Around the Nation Podcast: The big shuffle

Alfred’s Chuck Beckwith had another fantastic game on Saturday.
Alfred athletics file photo

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Let’s see, there’s only a ton of good games from Saturday to talk about, and Pat and Keith try to hit it all in an hour. First of all, four ranked teams lost on Saturday, but that was guaranteed since we had four games between ranked teams. Surprise was, though, that none of them was competitive. Why? That’s discussed.

What was it that made us call the St. John Fisher and Birmingham-Southern upsets? And what do we do with the many teams which are either undefeated or have just one loss and are sitting outside the Top 25? That includes teams such as Waynesburg, and teams that just got into the poll, such as Coe.

Keith started to look at the video of Mount Union destroying Capital and gives us his first impressions. Plus, what the heck has happened to Capital?

Exactly how long has it been since Illinois Wesleyan won at Wheaton? In fact, in order to run the table, IWU must still win at Wheaton, North Central and Elmhurst. Plus, if you are new to the playoff process in Division III, you’ll want to listen for the explanation of how the pools work (apologies to those who have heard it all before).

And then there’s the great shootout that ended the night, with Sul Ross State defeating Texas Lutheran. Keith was watching online and gives us more details. All that and more below. Hit play.

  • St. Thomas postgame interviews mentioned in podcast
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    Postgame show

    Here’s this week’s reports and highlight packages, including the Coe-Dubuque highlights mentioned in the podcast.

    And this week’s photo galleries from our friends at

    4 thoughts on “Around the Nation Podcast: The big shuffle

    1. Howdy guys,

      You all mentioned the SOS numbers so I took some time over lunch to do a little fact finding and was wondering if either of you want to comment on some of the disparity the numbers show at this point in the season.

      To wit:

      # School (1st votes) Record SOS Rank
      1 Mount Union (23) 6-0 217
      2 Mary Hardin-Baylor (2) 6-0 2
      3 Linfield 5-0 1
      4 St. Thomas 6-0 37
      5 UW-Whitewater 5-1 150
      6 Wesley 5-1 6
      7 Salisbury 5-1 57
      8 Cal Lutheran 4-1 80
      9 North Central (Ill.) 5-1 73
      10 UW-Oshkosh 6-0 92
      11 Hobart 6-0 84
      12 Illinois Wesleyan 6-0 125
      13 Wabash 5-1 13
      14 Widener 6-0 224
      15 Bethel 5-1 4
      16 Johns Hopkins 6-0 70
      17 Rowan 5-1 96
      18 Huntingdon 5-1 21
      19 Heidelberg 6-0 216
      20 UW-Platteville 4-2 59
      21 Alfred 4-1 53
      22 Willamette 6-0 27
      23 Franklin 4-2 184
      24 St. John Fisher 4-2 16
      25 Coe 6-0 153

      Are these SOS numbers simply pointing out that some of the top 25 teams haven’t played the “tough part” of their schedule – Mount Union for example? While other teams are through their “rough patches” and will only tumble in SOS ranking as they finish up their seasons? Should SOS rankings even be posted before the end of the year, and if so why?

      To the casual observer it looks like some highly ranked teams shouldn’t be and some lower ranked teams should be higher in the standings. What gives?

      Great report again – I really look forward to Monday mornings with you guys!


    2. Who would you move Art? It’s a poll. There are 230-plus teams of varying abilities that do not play each other. So while SOS is important; it’s not all important. There are a lot of other variables to consider, including history, score comparison, the “eye test,” etc.

    3. Sure, if you only take into account wins and losses and not margin of victory you might make that case. But since when has a low strength of schedule ever hurt Mount Union before? Mount plays in a 10-team conference, so the SOS will always drift to right around .500 for them, yet they seem to not bat an eye before December.

    4. I’m not saying we should move anyone. I’m wondering how to use the information given in the SOS in a meaningful way. Is Linfield 217 times better than Mt. Union because it has the number 1 “toughest” schedule? I don’t think so. Does it aid those 25 panel members consisting of coaches, sports information directors and media members from around the country when they determine their votes? Do they even take it into account? Of course, this is all leading towards the annual discussion of just how the 32 teams that make up the field do eventually get selected. I’m not intentionally trying to head down that road. I’m just really trying to get a handle on how the data that’s dispersed to us can be used in any meaningful way that makes sense to the average Joe watching his team on a Saturday afternoon. If strength of schedule can be made to be understood by the average fan then it is a good thing to have at our fingertips. If it cannot, then we should chuck it. There, I said it. Average folk understand wins and losses. Most of them can recognize a pounding from a really close, almost lucky win. So if it is worth keeping, can someone please explain why? Why is it so important to the NCAA?

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