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Quick Hits: What’s left to do? Lots.

Week 9 this year is too early for anyone to clinch a bid to the playoffs, but those days are coming, and a couple of the games that will be key in deciding automatic bids are being played this weekend.

Our regular crew is Keith McMillan, Ryan Tipps, Pat Coleman, Adam Turer and Frank Rossi. Our sixth spot each week goes to a guest prognosticator, and this week’s is Mary Hardin-Baylor fan Chad Hammonds, someone who follows UMHB very closely and knows that in order to be a fan of a top team, you need to know a little bit about the rest of the country, since you could be playing them in Week 12, 13, 14, etc. .

— Pat Coleman

Which game is the Week 9 game of the week?

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Keith’s take: No. 15 Illinois Wesleyan at Millikin. Titans win sets up a huge showdown with NCC next week. A Big Blue win makes CCIW a five-way race to the finish.
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Ryan’s take: No. 18 Muhlenberg at No. 23 Johns Hopkins. Hard not to love this matchup, with the winner being in the driver’s seat for Centennial crownery.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 18 Muhlenberg at No. 23 Johns Hopkins. The Centennial’s game of the year most years.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Muhlenberg at Johns Hopkins. Despite losing their conference opener, the Blue Jays still control their destiny in the Centennial Conference. This is a must-win for the conference’s perennial champion.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 25 Salisbury at Rowan. It’s a game with Pool A & C implications for an undefeated team that’s entering the meat of its schedule (Salisbury). Look for a defensive battle.
Guest
Chad’s take: Muhlenberg at Johns Hopkins. An early-season hiccup by the Blue Jays was quickly erased. While the Mules average 459 yards a game, the Blue Jays defense will be up to the challenge.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 13 Berry. Four of Vikings eight wins were within one score in the fourth. Birmingham Southern is 5-2.
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Ryan’s take: No. 25 Salisbury. It’s been talked about several times that the undefeated Gulls haven’t been tested much yet. But Rowan certainly has been and is all the better for it.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 25 Salisbury. This is the first big test for Salisbury, while Rowan is battle-tested.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 25 Salisbury. The NJAC gauntlet starts now for the unbeaten Gulls, who travel to Rowan, then host Wesley, then close at Frostburg. The Profs have momentum after knocking off the Wolverines last week.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 11 Wittenberg. “Wabash always fights [Wittenberg hard].” Except for Wabash’s 2015 big win, lately, this matchup is always close. It’s a must-win for Wabash.
Guest
Chad’s take: No. 11 Wittenberg. I expect a close game throughout with the Little Giants making a big play late to upend Witt.

Which team hurts its regional ranking before it is even announced?

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Keith’s take: I haven’t been this deep in the weeds, but No. 25 Salisbury has a tough matchup at Rowan.
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Ryan’s take: Western New England. Not only is this a tough outing against Nichols, but it’s also a trap game for WNE with Endicott coming up next week.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 17 RPI. The Engineers will win, but their strength of schedule will take a hit this week vs. Rochester.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Baldwin Wallace. The second-best game of the week pits the 6-1 Yellow Jackets at 6-1 Marietta. The winner remains in Pool C contention.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 17 RPI. They currently possess the 24th best strength of schedule figure nationally, but facing 1-6 Rochester won’t help, especially if it’s a remotely close score.
Guest
Chad’s take: Millikin. Needing a big win, the 151st ranked defense can’t keep tabs with the 46th ranked offense. A win here would have propelled them to a nice ranking, but the Titans are too much.

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

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Keith’s take: Wartburg at Loras. The glut at the top of the ARC might remain; Knights are only top-half team to play opponent with winning record.
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Ryan’s take: Millsaps at Centre. Compared to Centre’s 6-1 record, Millsaps’ 4-3 is a bit misleading considering more than half of their games had margins of 7 points or less.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Eureka at Concordia (Wis.). More on that game in the podcast.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Averett at Maryville. The two conference unbeatens in the USA South meet with much on the line. The Scots’ 2013 appearance is the only playoff berth between these two programs.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: WPI at MIT. It’s a crucial Pool B game in the NEWMAC. An MIT loss could reopen a playoff path for Thomas More and throw the NEWMAC standings into chaos.
Guest
Chad’s take: Hardin-Simmons at Southwestern. HSU is playing for its playoff life as they take on a Pirate team who runs well and stops the run well. A traditional, smash-mouth game will not disappoint. HSU with the close win.

Kalamazoo, Misericordia or Eureka?

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Keith’s take: Misericordia. Concordia (Wis.), King’s and Olivet are tough opponents, but Misericordia loves company … or something.
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Ryan’s take: All three. Kzoo and Eureka have interesting/challenging games, so all three winning is far from a sure thing — and we continue to stay highly vested in their conference races.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Misericordia. Oh. Maybe people will be following Eureka.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Misericordia. A road trip to King’s won’t be easy, but it’s the most favorable matchup among three of the season’s most pleasant surprises.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Kalamazoo over struggling Olivet, Misericordia over inconsistent King’s, and Eureka over a very good Concordia (Wis.) team.
Guest
Chad’s take: Kalamazoo. Kalamazoo keeps its MIAA championship dreams alive and keeps an eye on Trine and that Nov. 10 game. .

Defiance, Earlham or William Paterson?

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Keith’s take: William Paterson. The Pioneers and their 1-6 opponent, TCNJ, are similarly challenged, scoring 40 and 62 points, respectively, this season.
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Ryan’s take: William Paterson. The Pioneers will pick up not just their first win of the season, but also their first win in more than two years.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Earlham. I’m going with the team on the bye because it’s a good time of the year for a small roster to get a break.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Earlham. If not now, against winless Defiance, when will the Quakers finally snap their streak? At least the Quakers can’t take an L this week, on their bye.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: I won’t be Defiant against Rose-Hulman, nobody is Quaking at the thought of idle Earlham, but Pioneers will shock TCNJ — even without covered wagons.
Guest
Chad’s take: William Paterson. The Pioneers get off the schneid against TCNJ.

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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Around the Nation Podcast 210: Who should be No. 1?

A weekend of big games begged the question for D3football.com Top 25 voters as to which team should be No. 1. While there are 19 voters who picked Team Alliance Purple as No. 1, there are now six in Team Belton Purple’s camp. Are you of the mind that “the champ is the champ until they lose,” or are you more likely to favor whoever is playing better at the time? Pat Coleman and Keith McMillan lay out the arguments for Mount Union and for Mary Hardin-Baylor in this week’s podcast. (And just maybe someone might consider Team Purple St. Paul if the results work out.)

On Sunday, Pat Coleman and Adam Turer each got a chance to weigh in on the legacy of John Gagliardi, and Keith McMillan does as well. Plus, we give you the key takeaways from the top 10 shootout and the top 10 shutouts, and Pat talks to the team that snapped a 33-game losing streak. That, along with game balls and much more in the latest 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

Theme music: DJmentos.

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Quick Hits: Welcome to the season

Thirty-one teams didn’t start their season with the rest of us last week, and while 10 of those are from the NESCAC and would just never play in Week 1 and one was Occidental, which played a game against a Mexican team, basically the rest are getting on the field this week for the first time.

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 Ryan Carlson, former defensive end at Linfield, producer of any awesome Linfield football video you’ve seen in the past decade or so, and 2018 inductee into the school’s hall of fame.

— Pat Coleman

Which game is Week 2’s game of the week?

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Keith’s take: Concordia-Moorhead at No. 12 UW-Whitewater. Both are in the top 18 on my ballot.
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Ryan’s take: UW-La Crosse at No. 21 Illinois Wesleyan. I think a lot of people are curious about how good UW-L is.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 10 Hardin-Simmons at Trinity (Texas). Trinity pounded McMurry last week, but this is the much more difficult Abilene opponent.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Concordia-Moorhead at UWW. The Warhawks looked like the UWW of old in Week 1 and have a prove-it game in Week 2.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Concordia-Moorhead at UWW. The Cobbers have remained a consistent team over the last six years and can play UWW with a “nothing to lose” approach.
Ryan Carlson
Ryan’s take: Concordia-Moorhead at UWW. I was going to pick Macalester at Hamline just to give my guy Adam Johnson a thrill but that might hurt my “tremendous” amount of credibility.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to be upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 18 Johns Hopkins. Susquehanna led by 10 at the start of the fourth last year, and is at home this time.
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Ryan’s take: No. 18 Johns Hopkins. Susquehanna looked too good last week to gloss over them.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 21 Illinois Wesleyan. This is one spot where the preseason poll and my ballot diverge fairly significantly.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 21 Illinois Wesleyan. UW-La Crosse is determined to keep its momentum from 2017 going, and a non-conference win over a ranked opponent on the road would be the next step.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 24 RPI. RPI struggled early against Allegheny, and with the Transit Trophy on the line, WPI could surprise some folks.
Ryan Carlson
Ryan’s take: No. 21 Illinois Wesleyan. However, UWO is playing a second year D-II and had some struggles last weekend but would losing to a D-II really be called an upset?

Which team making its debut in Week 2 will wish it had a game under its belt?

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Keith’s take: Kean. Springfield rushed for 445 yards last week, although maybe the Cougars have had an extra week to drill triple option.
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Ryan’s take: DePauw. At least they don’t have to go on the road to play Central.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: William Paterson. What might have seemed like an achievable game in Dustin Johnson’s coaching debut changed when FDU beat TCNJ.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Texas Lutheran. Opening the season against Hendrix QB Miles Thompson is no easy task. Last year, Thompson carved up the Bulldogs for 433 yards and four TDs.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Kean. Springfield got its offense humming in Week 1, meaning the Kean defense will have a tough task right of the bat.
Ryan Carlson
Ryan’s take: Linfield. I fully believe that Linfield is going to go out to Carroll College and win, but the Saints already have two games in. That just makes the challenge that much greater.

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

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Keith’s take: Hope at Defiance. In this dictionary-words matchup, eager to see step Matsakis’ (hired July 26) Yellow Jackets take after rough first week.
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Ryan’s take: Hendrix at Texas Lutheran. A good one between teams legitimately eyeing conference titles.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Lawrence at Carleton. I’ll be spending another Saturday off the beaten path, but I love all of D-III.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 7 North Central at Lake Forest. Because I’ll be there in person to see how these two teams are replacing production of their respective 2017 all-conference running backs.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Union at Coast Guard. Both teams were supposed to beat their Maine opponents last week. We’ll learn a lot about both as this game could go either way.
Ryan Carlson
Ryan’s take: Macalester … naw, Pacific Lutheran at Cal Lutheran. This the Lutes’ first game without a Westering as head coach since 1971. I just want to know if PLU is still going to do their ridiculous pregame warmup.

Who will bounce back from a Week 1 blowout and win?

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Keith’s take: Guilford. I like the Quakers hosting Methodist; oh wait, that Week 1 game never happened. 😉
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Ryan’s take: Allegheny. The Gators’ turnaround begins Saturday.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Stevenson. I’m not sure that the Mustangs are MAC contenders but I like their chances vs. Bridgewater.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Rose-Hulman. The Fightin’ Engineers took a 54-0 beating from the defending champs. A home game against Rhodes is a lot different than a road game against Mount Union.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Hobart. Hobart didn’t quit against Brockport in a lopsided affair. I think that spirit will lend to a victory vs. a decent Morrisville State team.
Ryan Carlson
Ryan’s take: Delaware Valley.The Aggies should take care of business against Mass-Dartmouth but the Corsairs have a linebacker named Tony Slaughter and that is outstanding.

Which team will surprisingly be 2-0 after Saturday?

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Keith’s take: Lawrence. Rekindling a rivalry with Carleton, Vikings have a chance for first 2-0 start since, well, farther than our site goes back (1998).
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Ryan’s take: N.C. Wesleyan. Poised for another after already taking down Thomas More.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Sewanee. Yes, this means this is a bit of an upset pick as well.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: SUNY-Maritime. The Privateers had a very late coaching change this summer, but appear to be picking up where they left off after a nine-win 2017 season.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: FDU-Florham. The Devils won 12 games in the prior seven seasons.  A 2-0 start will be a unique position for them.
Ryan Carlson
Ryan’s take: Macalester. 

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.