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Quick Hits Week 10: It’s Bid Clinching Season!

We’ve reached the penultimate week of the regular season which means games with major Pool C implications, games that will decide conference champions, and a lot of teams playing the game before THE game. Our panel gets you ready for Week 10 as they take a look at who is getting in, who is getting trapped, and which bubbles are getting popped.

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. 25 TLU at No. 2 UMHB. It’s on the Bulldogs to hold up their end of the bargain vs. the champs to make this a GOTW, but given the defensive and turnover margin prowess by both, it should be one.
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Ryan’s take: No. 25 Texas Lutheran at No. 2 Mary-Hardin Baylor. I’ve got TLU much higher on my ballot than 25th, and this very well could be a play-in game for them for the postseason.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 11 Wartburg at Central. This has almost as much potential to mess things up, and should be a closer game.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Randolph-Macon at No. 24 Bridgewater. The overwhelming preseason ODAC favorite takes on the team that has dominated the conference all year. Each team has proven it can win with all three phases. A playoff berth is at stake. #ODACtion. .
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 25 Texas Lutheran at No. 2 Mary Hardin-Baylor. The entire Pool C nation is going to be watching this game to see if a bubble bursts, and with TLU’s win vs. the Cowboys earlier this season — it’s not an impossible situation.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: Birmingham-Southern at Trinity(TX). I preview the game and its SAA importance in today’s ATN, but Robert Shufford has been a must watch attraction for three weeks now and has his Panthers on the brink of the playoffs.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 10 John Carroll. If Heidelberg makes a two-point conversion on Sept. 28 vs. Baldwin Wallace, this is the Pool C elimination game, not BW/JCU next week, potentially.
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Ryan’s take: No. 11 Wartburg. The Knights and Central have the ARC’s top two offenses, and Central’s is balanced enough to do some real damage against a good defense like Wartburg’s.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 18 St. Thomas. Gustavus Adolphus almost pulled this off last year, and it seems more likely in 2019.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 23 Linfield. Whitworth has uncharacteristically lost two games already this season. Yet, the Pirates still have their playoff goal within reach. A win over the surging Wildcats would put Whitworth in the NWC driver’s seat.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 24 Bridgewater (vs. Randolph-Macon). I just haven’t had a high level of confidence with Bridgewater, even despite the Stevenson game earlier this season. The Yellow Jackets had their scare last week and bounce back well here.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 10 John Carroll. This one has all the makings. With a possible play-in game looming in Week 11, the Streaks have to survive a Senior Day afternoon against a quality Heidelberg side.

Which team makes a strong Pool C statement?

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Keith’s take: Bridgewater or Wartburg.  I don’t think this was the intent of the question, but the Pool C statement might be, “Come join us.”
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Ryan’s take: No. 6 North Central. IWU’s early-season losses knocked them out of many folks’ minds, but they have a good SOS and record, which will further bolster NCC’s resume with a win.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Ithaca. RPI lost twice in the past five games, and the three wins were against teams who are a combined 2-23.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 17 Ithaca. Every game from here on out is a chance for the Bombers to bounce back and prove themselves worthy of a playoff bid. But Union has already clinched the Liberty League’s automatic bid. The Bombers can’t look past RPI, even with the big game looming in Week 11.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 17 Ithaca (at RPI). Word from Ithaca was that the locker room was silent after last week’s Union loss. However, the Regional Rankings reminded the Bombers on how they can still make it into the NCAA Playoffs — they rebound in Troy.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 6 North Central. North Central’s SOS may garner a bit of side-eye from other Pool C hopefuls, but Saturday’s result against Illinois Wesleyan will be decisive and leave no doubt about the quality of these Cardinals.

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

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Keith’s take: Middlebury at Tufts. Of all the great NESCAC rivalry games, it’s a non-rival that stands between the Panthers and 9-0. And since five of their wins are by 7 points or fewer, beating the 4-4 Jumbos is no gimme.
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Ryan’s take: Oberlin at DePauw.  I’ve already seen Wabash this year, but I haven’t gotten a great look at DePauw just yet, and now’s the time with just a week before Monon Bell.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Springfield at Maine Maritime. If you’re following, don’t blink. Game should last about 2 hours, 15 minutes.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Hanover at Rose-Hulman. The HCAC championship game comes a week earlier than expected. The Panthers dispatched Mount St. Joseph in Week 9, and perennial power Franklin has already stumbled to two conference losses. The Fightin’ Engineers will host a de facto conference championship game for the first time.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Coast Guard at WPI. The NEWMAC race will become much clearer after this game. A WPI win makes it more of a WPI/MIT race in Week 11. A WPI loss makes it more of a MIT/Springfield race then, assuming MIT and Springfield win this week.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: Hiram at Wabash. The gates at Byron P. Hollett Little Giant Stadium close tomorrow for the last time, home of Wabash football since 1966. What’s that? My eyes? That’s nothing. Just a little demolition dust.

Which team stumbles before its Week 11 rivalry game?

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Keith’s take: No. 17 Ithaca.  I wouldn’t bet on the Bombers to lose, since RPI has looked nothing like the quarterfinalist it was last season. But no team has a bigger trap game, with a 42,000+ rivalry game crowd and potential play-in looming.
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Ryan’s take: Hanover. Rose-Hulman is 6-2, with a lot of similar scores against common opponents. It’ll be a very tough matchup for the Panthers ahead of the Victory Bell game against Franklin.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Rowan, with a loss on the grass at CNU before their big game with rival TCNJ next week.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Hampden-Sydney. The Tigers stumble to a shocking 1-8 start before The Game. The worst season in program history since 1999 could still be salvaged in Week 11 against rival Randolph-Macon.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: RPI (vs. No. 17 Ithaca). After RPI came and eked out a one-point win at Ithaca last year, an improved Bombers team is going to get revenge on RPI’s home turf this year.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: Ohio Wesleyan. Double dipping in the NCAC here, but Denison has looked fantastic this season outside of their trip to Wabash. The Battling Bishops may have a rough time on Saturday ahead of their Week 11 battle for Ye Olde Skull at Wittenberg.

Which unranked team clinches a bid to the tournament?

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Keith’s take: Randolph-Macon.  (drops mic, struts out of room)
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Ryan’s take: Framingham State. This is absolutely no gimme, however, going up against MASCAC No. 2 Bridgewater State, Framingham does have all the pieces in place to clinch.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Hanover. And if they don’t, I blame the next guy on the list.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: SUNY-Maritime. Although it comes with an asterisk, it’s still an impressive debut for rookie head coach Mickey Rehring.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Framingham St. (vs. Bridgewater St.). The Rams are always tough at home, and the MASCAC is up for grabs in this game — FSU wins it with a win; BSU can’t win it until next week if the Bears win.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: Hanover. I couldn’t have been more wrong about the Panthers last week, so I’m bringing them back and picking them here to win at RHIT and punch their ticket to a second consecutive NCAA tournament.

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: 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.
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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.
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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.