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Quick Hits Week 7: All eyes on Minnesota

This week our Quick Hits panel delivers takes on Johnnie-Tommie, of course, but also points out upsets brewing out east, undefeated runs coming to an end, and which teams are going to go home victorious for the first time this season.

Our regular crew is Keith McMillan, Ryan Tipps, Pat Coleman, Adam Turer, Frank Rossi and Greg Thomas.

— Greg Thomas
Photo by Ryan Coleman, d3photography.com

Which game is the Game of the Week?

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Keith’s take: Johnnie-Tommie. I might have gotten it wrong on the pod, but I’m right here. Given the rankings and the atmosphere, don’t think you can go anywhere else for GOTW.
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Ryan’s take: The Johnnie-Tommie Game. As Pat would say … next question.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: The Johnnie-Tommie game. Not to go MIAC two weeks in a row, but to be honest, you have to.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Johnnie-Tommie. This should be unanimous. Next question.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 4 St. John’s vs. No. 11 St. Thomas. It’s a survival game for St. Thomas and a major rivalry game — you can’t ask for much more than that.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: Johnnie-Tommie, yes. But also Hobart @ Ithaca, Middlebury @ Wesleyan, Wartburg @ Simpson, Delaware Valley @ Wilkes, and Alfred @ Cortland make for a nice undercard.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 9 Ithaca. The Bombers (5-0) would probably have to play their worst game of the season to lose to visiting Hobart (4-1), but I don’t like to cop out and say none for this question.
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Ryan’s take: No. 19 UW-Platteville. Opponent UW-Stout has been playing better than their record would show, and Platteville is coming off a difficult loss last week.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 12 Salisbury. Rowan has played well against a tough schedule and Salisbury can’t possibly execute as well as it did against Wesley.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 22 Cortland. The Red Dragons have looked impressive, but against inferior competition. The first real test of the season comes in Week 7 against 5-1 Alfred. The Saxons are 4-1, coming off a bye week, and are faced with a must-win.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 22 Cortland (vs. Alfred). Alfred had a bye week in Week 6, while Cortland struggled with Morrisville St. With 21 sacks in five games, the Saxons’ defense needs to reach Cortland QB Brett Segala to win this.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 16 Delaware Valley. If there is a serious challenger in the MAC to the Aggies, it’s got to be the undefeated, home standing Wilkes Colonels.

Pick a winner from a game between unbeaten conference opponents.

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Keith’s take: I think Del Val handles Wilkes, which is 5-0 against a schedule that’s 6-16 in its other games, and ranked 209th by one metric and 230th by another.
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Ryan’s take: No. 22 Cortland, over Alfred. The Red Dragons’ margins of victory have been impressive all year, though this week starts the first game in a very tough back half of the season.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: St. Norbert, vs. Beloit. This might be the biggest gimme on the board.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Monmouth. The Scots haven’t lost an MWC South contest since 2014. After laboring through an unexpected bye week due to Grinnell cancelling its season, the Scots will take out their frustration on Illinois College.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Anna Maria (vs. Dean). This ECFC game could go a long way in deciding the conference winner, since there are just five league games per member. Anna Maria “rings the bell” in Paxton, Mass.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 18 Wartburg. I’m higher on the Knights than the Top 25 is overall and I expect they’ll be able to weather the Storm on Saturday.

Which game are you following that nobody else on this panel is following?

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Keith’s take: Morrisville State at Utica: The Mustangs nearly knocked off Alfred and Cortland the past two weeks. They are going to catch someone napping.
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Ryan’s take: The middle of the NCAC. With 4-1 OWU squaring off against 3-2 DePauw, and 4-1 Denison against 3-2 Wooster, we’ll get a whole new (clearer?) picture of the conference after this weekend.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: The panel is pretty solid. But I know that if I don’t punch in the score of the Central-Buena Vista game, nobody else will either.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Misericordia at FDU-Florham. For the second straight season, the Cougars have opened conference play with a win streak. Impressive after the program failed to string together consecutive wins through its first six years. I’ll be keeping an eye on Misericordia as long as the streak is alive.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Springfield at Merchant Marine. The Mariners can’t get caught looking ahead to a potential NEWMAC undefeated showdown in Week 8 at WPI. Springfield needs to win the game to survive in the NEWMAC race.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: Washington U. @ No. 5 Wheaton. Wheaton has a game in hand against their chief CCIW rivals, but the Bears can formally insert themselves into the CCIW race by duplicating their 2018 upset of the Thunder.

Pick one of the remaining 23 undefeated teams to drop their first game.

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Keith’s take: St. Olaf‘s schedule (8-17, 204th, 215th) is not much better than Wilkes’. Bethel gets it done.
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Ryan’s take: Wilkes, to Delaware Valley.  Though having a loss to a nationally ranked team, the Aggies are still likely to come out on top in the MAC in Week 11.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Picked one above and will add Wilkes to the list.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: St. Olaf. I discussed this deja vu in today’s podcast. For the second straight season, the Oles opened 5-0. They will likely once again suffer their first loss at the hands of the Royals. Winning just one of their final five contests will give the Oles their best season since 2012.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 4 St. John’s St. John’s has been somewhat inconsistent on offense, while St. Thomas has been more consistent on both sides of the ball. We’ll see if Eau Claire was a fluke or not by the end of this game.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: St. Olaf. I expect a solid rebound game from Jaran Roste and the Bethel Royals and a reminder about the pretty clear tiers that exist in the MIAC.

Pick one of the remaining 28 winless teams to pick up their first win.

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Keith’s take: Allegheny (0-5) has had a top-loaded schedule, and will get on the right track against 3-2 Kenyon.
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Ryan’s take: Buffalo State, over Rochester. In a game not as close as you’d think between two winless teams.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Buffalo State. At least we know there will be one.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Maryville. The only 2018 playoff participant still seeking its first victory of 2019, the Scots face an improved Methodist squad. Maryville’s offense finally got going in Week 6, putting up a season-high 35 points against Huntingdon. The defense will have its hands full once again against running back Vontre Howard and the Monarchs.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Gettysburg (at Juniata). Juniata has had an inconsistent path this season, making the Week 5 win before the bye potentially lead to a Week 7 loss, if the trend continues.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: Allegheny. The Gators’ first half schedule was tough, but I’m not sure 0-5 is how most saw the Rich Nagy era starting. Kenyon has been a good first half story, but I think it is Allegheny’s turn to notch a 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.

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ATN Podcast 204: Now that was surprising

It was a surprising win for Misericordia, a surprising comeback for Thomas More. There were some great defensive performances and there was some good kicking as well. Yes, we can give a kicker or two a game ball, right? And we’ve been talking about this rant by Widener coach Mike Kelly, which came before his team lost in Misericordia’s sixth win ever, so we’ll really get down to it. We also hear from Thomas More coach Trevor Stellman about his team’s rally vs. UW-Platteville.

And with that, most of Division III’s non-conference play is over. Columnist Adam Turer will rank all of the conferences a little later in the season, but Pat and Keith take a look at which conferences are the big winners and which are on the other end after non-conference play.

Meanwhile, some teams have friends in low places, others get knocked down but get back up again, and it’s all good on the Week 3 Monday 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

Bonus link: Baldwin Wallace-Mount Union broadcast archive. The BW team runs out at about the 18:00 mark.

Purchase Football For a Buck: The Crazy Rise and Crazier Demise of the USFL from Amazon (and D3football.com gets a buck or so in the process).

Photo: Muhlenberg players celebrate. (Muhlenberg athletics photo)

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Quick Hits: Picking a number to beat

There are three games between ranked teams this week, and a fourth which could have been (stares at Whitewater’s goal-line stats), But there are also other battles between unbeatens, and games worthy staying up late for, and that’s what Quick Hits is looking at this week.

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 Gene Schatz, a Division III football fan whose son played quarterback at Wesley a few years back. Gene has continued to follow Division III very closely and still travels to see D-III games. Take note, D-III parents. You don’t have to leave when your player graduates.

— Pat Coleman (photo by d3photography.com)

What’s the Week 5 game of the week?

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Keith’s take: UW-Whitewater at No. 3 UW-Oshkosh. By a hair over Whitworth at Linfield.
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Ryan’s take: UW-Whitewater at No. 3 UW-Oshkosh. Preseason, this was a no-brainer. Even now, still a good one as UW-W vies to stay in the playoff hunt.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 14 Whitworth at No. 8 Linfield. Also like the Wisconsin game but now have questions about UWO thanks to JCU’s first four weeks.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 14 Whitworth at No. 8 Linfield. The Pirates can shake up the NWC, for one year at least.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 19 Illinois Wesleyan at No. 5 Wheaton. Thunder can use field to escape bad news, but losing five players never helps midway through.
Guest
Gene’s take: No. 14 Whitworth at No. 8 Linfield. Interested to see if Whitworth can finally get past the NWC king who lost plenty from last year’s team.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 13 Johns Hopkins. Ursinus has scored 35 points in each of its four wins.
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Ryan’s take: No. 20 Alfred. With a lot left to prove, they’re not even on my ballot yet.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 15 Wittenberg. This is a team which is in a significantly different place on my Top 25 ballot than 15.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 15 Wittenberg. The Tigers will have their hands full with Denison’s prolific offense led by QB Canaan Gebele.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 20 Alfred. Alfred has seemed leg-weary at times, while Buffalo State seems to be improving a little each week.
Guest
Gene’s take: No. 12 UW-Platteville. Stout is coming off of the victory over St. Thomas and 2 weeks prep could make for a tough game for Platteville.

Who has a letdown after a big game last week?

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Keith’s take: Wilmington. After an overtime win vs. Capital, winning at John Carroll would be a stunner.
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Ryan’s take: Muhlenberg. Opponent F&M has been hot this year, though this should be a close one.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Luther. A win at home is one thing, but on the road at a rejuvenated program in BVU is something else.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: East Texas Baptist. The Tigers hung 79 last week, but will be lucky to score half that against HSU. Not discounting ETBU’s chances, though.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Christopher Newport. CNU had decent bounce-back game at Montclair, but Rowan’s defense could derail their momentum.
Guest
Gene’s take: Buffalo State, coming off a big win over RPI after trailing at the half, heads to Alfred to take on the Saxons and remain at the top of the E8.

Which game should people be watching at the end of the night?

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Keith’s take: Redlands at Occidental. In support of the fact there’s a game to watch.
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Ryan’s take: No. 6 Hardin-Simmons at East Texas Baptist. Two undefeated power-conference teams — a perfect recipe.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Pacific at George Fox. Unless I’m watching Redlands-Occidental or the archive of UWW/UWO.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Redlands at Occidental. I can’t wait to see how hungry the Tigers are to finally play their second game of the season.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Redlands at Occidental. D3 Nation should be rooting for Oxy’s players, who are severely undermanned but want to play, to keep this game close.
Guest
Gene’s take: UWW vs. Oshkosh. Does UWW continue to struggle this year and the loss puts them out of the playoffs or do they climb back into the discussion?

Who surpasses their 2016 win total this week?

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Keith’s take: Rochester (2). At Becker, the Yellowjackets get their second 2017 win following a 1-8 2016.
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Ryan’s take: Birmingham-Southern (2). Against Trinity, they’re looking for win No. 2.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Allegheny (2). The Gators will have a challenge from the Hiram offense but the rebuild will move forward.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Rochester (2). The Yellowjackets pick up the win against a winless Becker squad.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Hartwick (2). Utica has failed to meet expectations while the Hawks’ offense has clicked..
Guest
Gene’s take: McDaniel (4). At 3-7 last year, McDaniel looks to pick up win No. 4 against the 1-3 Juniata Eagles.

How many NCAC teams will remain unbeaten, and which ones will they be?

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Keith’s take: Three. DePauw, Wabash, Denison.
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Ryan’s take: Three: DePauw, Bash and Witt.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Three. DePauw, Wabash, Denison.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Three. Wabash, DePauw, and Denison.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Three. DePauw, Wabash, Wittenberg.
Guest
Gene’s take: Three. Wabash, DePauw, and Wittenberg.

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.