That was a pretty great first round, not gonna lie. A Top 10 team nearly went down in the first round, one team came back from 18 down and another from 24, plus two games went to overtime — one of which went to three overtimes. Chapman and Linfield made the last game of the day a great capper to a thrilling day.
Pat and Keith run down all 16 of the first-round games, rank the second round games from least to most intriguing and hand out game balls. The player who returned a fumble for a touchdown, ran for a touchdown, and threw for a touchdown in overtime? Yeah, probably find him on that list. The guy who won the biggest quarterback duel of the day? OK, yes, him also. Plus we get you sounds from around the bracket.
Pat and Keith talk about it all 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.
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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.
Consensus: Unanimous predictions here for an easy run to the second round for the Sea Gulls.
Keith’s take: Union 31, Case 21 Ryan’s take: Union 38, Case 17 Pat’s take: Union 24, Case 17
Adam’s take: Union 34, Case 24 Frank’s take: Union 31, Case 21 Greg’s take: Union 27, Case 17
Consensus: Clean sweep for the Dutchmen, generally by about 10 points.
Keith’s take: Muhlenberg 45, MIT 10 Ryan’s take: Muhlenberg 45, MIT 14 Pat’s take: Muhlenberg 56, MIT 6
Adam’s take: Muhlenberg 45, MIT 3 Frank’s take: Muhlenberg 42, MIT 14 Greg’s take: Muhlenberg 42, MIT 7
Consensus: The Mules should overwhelm the Engineers and trot on in to the second round.
Keith’s take: Brockport 22, W. New England 19 Ryan’s take: W. New England 24, Brockport 21 Pat’s take: Brockport 24, W. New England 13
Adam’s take: Brockport 20, W. New England 14 Frank’s take: W. New England 27, Brockport 20 Greg’s take: Brockport 26, W. New England 10
Consensus: Split decision for Brockport, but this game looks to be close.
Mount Union bracket
Keith’s take: Mount Union 63, Hanover 7 Ryan’s take: Mount Union 63, Hanover 3 Pat’s take: Mount Union 56, Hanover 10
Adam’s take: Mount Union 48, Hanover 24 Frank’s take: Mount Union 59, Hanover 7 Greg’s take: Mount Union 61, Hanover 10
Consensus: No surprise here, Mount Union is predicted to advance easily.
Keith’s take: North Central 40, Wabash 25 Ryan’s take: North Central 42, Wabash 10 Pat’s take: North Central 56, Wabash 10
Adam’s take: North Central 38, Wabash 14 Frank’s take: North Central 45, Wabash 21 Greg’s take: North Central 45, Wabash 21
Consensus: North Central’s top-ranked offense sweeps the board with a comfortable win over Wabash.
Keith’s take: Wesley 17, Framingham State 14 Ryan’s take: Wesley 28, Framingham State 20 Pat’s take: Wesley 41, Framingham State 24
Adam’s take: Wesley 21, Framingham State 20 Frank’s take: Wesley 21, Framingham State 20 Greg’s take: Wesley 24, Framingham State 21
Consensus: Wesley is the unanimous pick, but five of our panelists see a one score game.
Keith’s take: Del Val 28, Bridgewater 24 Ryan’s take: Del Val 41, Bridgewater 21 Pat’s take: Bridgewater 17, Del Val 15
Adam’s take: Bridgewater 21, Del Val 14 Frank’s take: Del Val 27, Bridgewater 24 Greg’s take: Del Val 17, Bridgewater 10
Consensus: Split decision for Delaware Valley, with the panel largely seeing a close game that could go either way.
We invite you to add your predictions in the comments below, or tweet at us at @D3Keith, @NewsTipps and @d3football. Download the Around the Nation podcast on Mondays, where Pat and Keith review the picks and the highlights from the weekend’s playoff games.
It is a huge weekend in the East region with a pair of high profile clashes amongst conference unbeatens. Our panel tackles the Empire 8 and Liberty League showdowns as well as letting you know which teams will help and hurt their regional ranking profiles before the NCAA releases the first rankings for 2019 on Wednesday.
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?
Keith’s take: Brockport at No. 18 Cortland. Union-Ithaca works too, and there are 42,000+ folks who want the Cortaca rivals to remain atop the Empire 8 and Liberty League, respectively.
Ryan’s take: No. 25 Union at No. 8 Ithaca. The Bombers’ dynamic pass game against a Dutchman D that hasn’t given up more than two touchdowns in any game this season.
Pat’s take: Johns Hopkins at No. 6 Muhlenberg. The Blue Jays are mere points away from this being a battle of unbeatens, and might be able to play spoiler.
Adam’s take: Johns Hopkins at Muhlenberg. The rivalry is the ultimate test to see if Muhlenberg has really become the team to beat in the Centennial. The Mules have looked the part thus far.
Frank’s take: No. 25 Union at No. 8 Ithaca. It’s win and you’re in — and has Pool C implications. I explain this on today’s ATN Friday Podcast.
Greg’s take: No. 25 Union at No. 8 Ithaca. The first ticket to the 2019 playoffs is getting punched by one of these two teams Saturday at Butterfield.
Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?
Keith’s take: No. 6 Muhlenberg. There are people around the Johns Hopkins program who think the Blue Jays are better this year than last, even though the results don’t show it. This would be the time to show it.
Ryan’s take: No. 18 Cortland. I feel like Brockport’s season-opening loss has left this 6-1 team flying under many people’s radars most of the season.
Pat’s take: No. 18 Cortland. Probably someone needs to keep picking Cortland until they get upset, and I will take the short straw this time.
Adam’s take: No 18. Cortland. Brockport’s defense is the real deal, pitching three shutouts since allowing 33 points in a season-opening loss at Hobart. The top rushing and third down defense is also the fourth-best pass efficiency and total defense in the nation.
Frank’s take: No. 8 Ithaca (vs. No. 25 Union). In 2009, the last time Ithaca was No. 8 in the D3football.com poll, Union beat the Bombers. As long as the Dutchmen come in healthy and have great ball control, history will repeat itself, this time at Butterfield.
Greg’s take: No. 18 Cortland. The Golden Eagles have been largely off the radar since their week 1 loss to Hobart. Eight weeks later, that Brockport defense is as smothering as ever and are poised to take control of the E8 race.
Which conference leader or co-leader picks up a loss?
Keith’s take: Benedictine, vs. Aurora. There are lots of candidates, but I think the front-runners will pull a near clean sweep. The Fightin’ Beebes take control in the NACC in a shootout.
Ryan’s take: Benedictine. A de facto NACC title bout, co-leader Aurora has been more impressive throughout the season (though these last couple of weeks have been easier matchups).
Pat’s take: Hanover. Mount St. Joseph will be out to obliterate people the rest of the way and Hanover stands in the Lions’ way this week.
Adam’s take: Hanover. The Panthers go on the road to a Mount St. Joseph team playing with its season on the line. A Lions win would create a three-way tie atop the HCAC and keep MSJ’s postseason hopes alive.
Frank’s take: Denison (vs. DePauw). DePauw’s defense should have enough in the engine to make this a close enough game to win over the Big Red.
Greg’s take: Cortland qualifies, but I’ll give another here- Hanover. The Panthers are hot, but taking out Chaiten Tomlin in what is likely his last home game is a tall order.
Which game are you following that nobody else on this panel is following?
Keith’s take: McMurry at Hardin-Simmons. I just want to see how the Cowboys bounce back from last week’s last-second loss. The War Hawks are 0-7 with two recent nailbiter losses of their own.
Ryan’s take: Fitchburg State at Worcester State. Friday night, under the light, one of these teams will get their first conference win.
Pat’s take: Central at Simpson. If Central can’t handle Simpson, they can’t hope to challenge Wartburg in Week 10.
Adam’s take: Marietta at Baldwin Wallace. I’m still trying to figure out who, if anyone, can give Mount Union a decent challenge in the OAC. I’ve been bullish on the Yellow Jackets since Jim Hilvert took the reins. He has his team positioned for a second straight 7-1 start.
Frank’s take: Endicott at Western New England. It’s a huge CCC game between the co-leaders, and both teams can put up a crapload of points (wait, can I say that in Quick Hits?!).
Greg’s take: No. 15 Chapman at Pomona-Pitzer. The last significant hurdle between Chapman and a SCIAC championship, the Panthers will have to survive do-it-all QB Karter Odermann and the Sagehens under the lights.
Which team boosts its profile ahead of Wednesday’s first regional rankings?
Keith’s take: UW-Platteville, at home facing a 5-2 UW-Oshkosh coming off a 31-3 loss to UW-La Crosse, should make a move in the West.
Ryan’s take: Muhlenberg. While Hopkins isn’t the beast they were last year, they’re still an above-average team that make a Mules win meaningful.
Pat’s take: Bridgewater. Just by playing Emory & Henry, the Eagles’ strength of schedule stands to improve from .478 to around .499.
Adam’s take: Ithaca. The Bombers should be able to lock down the number one spot in the East with a win over fellow unbeaten Union.
Frank’s take: No. 18 Cortland (vs. Brockport). Cortland’s SOS will take a nice jump, and that’s going to be needed to help the Red Dragons to overtake Salisbury, especially if Ithaca loses against Union.
Greg’s take: No. 14 Wesley. The Wolverines won’t have too much trouble at TCNJ, but their already robust Pool C profile will be fortified with road wins by Delaware Valley and Endicott, who I expect will be regionally ranked on Wednesday.
Which team hurts its profile ahead of Wednesday’s first regional rankings?
Keith’s take: Western New England. The Golden Bears are at home, 6-1 and regionally ranked higher than Endicott, but the Gulls can be part of the big shuffle in the East rankings coming this weekend.
Ryan’s take: Bethel. Yeah, they beat Hamline (of course), but Hamline isn’t a win that resonates, piled on by expected losses this week by past Royals opponents St. Olaf, River Falls and Simpson. Bethel’s criteria stock drops.
Pat’s take: Union. Because a loss is imminent and while their SOS will increase, that won’t offset the defeat.
Adam’s take: Bridgewater. I think Emory and Henry can pull off the upset of the unbeaten Eagles.The Wasps have averaged 50 points per game during their current five-game winning streak. This would be a Top 25 upset in my poll.
Frank’s take: No. 10 Salisbury. Their next three games will kill their Strength of Schedule. With currently six undefeated teams (vs. D3) in the East, their SOS & results vs. regionally ranked opponents need to prop them up — but their remaining schedule doesn’t help.
Greg’s take: No 10. Salisbury. Our mock regional rankings had Salisbury grade out as the top team in the East. But Salisbury is about to get a triple whammy; CNU drops their SOS, East challenger Ithaca picks up a ranked win and their own SOS boost, and UW-Oshkosh loses touch with the West rankings. It’s a fickle game this.
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.