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,

Which game is the Game of the Week?

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.
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?

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.
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?

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.
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?

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.
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?

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.
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?

Keith’s take: West. I’ve got Linfield over Rowan, Alfred over George Fox, and UW-Oshkosh edging Salisbury to break the tie.
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.


Around the Nation Podcast 225: Just good enough

Keith McMillan pleaded for a first round of the playoffs that didn’t stink. And he got it, if nothing else, because his alma mater, Randolph-Macon, upset John Carroll.

Now, your mileage may have varied. With a margin of victory of nearly 34 points on average, these were not great games. With a near quadruple monkey stomp and several other games that looked like the usual top seed vs. No. 8 seed contests, there weren’t many worth watching for a neutral Division III fan. Unless, of course, you hooked into the Randolph-Macon win, or St. Norbert’s upset of Trine, or Muhlenberg’s dramatic finish at Delaware Valley.

Hear highlights from Saturday, postgame commentary from teams advancing to the Round of 16, and more in the Around the Nation Podcast.

The 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:

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Link: Our full NCAA playoff coverage
Mentioned in the podcast: Defense lights UW-Whitewater’s fire, feature by Joe Sager

Photo: Eric Hoy needs several John Carroll defenders to bring him down. (John Carroll athletics photo)

Theme music: DJmentos.


Quick Hits: Predicting the first-round scores

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. Plus, we have Logan Hansen’s odds to advance and at the bottom, a widget you can manipulate to get details on all 32 teams and compare teams head-to-head in a multitude of categories.

— Pat Coleman ( photo)

Mary Hardin-Baylor bracket
Keith’s take: UMHB 34, Hardin-Simmons 10
Ryan’s take: UMHB 31, Hardin-Simmons 14
Pat’s take: UMHB 34, Hardin-Simmons 7
Adam’s take: UMHB 38, Hardin-Simmons 17
Frank’s take: UMHB 44, Hardin-Simmons 10
Greg’s take: UMHB 35, Hardin-Simmons 10
Hansen odds to advance: UMHB, 93.7%
Strong consensus for a Mary Hardin-Baylor win, of around five scores to two.
Keith’s take: Berry 34, Maryville 10
Ryan’s take: Berry 34, Maryville 13
Pat’s take: Berry 35, Maryville 10
Adam’s take: Berry 31, Maryville 13
Frank’s take: Berry 37, Maryville 30
Greg’s take: Berry 28, Maryville 20
Hansen odds to advance: Berry, 70.8%
The first meeting was 38-3 and the second meeting isn’t expected to be much different.
Keith’s take: St. John’s 56, Martin Luther 0
Ryan’s take: St. John’s 52, Martin Luther 7
Pat’s take: St. John’s 62, Martin Luther 8
Adam’s take: St. John’s 63, Martin Luther 0
Frank’s take: St. John’s 54, Martin Luther 7
Greg’s take: St. John’s 58, Martin Luther 7
Hansen odds to advance: St. John’s, 100.0%
 St. John’s in a runaway.
Keith’s take: Whitworth 21, C-M-S 17
Ryan’s take: Whitworth 45, C-M-S 6
Pat’s take: Whitworth 24, C-M-S 6
Adam’s take: Whitworth 35, C-M-S 3
Frank’s take: Whitworth 49, C-M-S 14
Greg’s take: Whitworth 31, C-M-S 10
Hansen odds to advance: Whitworth, 92.1%
Wide range of scores by which Whitworth is expected to advance.
UW-Whitewater bracket
Keith’s take: UW-Whitewater 49, Eureka 6
Ryan’s take: UW-Whitewater 52, Eureka 10
Pat’s take: UW-Whitewater 58, Eureka 12
Adam’s take: UW-Whitewater 42, Eureka 6
Frank’s take: UW-Whitewater 41, Eureka 3
Greg’s take: UW-Whitewater 48, Eureka 7
Hansen odds to advance: UW-Whitewater, 99.9%
Whitewater by a lot.
Keith’s take: Trine 27, St. Norbert 17
Ryan’s take: St. Norbert 24, Trine 17
Pat’s take: Trine 42, St. Norbert 16
Adam’s take: St. Norbert 20, Trine 17
Frank’s take: Trine 37, St. Norbert 27
Greg’s take: Trine 28, St. Norbert 27
Hansen odds to advance: Trine, 70.5%
A split decision favoring Trine, but by varying margins.
Keith’s take: North Central 35, Hanover 14
Ryan’s take: North Central 48, Hanover 7
Pat’s take: North Central 51, Hanover 14
Adam’s take: North Central 56, Hanover 13
Frank’s take: North Central 47, Hanover 10
Greg’s take: North Central 40, Hanover 17
Hansen odds to advance: North Central, 98.3%
North Central advancing easily.
Keith’s take: Bethel 28, Wartburg 17
Ryan’s take: Bethel 31, Wartburg 23
Pat’s take: Wartburg 24, Bethel 13
Adam’s take: Bethel 28, Wartburg 17
Frank’s take: Wartburg 27, Bethel 24
Greg’s take: Wartburg 17, Bethel 14
Hansen odds to advance: Bethel, 67.2%
A pure 50-50 split decision which is likely headed for a recount.
Mount Union bracket
Keith’s take: Mount Union 49, Denison 21
Ryan’s take: Mount Union 63, Denison 7
Pat’s take: Mount Union 28, Denison 10
Adam’s take: Mount Union 49, Denison 20
Frank’s take: Mount Union 67, Denison 3
Greg’s take: Mount Union 42, Denison 14
Hansen odds to advance: Mount Union, 98.7%
Mount Union wins in a day which is a struggle for the Denison offense.
Keith’s take: Centre 28, W&J 27
Ryan’s take: Centre 38, W&J 31
Pat’s take: W&J 34, Centre 24
Adam’s take: Centre 31, W&J 24
Frank’s take: Centre 37, W&J 34
Greg’s take: Centre 28, W&J 24
Hansen odds to advance: Centre, 76.7%
Non-unanimous consensus that Centre wins one of the best games of the day.
Keith’s take: John Carroll 41, Randolph-Macon 17
Ryan’s take: John Carroll 49, Randolph-Macon 13
Pat’s take: John Carroll 42, Randolph-Macon 14
Adam’s take: John Carroll 42, Randolph-Macon 16
Frank’s take: John Carroll 40, Randolph-Macon 13
Greg’s take: John Carroll 35, Randolph-Macon 17
Hansen odds to advance: John Carroll, 85.4%
John Carroll winning easily.
Keith: Muhlenberg 23, Delaware Valley 20
Ryan: Muhlenberg 28, Delaware Valley 27
Pat: Muhlenberg 34, Delaware Valley 17
Adam: Muhlenberg 35, Delaware Valley 32
Frank: Muhlenberg 34, Delaware Valley 31
Greg: Muhlenberg 31, Delaware Valley 28
Hansen odds to advance: Muhlenberg, 56.0%, the lowest odds of any predicted winner.
Unanimous picks of road teams are rare, but note that five of the six pick margins of three or less.
Brockport bracket
Keith’s take: Brockport 35, Framingham St. 7
Ryan’s take: Brockport 49, Framingham St. 10
Pat’s take: Brockport 48, Framingham St. 10
Adam’s take: Brockport 38, Framingham St. 6
Frank’s take: Brockport 42, Framingham St. 10
Greg’s take: Brockport 42, Framingham St. 13
Hansen odds to advance: Brockport, 97.7%
Brockport moving on in the style of their choosing.
Keith’s take: Husson 10, RPI 9
Ryan’s take: RPI 23, Husson 21
Pat’s take: RPI 30, Husson 17
Adam’s take: RPI 24, Husson 20
Frank’s take: RPI 30, Husson 27
Greg’s take: RPI 20, Husson 10
Hansen odds to advance: RPI, 62.6%
RPI in a non-unanimous game that’s generally expected to be close.
Keith’s take: Frostburg St. 42, Western N.E. 14
Ryan’s take: Frostburg St. 42, Western N.E. 10
Pat’s take: Frostburg St. 45, Western N.E. 10
Adam’s take: Frostburg St. 45, Western N.E. 10
Frank’s take: Frostburg St. 44, Western N.E. 14
Greg’s take: Frostburg St. 38, Western N.E. 7
Hansen odds to advance: Frostburg State, 92.4%
Frostburg advancing with ease.
Keith’s take: Johns Hopkins 42, MIT 10
Ryan’s take: Johns Hopkins 45, MIT 7
Pat’s take: Johns Hopkins 45, MIT 16
Adam’s take: Johns Hopkins 43, MIT 14
Frank’s take: Johns Hopkins 35, MIT 17
Greg’s take: Johns Hopkins 38, MIT 10
Hansen odds to advance: Johns Hopkins, 96.8%
 Johns Hopkins winning the brainiac bowl.

We invite you to add your predictions in the comments below, or tweet at us at @D3Keith, @NewsTipps, @d3football, @adamturer, @frankrossi and @wallywabash. Download the Around the Nation podcast on Mondays, where Pat and Keith review the picks and the highlights from the weekend’s playoff games.