October 28, 2013

Snap judgments from the first big week

Sunday's snap judgments are Monday's delayed reactions. Still, after such a big week, we deserve some.

Week 8 was really the first huge week of the 2013 season, nationally. There had been games that were important to particular programs, or to conference races, but Week 8 was the first time there'd be so many, from coast to coast.

Or, more accurately, from Wheaton-Illinois Wesleyan to Lakeland-Concordia (Wis.). (CUW's Austin Damaschke at right.)

Week 9 is going to continue the theme. Former Heidelberg linebacker Neal Renna said:

Well, sure, it's big when No. 1 plays at No. 9. Of course, this Saturday also features No. 2 Linfield at No. 25 Willamette, No. 4 North Central at No. 13 Illinois Wesleyan and No. 8 UW-Platteville at No. 6 UW-Whitewater, so game of the week candidates abound.

With the NCAA committee's regional rankings due out this week, playoff talk heats up, and everything's big for contending teams from here out. Week 9 may be crazy, but here are some more things about Week 8 that didn't make the podcast.

• Approximately 94 percent of D-III is based in either the Eastern or Central Time Zone, so West Coast games are occasionally buried among the onslaught of everything else in the division happening. But Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, a week after getting notice for a 62-yard field goal, denied Whittier its first win ... in five overtimes.

The Stags kicked a field goal to tie the game at 26 with eight seconds left. And then the fireworks began. Here's the play-by-play of all five overtimes

The teams traded touchdowns three times, then each missed a field goal in the fourth overtime, with Whitter's kick missing from 49. Matthew Aven missed a potential game-winner from 35 yards in the fourth OT, but CMS eschewed a fourth-and-1 at the 16 in the fifth OT and let Aven kick from 33. And the Poets came away crushed when they attempted to match the field goal, from 36, and again missed wide left.

• Mississippi College is 3-4 but technically tied atop the ASC with No. 3 Mary Hardin Baylor at 3-0 in conference games.

• Meantime, former ASC member Texas Lutheran is 6-0 after beating the Choctaws, and might be 7-0 if its game with Southwestern Assemblies of God hadn't been called off because of a three-hour lightning delay. TLU gets perhaps the stiffest test on its schedule when it hosts Louisiana College (5-2) this week.

TLU's strength of schedule is 215th nationally (sixth if you search by teams with "Luther" in their names), which is why they aren't getting any top 25 love. Their new SCAC schedule allows them to dodge the big dog in Texas in a season when playing UMHB might be a game worthy of national attention.

• We didn't mention the NACC clash between Lakeland and Concordia at all, but the Falcons fell behind 14-0 and scored five straight TDs on the way to a 45-28 win. Factoring in the one-point win over Benedictine earlier this season, the Falcons are on the path to a playoff spot. In the North and West, however, having two losses overall is going to get you sent somewhere like Mount Union or UW-Whitewater in the first round, which is neat until the game actually starts.

• It's a game we wanted to see last season when Ohio Wesleyan was on the way to 9-1 instead of 4-3, but they face Wittenberg this week. The Tigers need not to stumble to keep the Week 10 (Nov. 9) showdown with Wabash a matchup of unbeatens.

• Big games get you talked about, as do big rivalries. The top 25 teams I've paid the least attention to over the past several weeks are No. 7 Hobart, No. 11 Franklin, No. 12 Johns Hopkins, No. 14 Wabash and No. 17 Wittenberg. It's not that they've played badly, but that they've played so well -- beating teams they're expected to beat, by mostly handy margins -- that it attracts little attention. I'd take that as compliment.

• Most surprising conference leaders: Guilford, Wesleyan, Maryville and Rhodes (co-leader with Millsaps, with the Lynx set to host the Majors in Week 11). Albion, which was 6-4 last season, is 5-2 and out in front in the MIAA, but that conference is still a multiple-contender, anybody-can-win league.

• The multiple-contender, anybody-can-win, but the champ might-be-unranked club: The ODAC, MAC, IIAC, NJAC and MIAA.

• The multiple-contender, one-of-three-or-four-can-win, come-on-let's-play-these-big-games-already-club: The OAC, WIAC, CCIW and NWC.

• UW-Whitewater has a pretty great defense, allowing 51 points through seven games. And that's more than double the 23 John Carroll has allowed.

• Of the 15 remaning winless teams (Allegheny, Alma, Anderson, Berry, Hamilton, Lawrence, MacMurray, Misericordia, St. Vincent, Southwestern, Sul Ross State, Tufts, UW-River Falls, Whittier, Wilmington), all could finish the season that way, since Hamilton and Tufts don't play each other. The most likely to win is Misericordia against FDU-Florham in Week 11.

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

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