Quick Hits Week 4: Cracking the win column

This week the panel looks at a top-12 clash in the OAC, some big games down south, and which teams are poised to get their first win of 2019.

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. 2 Mount Union at No. 12 John Carroll.  On the pod I took SJF-Ithaca, but I think this is the right call.
Ryan’s take: No 8 Bethel at Gustavus Adolphus.  The Gusties hung tough with St. John’s already, and Bethel will need to be ready for its first real test of the season.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Franklin & Marshall at No. 24 Susquehanna.  Also in contention for the longest game when listed on scoreboards.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 2 Mount Union at No. 12 John Carroll. After thrashing Baldwin Wallace last week, the Purple Raiders face their biggest test of the regular season. If the Blue Streaks can’t put up a fight, expect The Machine to pick up even more top votes in next week’s poll.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 2 Mount Union at No. 12 John Carroll. Mount was moved to the No. 1 slot on my ballot last week, and John Carroll did a huge leap on it. I’m curious to see how this plays out, even if it’s a close JCU loss.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: St. Norbert at Monmouth. It’s a rematch of last year’s MWC championship. And the one before that. And maybe a preview of this year’s MWC championship. These teams know each other well is what I’m saying.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

Keith’s take: No. 24 Susquehanna.  I hate when panelists do the none thing, and F&M is averaging 41 points a game.
Ryan’s take: No. 13 Ithaca.  Oppenent St. John Fisher is already better than they were last year, and there’s a sense of returning to form. And the Bombers have crept up unusually high in the poll.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 1 Mary Hardin-Baylor.  I actually feel we are unlikely to have any upsets at all, but HPU is improving and UMHB has struggled.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 24 Susquehanna. If there’s any week to pick “None” this is it. But what’s the fun in that? I’ll take undefeated Franklin and Marshall to contribute to the Centennial Conference chaos.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 18 Johns Hopkins. I think the topsy-turvy season for Hopkins continues here against a Dickinson team that has been a little inconsistent, but that has the pieces needed to win at home.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 25 Hobart. It took a pretty furious rally for the Statesmen to survive winless Rowan last week. This week, Montclair State closes the deal.

Which 0-3 team cracks the win column this weekend?

Keith’s take: Hiram. Of the 35 choices, I like Hiram, as its level of competition has been tougher so far than Kenyon, this week’s opponent.
Ryan’s take: Bridgewater State.  The Bears line up against Fitchburg, which statistically has the worst defense in the conference.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Belhaven.  In the battle of 0-3 teams, taking the one that looked good last week.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Belhaven. The Blazers put a scare into Mary Hardin-Baylor on Saturday. If they can get the offense on track, they should be able to defeat fellow winless ASC foe McMurry.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Belhaven. Their three losses have been by a combined 30 points, but they include a close 10-point loss to UMHB last week. Their experience should lead to a win.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: Belhaven. It’s hard to see the Blazers’ 23-13 loss at UMHB last week and not think they’re close to a cracking the win column in 2019. Hosting McMurry is a great opportunity.

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

Keith’s take: Southwestern at Texas Lutheran. I am very fascinated by Southwestern’s hot start, yet Texas Lutheran is no easy W.
Ryan’s take: Southern Virginia at Bridgewater.  The Knights are 2-0 for the first time in … ever. Curious to see if lightning will strike a third time.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Defiance vs. Anderson.  I think Anderson is beyond the point where it can be Defiance’s only win, but watching to be sure.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Mount St. Joseph at Franklin. Listen to my preview on today’s podcast. The Grizzlies will try to extend their win streak over the Lions to 10 games. Mount St. Joe has the edge at quarterback. Will that be enough to shake up the HCAC standings?
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Western New England at University of New England. For a second-year program like UNE, a huge upset like this would be a signature win. But UNE has a small chance here. WNE can’t look past this game.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: Denison at Wabash. It’s Homecoming. It’s Senior Day. It’s a critical conference game for both teams. And it’s also the first of the last five games at the current iteration of Hollett Little Giant Stadium.

Pick a winner in a LL vs. E8 game.

Keith’s take: Cortland. SUNY Buffalo State and SUNY Cortland are in different conferences, and tiers. The Dragons outscoring opponents 94-7, and will get top 25 consideration soon.
Ryan’s take: St. Lawrence over Hartwick.  The Saints’ Tyler Grochot puts up good numbers even in losses — he’ll be hard for the Hawks to stop.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Alfred.  There are a bunch of games that seem like pretty easy picks in this group, so I’m sure we’ll have a bunch of upsets instead.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 13 Ithaca defeats St. John Fisher. A battle of unbeatens, a turning point for two resurgent programs trying to reclaim the top spot in the East Region. I think this is Ithaca’s year.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: St. Lawrence (vs. Hartwick). The Saints got their first win last week and have played stronger generally based on schedule comparisons and scores. Home cookin’ seals this deal for them.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: Cortland over Buffalo State. In their first season out of the E8, the Bengals are on the verge of a four-game non-conference sweep courtesy their former conference rivals. The good news is that they’re still 0-0 in league play.

Which Week 3 upset victim gets back on course this week?

Keith’s take: Ursinus.A surprise 44-38 loser to Juniata last week, Ursinus gets a chance to get right against 0-3 Moravian.
Ryan’s take: Washington & Jefferson. The game won’t come down to the fourth quarter for the Presidents, like it has two of the past three weeks already.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Ohio Northern. I’m not confident in any of them, but will take ONU to beat Otterbein.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Washington & Jefferson. Most of last week’s upset victims have an unwelcome bye week. They would much rather be on the field with the opportunity to get back on the winning path. The Presidents face a hungry Grove City team, which just had its nine-game winning streak snapped by Case Western Reserve.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Washington & Jefferson (at Grove City). That said, I think Grove City plays them very close, unlike last year and unlike last week’s disappointing Case Western Reserve loss.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: Ohio Northern. Back home and under the lights, the Polar Bears shake off last week’s shocker and get a win over winless Otterbein.

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.


Around the Nation Podcast 225: Just good enough

Keith McMillan pleaded for a first round of the playoffs that didn’t stink. And he got it, if nothing else, because his alma mater, Randolph-Macon, upset John Carroll.

Now, your mileage may have varied. With a margin of victory of nearly 34 points on average, these were not great games. With a near quadruple monkey stomp and several other games that looked like the usual top seed vs. No. 8 seed contests, there weren’t many worth watching for a neutral Division III fan. Unless, of course, you hooked into the Randolph-Macon win, or St. Norbert’s upset of Trine, or Muhlenberg’s dramatic finish at Delaware Valley.

Hear highlights from Saturday, postgame commentary from teams advancing to the Round of 16, and more in the Around the Nation Podcast.

The 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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Link: Our full NCAA playoff coverage
Mentioned in the podcast: Defense lights UW-Whitewater’s fire, feature by Joe Sager

Photo: Eric Hoy needs several John Carroll defenders to bring him down. (John Carroll athletics photo)

Theme music: DJmentos.


Quick Hits: Predicting the first-round scores

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. Plus, we have Logan Hansen’s odds to advance and at the bottom, a widget you can manipulate to get details on all 32 teams and compare teams head-to-head in a multitude of categories.

— Pat Coleman ( photo)

Mary Hardin-Baylor bracket
Keith’s take: UMHB 34, Hardin-Simmons 10
Ryan’s take: UMHB 31, Hardin-Simmons 14
Pat’s take: UMHB 34, Hardin-Simmons 7
Adam’s take: UMHB 38, Hardin-Simmons 17
Frank’s take: UMHB 44, Hardin-Simmons 10
Greg’s take: UMHB 35, Hardin-Simmons 10
Hansen odds to advance: UMHB, 93.7%
Strong consensus for a Mary Hardin-Baylor win, of around five scores to two.
Keith’s take: Berry 34, Maryville 10
Ryan’s take: Berry 34, Maryville 13
Pat’s take: Berry 35, Maryville 10
Adam’s take: Berry 31, Maryville 13
Frank’s take: Berry 37, Maryville 30
Greg’s take: Berry 28, Maryville 20
Hansen odds to advance: Berry, 70.8%
The first meeting was 38-3 and the second meeting isn’t expected to be much different.
Keith’s take: St. John’s 56, Martin Luther 0
Ryan’s take: St. John’s 52, Martin Luther 7
Pat’s take: St. John’s 62, Martin Luther 8
Adam’s take: St. John’s 63, Martin Luther 0
Frank’s take: St. John’s 54, Martin Luther 7
Greg’s take: St. John’s 58, Martin Luther 7
Hansen odds to advance: St. John’s, 100.0%
 St. John’s in a runaway.
Keith’s take: Whitworth 21, C-M-S 17
Ryan’s take: Whitworth 45, C-M-S 6
Pat’s take: Whitworth 24, C-M-S 6
Adam’s take: Whitworth 35, C-M-S 3
Frank’s take: Whitworth 49, C-M-S 14
Greg’s take: Whitworth 31, C-M-S 10
Hansen odds to advance: Whitworth, 92.1%
Wide range of scores by which Whitworth is expected to advance.
UW-Whitewater bracket
Keith’s take: UW-Whitewater 49, Eureka 6
Ryan’s take: UW-Whitewater 52, Eureka 10
Pat’s take: UW-Whitewater 58, Eureka 12
Adam’s take: UW-Whitewater 42, Eureka 6
Frank’s take: UW-Whitewater 41, Eureka 3
Greg’s take: UW-Whitewater 48, Eureka 7
Hansen odds to advance: UW-Whitewater, 99.9%
Whitewater by a lot.
Keith’s take: Trine 27, St. Norbert 17
Ryan’s take: St. Norbert 24, Trine 17
Pat’s take: Trine 42, St. Norbert 16
Adam’s take: St. Norbert 20, Trine 17
Frank’s take: Trine 37, St. Norbert 27
Greg’s take: Trine 28, St. Norbert 27
Hansen odds to advance: Trine, 70.5%
A split decision favoring Trine, but by varying margins.
Keith’s take: North Central 35, Hanover 14
Ryan’s take: North Central 48, Hanover 7
Pat’s take: North Central 51, Hanover 14
Adam’s take: North Central 56, Hanover 13
Frank’s take: North Central 47, Hanover 10
Greg’s take: North Central 40, Hanover 17
Hansen odds to advance: North Central, 98.3%
North Central advancing easily.
Keith’s take: Bethel 28, Wartburg 17
Ryan’s take: Bethel 31, Wartburg 23
Pat’s take: Wartburg 24, Bethel 13
Adam’s take: Bethel 28, Wartburg 17
Frank’s take: Wartburg 27, Bethel 24
Greg’s take: Wartburg 17, Bethel 14
Hansen odds to advance: Bethel, 67.2%
A pure 50-50 split decision which is likely headed for a recount.
Mount Union bracket
Keith’s take: Mount Union 49, Denison 21
Ryan’s take: Mount Union 63, Denison 7
Pat’s take: Mount Union 28, Denison 10
Adam’s take: Mount Union 49, Denison 20
Frank’s take: Mount Union 67, Denison 3
Greg’s take: Mount Union 42, Denison 14
Hansen odds to advance: Mount Union, 98.7%
Mount Union wins in a day which is a struggle for the Denison offense.
Keith’s take: Centre 28, W&J 27
Ryan’s take: Centre 38, W&J 31
Pat’s take: W&J 34, Centre 24
Adam’s take: Centre 31, W&J 24
Frank’s take: Centre 37, W&J 34
Greg’s take: Centre 28, W&J 24
Hansen odds to advance: Centre, 76.7%
Non-unanimous consensus that Centre wins one of the best games of the day.
Keith’s take: John Carroll 41, Randolph-Macon 17
Ryan’s take: John Carroll 49, Randolph-Macon 13
Pat’s take: John Carroll 42, Randolph-Macon 14
Adam’s take: John Carroll 42, Randolph-Macon 16
Frank’s take: John Carroll 40, Randolph-Macon 13
Greg’s take: John Carroll 35, Randolph-Macon 17
Hansen odds to advance: John Carroll, 85.4%
John Carroll winning easily.
Keith: Muhlenberg 23, Delaware Valley 20
Ryan: Muhlenberg 28, Delaware Valley 27
Pat: Muhlenberg 34, Delaware Valley 17
Adam: Muhlenberg 35, Delaware Valley 32
Frank: Muhlenberg 34, Delaware Valley 31
Greg: Muhlenberg 31, Delaware Valley 28
Hansen odds to advance: Muhlenberg, 56.0%, the lowest odds of any predicted winner.
Unanimous picks of road teams are rare, but note that five of the six pick margins of three or less.
Brockport bracket
Keith’s take: Brockport 35, Framingham St. 7
Ryan’s take: Brockport 49, Framingham St. 10
Pat’s take: Brockport 48, Framingham St. 10
Adam’s take: Brockport 38, Framingham St. 6
Frank’s take: Brockport 42, Framingham St. 10
Greg’s take: Brockport 42, Framingham St. 13
Hansen odds to advance: Brockport, 97.7%
Brockport moving on in the style of their choosing.
Keith’s take: Husson 10, RPI 9
Ryan’s take: RPI 23, Husson 21
Pat’s take: RPI 30, Husson 17
Adam’s take: RPI 24, Husson 20
Frank’s take: RPI 30, Husson 27
Greg’s take: RPI 20, Husson 10
Hansen odds to advance: RPI, 62.6%
RPI in a non-unanimous game that’s generally expected to be close.
Keith’s take: Frostburg St. 42, Western N.E. 14
Ryan’s take: Frostburg St. 42, Western N.E. 10
Pat’s take: Frostburg St. 45, Western N.E. 10
Adam’s take: Frostburg St. 45, Western N.E. 10
Frank’s take: Frostburg St. 44, Western N.E. 14
Greg’s take: Frostburg St. 38, Western N.E. 7
Hansen odds to advance: Frostburg State, 92.4%
Frostburg advancing with ease.
Keith’s take: Johns Hopkins 42, MIT 10
Ryan’s take: Johns Hopkins 45, MIT 7
Pat’s take: Johns Hopkins 45, MIT 16
Adam’s take: Johns Hopkins 43, MIT 14
Frank’s take: Johns Hopkins 35, MIT 17
Greg’s take: Johns Hopkins 38, MIT 10
Hansen odds to advance: Johns Hopkins, 96.8%
 Johns Hopkins winning the brainiac bowl.

We invite you to add your predictions in the comments below, or tweet at us at @D3Keith, @NewsTipps, @d3football, @adamturer, @frankrossi and @wallywabash. Download the Around the Nation podcast on Mondays, where Pat and Keith review the picks and the highlights from the weekend’s playoff games.