Quick Hits: Welcome to 2018

Quick Hits returns for the 2018 season! If you’re new to Division III football or, this is our weekly predictions page. We assemble a crew of a half-dozen Division III football writers and observers and give you the best take on what the best games are, which ranked team is most likely to get upset, and a variety of other categories. Six six-packs of opinions ought to cover you!

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 former Thomas More quarterback Kevin Niehus.

— Pat Coleman (Westminster, Pa., athletics photo by Jason Kapusta)

What’s this week’s Game of the Week?

Keith’s take: No. 17 Delaware Valley at No. 9 Wesley. There are lots of tempting matchups, but Del Val at Wesley is the only clash of Top 25 teams, and it should be highly emotional.
Ryan’s take: Delaware Valley at Wesley. More than a Top 25 matchup, it’s a look at the new man at the Wolverines’ helm.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Delaware Valley at Wesley. I’ll be more clever later in the rundown and later in the season, but this one is obvious.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Delaware Valley at Wesley. Getting back on the field should be cathartic for the Wolverines.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Hobart at No. 6 Brockport. A lot of changes for Hobart, a team that has been uncharacteristically quiet. Brockport’s young O-Line could mean a close important matchup.

Kevin’s take: Delaware Valley at Wesley. An emotional first game in Dover between two playoff-level programs.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

Keith’s take: No. 8 Frostburg State, by Stevenson. Couldn’t talk myself into Westminster, UW-Stout, ETBU or Hobart.
Ryan’s take: No. 15 Washington and Jefferson. St. John Fisher is poised to sneak up on some folks after a dismal 2017.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 14 Wittenberg, by Westminster (Pa.). Wittenberg wants this credit for playing this opponent; I’m not penciling in a W.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 19 Johns Hopkins. Randolph-Macon returns a ton of starters. Plus, I had a dream this week that R-MC won this game.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 15 Washington and Jefferson. Fisher wants to rebound, and what better way than at home against a W&J team that might underestimate them.

Kevin’s take: None. The closest game will be W&J at St. John Fisher.

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

Keith’s take: Adrian at Ohio Northern. The Emmanuel Stewart feature in Kickoff ’18 has me eyeing this game with interest.
Ryan’s take: Emory & Henry at Ferrum. My wife’s alma mater gets new life as an ODAC member, plus this is a big rivalry game.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Anderson at North Park. In this case, literally, as the last game of four I’ll see this week.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: George Fox at Redlands. Because I’ll be driving back from the beach all day and won’t be able to watch anything earlier.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Western New England at Springfield. The Pynchon SAW game between two 2017 conference champs with some major losses to graduation will prove to be an interesting opener.

Kevin’s take: George Fox at Redlands. In a game between teams forecasted to each win 7 games it’s a matchup of defense (George Fox) vs efficient QB and Redlands offense.

Which new program has the better debut?

Keith’s take: Alvernia, with a home opener, against a program that’s won seven games the past four seasons.
Ryan’s take: Alvernia. Opponent Gallaudet has yet to break out of a five-year slump.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Alvernia. Not enough to win but enough to get a little confidence early on.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Alvernia. The Golden Wolves have a home game, plus two more days of preparation than University of New England.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Alvernia. The Golden Wolves are hosting a team that struggled in 2017, setting them up for a chance for a big crowd and a potential win.

Kevin’s take: Alvernia. With nine QBs and 13 RBs among their numbers, the Golden Wolves will be athletic.

Who has a long, disappointing trip home?

Keith’s take: La Verne could be competitive at Whitworth, but it’s a trek back to SoCal from Spokane.
Ryan’s take: Denison. Opponent Southwestern is going to be particularly tough this season.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Husson. It’s a long trip from Husson to anywhere, including back to Maine after a loss at Union.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Denison. Southwestern returns the favor to the Big Red in year two of this rare Ohio-Texas matchup.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Husson. With graduation of John Smith, the ultimate difference maker last year, Husson may see their regular season winning streak snapped.

Kevin’s take: Sounds like John Carroll could be a candidate based upon the Case Western Reserve scrimmage.

Whose head coaching debut are you most interested in?

Keith’s take: WNE’s Jason LeBeau gets a challenge from a rival coming off a 10-win season in his head-coaching debut.
Ryan’s take: Trevor Stellman at Thomas More. Will be interested from Week 1 through their final days in D-III.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Defiance’s Manny Matsakis. Having only just met his team when camp started, this is a challenge.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Garrett LeRose. My former teammate is now the head coach of our alma mater (W&L). I’m proud and excited to see what he accomplishes.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Chad Martinovich at University of Rochester. He left academic-minded MIT for academic-minded U of R. Can he turn them around like MIT, starting with a tough Case?

Kevin’s take: Trevor Stellman, Thomas More. Are the Saints good enough to play spoiler on their way to Pool B during their D3 curtain call?

We invite you to add your predictions in the comments below. Download the Monday Around the Nation podcast to wrap up the week that was, and the Friday Around the Nation podcast, where Pat and Keith review the Quick Hits that were prescient, and the Quick Misses that were terribly off base.


Quick Hits predicts the first round’s scores

The story goes, one day on a long ride to a playoff game at Thiel (which tells you how long ago this happened), Pat and Keith decided to pass the time by guessing not just the winner of each first-round playoff game, but the score. And there was born the expectations game: Do we expect a close game? A high-scoring game? A blowout? Does everyone agree on who will win? Those are the factors worth looking at.

Keith McMillan, Ryan Tipps, Pat Coleman, Adam Turer, Frank Rossi and Greg Thomas each take their guesses at scores for each first-round game. We also looped in the Hansen Ratings, updated with playoff experience as a factor, for anther objective take. The algorithm takes into account both home-field advantage and playoff experience, so a game such as Hardin-Simmons and Linfield, between teams with identical team ratings, ends up with Linfield given a 65 percent chance to win.

— Pat Coleman (Linfield athletics photo)


UW-Oshkosh bracket
Keith’s take: UW-Oshkosh 56, Lakeland 21
Ryan’s take: UW-Oshkosh 49, Lakeland 13
Pat’s take: UW-Oshkosh 47, Lakeland 13
Adam’s take: UW-Oshkosh 52, Lakeland 7
Frank’s take: UW-Oshkosh 34, Lakeland 6
Greg’s take: UW-Oshkosh 52, Lakeland 14
Hansen odds to advance: UW-Oshkosh, 99%.
 UW-Oshkosh in a walk, though Lakeland could score a few points.
Keith’s take: North Central 22, St. John’s 21
Ryan’s take: North Central 27, St. John’s 23
Pat’s take: North Central 31, St. John’s 28
Adam’s take: North Central 10, St. John’s 7
Frank’s take: St. John’s 21, North Central 20
Greg’s take: North Central 24, St. John’s 23
Hansen odds to advance: St. John’s, 58%.
North Central, in a close game, and a split decision.
Keith’s take: Wartburg 38, Franklin 24
Ryan’s take: Wartburg 30, Franklin 27
Pat’s take: Wartburg 45, Franklin 31
Adam’s take: Wartburg 35, Franklin 27
Frank’s take: Wartburg 44, Franklin 31
Greg’s take: Wartburg 38, Franklin 28
Hansen odds to advance: Wartburg, 79%.
Wartburg the consensus winner, though everyone respect’s Franklin’s ability to score.
Keith’s take: Trine 19, Monmouth 16
Ryan’s take: Monmouth 31, Trine 20
Pat’s take: Monmouth 31, Trine 28
Adam’s take: Trine 17, Monmouth 13
Frank’s take: Trine 48, Monmouth 40
Greg’s take: Trine 38, Monmouth 28
Hansen odds to advance: Trine, 58%.
Wide variety of opinions. Two Trine slugfest wins, two Trine defensive battle wins, two Monmouth wins.
Mount Union bracket
Keith’s take: Mount Union 56, Wash. & Lee 14
Ryan’s take: Mount Union 51, Wash. & Lee 7
Pat’s take: Mount Union 48, Wash. & Lee 10
Adam’s take: Mount Union 49, Wash. & Lee 20
Frank’s take: Mount Union 60, Wash. & Lee 10
Greg’s take: Mount Union 56, Wash. & Lee 7
Hansen odds to advance: Mount Union, 99%.
Mount Union, in a win that a No. 1 seed would be satisfied with.
Keith’s take: Illinois Wesleyan 35, Case 13
Ryan’s take: Illinois Wesleyan 31, Case 21
Pat’s take: Illinois Wesleyan 35, Case 17
Adam’s take: Illinois Wesleyan 21, Case 16
Frank’s take: Case 31, Illinois Wesleyan 30
Greg’s take: Illinois Wesleyan 28, Case 10
Hansen odds to advance: Illinois Wesleyan, 61%.
IWU generally winning handily, with one outlier.
Keith’s take: W&J 42, Johns Hopkins 30
Ryan’s take: Johns Hopkins 35, W&J 34
Pat’s take: Johns Hopkins 28, W&J 24
Adam’s take: Johns Hopkins 38, W&J 34
Frank’s take: Johns Hopkins 35, W&J 28
Greg’s take: Johns Hopkins 27, W&J 24
Hansen odds to advance: Johns Hopkins, 68%.
Wow. Consensus is the road team. But consensus is also an exciting game.
Keith’s take: Wittenberg 17, Frostburg State 14
Ryan’s take: Frostburg State 27, Wittenberg 24
Pat’s take: Wittenberg 17, Frostburg State 15
Adam’s take: Wittenberg 30, Frostburg State 24
Frank’s take: Frostburg State 27, Wittenberg 24
Greg’s take: Wittenberg 14, Frostburg State 10
Hansen odds to advance: Wittenberg, 59%.
Generally low-scoring, all around, and generally with Wittenberg by a field goal or less.
Mary Hardin-Baylor bracket
Keith’s take: UMHB 40, Chapman 20
Ryan’s take: UMHB 48, Chapman 10
Pat’s take: UMHB 42, Chapman 17
Adam’s take: UMHB 58, Chapman 10
Frank’s take: UMHB 37, Chapman 10
Greg’s take: UMHB 48, Chapman 7
Hansen odds to advance: Mary Hardin-Baylor, 98%.
The defending champs, by a lot.
Keith’s take: Hardin-Simmons 14, Linfield 13
Ryan’s take: Hardin-Simmons 27, Linfield 14
Pat’s take: Hardin-Simmons 24, Linfield 19
Adam’s take: Hardin-Simmons 21, Linfield 17
Frank’s take: Linfield 14, Hardin-Simmons 10
Greg’s take: Hardin-Simmons 24, Linfield 10
Hansen odds to advance: Linfield, 65%.
HSU favored on the road, with Linfield kicking an undetermined number of field goa.s.
Keith’s take: St. Thomas 63, Eureka 0
Ryan’s take: St. Thomas 58, Eureka 7
Pat’s take: St. Thomas 56, Eureka 6
Adam’s take: St. Thomas 63, Eureka 13
Frank’s take: St. Thomas 51, Eureka 13
Greg’s take: St. Thomas 63, Eureka 0
Hansen odds to advance: St. Thomas, > 99%.
Tommies. Not in a mood to break scoring records.
Keith’s take: Berry 28, Huntingdon 24
Ryan’s take: Berry 35, Huntingdon 28
Pat’s take: Berry 24, Huntingdon 21
Adam’s take: Berry 27, Huntingdon 24
Frank’s take: Huntingdon 34, Berry 28
Greg’s take: Berry 28, Huntingdon 17
Hansen odds to advance: Huntingdon, 57%.
Berry. Mostly. Except for the one usual outlier.
Delaware Valley bracket
Keith’s take: Delaware Valley 38, Western NE 20
Ryan’s take: Delaware Valley 49, Western NE 17
Pat’s take: Delaware Valley 31, Western NE 10
Adam’s take: Delaware Valley 35, Western NE 14
Frank’s take: Delaware Valley 30, Western NE 21
Greg’s take: Delaware Valley 33, Western NE 13
Hansen odds to advance: Delaware Valley, 95%
Delaware Valley, by a range of points but all by multiple scores.
Keith’s take: Springfield 42, Husson 28
Ryan’s take: Springfield 38, Husson 35
Pat’s take: Springfield 45, Husson 31
Adam’s take: Springfield 38, Husson 24
Frank’s take: Springfield 42, Husson 20
Greg’s take: Springfield 42, Husson 21
Hansen odds to advance: Springfield, 83%
Springfield, generally comfortable, generally in a high-scoring game.
Keith’s take: Brockport 39, Plymouth State 13
Ryan’s take: Brockport 35, Plymouth State 10
Pat’s take: Brockport 24, Plymouth State 7
Adam’s take: Brockport 28, Plymouth State 20
Frank’s take: Brockport 27, Plymouth State 7
Greg’s take: Brockport 24, Plymouth State 7
Hansen odds to advance: Brockport, 99%
Brockport, generally comfortably, generally in a low-scoring game.
Keith’s take: Wesley 27, RPI 10
Ryan’s take: Wesley 38, RPI 6
Pat’s take: Wesley 38, RPI 14
Adam’s take: Wesley 41, RPI 12
Frank’s take: Wesley 37, RPI 17
Greg’s take: Wesley 38, RPI 10
Hansen odds to advance: Wesley, 91%
Wesley makes it final: No upsets expected in this bracket.

Here’s more data from Hansen Ratings. Select any two playoff teams to see how they would compare in a real or hypothetical matchup

We invite you to add your predictions in the comments below, or tweet at @d3football. Download the Around the Nation podcast on Mondays, where Pat and Keith review the picks and the highlights from the first round.


ATN Podcast 184: A step forward?

So, we’ve become accustomed to a bracket with two flights in the first round, instead of one. Last year they told us it was no longer a one-time thing, and this year they followed through on that. But why is it that we can only keep two highly ranked teams apart for a round? Why do No. 5 and No. 8 play in order to potentially play No. 1 in the next round? You can find out more in this week’s Around the Nation podcast.

This week, D3talent is the sponsor of the Around the Nation Podcast. Find out more on our site, or at our Fanraise store.

Pat and Keith hand out game balls, find the hidden highlights, the interesting stats and then a whole bunch of bracket-specific items in the Around the Nation Podcast.  You do not want to leave this podcast early, before you hear the bonus picks.

The 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. 
Hardin-Simmons athletics photo by Scott Burkhalter
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