That was a pretty great first round, not gonna lie. A Top 10 team nearly went down in the first round, one team came back from 18 down and another from 24, plus two games went to overtime — one of which went to three overtimes. Chapman and Linfield made the last game of the day a great capper to a thrilling day.
Pat and Keith run down all 16 of the first-round games, rank the second round games from least to most intriguing and hand out game balls. The player who returned a fumble for a touchdown, ran for a touchdown, and threw for a touchdown in overtime? Yeah, probably find him on that list. The guy who won the biggest quarterback duel of the day? OK, yes, him also. Plus we get you sounds from around the bracket.
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.
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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.
Consensus: Unanimous predictions here for an easy run to the second round for the Sea Gulls.
Keith’s take: Union 31, Case 21 Ryan’s take: Union 38, Case 17 Pat’s take: Union 24, Case 17
Adam’s take: Union 34, Case 24 Frank’s take: Union 31, Case 21 Greg’s take: Union 27, Case 17
Consensus: Clean sweep for the Dutchmen, generally by about 10 points.
Keith’s take: Muhlenberg 45, MIT 10 Ryan’s take: Muhlenberg 45, MIT 14 Pat’s take: Muhlenberg 56, MIT 6
Adam’s take: Muhlenberg 45, MIT 3 Frank’s take: Muhlenberg 42, MIT 14 Greg’s take: Muhlenberg 42, MIT 7
Consensus: The Mules should overwhelm the Engineers and trot on in to the second round.
Keith’s take: Brockport 22, W. New England 19 Ryan’s take: W. New England 24, Brockport 21 Pat’s take: Brockport 24, W. New England 13
Adam’s take: Brockport 20, W. New England 14 Frank’s take: W. New England 27, Brockport 20 Greg’s take: Brockport 26, W. New England 10
Consensus: Split decision for Brockport, but this game looks to be close.
Mount Union bracket
Keith’s take: Mount Union 63, Hanover 7 Ryan’s take: Mount Union 63, Hanover 3 Pat’s take: Mount Union 56, Hanover 10
Adam’s take: Mount Union 48, Hanover 24 Frank’s take: Mount Union 59, Hanover 7 Greg’s take: Mount Union 61, Hanover 10
Consensus: No surprise here, Mount Union is predicted to advance easily.
Keith’s take: North Central 40, Wabash 25 Ryan’s take: North Central 42, Wabash 10 Pat’s take: North Central 56, Wabash 10
Adam’s take: North Central 38, Wabash 14 Frank’s take: North Central 45, Wabash 21 Greg’s take: North Central 45, Wabash 21
Consensus: North Central’s top-ranked offense sweeps the board with a comfortable win over Wabash.
Keith’s take: Wesley 17, Framingham State 14 Ryan’s take: Wesley 28, Framingham State 20 Pat’s take: Wesley 41, Framingham State 24
Adam’s take: Wesley 21, Framingham State 20 Frank’s take: Wesley 21, Framingham State 20 Greg’s take: Wesley 24, Framingham State 21
Consensus: Wesley is the unanimous pick, but five of our panelists see a one score game.
Keith’s take: Del Val 28, Bridgewater 24 Ryan’s take: Del Val 41, Bridgewater 21 Pat’s take: Bridgewater 17, Del Val 15
Adam’s take: Bridgewater 21, Del Val 14 Frank’s take: Del Val 27, Bridgewater 24 Greg’s take: Del Val 17, Bridgewater 10
Consensus: Split decision for Delaware Valley, with the panel largely seeing a close game that could go either way.
We invite you to add your predictions in the comments below, or tweet at us at @D3Keith, @NewsTipps and @d3football. Download the Around the Nation podcast on Mondays, where Pat and Keith review the picks and the highlights from the weekend’s playoff games.
It’s last call for the NCAA tournament this week as the final six Pool A bids will be decided. No Pool B bids this year, but there are plenty of Bowls and Bells to go around. Which games influence one of the best Pool C fields we’ve seen in the D3football.com era? Our panel breaks it all down for you as we deliver our final Hits of the regular season.
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. 3 UW-Whitewater at UW-Oshkosh. Especially with it under the lights, no game will have Pool C teams more on pins and needles.
Ryan’s take: No. 9 Bethel at No. 17 St. Thomas. The only game between ranked teams makes this an easy pick.
Pat’s take: No. 3 UW-Whitewater at UW-Oshkosh. Not only have there been a lot of close games involving Whitewater this season, but this game has the chance to upset the apple cart most in terms of playoff bids.
Adam’s take: Cortaca. We’ve never seen anything like this before.
Frank’s take: No. 3 UW-Whitewater at UW-Oshkosh. The final game of the season has the most playoff implications of the bunch this weekend.
Greg’s take: No. 3 UW-Whitewater at UW-Oshkosh. It’s the title game in the Division’s best conference. There are Pool A and Pool C implications. And it is the last kickoff in the regular season. A grand finale if there ever was one.
Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?
Keith’s take: No. 14 Union. RPI smoked Ithaca last week, and would be returning the favor from when the clinched-bid shoe was on the other foot last season.
Ryan’s take: No. 10 John Carroll. This came has lost some of its cachet with BW’s loss last week, but an upset would mean the OAC is going to lose some postseason representation.
Pat’s take: No. 14 Union. Not as much on Union as it is on RPI, which played with a little more fire last week and will be glad to get up for a rivalry fame and cost its archrival a playoff home game.
Adam’s take: No. 14 Union. RPI has momentum and would like nothing more than to ruin its rival’s playoff seeding while reclaiming the Dutchman Shoes.
Frank’s take: No. 20 Case Western Reserve (at Carnegie Mellon). The Tartans have been tough at home in season-ending games against the Spartans. This time, they knock them off.
Greg’s take: No. 9 Bethel. Because, yes, you can have a top 25 team upset another top 25 team and because I trust the Tommies’ offense a hair more than I do the Royals offense this weekend.
Which rivalry game will produce the biggest upset?
Keith’s take: Hampden-Sydney/Randolph-Macon. Psych. Dutchman Shoes, and RPI.
Ryan’s take: RPI over Union. I’m going to duck now as Frank throws sharp objects in my direction.
Pat’s take: Cuyahoga Gold Bowl Trophy. Playoff pictures will become a little more clear when Baldwin Wallace knocks off No. 10 John Carroll.
Adam’s take: Monon Bell. Wabash has already clinched in what has been an overall down year for the NCAC. A DePauw upset would leave the league with a three-way tie at the top, and no team with fewer than two conference losses.
Frank’s take: DePauw over Wabash. Something just tells me that the Bell is going to be DePauw’s at the end of Saturday, which would make the middling Tigers season much easier to swallow.
Greg’s take: The Cuyahoga Gold Bowl. I’m not so sure Baldwin Wallace beating John Carroll is a massive upset, but our Top 25 certainly thinks so.
Which game are you following that nobody else on this panel is following?
Keith’s take: Huntington at LaGrange. The USA South gets wacky if the Hawks stumble.
Ryan’s take: Millsaps at Birmingham-Southern. With seven SAA teams at .500 or better, the conference is interesting well beyond the top one or two teams.
Pat’s take: Catholic at Maine Maritime. Hoping to see the alma mater get to 2-8 here at the end of the season, even after the 678-mile trip.
Adam’s take: Mount St. Joseph at SUNY-Maritime. Will the Privateers be the lone playoff participant with a sub-.500 record? Will Lions quarterback Chaiten Tomlin become the HCAC’s all-time leading passer in his final game?
Frank’s take: No. 22 Brockport at Morrisville State. The Mustangs hung 49 on a decent Fisher team that Brockport couldn’t score more than 17 against. This could be a “look past” game for Brockport if they’re not careful, and playoff seeding depends on it.
Greg’s take: Ohio Wesleyan at Wittenberg. The Bishops are coming off of an impressive win against Denison and have a chance to take back Ye Olde Skull for the first time since 2006. Yes, they play for a skull.
Which team secures its Pool C ticket with a win?
Keith’s take: Redlands, by winning at Occidental. I’m not confident that a win definitely gets many more teams in …
Ryan’s take: Wartburg. With so many great 1- (and even 2-)loss teams out there, the 8-1 Knights falling to Loras would be the nail in their playoff-hopes coffin. But they have a strong SOS, so they would be a good candidate with a win on Saturday.
Pat’s take: Redlands. As secure as anyone can be for an at-large spot, that is.
Adam’s take: Susquehanna. With a win at Juniata, the River Hawks should clinch their first playoff berth since 2009. Back then, the team was called the Crusaders and played in the Liberty League.
Frank’s take: No. 10 John Carroll (at Baldwin Wallace). This game will help keep John Carroll afloat enough to get one of the last Pool C bids.
Greg’s take: Wesley. The Wolverines have had a habit of making things interesting this season, but they just need to grind out one more win to see their name in the field on Sunday.
Which team will be the highest ranked team to miss the NCAA tournament?
Keith’s take: No. 17 St. Thomas, because it moves up after beating Bethel, No. 6 North Central dodges a bullet and No. 10 JCU loses. Maybe?
Ryan’s take: No. 15 Hardin-Simmons. They’re a great squad, but with two losses (and one of the teams that beat them also at two losses), there’s really no chance to see HSU in the mix come Sunday.
Pat’s take: Hardin-Simmons.
Adam’s take: John Carroll. Many voters have the Blue Streaks ranked in their top ten. A win over Baldwin Wallace on Saturday may get them in the top 15 on my ballot. It appears that still won’t be enough to get the OAC a second team in the playoffs this year.
Frank’s take: No. 15 Hardin-Simmons. Losing to only UMHB and TLU shouldn’t lead to this type of ending, but with just five at-large bids, we can say to the Cowboys, “Thanks for playing, and enjoy your lovely parting gifts.”
Greg’s take: St. Thomas. With the BW assist forecasted above, a Tommies win over Bethel should push them up and over current No. 15 Hardin-Simmons and be the highest ranked team to not move on to Week 12.
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.