This week’s main event features a top 25 showdown in Belton with major ASC and playoff implications. Our panel has thoughts on that one, which other top 25 teams have spooky matchups, and which other games around the country may treat D3 fans.
Our regular crew is Keith McMillan, Ryan Tipps, Pat Coleman, Adam Turer, Frank Rossi and Greg Thomas.
— Greg Thomas
Hardin-Simmons athletics photo
by Scott Burkhalter
Which game is the Game of the Week?
Keith’s take: No. 15 Hardin-Simmons at No. 1 Mary Hardin-Baylor. No. 15 Hardin-Simmons at No. 1 Mary Hardin-Baylor: Even with some luster off this after the Cowboys’ early-October loss, it’s still matchup of juggernaut offenses.
Ryan’s take: No. 15 Hardin-Simmons at No. 1 Mary Hardin-Baylor. It was my conference GMOY pick in Kickoff, though the Cowboys’ blemish adds significantly to its playoff stakes.
Pat’s take: No. 15 Hardin-Simmons at No. 1 Mary Hardin-Baylor. If this is a chance UMHB gets upset, it not only upturns the poll, but also the ASC AQ race.
Adam’s take: No. 15 Hardin-Simmons at No. 1 Mary Hardin-Baylor. One of this season’s greatest mysteries lies in Belton. This is the biggest test for the Cru this season, and how they respond will set the tone for the remainder of the 2019 season.
Frank’s take: Keith talked me out of picking Ohio Wesleyan at Hiram on the ATN Friday Podcast. So I guess I’ll have to pick No. 15 Hardin-Simmons at No. 1 Mary Hardin-Baylor instead.
Greg’s take: UW-Oshkosh at UW-La Crosse. Probably an at-large eliminator for the loser, while the winner will stay alive in the WIAC and take their swing at Whitewater in November.
Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?
Keith’s take: No. 17 Chapman. Mostly because Cal Lutheran is 3-3 with three one-possession losses and can probably keep this one close to the end too.
Ryan’s take: None. I looked long and hard at several games, but any underdog will really have to catch lighting in a bottle to come away with a W this week. I can’t pull the trigger on any of them.
Pat’s take: No. 19 Cortland. If St. John Fisher could play Ithaca that closely, and Cortland wasn’t able to put Morrisville away until late and was nearly doubled in yardage by Alfred…
Adam’s take: No. 20 Susquehanna. This feels like the week of “none” but the Centennial has been chock full of upsets this season, and an Ursinus win would also shake up the Pool C picture.
Frank’s take: No. 13 Wesley (vs. Montclair). I explain what’s at stake and how it can happen on today’s Podcast.
Greg’s take: No. 19 Cortland. There were some red flags from the Red Dragons last week where a couple of special teams scored bailed out a rough offensive effort. This week Cortland goes on the road to a St. John Fisher squad that can put up major points.
Which one-loss team has its postseason hopes dashed?
Keith’s take: Also Hardin-Simmons. Sorry.
Ryan’s take: Denison. Last year’s playoff run won’t repeat itself, and I’ve seen how well Witt can play with its back against the wall.
Pat’s take: Hardin-Simmons. Even if we have reason to question the UMHB O, the D can get the job done.
Adam’s take: Denison. The Big Red, one of four teams tied at the 4-1 logjam atop the NCAC, travel to Wittenberg. The Tigers keep their playoff hopes alive while dashing Denison’s.
Frank’s take: Wilkes (at Misericordia). Wilkes ran into a buzzsaw last week but still has a very remote chance for a playoff berth — until Misericordia QB Brady Williams continues to dazzle Saturday.
Greg’s take: No. 15. Hardin-Simmons. The Cowboys have their backs against the wall, but on the road for UMHB’s homecoming is about the worst possible spot to have to play a must win game. The Texas pod gets sorted out before Round 1 this year.
Which game are you following that nobody else on this panel is following?
Keith’s take: Texas Lutheran at Sul Ross State. The Bulldogs look to win their sixth straight in the only game that kicks off after 4 ET; the other panelists will be on dates or doing things besides staring into a laptop screen on a Saturday night.
Ryan’s take: Texas Lutheran at Sul Ross State. While the ASC’s traditional big dogs battle it out this week, TLU has a tough one against a rising SRSU to stay in the playoff hunt.
Pat’s take: Transcendental at Rare font-Bud-Ships. Listen to the pod to crack the code.
Adam’s take: Bridgewater at Washington and Lee. The Eagles are the most impressive unranked unbeaten, in my opinion. The alma mater could throw a wrench in the ODAC race by unseating the Eagles. I’d be there if I didn’t have other, not so D-III plans on Saturday.
Frank’s take: Dean at Gallaudet. If Dean wins, the ECFC AQ would go to a team no better than 4-4 or 6-4 (and potentially worse). It might force the NCAA to re-evaluate football playoff access with so few at-large berths left.
Greg’s take: Mt. St. Joseph at Rose-Hulman. But for a brazen Braden Smith two point conversion in Terre Haute, this would be a game between undefeated HCAC squads. Hanover is still going to have a say in how this league turns out, but the winnowing of contenders starts here.
Which WIAC game will be the closest?
Keith’s take: UW-Oshkosh at UW-La Crosse. They haven’t looked like the title contenders we expected, but they do look like they’d battle one another tough.
Ryan’s take: UW-Oshkosh at UW-La Crosse. Hopefully, the Eagles’ defense tightens down after last week.
Pat’s take: UW-River Falls is only 47 miles away, but the Stevens Point-Stout game will have a closer score.
Adam’s take: UW-Oshkosh at UW-La Crosse. The teams have each played three one-score contests this season. The Titans have more riding on this one, while the Eagles try to play spoiler at home. I’ll set the line at UW-Oshkosh -4.5, for entertainment only.
Frank’s take: UW-Oshkosh at UW-La Crosse. I see defenses digging in enough to keep scoring reasonable and close in a game between two strong teams.
Greg’s take: UW-Stevens Point at UW-Stout. Going with recent history here, this series has been decided by seven points or less for six years running.
Pick a team that wears orange and black to win on Halloween week.
Keith’s take: Lewis and Clark. These guys will make easy picks, but yours truly is leaning on a squad that’s allowed 134 points in its past to games to beat Willamette (which has allowed 136).
Ryan’s take: Hendrix. For someone like me who’s color blind, even locating a team with those colors is a win.
Pat’s take: Hendrix. Austin will be shooting at the walls of heartache.
Adam’s take: Ohio Northern. The Polar Bears face winless Capital. The Crusaders have been outscored by an average of 59.7 to 4.5 points per game, the worst margin in all of D-III. That’s scary.
Frank’s take: Hendrix (at Austin). I figure the easy choice is ONU over Capital — but when have I ever picked the conventional option? If you don’t believe me, see my Stagg Bowl sideline outfits from the past three years.
Greg’s take: Hendrix. The Warriors have had a tough couple of weeks in the SAA, but get back into the win column this weekend at Austin.
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.
Once upon a time, this patient got up off the table, but now Pat or Keith (hint, not both) is ready to call an end to the UW-Whitewater dynasty. See, yes UWW has lost three games before in a season during this run, but not three of the first four. And that may be the difference-maker, because for the Warhawks to even get to 7-3 is a challenge, both agree.
In addition to that big story, there’s a big game out west to talk about, an unexpected finish in a battle of unbeatens and an even more unexpected finish that knocked Wheaton from the ranks of the unbeaten. Plus two schools who didn’t have to wait to get their second win after long losing streaks, and two schools who are waiting two extra days to get their game in.