We got our first look at the defending national champions this past week, and against a ranked team as well. What do the Cardinals look like? Greg Thomas has his take, and it’s bad news for the rest of Division III football. Plus, we got to see UW-Whitewater against a Top 10 team, and that was super enlightening as well!
Plus, Pat and Greg hand out their game balls, including one to a special teamer, and dig up the great off-the-beaten-path highlights, the weekend’s surprising results. Plus, we take a look at the games coming up in Week 3. All that and more in Podcast 285.
Pat Coleman and Greg Thomas talk about it all in the latest D3football.com Around the Nation Podcast. The D3football.com Around the Nation Podcast is a regular conversation covering the wide range of Division III football.
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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.