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ATN Podcast 273: A silent spring

The fields will stand empty this spring, as college campuses across the country are devoid of student and athlete alike. The Division III football spring practice will be even more non-existent than usual.

Dozens of new coaches won’t get to see their teams in action, even if that action had been without helmets and pads. Hundreds of quarterback hopefuls won’t get to show off their skills in an organized setting.

And yet, all this pales to the threat each and every Division III coach, player and fan, across all sports, faces from the COVID-19 virus — a virus that even helped bring a school to close its doors permanently, with perhaps more to come. In this edition of the podcast, Pat Coleman and Keith McMillan talk with three coaches who are all helping their student-athletes face likely the most significant adversity of their lives.

That starts with MacMurray coach Chris Douglas, whose entire team and school was disbanded out from under him last week. He talked with us less than 24 hours after the new broke, to talk about how he and the school were helping his student-athletes and what plans they might have for continuing to play in 2020, for different programs.

We also talked with Jeff Thorne of national champion North Central. His spring practice would have been spent helping figure out who would take the quarterback reins from D3football.com Offensive Player of the Year Broc Rutter. Instead, it is spent sheltering at home, meeting with players online and looking for innovative ways to upgrade the Cardinals’ X’s and O’s. And we also talked with FDU-Florham coach Jimmy Robertson, who just took over the program six short weeks ago — or maybe it seems like longer than that. His vision for turning the Devils around starts with a plan, one which the team will have to start by working out at home.

Pat and Keith discuss that and more in Podcast 273.

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.

Hit play, or subscribe to get this podcast on your mobile device.

Full episode:

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Theme music: DJmentos. North Central athletics photo by Steve Woltmann.

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Around the Nation Podcast 210: Who should be No. 1?

A weekend of big games begged the question for D3football.com Top 25 voters as to which team should be No. 1. While there are 19 voters who picked Team Alliance Purple as No. 1, there are now six in Team Belton Purple’s camp. Are you of the mind that “the champ is the champ until they lose,” or are you more likely to favor whoever is playing better at the time? Pat Coleman and Keith McMillan lay out the arguments for Mount Union and for Mary Hardin-Baylor in this week’s podcast. (And just maybe someone might consider Team Purple St. Paul if the results work out.)

On Sunday, Pat Coleman and Adam Turer each got a chance to weigh in on the legacy of John Gagliardi, and Keith McMillan does as well. Plus, we give you the key takeaways from the top 10 shootout and the top 10 shutouts, and Pat talks to the team that snapped a 33-game losing streak. That, along with game balls and much more 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. 

Hit play, or subscribe to get this podcast on your mobile device.
Full episode: 

You can subscribe to the Around the Nation Podcast in iTunes. You can also get this and any of our future Around the Nation podcasts automatically by subscribing to this RSS feed: http://www.d3blogs.com/d3football/?feed=podcast

Theme music: DJmentos.

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Quick Hits: Who will clinch

This weekend is all about who will clinch automatic bids, on top of all the things that typically go on in a Division III football weekend. Our Quick Hits crew predicts clinchers, Top 25 upsets, conference upsets and teams that will go into the offseason on a high note. 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 Patrick Bohn, an Ithaca grad who posts as Bomber798891 on D3boards.com.

— Pat Coleman

What’s Week 10’s Game of the Week?

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Keith’s take: No. 25 Salisbury at No. 13 Wesley. Route 13 Rivalry pits two of NJAC’s three 7-1 teams, which gives it conference title and playoff implications.
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Ryan’s take: No. 25 Salisbury at No. 13 Wesley. The Route 13 Rivalry is rarely one to disappoint. Honorable mention: WNE at Curry.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Alfred at No. 10 Brockport. I think this game will be telling about the shift in the balance of the force in the E8.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Union vs. Ithaca. Two first-year head coaches shaking up the Liberty League and two teams with plenty to play for.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 25 Salisbury at No. 13 Wesley. A Wesley win gives Wolverines NJAC. A Salisbury win could take NJAC out of Pool C contention.
Guest
Patrick’s take: No. 25 Salisbury at No. 13 Wesley. These two teams have played (mostly) competitive games over the past few years, and both bring stout defenses to the table.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 16 Case Western Reserve. Westminster (Pa.) has six- and one-point losses to 8-0 teams. CWRU loss would help Pool C hopefuls.
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Ryan’s take: No. 21 George Fox. If Pacific Lutheran’s performance against Linfield last week is any indication.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 20 UW-Plattevile. Because Keith will want me to pick someone, even though this would hardly be an upset.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 16 Case Western Reserve. Westminster (Pa.) is the most underrated two-loss team in the country, losing by a total of seven to unbeatens  Wittenberg and Washington & Jefferson.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 21 George Fox. Last week was a reminder that Pacific Lutheran is still a threat. They finish the deal this week.
Guest
Patrick’s take: No. 9 North Central. Carthage nearly pulled off the upset at Illinois Wesleyan, so the Cardinals should be on the lookout.

Name a team outside the Top 25 which will clinch a bid this weekend.

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Keith’s take: Huntingdon (vs. Methodist). Since a Week 1 loss to Guilford, USAC’s Hawks have averaged 37.4 points per game.
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Ryan’s take: Lakeland. The Muskies hold the tiebreaker over the two teams with one NACC loss.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Trine. For that to happen this weekend, Trine must beat Alma and another game must go Trine’s way.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Huntingdon. The Hawks will clinch the USA South, and will be a popular Quick Hit pick for the second straight week.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Husson (vs. Alfred State). One of the bigger geography challenges for the NCAA selection committee will be back once again in the Pool of 32.
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Patrick’s take: Franklin. The Grizzlies should light up the scoreboard against Anderson and easily clinch the HCAC auto-bid.

How many points will be scored, total, in the Montclair State-Rowan game?

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Keith’s take: 24.
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Ryan’s take: 31. A trick question since these two teams have played the best in the NJAC in recent outings, and the scoreboard reflected that.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: 22. Only because to say “3” seems harsh.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: 29. More than the 27 total that the Profs have scored during their five-game losing streak.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: 17.
Guest
Patrick’s take: 25. Both teams have good kickers, so I’m betting on six field goals and one touchdown.

What team will end the season this week on a high note?

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Keith’s take: Thomas More. Saints get win No. 6 against Thiel, but last season in the PAC a disappointment.
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Ryan’s take: Mount St. Joseph. Sure, last year’s game vs. Defiance came down to the wire, but recent history is on the Lions’ side.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Simpson. A win vs. Nebraska Wesleyan, makes the Storm 6-4, three games better than 2016. (Plus they won’t help IWU’s and Concordia’s SOS.)
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Thomas More. The Saints will win their fifth in a row, finish above .500 for the tenth straight season, and send retiring coach Regis Scafe off with a victory.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Mount St. Joseph. After combining with Franklin to score 105 points in a loss last week, the Lions roar at home to close out their season.
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Patrick’s take: Northwestern. The Eagles’ season may have been a disappointment, but they’ll head into the offseason — and send fans home happy — on a four-game winning streak with a win over Crown.

Pick a winner in a conference upset outside the Top 25.

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Keith’s take: Ithaca, vs. Union. The Bombers’ 5-3 mark has come against tougher opposition (.559 to .521 SoS) than the Dutchmen’s 7-1, and it will show.
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Ryan’s take: MacMurray over St. Scholastica. No doubt Eureka is rooting for this outcome.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Adrian over Olivet. This is that other result Trine needs to clinch the MIAA this week. Adrian is a misleading 3-5.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. The Stags might steal a win from Chapman, but the Panthers already have  the conference title and playoff berth.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Martin Luther. After a win that looked to potentially seal the UMAC for Eureka last week, the Knights have a chance to catch the Red Devils napping.
Guest
Patrick’s take: Utica. A tough Pioneers defense catches Cortland — who were stunned by St. John Fisher last week — looking ahead to Cortaca.

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.