Week 6 features key games at the top of the MIAC, NJAC, PAC, SAA, and SCIAC. Not every team is playing for control of their league, and our panel also takes a look at teams likely to get their seasons jump started as the season moves into the second half.
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: No. 12 Wesley at No. 14 Salisbury. There are MIAC, WIAC, SCIAC and SAA games that could fit here, but the Route 13 Rivalry winner will have a second victory against a playoff-caliber team and a clear path to the NJAC title and playoffs.
Ryan’s take: No. 12 Wesley at No. 14 Salisbury. Two undefeated rivals sharing the top spot in the conference — made even more interesting by the NJAC being down this year and no guarantee the loser will make the playoffs with one loss.
Pat’s take: No. 6 Bethel at No. 4 St. John’s. Next question.
Adam’s take: No. 12 Wesley at No. 14 Salisbury. The Wolverines have reversed their fortunes from 2018 and found ways to win close games. The Sea Gulls have struggled to put opponents away late but have hung on to remain unbeaten. This should be a nail-biter with the winner holding the inside track on the NJAC championship.
Frank’s take: No. 12 Wesley at No. 14 Salisbury. One will be in a great NJAC race position. One will need to start counting Pool C bids and hope to win out.
Greg’s take: No. 6 Bethel at No. 4 St. John’s. Several good games on the docket this week, but 4 vs. 6 is a rare bird, indeed. The first of three titanic MIAC games this season, and the weather will give this one the late season feel it deserves.
Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?
Keith’s take: No. 8 Berry. Not that I think the Vikings aren’t favorites at home, but there’s not as much distance between them and unranked, unbeaten Hendrix as the poll might suggest.
Ryan’s take: No. 25 Case Western Reserve. Though, admittedly, I’ve got W&J ranked on my ballot and not Case, so I wouldn’t see a Presidents’ win as being all that much of an upset.
Pat’s take: None. With six ranked teams playing each other, not so many teams left in upsettable positions.
Adam’s take: No. 25 Case Western Reserve. Either the Spartans create separation and set themselves up for a title tilt at Carnegie Mellon in Week 11, or the Presidents prevail and create some #PACtion chaos. A W&J win could create a five-way tie atop the conference standings.
Frank’s take: No. 25 Case Western Reserve (vs. Washington & Jefferson). The merry-go-round in the PAC continues as W&J needs this win to stay alive.
Greg’s take: No. 15 Redlands. The Bulldogs are on the road at a sneaky good Chapman squad that might be flying a bit under the radar. This is a dangerous game for Redlands.
Which ECFC teams get their first wins?
Keith’s take: Castleton. The six ECFC teams are 2-22, but only the Gallaudet-Castleton winner is guaranteed a W. Vermont is a long way from D.C., and I’ll take the Spartans at home, and that’s it.
Ryan’s take: Castleton and Dean. The Spartans can lean on their dual-strength offense against Gallaudet, and it shouldn’t be overlooked that Dean’s Terrell Watts is the conference’s best quarterback.
Pat’s take: Anna Maria. I think the AMCATs are a little further ahead in their program building than Alfred State is.
Adam’s take: Castleton and Dean. The Spartans’ defense has kept them in close games this season and the offense should be able to do enough to defeat Gallaudet. The Bulldogs’ defense has been a weakness, but so has SUNY-Maritime’s offense. The defenses hang on for wins this week.
Frank’s take: Castleton.
Greg’s take: Castleton. The wait for win number one goes on for another week for Gallaudet, Dean, and Anna Maria.
Which game are you following that nobody else on this panel is following?
Keith’s take: Occidental at Whittier. The Tigers haven’t beaten an NCAA team since defeating the Poets 56-38 on Oct. 29, 2016, but it could happen here in 2019.
Ryan’s take: Bowdoin at Amherst. Last week’s narrow loss to NESCAC top dog Wesleyan puts winless Bowdoin’s outing against Amherst on my upset radar.
Pat’s take: Brevard at Methodist. The Tornadoes aren’t playoff-eligible yet but are unbeaten and interesting.
Adam’s take: Heidelberg at Marietta. The middle of the OAC is crowded, with both of these teams coming off their first loss of the season. How will they respond, knowing that playoff berths are likely already out of reach with the toughest part of the conference schedule still ahead of them?
Frank’s take: Misericordia at Widener. I explain why in this week’s ATN Friday Podcast.
Greg’s take: St. Vincent at Thiel. This might be the one. It’s been a long time since Thiel has been able to Taste the Feeling of victory.
Which team with a tough first half starts the second half of the season on a positive note?
Keith’s take: Lycoming is one point from being winless, but should start the second half off with a win over Alvernia, which hasn’t scored more than 13 in a game since Sept. 14.
Ryan’s take: George Fox. I did think the Bruins would be better-positioned at this point, but while the defense has largely been solid, the offense is only now starting to click. That fact alone can help turn things around.
Pat’s take: Husson. The Eagles are just 1-3 so far but Curry has to travel to Maine to play them.
Adam’s take: Rowan. The Profs have played as well as any 0-4 team in the nation. Their opponents are a combined 13-4. Rowan’s last two losses were on the road to then-ranked opponents by a combined total of four points. The Profs take their frustration out on Kean in front of a home crowd this week.
Frank’s take: Rowan (vs. Kean). Give them this much: the Profs schedule a rough beginning set of opponents. This should be their first win.
Greg’s take: Christopher Newport. This has just not gone the way the Captains thought it would. They should break a long touchdown drought and get one in the win column this weekend.
Which team with a strong first half starts the second half on a negative note?
Keith’s take: Chapman begins the middle third of its season with its first loss when Elias Hackney and Redlands take care of business.
Ryan’s take: Westminster (Pa.). The Titans’ four wins so far have come at the expense of teams that are a combined 2-16. Upcoming battles against Grove City (this week), W&J and Carnegie Mellon will prove difficult.
Pat’s take: Puget Sound. Linfield’s struggles don’t go as far as losing this game.
Adam’s take: Central. The Dutch are off to an impressive 4-0 start, but the schedule is heavily backloaded. Central closes the season against the other top three teams in the ARC (at Simpson, Wartburg, at Coe), but can’t get caught looking past a battle-tested 2-3 Dubuque squad this week.
Frank’s take: Hobart (vs. RPI). The Statesmen failed to kick in the Union game, and RPI has bounced well since the 6-3 loss vs. WPI.
Greg’s take: No. 12 Wesley. The Wolverines have been walking a tightrope for a few weeks now and I think their Route 13 rivals are going to deal the Wolverines their first loss of the season.
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.
We’re on the downhill slope now to Selection Sunday. Six weeks down, and five weeks left, with lots of questions to be answered. We’ll try to answer part of one-fifth of those questions here with our Quick Hits crew.
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 Dave McHugh, the host of Hoopsville over at D3hoops.com. He typically pays enough attention to football to not pick Calvin, Connecticut College or either Centenary.
— Pat Coleman
What’s the Week 7 game of the week?
Keith’s take: No. 3 UW-Oshkosh at No. 9 UW-Platteville. With Wheaton’s struggles taking the luster off the Little Brass Bell clash, no game is even close.
Ryan’s take: No. 3 UW-Oshkosh at No. 9 UW-Platteville. Since 2013, the Pioneers have narrowly missed the postseason more than once. Here’s their 2017 chance.
Pat’s take: No. 3 UW-Oshkosh at No. 9 UW-Platteville. I mean, God forbid I suggest another game is worth paying attention to.
Adam’s take: No. 3 UW-Oshkosh at No. 9 UW-Platteville. Here’s the Pioneers’ real chance to silence the doubters.
Frank’s take: No. 25 Springfield at Merchant Marine. This is a test for the Pride in a must-win for Pool B/C playoff consideration.
Dave’s take: No. 3 UW-Oshkosh at No. 9 UW-Platteville. Unfortunately, it has been awhile since these two have played as intriguing a matchup in basketball.
Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?
Keith’s take: No. 19 Berry. The Vikings have had Hendrix’s number. The 5-1 Warriors will need a big game from its 194th-best defense.
Ryan’s take: No. 17 Alfred. Opponent Cortland is a two-loss team and will be fighting to stay in E8 playoff discussion.
Pat’s take: No. 19 Berry. From just outside the rankings, to top 20, to playing the other team with playoff experience.
Adam’s take: No. 17 Alfred at Cortland. But honestly it feels more like a “Pat’s special” week, aka no upsets.
Frank’s take: No. 4 North Central. After a hellacious couple of weeks, Wheaton has a chance to turn the season back around here with nothing left to lose.
Dave’s take: No. 4 North Central. I am not one to think Wheaton is down and out. I suspect the Cardinals get tripped up by the Thunder, who right the ship after a few distraction-filled weeks.
Which team is probably safe to focus more on next week?
Keith’s take: No. 18 Frostburg State. William Paterson has just three touchdowns in five games and field the nation’s least-successful offense.
Ryan’s take: No. 12 Wittenberg. Allegheny is improved, but a win should be easy, and Witt should be more worried about DePauw on the horizon.
Pat’s take: No. 7 Linfield. Lewis & Clark is improved, but if the Wildcats were prepping for George Fox this week, I don’t think it’ll be an issue.
Adam’s take: No. 18 Frostburg State (at William Paterson). Coaches gonna hate you for this one, Pat. will bounce back in time for Montclair State on Oct. 21.
Frank’s take: No. 14 Wesley (vs. Kean). Rowan should put up a better fight against Wesley next week.
Dave’s take: I can only pick one? Ok. I’ll go with Mount Union. Nothing against Capital, but I just don’t see the Raiders being challenged. Sorry Crusaders..
Which early-season surprise team will get some reality?
Keith’s take: DePauw, with a 5-0 start and lofty defensive stats game against average-at-best teams. After Witt, Wabash losses, Denison set to bust out.
Ryan’s take: UW-La Crosse. Is this the easy pick with Whitewater on the other sideline?
Pat’s take: Williams. Because, on the other side, there’s Middlebury, and Williams sweeping C-B-B is less impressive.
Adam’s take: Ursinus. Bears will drop second straight, at Susquehanna, putting JHU back in the Centennial driver’s seat just two weeks after being upset.
Frank’s take: Plymouth State. Quron Wright & Co. for Framingham State will take a huge step toward winning the MASCAC at one-loss PSU’s expense.
Dave’s take: UW-La Crosse. Undefeated and probably looking at Whitewater and thinking the scary monster isn’t that scary. I think Whitewater is still very scary.
Who will get their first win this weekend?
Keith’s take: Kenyon. The 0-5 Lords were thwarted by a late Ohio Wesleyan score last week, and host 1-4 Hiram this week.
Ryan’s take: Hamilton. Against winless Bowdoin in a conference with lots of disparity.
Pat’s take: FInlandia. Utterly devoid of games which count, the Lions have a home-and-home remaining with Trinity Bible and that’s it for 2017.
Adam’s take: Hamilton. The 0-4 NESCAC team faces 0-4 Bowdoin. I’m rolling with the Continentals.
Frank’s take: Kenyon. With Hiram at one win, this is probably Kenyon’s best chance for a 2017 win.
Dave’s take: Hamilton. I have no choice. It is my maternal family’s “school” and my grandfather was a trustee. That trumps any Maine connections I have — sorry, Bowdoin.
Pick a game where the winner has the less fierce mascot.
Keith’s take: Guilford. Quakers’ record is deceiving because of two FCS losses. More-fierce Generals of W&L are six points from being unbeaten, though.
Ryan’s take: St. Scholastica Saints. The UMAC contender faces the Knights of Martin Luther.
Pat’s take: Carnegie Mellon (vs. Geneva). Tartans over Golden Wave. Water-logged swatches of material for the win.
Adam’s take: Redlands. The Bulldogs defeat the Chapman Panthers. Everyone gets treats for the short trip home
Frank’s take: Trinity (Conn.). The Bantams over the Tufts Jumbos. Chickens may be no match for elephants in nature, but this will be a plucking win for the Bantams.
Dave’s take: Otterbein (vs. Heidelberg). Nothing puts the fear in people than Cardinals playing Princes. This feels like a Medieval times or Dark Ages matchup where royalty and the church clashed.
We invite you to add your predictions in the comments below. Download the Around the Nation podcast on Mondays, where Pat and Keith review the Quick Hits that were prescient, and the Quick Misses that were terribly off base.
We started our deep dive into the playoffs on last week’s edition and we know we had a lot of new listeners — now we have to really talk about some of the automatic bids. Some conferences have pretty interesting races here in the final two weeks of the regular season and Pat Coleman and Keith McMillan look closely at the PAC, where two teams could finish unbeaten and never play each other, along with the NACC, NCAC, NJAC and the American Southwest Conference. Plus, even though this never has any playoff relevance, Pat and Keith debate whether you can rank a NESCAC team in the Top 25.
The Around the Nation Podcast is a weekly conversation between Pat Coleman and Keith McMillan covering the wide range of Division III football. It drops on Monday morning weekly throughout the season.
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