, and we’ll know by sundown on Saturday.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 18 Wittenberg at No. 21 Washington and Jefferson. I always get excited for and appreciate Week 1 games that could just as easily be Week 13 or 14 games. Kudos to both teams for taking on the challenge.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 6 Johns Hopkins at No. 24 Randolph Macon. Emotion for Hopkins without Jim Margraff on #d3fb Opening Night in a battle of Top 25 teams – it’ll be a big night.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 18 Wittenberg at No. 21 W&J.  These are the second and third winningest teams all time in Division III with over 1,500 wins between them. The winner has a great chance at banking a regionally ranked win which will come in handy in about 11 weeks.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 13 Brockport. Hobart is tough at home, but this is about seeing how the Golden Eagles replace the seven all-Region players it lost. Is Brockport a reload program?.
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Ryan’s take: No. 19 RPI. Two teams on different trajectories: RPI graduated a huge number of starters, and Allegheny has lots coming back to upset the Engineer apple cart.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 10 Bethel. It would be unethical of me to say more, however.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Aurora defeats No. 25 St. Norbert. Don Beebe’s head coaching debut is a memorable one.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 17 John Carroll (by UW-Stevens Point). Honestly, it’s unlikely we see any upsets, but this is the one I feel least sure about.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 20 Centre. Hanover has 20 starters back from a conference championship team. Centre is going to have a lot of debutantes. Experience can carry the Panthers to a win.

Which team in Kickoff’s bottom 25 will start 2019 with a win?

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Keith’s take: No. 232 Alvernia. This one could go either way and I’d be right, but I think the Golden Wolves win in Washington against No. 235 Gallaudet.
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Ryan’s take: No. 235 Gallaudet. Granted they’re playing a team only three spots removed, yet the Bison have more than half their starters back and won’t fall off as much as some predict.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 235 Gallaudet. The Bison lost in Alvernia’s first-ever football game last fall, but Alvernia still has lots of lineup questions to answer in Year 2.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: The winner of No. 238 Cornell vs No. 248 Iowa Wesleyan. I’ll put my faith in the Rams.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 235 Gallaudet (vs. Alvernia). Assuming the game gets played, the return of senior QB Timel Benton from injury will help the Bison win Game 1.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 240 Kenyon. The Lords are headed to the nation’s capital with a 26-game losing streak, but a whole new energy under new head coach James Rosenbury. Kenyon is going to pay this long road trip off with a win.

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

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Keith’s take: Concordia-Moorhead at UW-La Crosse. These two play insane schedules already, and then lined one another up for a Week 1 doozy.
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Ryan’s take: Southwestern at Sewanee. The Pirates are stacked on defense and have school-record potential this season, while the Tigers don’t struggle the way they used to in games. A very fun opener to watch!.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Buena Vista at Hamline. The Thursday night opener comes to the Twin Cities, so I’ll be there, after work, that is.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Guilford at Huntingdon. The teams combined for 106 points last year in a game that didn’t count. Lightning forced the offensive onslaught to be called a no contest. The rematch could be just as high scoring and will hopefully enter the record books.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 14 Delaware Valley at Kean. What seems like a gimme-game for DelVal could be interesting as they adjust to life without Darden.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: Redlands at George Fox. The Bulldogs begin their NWC gauntlet this week. Head coach Mike Maynard is sitting on 197 career wins and could set up a shot at win number 200 when Redlands hosts Linfield in two weeks.

Which 2018 playoff team starts 2019 on the wrong foot?

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Keith’s take: Hanover, which won the HCAC in Week 11 last season, gets a Week 1 visit from No. 20 Centre this year. :eek emoji:.
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Ryan’s take: No. 21 Washington & Jefferson. This will be a good year for Wittenberg (despite a noticeable gap on offense) as well as a return to the playoffs. W&J has a tough outing to avoid starting 2019 the way it ended in Round 1 of 2018.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 25 St. Norbert (at Aurora). This is another upset possibility, for sure.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Hanover. The Panthers were a surprising 2018 playoff participant and face a tall task against No. 20 Centre. The Colonels needed a fourth quarter rally to eke past the Panthers in last year’s opener, but the offense should come out of the gates hotter in 2019.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: MIT (vs. Carnegie Mellon). The Battle of the Brains could go to CMU as both teams replace graduated QBs.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: Denison. The Big Red are entering the post-Gebele era, while Ohio Northern welcomes back 2017 All-American running back Christiaan Williams. The Polar Bears are going to be a big challenge for a team trying to stay on top of the NCAC.

Who has the most successful head coaching debut?

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Keith’s take: Wes Beschorner at UW-Eau Claire. There could be a ton of points scored when Beschorner, a former offensive star and whiz assistant, gets a visit from Loras.
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Ryan’s take: Mike Barainyak at Widener. The Pride haven’t been in the MAC discussion for several years — now a fresh and positive approach, coupled with lots of veterans returners, will change that against Rowan.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Jason Aubry, Concordia-Chicago. In the battle of new head coaches, taking CUC over Beloit.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Greg Chimera, Johns Hopkins. The aforementioned Beebe isn’t the only rookie head coach with a chance to knock off a ranked opponent. Chimera will lead his alma mater to victory in his debut, knocking off No. 24 Randolph-Macon.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Mike Barainyak (Widener). After the 2018 “Blame Google” debacle, the Pride seniors get their first win against Rowan with more cohesion internally.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: Greg Chimera, Johns Hopkins. Judging against expectations, other first time head coaches are likely to have more impressive wins this weekend.  This first game without Jim Margraff, however, is going to mean just a little bit more to Chimera and the Blue Jay community.

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.