October 3, 2013

Re-ranking the conferences

UW-River Falls is often our poster child for the strength of the WIAC. The Falcons are often the worst team in the conference yet have been competitive with teams in the middle to upper tiers of other conferences.
Photo by Ryan Coleman, d3photography.com

The beginning of October brings along with it the last handful of teams in automatic qualifier conferences (seven teams or more, established for two or more years) who have to yet to begin league play. And with non-conference games mostly in the books, it’s also time for an annual ATN staple: revisiting Kickoff’s exclusive conference rankings.

In our preseason preview edition this August, we looked at how each of the 29 conferences and independents compared. After a month of crossover play, the new data changes some perceptions, especially in the middle group of Division III conferences where not much separates them.

Pat Coleman and I based the preseason ranking on subjective factors, but we also threw a forward-looking, math-based twist in. We averaged each conference’s teams’ ranking in the 1-244 from Kickoff, and let that influence the order. This time around, it’s just me and subjectivity. I crunch the numbers to back up each ranking, of course, and now that we have comments, feel free to disagree below. Maybe you see something I don't.

One thing that won’t change is the exclusion of a ranking for the NESCAC. With no non-conference games, there’s no result-based basis for comparision, although if there were, they’d fall in close to where the SCIAC, UAA and Liberty League are. There are also five independents this season (Wesley, Southern Virginia, Macalester, Alfred State and Maranatha Baptist) who aren’t reflected in these rankings.

Before I unveil the no-surprise-here No. 1 conference, here are a couple references: Last year's end-of-September re-rank, and a table I compiled then with every conference ranking in D3football.com history shown. 


Kickoff ’13 ranking: 1st of 28 conferences ranked
Non-conference record: 13-11
Most telling result: Pacific Lutheran 21, UW-Eau Claire 19.
Verdict: We gave knocking the WIAC from No. 1 some thought, with UW-Whitewater no longer the defending champion, and with three teams going 0-3 in non-conference play. But look who WIAC teams face: No. 4 North Central three times, No. 6 St. Thomas twice, No. 10 Pacific Lutheran, Division II Missouri S&T, defending NAIA champ Marian. St. John’s twice, Dubuque twice, Central. In short, even going a shade over.500 against the best the rest of the nation has to offer says a lot. When an 0-3 team loses by two to the No. 10 team in the country, it’s a league with serious depth. So even though the WIAC has come closer to the pack, and the gap between it and some of the other top conference isn’t what it was at the height of the Warhawks’ power, nobody put together a compelling enough set of results against a strong enough schedule to vault into the No. 1 spot.


Kickoff ’13 ranking: 3rd
Non-conference record: 13-1
Most telling results: St. John’s 17, UW-Eau Claire 14; Bethel 30, Wartburg 17.
Verdict: The record against non-MIAC teams is outstanding, enough for No. 1-spot consideration, but it’s also a bit misleading. Even while going 3-0 against the WIAC and 4-1 against the IIAC, the non-conference matchups are often top programs against lower-tier programs from other conferences. St. Thomas beating UW-River Falls is a matchup of the best MIAC program vs. the worst in the WIAC, so it doesn’t tell us much about relative strength. With two programs among the first six in the top 25, and two more receiving votes, there is strength at the top. Put together with 13-1, and there’s depth throughout.


Pacific's 3-0 September was kick-started by a win far on the road.
Photo by Eric Kelley, d3photography.com 

Kickoff ’13 ranking: 4th
Non-conference record: 15-6
Most telling results: Pacific Lutheran 31, Cal Lutheran 24; Pacific 20, Adrian 10
Verdict: The NWC, by virtue of its geographic isolation and seven-team size, give us a lot to work with, almost all of it good. The NWC’s record features quite a few wins over upper-tier teams from other conferences: No. 10 PLU and No. 2 Linfield over CLU, PLU over Redlands, Pacific over Adrian, Whitworth over St. Scholastica. Willamette beat Hardin-Simmons by 30 and East Texas Baptist by 20. Whitworth’s losses to LaVerne and Chapman are offset a bit by Puget Sound beating Chapman, in the NWC-SCIAC faceoff. Similarly, Lewis & Clark’s coast-to-coast struggles are offset by the rise of Pacific, one of four 3-0 teams.


Kickoff ’13 ranking: 2nd
Non-conference record: 5-5
Most telling result: St. John Fisher 28, Otterbein 0
Verdict: It’s the same old story in the OAC: Mount Union and whoever makes the top half of the conference is strong, and the bottom half is very shaky. In a 10-team conference, nine league games are built in, so there’s only one non-conference result for each team. That leaves us little to work with, besides history. But what there is to work with, paints a confusing picture – Otterbein and Capital with shutout losses to top teams from the Empire 8 and PAC, John Carroll and Heidelberg with blowout wins, and Mount Union needing a fourth-quarter drive to beat perennial HCAC champ Franklin, 30-27. The OAC used to have a trump card – occasional NFL talent, and coming out of Ohio Northern, Heidelberg and John Carroll, not just Mount Union. But even that seemed to vanish last season.


Tyler Fenti and St. John Fisher had no trouble holding off Otterbein in Week 1.
Photo by Eric Kelley, d3photography.com 

Kickoff ’13 ranking: 7th
Non-conference record: 16-7
Most telling results: St. John Fisher 33, Cortland State 25; Christopher Newport 17, Salisbury 10.
Verdict: All but one game played to date has been non-conference, and it’s a pretty wide swath. E8 teams have faced off against the WIAC, NWC, OAC and UAA among 11 conferences, but the most impressive part is what gives the conference East Coast supremacy. Empire 8 teams have gone 6-0 against the NJAC, with upper-, middle- and lower-tier wins (SJFC over Cortland State, Buffalo State over Brockport State as well as Hartwick over Morrisville State). Salisbury lost to CNU but nearly beat Wesley, and the conference is just 1-2 against the PAC and 2-2 vs. the LL.


Kickoff ’13 ranking: 5th
Non-conference record: 14-10
Most telling results: Trine 16, Elmhurst 7; Central 38, Augustana 13
Verdict: Four teams with winning records and four games over .500 is actually a down season compared to what the CCIW, which starts conference play Saturday, normally does non-conference. Going 3-2 vs. the IIAC and 3-5 vs. the MIAA shows that the CCIW doesn’t have its normal overall depth, but North Central went 3-0 by itself against WIAC teams. While the Cardinals chose to schedule up, Wheaton – perhaps tired of going 8-2 and missing the postseason – beat Benedictine, Albion and Luther by a combined 152-39 without going more than 10 miles from campus. Elmhurst, after an offseason of losses, is 1-2 and struggling as expected. Illinois Wesleyan’s 14-7 home win against Hope either says a lot about what the 3-1 Flying Dutchmen have this season, or it says the CCIW isn’t matching its usual standard of play.


Kickoff ’13 ranking: 6th
Non-conference record: 10-11
Most telling result: Huntingdon 34, Louisiana College 27
Verdict: With only one conference game played to date, the down-to-seven-teams ASC has compiled a lot to judge by. But separate out national No. 3 Mary Hardin-Baylor, which thumped Redlands, Kean and Wesley, and the results aren’t that great. The ASC is missing a convincing No. 2, following Huntingdon’s wins over LC and Mississippi College, and Hardin-Simmons’s losses to Willamette and Linfield by a total of 80 points. The teams that could fill the void, such as Howard Payne (47-29 vs. Trinity) and East Texas Baptist (45-25 vs. Willamette) have bad losses as well.


Kickoff ’13 ranking: 9th
Non-conference record: 15-6
Most telling results: RPI 24, Alfred 21; Springfield 49, Western New England 40
Verdict: The Liberty League went 6-0 in Week 1 and 11-2 the first two weeks before beginning conference play last weekend. The keys have been a 6-2 mark against the ECFC and a 4-1 record against the NEFC, but the truth is undeniable. Union (0-3) is the only sub-.500 team in the conference, and five teams exited September with three wins.


Willie Logan has led Bridgewater to an unbeaten start but against little competition.
Photo by Peggy Erwin, d3photography.com 

Kickoff ’13 ranking: 10th
Non-conference record: 17-7
Most telling result: Washington & Lee 14, Franklin & Marshall 13; Shenandoah 43, Ferrum 29.
Verdict: The ODAC, which begins conference play this week, is most often matched up against the USA South and the Centennial. Depsite Christopher Newport’s 17-7 win over Hampden-Sydney, the ODAC went 9-4 against the USAC and 2-1 against the CC, with the blemish Johns Hopkins’ 38-14 win over Randolph-Macon. With three teams at 3-0 and three more at 2-1 in the non-conference slate, the ODAC is likely to maintain its reputation as the most competitive and difficult-to-predict conference in D-III.


Kickoff ’13 ranking: 13th
Non-conference record: 7-3
Most telling result: Brockport State 30, Lycoming 2.
Verdict: The bulk of the non-conference wins came in the MAC-NJAC challenge, in which the conference went 5-2. But the MAC’s top teams split, with Delaware Valley beating Rowan and Albright beating Kean, but Lycoming losing badly against Brockport State and Widener giving up 644 yards to Wesley. Lycoming beat Widener last week and hosts Del Val on Saturday. If the Warriors take the lead, that’s good for them and bad for the conference’s reputation, given the Brockport result. But the MAC does have a solid middle with Stevenson and Lebanon Valley in the mix at 3-1, 2-1.


Kickoff ’13 ranking: 8th
Non-conference record: 8-14
Most telling result:
Verdict: With Buffalo State and Western Connecticut gone, it’s a tighter eight-team conference now. But it’s also one in a down cycle. Rowan (2-1) is the only team above .500 or with fewer than two losses, which means anyone besides the Profs would likely have to sweep the conference to get top 25 consideration and win it to make the playoffs. Though NJAC teams have gone 3-1 against upper-tier teams from New England, it’s their 2-5 record in the MAC-NJAC challenge and 0-6 mark against the Empire 8 that sunk their ranking.


Kickoff ’13 ranking: 11th
Non-conference record: 5-5
Most telling result: Ursinus 28, TCNJ 20.
Verdict: The CC has grown into its shoes as a 10-team conference, and as such, is into conference play by Sept. 14. At exactly .500, beating teams from the NJAC, MAC, PAC and ODAC, and going 0-2 vs. the LL, the Centennial is right about where it normally is. No. 16 Johns Hopkins is the standard-bearer, and doesn’t play 4-0 Ursinus until Nov. 2.


Kickoff ’13 ranking: 12th
Non-conference record: 12-12
Most telling results: UW-Oshkosh 24, Central 20; Dubuque 35, UW-La Crosse 24.
Verdict: Conference play begins Saturday, and it does so with a clear split. The top four teams (3-0 Coe and 2-1 Central, Simpson and Wartburg) combined to go 9-3 out of conference, and the bottom four (1-2 Dubuque, Luther and Loras, and 0-3 Buena Vista) went 3-9. But Iowa gets a boost for who its 12-12 record came against: Two games each against No. 5 Bethel and No. 9 UW-Platteville, one against No. 8 UW-Oshkosh (in which the Titans needed to rally to beat Central) and one against No. 15 Wheaton. Sure, Luther lost to former D-III member Presentation and Coe squeaked past Monmouth,  but Dubuque’s only win is at La Crosse. Overall, the IIAC went 2-3 vs. both the WIAC and CCIW, and 1-4 vs. the MIAC.


When Wash U has been successful this season, it's been on defense.
Photo by Darryl Tessmann, d3photography.com 

Kickoff ’13 ranking: 15th
Non-conference record: 9-7
Most telling results: UW-Whitewater 17, Wash U. 7; Chicago 10, Elmhurst 0.
Verdict: A premier eight-team conference in some sports, the UAA is a football oddball. Rochester plays its football in the Liberty League to stay closer to home, and Brandeis, Emory and NYU don’t play at all. That leaves a four-team conference hungry for games. The UAA’s scheduling agreement with the NCAC expired, and Case Western Reserve and Carnegie Mellon don’t join the PAC until 2014. Wash. U. and Chicago join the SAA as affiliates in 2015. Meantime, UAA teams are traveling to Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Washington D.C. and Maryland for games, while CWRU had the lovely opportunity this past Saturday to host a D-III power from Oregon. In all, it’s a respectable start when you consider that 4-0 Chicago has faced two 2012 playoff teams, Wash. U. has played No. 12 UW-Whitewater and No. 20 Coe, and CWRU has played No. 2 Linfield.


Kickoff ’13 ranking: 17th
Non-conference record: 11-14
Most telling results: Christopher Newport 17, Salisbury 10; Huntingdon 34, Lousiana College 27.
Verdict: Quite the dichotomy here. CNU has beaten perhaps the best program in both the Empire 8 and ODAC. Huntingdon, new to the conference and not scheduled to play CNU this year, has scored two wins over ASC teams. Take away the Hawks and Captains’ five non-conference wins, and the other seven USAC teams are winning at a .300 clip (6-14). So while on one hand the USAC should move up for having its top teams beat other top teams, as a whole the conference is still 4-9 against the ODAC, so there’s a limit on how high it can rise.


Kickoff ’13 ranking: 18th
Non-conference record: 5-11
Most telling result: MIT 28, Pomona-Pitzer 26; Pacific Lutheran 31, Cal Lutheran 24.
Verdict: The SCIAC, which begins conference play Saturday, is below .500 non-conference. But had its two best teams, Cal Lutheran and Redlands, scheduled patsies or “like institutions” (like, say the PAC or NCAC), their 0-2 records could be flipped and the conference as a whole would be 9-7. Instead, CLU played No. 2 Linfield and No. 10 PLU, and Redlands played No. 3 Mary Hardin-Baylor and PLU. So instead of punishing their ambition, we should recognize it. Below the SCIAC’s top two, there are some cross-conference results of interest: Occidental hosting and beating the SCAC’s Austin, the SAA’s Rhodes winning at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and LaVerne defeating the NWC’s Whitworth. Overall, the SCIAC went 4-6 against the NWC, nearly snatching the West Coast title.


Kickoff ’13 ranking: 19th
Non-conference record: 13-8
Most telling results: Centre 37, Washington & Lee 28; W&L 35, Sewanee 24.
Verdict: The SAA and its precursor, the SCAC, has been as high as eighth and as low as 19th. With two brand new programs, in Hendrix and Berry, the conference could be in a worse position. But four teams won three games in September, and even though Birmingham Southern got run out of its own stadium in a 37-point opening quarter from Wesley, the other core members have been competitive. Sewanee rushed for 375 yards in a 34-21 loss at Willamette, for instance.


Kickoff ’13 ranking: 20th
Non-conference record: 17-11
Most telling results: Ilinois Wesleyan 14, Hope 7; Trine 47, Concordia (Wis.) 41.
Verdict: This is the best start in years for the MIAA, even better when you consider that the 17-11 record includes 0-4 from Alma, who has lost to No. 8 UW-Oshkosh, No. 13 Heidelberg and just-outside-the-top-25 Illinois Wesleyan. The MIAA transitions into three conference games a week and one team on bye starting this Saturday. Its teams went 5-0 against the HCAC, 6-2 against the NACC – all but one of those games coming in the Sept. 21 MIAA-NACC challenge – and 5-3 against the CCIW.


Washington and Jefferson looks like it might be bouncing back a little bit in 2013.
Photo by Eric Kelley, d3photography.com 

Kickoff ’13 ranking: 14th
Non-conference record: 6-8
Most telling results: Hiram 23, Westminster 19; Rochester 28, Thiel 27.
Verdict: There’s a decent top three with Thomas More, Washington and Jefferson and Waynesburg. Geneva looked promising after three home wins, but lost at Carnegie Mellon, which has four PAC teams on its schedule, this past Saturday. In all, a 2-0 mark vs. the OAC and a 2-1 vs. the Empire 8 looks nice. But when you look more closely, the PAC’s non-conference wins are against Frostburg State (twice), Capital, Muskingum, Carnegie Mellon and Wooster, which will land a nine-team conference here.


Kickoff ’13 ranking: 16th
Non-conference record: 5-5
Most telling results: Butler 49, Wittenberg 24; Sewanee 10, DePauw 7.
Verdict: The conference is still Wabash and Wittenberg at the top, and as Ohio Wesleyan, Kenyon and Denison have risen, Allegheny (0-4 and outscored 148-14) and DePauw (0-3 and 83-33) have fallen. There’s not a lot to compare in the non-conference schedule, but the wins are against Bluffton, Earlham, Hanover, Case Western Reserve and Westminster (Pa.). The losses to Sewanee, Earlham and Carnegie Mellon don’t help much either. Wooster scheduled W&J but lost 58-21, and Wittenberg scheduled FCS program Butler and lost big as well.


Kickoff ’13 ranking: 26th
Non-conference record: 10-6
Most telling result: Framingham State 14, Western Connecticut 12
Verdict: The MASCAC has clearly gotten the better of the 16-team NEFC’s split into two, with a 5-2 mark against the NEFC this season. The conference is 3-3 against the ECFC as well. But perhaps the most telling measure of conference strength is that Western Connecticut, 1-28 the past three seasons as a member of the NJAC, comes in and wins its first two games (against the NEFC’s Nichols and MASCAC’s Plymouth State) by a combined 79-10, then goes toe-to-toe with the top team in the conference, losing by two to the Rams this past Saturday.


Kickoff ’13 ranking: 22nd
Non-conference record: 3-7
Most telling result: Rhodes 24, Austin 21, OT.
Verdict: The only surprise in a conference made up of a brand new team, two perennial also-rans and a fading power is that it’s 2-0 Texas Lutheran out in front, by virtue of an early 42-38 win against Trinity.

Not scoring against John Carroll isn't exactly the end of the world for St. Norbert.
Photo by Larry Radloff, d3photography.com 


Kickoff ’13 ranking: 25th
Non-conference record: 4-6
Most telling result: None.
Verdict: As an 11-team conference set to become 12 when Macalester joins as a football affiliate next season, there’s only one week for teams to test themselves outside the MWC. The results are all over the board, with Illinois College winning by 36, St. Norbert losing 41-0 to John Carroll and Lawrence playing 10 MWC opponents and not even getting a game outside the conference. Basically, the conference’s good teams won or lost to teams we expect to be better, and the not-so-good teams lost. Not sure non-conference play told us much at all about this year’s MWC, but when 4-0 Lake Forest goes to 3-0 Illinois College on Oct. 12, we’ll have an idea who the MWC playoff representative could be.


Kickoff ’13 ranking: 24th
Non-conference record: 5-13
Most telling result: Framingham State 35, Endicott 23
Verdict: The private-school half of the NEFC split is off to a slow start, but it could be just because it lacks a dominant team this year. The schedules have opened up, and they’re improved – Hampden-Sydney, Montclair State and Springfield were all early opponents. But NEFC teams went 2-5 against the MASCAC, 0-5 vs. the LL and 2-1 vs. the ECFC. 


Kickoff ’13 ranking: 21st
Non-conference record: 4-15
Most telling result: Olivet 14, Wisconsin Lutheran 10.
Verdict: The 4-15 should say it all, especially since it no longer includes Maranatha Baptist, who plays a NACC team each week from here on out but is an independent. The 2-6 record against the MIAA doesn’t help, and neither did the 0-7 Week 1, in which five teams gave up at least 45 points and only one managed to keep the margin within a touchdown and two-point conversion.


Kickoff ’13 ranking: 23rd
Non-conference record: 1-16
Most telling result: Illinois College 49, Hanover 13.
Verdict: Well, 1-16 should also say it all. As close as Franklin came to winning at Mount Union in Week 1, the rest of the conference is far from successful when they aren’t playing each other. The HCAC, which is two weeks into conference play, went 0-9 non-conference in Week 1. It was also 0-5 vs. the MIAA and 1-4 vs. the NCAC.


Kickoff ’13 ranking: 27th
Non-conference record: 9-15
Most telling result: RPI 23, Castleton State 8
Verdict: Well, uh, Gallaudet is off to a nice start. The Bison are 3-0, six teams are 1-2 and SUNY-Maritime is 0-3. Bad losses to lower-tier teams from other conferences -- Hartwick’s 33-7 win over Husson, Catholic’s 49-0 win over Anna Maria and William Paterson’s 49-23 win over SUNY-Maritime -- tell us what we need to know.



Kickoff ’13 ranking: 28th
Non-conference record: 2-8
Most telling result: Hendrix 46, Westminster (Mo.) 44; Hamline 41, Minn.-Morris 33
Verdict: Week 1 is the UMAC’s only non-conference week. Greenville beat Millikin, but the Blue Jays lost to a team playing its first game since reviving its program, and the Cougars lost to a MIAC team that had won two of its past 30. And Martin Luther lost to Maranatha Baptist, which had gone 0-10 three times in five years. In short, there’s still a long way to go for the UMAC as a whole to be a competitive group top to bottom.

Crown opened a new stadium, which could help the program raise its profile.
Photo by Ryan Coleman, d3photography.com 

comments powered by Disqus

Ryan Tipps

Ryan is D3football.com's Senior Editor and begins as National Columnist in fall 2014. He was the Around the Mid-Atlantic Columnist from 2007 to 2011; has worked on all but one of the preseason Kickoff publications; has done game-day writing and photography and the pregame broadcast at the championship Stagg Bowl in Salem for almost a decade; and has taken photos at the Final Four for D3hoops.com. He's also on the selection staff for the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year award.

2001-2013 columnist: Keith McMillan.

Previous Columns

December 23, 2014
2014 year in review
There were many memorable moments from the 2014 season. We can't possibly cover them all, but we'll...
November 20, 2014
Playoff picks, surprises, disappointments
Around the Nation has assembled a team of prognosticators for an annual look at who might surprise...
November 13, 2014
Playing to perfection in the MAC
Delaware Valley and Widener have been building to this point all season. This weekend there are...
November 9, 2014
Snap judgments: Finding parity
Ryan Tipps thinks parity arises from other teams following the examples of top teams, finding the...
November 6, 2014
From slumping to surging
With two weeks of football left to play in the regular season, some names that may not be so...
November 2, 2014
Snap judgments: A week with plenty of surprises
By this point in the season, our expectations for each team are pretty solidly grounded. Upsets will...
October 29, 2014
The Empire 8: The conference where all 9 can beat you
So far, Brockport State has beaten Hartwick, who beat Alfred, who beat Buffalo State, who beat...
October 26, 2014
Snap judgments: An interesting week
It’s particularly exciting to see how conferences can still get shaken up this late in the...
October 23, 2014
Finding a freshman phenom
When a freshman steps on campus, he could be the next Nate Kmic, or he could be gone before the end...
October 19, 2014
Snap judgments: Finding clarity
We found out some things about how the NJAC race will play out, as well as the ODAC and HCAC. And...
October 16, 2014
Distance no deterrent to Mighty Mikey, Merchant Marine
The Mariners' football team 'adopted' a young cancer patient a few years ago, and although young...
October 12, 2014
Snap judgments: Putting the -ack in ODAC
You can tell when someone doesn't know Division III, because they pronounce the ODAC as O-D-A-C. But...
October 9, 2014
Re-ranking the conferences for 2014
Keith McMillan ranked conferences for years for D3football.com. This is Ryan Tipps' first crack at...
October 5, 2014
Snap judgments: Where's the dropoff in Division III?
Saturday's loss by St. John Fisher and losses earlier this season by Bethel and North Central serve...
October 2, 2014
It’s the size of the fight in the dog
This past week, Maranatha Baptist had to cancel a game because it didn't have enough players. And...
September 28, 2014
Snap judgments: Signature wins come in upsets
St. John's and UW-Stevens Point took center stage for their upset victories, but Christopher Newport...
September 25, 2014
The phrase that stays
From DePauw Never Quits to Wabash Always Fights to Every Man a Lute, some Division III schools...
September 21, 2014
Snap judgments: Taking a new look at the poll positioning
The perception seems to be that at about Week 3, most Top 25 voters do major teardowns and rebuildin...
September 17, 2014
Startups come back for seconds
The three teams that started up Division III football programs last season are now in the midst of...
September 14, 2014
Snap judgments: These underdogs brought some bite
There were some near-upsets on Saturday, but in the end, almost all of the higher-ranked teams came...
September 11, 2014
Monarch linebacker forced to follow his heart
Forced from the middle of the action to a supporting role on the sidelines, Methodist linebacker...
September 7, 2014
Snap judgments: Right/wrong foot
There are two ways to start the season -- with a win, or a loss. Now, not every win necessarily puts...
September 2, 2014
Division III football: A gentleman's game
Hampden-Sydney and Wabash, two all-male schools, are squaring off in football this weekend for the...
March 3, 2014
Analyzing the NJAC and E8's big moves
Wesley and its Capital Athletic Conference brethren join forces with five New Jersey schools to form...
November 24, 2013
Look who stole the show in Round 1
Many of those who shined in the first round of the 32-team playoffs weren't the nationally elite...
November 21, 2013
Playoff picks, surprises, disappointments
ATN assembles a team for an annual look at who might surprise and disappoint us in the 32-team...
November 16, 2013
On this day, they were all big games
Keith McMillan has instant reactions both inside and outside the playoff picture on the final day of...
November 13, 2013
A pre-regional rankings primer
Keith McMillan introduces the committee and their roles, analyzes Pools B and C and takes reader...
November 10, 2013
Snap judgments: Seen from the other side
Millsaps may well have a story for the ages out of Saturday's win vs. Centre, as will Cornell and...
November 7, 2013
Poll positions: What to make of regional rankings
If you haven't seen regional rankings before, or your team hasn't been a contender in recent years,...
November 3, 2013
Snap judgments: The aftermath
With so many games featuring two ranked teams, we should see a lot of movement in Sunday's Top 25...
October 24, 2013
Poll positions: Doing some number crunching
The Top 25 doesn't exist to steal anybody's joy. It is merely a prism through which to view...
October 20, 2013
Snap judgments: Cycling up
Maryville and TCNJ are atop their respective conferences, the John Carroll defense isn't the only...
October 13, 2013
Snap judgments: A blurry picture developing
Not literally -- we get great pictures from our associated photographers and SIDs, but that won't...
October 8, 2013
Poll positions: Streaking up the rankings
Keith McMillan looks at why one computer ranking is making the case for a blue team No. 1, and not a...
October 6, 2013
Snap judgments: Bounceback seasons
Olivet, St. Lawrence, North Park, Husson, Western Connecticut ... the list of improved teams this...
October 3, 2013
Re-ranking the conferences
With September's games, and the vast majority of non-conference play in the books, Around the Nation...
September 29, 2013
Snap judgments: Look away from the Top 25 scores
At first glance -- like say, the scores page, with the top 25 scores the initial finals that catch...
September 26, 2013
History lesson: Engineering rivalries
Week 4 is perhaps the most odd Saturday on the schedule. There aren't many great rivalries, but...
September 24, 2013
Poll positions: How the voters reacted
A kick going wide left produced a wide variety of reactions, but when Wesley got taken down a peg,...
September 22, 2013
Snap judgments: Week 3
The Tommie-Johnnie rivalry is back, UMHB's defensive line is pretty darn good, the MIAA has a better...
September 19, 2013
History lesson: Wesley vs. Mary Hardin-Baylor
Now that longtime rivals Wabash and DePauw are both in the North Coast, and Mount Union and...
September 18, 2013
Poll positions: There's some movement coming
The top of the poll didn't change much last week but Saturday's games could have a significant...
September 17, 2013
Off the beaten path
Just because a team isn't in the Top 25 running or mentioned in the podcast or doesn't have a Play...
September 11, 2013
Poll positions: Why teams shuffle
In Around the Nation, Keith McMillan discusses a nonstandard way of assembling the ballot after Week...
September 8, 2013
Snap judgments
Keith McMillan's Around the Nation column returns. You'll see ATN several times a week, including on...

Other Columnists