This week we’ve got our eyes on two big games featuring midwestern Titans, plenty of contests with titanic travel, a throwback Texas showdown, and a huge game between East region powers.
Our regular crew is Keith McMillan, Ryan Tipps, Pat Coleman, Adam Turer, Frank Rossi and Greg Thomas.
— Greg Thomas
Photo by Steve Frommell, d3photography.com
Which game is the Game of the Week?
Keith’s take: No. 22 Wesley at No. 13 Delaware Valley. Even though I get all googly-eyed when Linfield and UW-Oshkosh visit the East Coast, I got assigned Wesley-Del Val for the podcast, and it holds up as GOTW.
Ryan’s take: No. 14 Illinois Wesleyan at No. 23 UW-La Crosse. The Eagles are certainly happy to already have a game under their belt, but I’m not sure they have to tools to slow IWU’s skilled returning offense.
Pat’s take: No. 14 Illinois Wesleyan at No. 23 UW-La Crosse. Losing this game last year derailed IWU’s postseason hopes, while UWL can solidify contender status with another W.
Adam’s take: No. 22 Wesley at No. 13 Delaware Valley. The Wolverines are back in the Top 25. Now, they have a chance to show that they are back in contention as one of the top programs in the nation.
Frank’s take: No. 22 Wesley at No. 13 Delaware Valley. With Brockport’s loss, and with RPI facing a strong WPI team this week, the winner of this game could be considered the front runner of the East Region.
Greg’s take: No. 14 Illinois Wesleyan at No. 23 UW-La Crosse. The Eagles upset the Titans last year, a loss that ultimately cost IWU a spot in the playoffs. There is little reason to believe that the stakes won’t be similar this time around.
Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?
Keith’s take: No. 21 Wabash. Susquehanna beat No. 7 Johns Hopkins last year, which takes a savvy pick out of the “upset” category. The Little Giants could struggle against UW-Stevens Point though.
Ryan’s take: No. 7 Johns Hopkins. It happened last year against Susquehanna, and the River Hawks already have debuted strong this season. (Apologies for the earlier typo, River Hawks!!)
Pat’s take: No. 9 Hardin-Simmons. The game with Trinity (Texas) last year was a two-point game until the final 60 seconds and Trinity looks to be just as strong, if not better than 2018.
Adam’s take: No. 9 Hardin-Simmons. The Cowboys haven’t lost a non-conference regular season game since 2014. Trinity (Texas) is a program on the rise and gave the Cowboys a battle last season. This would be Jerheme Urban’s signature win as head coach of his alma mater.
Frank’s take: No. 19 RPI (at WPI). Yes, Coach Isernia, I’ll bring the thumbtacks for your bulletin board. WPI’s record-sized senior class wants a signature win to go out on; this could be it.
Greg’s take: No. 9 Hardin-Simmons. A lot has to go right for Trinity to pull this off, but Jerheme Urban has been steadily building his alma mater back into a player in the South region. Knocking off the Cowboys would be the perfect springboard into SAA play.
Which team debuting this week will most wish they played in Week 1?
Keith’s take: No. 14 Illinois Wesleyan. While this week’s opponent, No. 23 UW-La Crosse, was busy battling it out with Concordia-Moorhead, the Titans were doing who knows what.
Ryan’s take: No. 21 Wabash. The Little Giants will need its veteran defense to really shine to help avoid the tension of last year’s narrow contest against UW-Stevens Point.
Pat’s take: No. 21 Wabash. UW-Stevens Point had a quality first-week performance in a loss at No. 17 John Carroll, so the Pointers will definitely have a leg up on the Little Giants.
Adam’s take: DePauw. The Tigers are eager to wash away a disappointing 4-6 season marked by narrow defeats. Traveling to face a 1-0 Central team is their first chance to avenge one of those losses, but it won’t be easy.
Frank’s take: Massachusetts Maritime. SUNY-Maritime won in a huge late comeback last week, giving the Privateers important momentum heading into this rivalry game.
Greg’s take: No. 21 Wabash. The Little Giants have a tricky road trip up to UW-Stevens Point this week. The Pointers pushed Wabash in Crawfordsville last year without the benefit of one game head start.
Which game are you following that nobody else on this panel is following?
Keith’s take: Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at Northwestern (Minn.). The Stags lost in Washington last week, but hit the road again, and should bring back a W this time.
Ryan’s take: Hampden-Sydney at Christopher Newport. Two Virginia teams (and past state powers) that faltered in Week 1 are sure to be looking for the right footing this time around.
Pat’s take: Catholic at Georgetown. The last time these teams played, I was a senior in college and a pretty crappy broadcaster to boot. I won’t be there on Saturday, and neither will be TE Jim Opfinger, who had a huge game against the Hoyas.
Adam’s take: Rose-Hulman at Rhodes. It’s the Fightin’ Engineers’ only non-conference game against a team without a national championship pedigree and realistic 2019 Stagg Bowl aspirations.
Frank’s take: Montclair State at Salve Regina. Both teams were surprise losers in Week 1. They both need momentum before conference plays begins. This could be a close game.
Greg’s take: Aurora at Elmhurst. In this game featuring two first year head coaches, I want to see if last week’s points avalanche is going to be the norm for Don Beebe’s squad or if Jeff McDonald’s Blue Jays can slow them down.
Which team will be a surprising 0-2?
Keith’s take: Bridgewater State. The Bears might still be contenders once MASCAC play begins, but they got roughed up by the Empire 8’s Morrisville State last weekend and go to St. John Fisher.
Ryan’s take: George Fox. The Bruins came out flat last week — slow to score and stuggling to step up on defense. Against a team like Alfred that shut out its first opponent, that kind of play spells trouble.
Pat’s take: Bridgewater State. The Bears have had some wild swings in won-lost record in recent seasons and with a 32-point loss to Morrisville State in Week 1, it might sound reasonable to expect a loss at St. John Fisher on Saturday..
Adam’s take: Misericordia. The Cougars shocked the world with an 8-win campaign in 2018. Losses to McDaniel and Lebanon Valley to start 0-2 would be more in line with the program’s historic struggles.
Frank’s take: Framingham State. The Endicott win last week was unexpected, and Brockport needs a rebound. That ends up making the two-time reigning MASCAC champs 0-2.
Greg’s take: Ohio Northern. Muskingum shouldn’t be a big problem for ONU, but the Polar Bears have a lot of things to correct from their Week 1 loss at Denison.
Which region wins the East vs. West games?
Keith’s take: West. I’ve got Linfield over Rowan, Alfred over George Fox, and UW-Oshkosh edging Salisbury to break the tie.
Ryan’s take: East gets the majority, with Linfield being the West’s bright spot.
Pat’s take: West: Linfield over Rowan, UW-Oshkosh over Salisbury, but Alfred beats George Fox to avoid the sweep.
Adam’s take: West. Alfred notches a win for the East over George Fox. Linfield evens the score for the West by defeating Rowan. In what should be the marquee Week 2 game between unranked opponents, UW-Oshkosh squeaks past Salisbury.
Greg’s take: East. I’ll take Linfield to win at Rowan and Alfred to defeat visiting George Fox. Salisbury holds serve at home against UW-Oshkosh to give the East a 2-1 series 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.
Lots of eyes on Iowa, where the first automatic bid of the season could be clinched, as well as on Indiana, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. But also, perhaps there’s something in Connecticut to note, or Oregon, or Washington (D.C., that is). 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 Doug Samuels. A former Division III football player at Defiance, Doug is currently a high school coach and is also content manager for FootballScoop.
— Pat Coleman
Which Week 9 game is the game of the week?
Keith’s take: Dubuque at No. 19 Wartburg. No no-brainer this week. Let’s see how Knights look vs. toughest opponent since the opener.
Ryan’s take: No. 13 Wittenberg at Wabash. Few young rivalries have this level of intensity to them.
Pat’s take: UW-La Crosse at No. 9 UW-Platteville. La Crosse showed last week it has multiple capable QBs, much like UWP.
Adam’s take: No. 13 Wittenberg at Wabash. Doubtful the Tigers can repeat last week’s dominance, but another win could pretty much clinch the NCAC title..
Frank’s take: No. 14 Wesley at Montclair State. With the Salisbury showdown awaiting Wesley, this feels like a trap game. Not saying Wesley loses, but I think it could be closer than expected.
Doug’s take: No. 13 Wittenberg at Wabash. The Little Giants lost a close one in Week 7 and have a bad taste in their mouth with a change to get things back on track against a quality ranked Wittenberg team.
Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?
Keith’s take: No. 24 Johns Hopkins. Blue Jays have hit their stride in October, but Muhlenberg is two three-point losses from being unbeaten.
Ryan’s take: No. 24 Johns Hopkins. The kicker being that they only made it back onto my ballot last week.
Pat’s take: No. 19 Wartburg. I’m basing this solely on the amount of talk from Dubuque players on Twitter after our preseason poll. Make the talk stand up.
Adam’s take: No. 19 Wartburg. Dubuque is very nearly 7-0 and the 5-2 Spartans should at least make a very close game of this.
Frank’s take: No. 13 Wittenberg. “The rumors of [Wabash’s] demise have been greatly exaggerated” — because “Wabash always fights.” I know… How cliché..,
Doug’s take: No. 9 UW-Platteville. Word is UW-La Crosse has their D-I transfer back at QB, and they’ve lost a few close ones. Think they break through this week.
Which team will hurt its regional ranking this week before we even get to see it?
Keith’s take: Lake Forest. Five of Foresters’ 7 wins vs. teams with two wins or fewer. Monmouth would be impressive; MWC won’t have two ranked.
Ryan’s take: Millikin. If Carthage can follow through with playing spoiler this time around.
Pat’s take: George Fox. And they won’t lose to Lewis & Clark — but their strength of schedule will go down.
Adam’s take: Franklin and Marshall. Diplomats are fighting for a 9-1 season and playoff bid, but faces a surprisingly 1-6 Moravian.
Frank’s take: Western Connecticut. Colonials might be ranked in the East at one loss — if they can beat Fitchburg. Inconsistent play suggests they might not before the big game at Framingham.
Doug’s take: If we never see their hypothetical rankings from this week, is it logical to suggest that no one’s ranking gets hurt?.
Which team bounces back after a tough loss?
Keith’s take: George Fox. After rainy, offensively challenged loss at Linfield, Bruins reawaken vs. a Lewis & Clark that’s lost three straight since 2-1 start.
Ryan’s take: Heidelberg. The Student Princes won’t be the head-scratchers they were last week.
Pat’s take: Catholic. After being thoroughly unable to stop Springfield, CUA gets Norwich at home.
Adam’s take: Heidelberg. The Student Princes took an unexpected beating last week, but will bounce back against Wilmington at home.
Frank’s take: George Fox. After a one-possession loss to the juggernaut known as Linfield, this game will be a walk in the park for the Bruins vs. Lewis & Clark.
Doug’s take: Hamline. After losing to St. Thomas 84-0, this week they get 3-5 Augsburg. Gotta think Hamline (2-5) is ready for a team they measure up with better.
Hartwick has the weekend off. So which team with Hawks in its name will score the most points?
Keith’s take: Huntingdon. Loras Duhawks (36.1 ppg) are highest-scoring ‘hawks, but Huntingdon faces 1-6 Greensboro, which allows 45.1 ppg.
Ryan’s take: Huntingdon. Opponent Greensboro gave up 59 last week, and that wasn’t even their biggest blowout this year.
Pat’s take: Huntingdon. Greensboro won’t put up too much of a fight, so it’ll be whatever the Hawks feel like scoring.
Adam’s take: Salve Regina. But the Seahawks might not score much against a stout Western New England defense.
Frank’s take: Huntingdon. They may play with Pride, but Greensboro has just one win as they prepare for a rested Huntingdon Hawks. This might get lopsided early.
Doug’s take: UW-Whitewater. The Warhawks will score the most AND – bonus info here – Montclair State (vs. Wesley) will score the LEAST.
Which game featuring a ranked team will be the closest?
Keith’s take: UW-La Crosse at No. 9 UW-Platteville. Eagles have been competitive but are 0-2 in the meat of their schedule.
Ryan’s take: Wash U at No. 17 Case Western Reserve. The Bears have a lot of losses, but their competition has been fierce.
Pat’s take: No. 18 Berry at Birmingham-Southern. I should double down on my first pick but BSC has been playing tight games and Berry is defense-oriented.
Adam’s take: Elmhurst will push No. 12 Illinois Wesleyan to the brink. The CCIW is deep this year.
Frank’s take: No. 24 Johns Hopkins at Muhlenberg. I foresee a one-possession decision here in favor of JHU, but I expect it to be a great game between Centennial stalwarts.
Doug’s take: Dubuque at No. 19 Wartburg. Last year, Dubuque lost by eight. They’ll have some extra motivation to knock off the ranked Knights this year and I’m betting it’s close again.
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.
And as the end of the football regular season approaches and a bunch of schools turn their sights on basketball, we figured it was time to bring in a basketball expert to join us on Quick Hits. Hence, Dave McHugh, of Hoopsville and D3hoops.com, stops by to give us hits that resemble quickness. (Possibly edited for extra quickness.) Who will clinch this week? Who can still play their way into the regional rankings? We predict that and more in this week’s Quick Hits.
— Pat Coleman
Which game would you rather be at this weekend?
Keith’s take: No. 21 ETBU at No. 10 HSU is the best game. But I’ve never seen a game at Westminster (Pa.), and their battle with Case should be huge.
Ryan’s take: No. 21 ETBU at No. 10 HSU. A one-loss ASC team should be primed for a Pool C spot, which means this is likely a game to determine who gets to take the field on Nov. 19.
Pat’s take: Hobart at No. 16 St. Lawrence. I’m taking a pretty crazy trip to get there, so what else would I say?
Adam’s take: The only game between ranked opponents, No. 21 East Texas Baptist’s electric offense against No. 10 Hardin-Simmons’ stout defense.
Frank’s take: Hobart at No. 16 St. Lawrence. I cover the Liberty League on “In the HuddLLe” each week. Where else would I be? Plus, Pat Coleman will be there. That’s like the sprinkles on an already great sundae.
Dave’s take: Lycoming at Delaware Valley. While the Warriors are not in the race, they have Del Val this week and Stevenson the next and could change the complexion of the conference. The Aggies have to stay in postseason position.
Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?
Keith’s take: No. 18 Salisbury. The Sea Gulls finally beat their Route 13 rival last season, but Wesley is scrapping for its playoff life.
Ryan’s take: No. 18 Salisbury. Wesley’s slow start is behind them, and they’re trending upward going into the famed Route 13 rivalry game.
Pat’s take: No. 18 Salisbury. It might be a chic pick by this point, but I’m going to buy into the Wesley resurgence and see if they can’t go down Rte. 13 and get a W.
Adam’s take: Wesley is playing with its back against the wall, needing to upset No. 18 Salisbury on the road. I think the Wolverines pull it off to keep their playoff streak alive, for now.
Frank’s take: No. 16 St. Lawrence. SLU hasn’t faced an air attack like Hobart’s. While I don’t usually favor one-dimensional offenses, SLU’s offense has also been somewhat off since their bye. Close game favors Hobart’s cardiac kids.
Dave’s take: No. 16 St. Lawrence. I decided to look for the best basketball matchup. The teams’ similar outcomes against common opponents intrigues me. I like Hobart finishing on top Saturday and in February, too.
Pick a Chicago-area team to win and a Cleveland-area team to lose.
Keith’s take: Baldwin Wallace has lost its past three by a total of five points, and Heidelberg should send them to another loss. Benedictine, while keeping one eye on Aurora-Lakeland, tops Concordia-Chicago.
Ryan’s take: North Central and Oberlin. NCC will notch an impressive and SOS-boosting win over 6-2 Cathage. Oberlin’s first win of the season will continue to be elusive against DePauw.
Pat’s take: Elmhurst and Oberlin. Elmhurst hosts Millikin, which is having a strong season, but I like the Bluejays at home. Oberlin hosts DePauw and it’s not enough of a trap game for the Tigers to lose.
Adam’s take: Wheaton and Case. Wheaton continues to build its Pool C resume. I have a feeling Westminster (Pa.) is going to resolve a lot of playoff questions by ending Case’s perfect season, sending Indians fans into a deeper spiral.
Frank’s take: North Central and Case Western Reserve. NCC will beat a Carthage team with just two losses (both by 19-14 scores), and Case will lose against Westminster (Pa.), which would potentially open up a Pool C bid.
Dave’s take: Benedictine and Baldwin Wallace. The Cubs already won. Why do we need to pick someone else? Benedictine’s men’s basketball tournament run allowed me to get back to my childhood home of Chicago, and sorry, Baldwin Wallace — Heidelberg wins this.
How many yards will Belhaven throw for vs. Mary Hardin-Baylor?
Keith’s take: Belhaven averages 420. UMHB allows 194. So let’s split the difference and say 307.
Ryan’s take: 305. The Cru defense is sure to rein in the average.
Pat’s take: 347. Not a random number — this is the number of yards Linfield threw for vs. UMHB in September.
Adam’s take: 298, with the majority coming in fourth-quarter garbage time.
Frank’s take: 307. Belhaven averages 419.75 yards per game, and UMHB gives up 193.9 yards in the air. I split the difference here.
Dave’s take: 450. A top 5 squad whose pass defense is not the strongest suit against an offense that likes to throw. This is like when basketball teams play Grinnell. I would be surprised if they throw for less than 450 yards.
Pick a team outside the regional rankings who will clinch an automatic bid.
Keith’s take: Husson clinches the ECFC by beating Norwich, and causes a 500-mile radius problem for the playoff field.
Ryan’s take: Redlands, back in the dance after missing the last two seasons.
Adam’s take: Bridgewater State. The Bears opened the season 0-2 but have been perfect in MASCAC play. A win at Framingham State will clinch the conference title, but it won’t be easy.
Frank’s take: Husson. This takes two events: 1) Husson beats 4-4 Norwich; and 2) SUNY-Maritime beats 4-4 Mount Ida (the Privateers nearly beat Norwich a week earlier).
Dave’s take: Eureka! The Red Devils are having an outstanding season. Despite the fact Northwestern has been on top of the conference and now regionally ranked, I think Eureka pulls off the upset.
Who plays their way into next week’s regional rankings?
Keith’s take: Salve Regina moves in if it beats Western New England, although I am not making a pick one way or another in that clash.
Ryan’s take: Huntingdon. Against Maryville, this is basically for the conference crown.
Pat’s take: Redlands. I’m not sure why the Bulldogs weren’t in there already. They have a similar record to Northwestern and a much better strength of schedule.
Adam’s take: At least two ranked East Region teams are guaranteed to lose on Saturday. That opens the door for a two-loss Delaware Valley team to creep into next week’s rankings.
Frank’s take: Husson. Staying at one loss should be enough for the Eagles to crawl into the East Regional Rankings.
Dave’s take: I think the matchup between Wash U and Hendrix could potentially result in one of them being regionally ranked, though the Bears have the best chance. Wash U enters the week with a .564 SOS. The bottom of the South Region appears to be rather fluid.
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 picks that were prescient, and those that were terribly off base.