October 11, 2007

Everything's bigger, including Homecoming

More news about: Hardin-Simmons | Mary Hardin-Baylor | McMurry

ABILENE, Texas -- They say everything’s bigger in Texas.

And while the cliché greets visitors on T-shirts before they leave the airport, my recent trip to Abilene, home of McMurry and Hardin-Simmons, served to confirm what Around the Nation has been learning all season. This Division III thing is bigger and more important to people than I ever imagined.

While last Saturday’s big game took place on the north side of Abilene, at the home of the Cowboys, over on the south side, Saturday’s biggest homecoming -- and a decent game too -- was taking place at the home of the teams formerly known as Indians.

If you’ve no American Southwest Conference football affiliation, and McMurry strikes you as just another Division III name, join the club. Maybe you’re even familiar enough to tell them from MacMurray of Jacksonville, Ill., members of the Illini-Badger (IBFC) this year, the St. Louis (SLIAC) next season.

But what happened on campus this past weekend, and probably for several homecomings years into the past, is a shining example of the Division III model at work. Low-budget, non-scholarship athletics doesn’t have to mean a low-spirit, non-interested following.

But maybe it’s just because they do everything bigger here.

Last Friday night shortly after 10 p.m., on a campus courtyard beneath a towering tan-brick chapel and across the street from Big Country Supply, McMurry’s homecoming bonfire got underway. Surrounded by the displays that make up Tipi Village (more on that in a minute), couple sat on blankets, the football team milled about, young alumni chased toddlers and the fire department scoped out the scene. A drum beat, set to go all night right on through Saturday’s kickoff, clashed with the band’s renditions of Thriller and Pretty Fly For A White Guy. Maroon McMurry shirts were everywhere, some touting soccer, others touting the swim team. A wide range of student cliques seemed to be represented, with some intermingling.

About 10:45, what seems to be a stack of pallets are set ablaze. The homecoming ‘Chief’ and ‘Princess’ are revealed. In the court, a student wears a headdress with his suit. Cheerleaders make a human tower. Alumni director Greeley Myers and football coach Donny Gray address the crowd. The football team finishes the school alma mater.


McMurry's Indian heritage stems from its beginnings, as founder James Winford Hunt was born on a Kaw reservation
Photo by Josh Bowerman, D3sports.com

Somewhere in Myers and Gray’s remarks, McMurry laid claim to “the best homecoming in the country.” Hyperbole perhaps, and something that’s not only nearly impossible to quantify but is in the eye of the beholder. But still not completely off base. I’d certainly couldn’t recall a display of college spirit like that anywhere among my Division III travels.

Across town at Hardin-Simmons, you could literally hear crickets chirping. (I know, I checked). Shelton Stadium rocked the next day when No. 2 Mary Hardin-Baylor came to town, something folks at McMurry were aware of. Sure, Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech dominated football conversation in town, but rarely have I met people on campus looking forward to a Division III game on a different campus. They’re either some in-tune folks at McMurry, or folks in West Texas are just insane about their football.

From the enthusiasm of Gray, meeting with Ralph Turner and I on game morning, to some of the efforts in place at McMurry -- the ‘McManiacs’ student section, the McMurry on the Road campaign, an effort to unite alumni around athletic events away from home and the building-sized posters of basketball players, swimmers and football players around the athletic buildings, it’s evident something special is taking place.

Not to overstate it, because it’s nothing magical. But it is taking what’s available in the Division III spectrum and running with it. To borrow a phrase from a man (Frosty Westering) who spent a short time making a big impact in Division III, McMurry’s made the big time where they are.

That’s really all student-athletes can ask for, an experience where they feel important and connected, without ever losing sight of the real reason why they’re in college.

Around the Nation detailed game day at Linfield earlier this season, and has brought readers along to other top football venues. But it’s encouraging to see the Division III model at work beyond the top 25.

Thankfully, there’s no evidence of a correlation between football wins and fullness of experience.

(In the interest of full disclosure, the McMurry Athletic Foundation paid for Around the Nation’s travel this weekend)

It takes a village …

Many have followed closely McMurry’s battle with the NCAA over its use of the Indians mascot. The college’s creative solution to the dispute -- to simply have its teams go by ‘McMurry’ -- hasn’t necessarily resolved the issue in the minds of alumni, even if it should have.

Some background on the matter, including the very genesis of the college itself, is required reading to understand where this is going. Ralph Turner, a McMurry trustee and D3sports.com message board Hall of Famer, wrote a brief yet informative post about Tipi Village and Native American history at McMurry for our D3hoops.com Daily Dose blog in May 2006. 

Without knowing that, I don’t believe I would have posed for a photo with a student in Native American attire. 

I was a bit torn about getting in the middle of the matter, given that I don’t necessarily have a problem with what the NCAA is trying to do. When I think back to my college experience, I hold dear the people first and the place second. The mascot is little more than an afterthought, and when I try to frame McMurry’s debate to feel what their alumni feel, I figure my memories of Randolph-Macon would scarcely be affected if they were suddenly no longer the Yellow Jackets.

But what really struck me about Tipi Village was visiting with Ralph on Saturday morning during judging. As student representatives from each social club were asked about the tribe they represented and the artifacts they held and wore, it became clear that an extreme amount of preparation goes into the Tipi Village experience. And as long as that turned over every year, there would always be a new group of freshmen who must educate themselves on Native American history. To see a Native American conducting the judging, and to know some artifacts were donated by the Chief of a particular tribe, giving his blessing to what McMurry is doing, brought home the value of the whole event.

Frankly, given our country’s ugly history of race relations, having white kids dress up as “Indians” could be seen as one step from performing in blackface. Tipi Village, however, is about as authentic an experience as many typical Americans will ever have. The cycle of education (elementary schools visit as well) does far more good than it could ever do harm.

Regarding the Indians name, I have no impassioned plea. The NCAA, whether or not people believe they are trying to, can’t take what McMurry is. The college, its students and alumni appear to be getting by spectacularly, and that, my friends, is a happy ending for all.

Read more of Keith’s in-depth observations about the Texas trip -- his travel log -- Friday on Around the Nation’s Post Patterns thread.

Thanks for traveling with me. Hey, by the way, here are few things I’ve observed about football:

Cru a legit No. 2?

After thumping Hardin-Simmons 47-14 Saturday, including a 165-1 yardage advantage in the third quarter and a 23-0 second half, the obvious question is ‘Is Mary Hardin-Baylor good enough to get back to the Stagg Bowl.”

It says here ‘Yes.’




It's not quite the same Josh Welch that started the 2004 Stagg Bowl playing in 2007 for Mary Hardin-Baylor.
Photo by Josh Bowerman, D3sports.com

You’re thinking: ‘There’s plenty of regular season left to enjoy, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves.’

Understood. As long as there are playoffs, no team will make its way to Salem without earning it against a handful of good teams. That said, the question isn’t ‘Will UMHB get there?’ It’s ‘Are they good enough?’

The 2004 team had a fast defense, a power running game, a stud receiver and a freshman quarterback. The 2007 edition has all of those things in common, including the quarterback, Josh Welch, who’s now a level-headed senior.

“We know we have some more work to do if we want to go play in that championship game,” Welch said Saturday.

On Saturday, the Cru used three tailbacks, and starter Jarvis Thrasher went for more than 100 yards but wasn’t the leading rusher. They also shuttled in the second offensive line -- bringing to the gridiron the hockey concept of line change -- for a series here and there. Not in mop-up duty, mind you, in mid-game against probably its toughest conference opponent.

Welch said the Crusaders have the uncommon depth to do that, and getting the second line big-game experience will help should any of them ever have to fill in on the first line. Given the Crusaders’ run-based attack, that’s a valuable luxury.

“The offensive line is the core foundation of our team,” Welch said. “If they have a good day, we’re going to have a good day.”

Saturday was about as good as they get. UMHB mauled Hardin-Simmons for 375 rushing yards at 5.3 per carry.

In the 2004 playoffs, they rushed for 282 yards per game at 4.6 per carry. But what made them dynamic was the presence of receiver -- P.J. Williams -- who could take it to the house whenever the Cru did decide to pass. He averaged 20 yards a catch and had five TDs in the ’04 playoffs.


Patrick Oliver uses his 6-7 frame to come down with a spectacular catch against Hardin-Simmons.
Photo by Josh Bowerman, D3sports.com

The past two? Seasons, UMHB struggled with its vertical game against playoff-caliber opponents. But with the emergence of Patrick Oliver, a 6-7, 210-pound UMHB basketball player, at wide receiver, they again have the dynamic element to round out their offense.

Welch already appreciates it, acknowledging how much damage he can do with Oliver and Cole Smith once teams bring an eighth player (a safety) into the box to help against the run.

“We’re just a better offense altogether,” he said. “Teams can’t crowd the box. That’s the kind of balance we’re shooting for, not to let people know how we’re going to attack them.”

Welch has 11 TD passes through half the season this year. He had nine all of last season and 15 in the Stagg Bowl year.

Oliver has hauled in eight TD passes among his 14 catches. He’s averaging 22.9 yards per reception. His body control on a sideline grab during the Hardin-Simmons game showed that the multi-sport star -- he played pro ball in Iceland over the summer and once pitched in a baseball game for UMHB -- had re-adjusted to football, which he hadn’t played since high school.

“Whooo-oooo!” said coach Pete Fredenburg when asked about Oliver’s catch. “His body control was taught in basketball.”

Hardin-Simmons coach Jimmie Keeling said the Crusaders compared to UW-La Crosse and Linfield, the other teams who have beaten the Cowboys this season, but he wouldn’t go any further.

Fredenburg admitted that comparing this team with the Stagg Bowl team had been suggested before Saturday.

“You always want to compare teams,” he said. “We’ve got to stay focused and stay healthy, but we can be as good.”

Honestly, I hardly noticed Jerrell Freeman and the UMHB defense on Saturday, although they were as big a part of the victory as the offense. If both sides of the ball look as good as they did in the HSU second half, this team can get back to Salem.

In 2004, a special teams miscue tilted the Stagg Bowl, which Linfield won 28-21. But that season is also forever remembered at UMHB for being the one where they won five road games -- they were a Pool C playoff entrant in the 28-team field -- to get to Salem. None was bigger than the fourth-quarter comeback at Mount Union. Given that this year’s Purple Raiders are looking better than the past two championship teams, it’s hard not to pencil them in for a spot in the Stagg Bowl. (UMHB, might we add, is 1-0 all-time vs. Mount Union and might be the only team not intimidated by playing them.)

So it’s fair to look ahead at the Oct. 27 UMHB game at UW-Whitewater as a precursor to Salem (or a semifinal). Perhaps even a battle for the non-Mount Union spot, as the Crusaders should enter ranked second (although they play 4-1 Mississippi College in the interim) and the Warhawks (who play 4-1 UW-Oshkosh and 5-0 UW-Stevens Point) could enter ranked third.

“It’s tough not to (look ahead),” Welch said. “But we don’t feel we’re necessarily the No. 2 team in the country right now. We’ve got to take steps forward every week. We’ve got things to tweak every week.”

This being football, something crazy could happen before the end of the month, much less mid-December. But it’s always fun to speculate.

Poll positions/My 26-35

The top 25 turnover the past two weeks has been one step short of overwhelming. Six ranked teams lost in Week 5 and nine more bit the dust in Week 6, although I was “proud” to have only eight of my top 25 lose. (I didn’t rank Redlands or Baldwin-Wallace, but I had Dickinson, which lost to Johns Hopkins, at 25. The other seven losers were UW-La Crosse, Ohio Northern, Wartburg, Trinity (Texas), Hardin-Simmons, St. Olaf and Rowan.)

Sometimes the drop-down, bump-up method of adjusting a ballot works for a voter. Sometimes, like after the past two weeks, it makes more sense to deconstruct and rebuild the entire thing. 

After doing that, I ended up with some things that looked strange compared with the top 25 our full panel generated.

SCAC rivals Trinity (Texas) and Millsaps each have a loss. Millsaps lost in Week 1 to fall out of the rankings, while Trinity had ascended to 12 before falling back to 23 after losing to Rhodes this week. Here’s why I voted for Millsaps and left Trinity off my ballot completely after having them at 12 myself last week: The Majors’ loss is by a point to Mississippi College, now 4-1. Rhodes, a 27-13 winner against the Tigers, is 3-2, but two of the wins came against second-year LaGrange and first-year Birmingham-Southern.

The same logic probably applied to whoever is responsible for keeping Wartburg at No. 17, despite a very bad 14-13 loss to Augsburg, now 2-3. The Knights have beaten Dubuque, who beat Coe this weekend, so at least there’s that. But taking them from 11th, both on my ballot and overall, to out completely was not too strong a “penalty” for that loss in my mind. There are teams who haven’t stumbled, like say RPI, who would be a much better use of that vote until Wartburg regroups with a couple of convincing victories.

Conversely, some people thought ONU dropping only two spots, from 9th to 11th after a 44-0 loss to Mount Union and St. Olaf rising from 18th to 13th after falling 30-29 at St. John’s weren’t harsh enough “punishments” for losing.

Mount Union has made a habit of making other very good, even top 10, teams look very bad. Our voters have likely grown accustomed to this and treat bad losses to MUC with a grain of salt. A couple years ago John Carroll lost to MUC 70-0 and finished 7-3, including a 25-point win against 8-2 Ohio Northern, for example. Given the number of other top 25 losses last weekend, it must have been tough for ONU to drop much further. Sometimes a voter gets to a point on his ballot where none of the teams really correlate with the numbered rank available, but you can’t weight the vote so that your solid No. 10 gets more credit than the No. 11 you’re not all that sure about. That’s just part of the way polling is an inexact science.

Regarding St. Olaf, there are two things at work. First, when two teams go down to the wire like that, much like UW-Whitewater and UW-La Crosse did in Week 5, it is an either-team-could-have-won situation. So if a game came down to who had the ball last, and the teams proved they are pretty much even, it’s difficult to leave 20 spots between them in the rankings. Second, there was a lack of other convincing performances by teams you think “deserve to move up.” In weeks like the past two, when a handful of top 25s have lost or struggled, or just played weak competition, a voter’s opinion of a particular team might have taken a hit, but few or none arise to take their place, so their spot remains virtually unchanged. Ohio Northern, for example, is being judged against its peers, not in a vacuum. If their peers also don't perform, then we might have several teams we're not as convinced about as we were last week, but the numbers 9 and 11 don't necessarily reflect that.

One more bit of clarity arose when tearing down the ballot last week. There’s a logical string of wins in the East, since Muhlenberg has beaten The College of New Jersey, which has beaten Montclair State, which has beaten Wesley. This realization caused me to regroup all of those teams in that order, even after considering the rest of the teams’ schedules. That meant I moved Wesley way down from where I had them the week before, even though they won 45-0. In essence, I wasn’t penalizing Wesley for winning, rather, I was gaining a better understanding of the complete picture and putting teams where I thought they belonged this week, regardless of where they were last week.

For the record, the poll has Wesley No. 10, Montclair State No. 19, New Jersey No. 24 and Muhlenberg unranked, though receiving votes as though they were 27th.

Join the discussion about these and other top 25 issues here.

 So who actually sits just outside the top 25 this week? It might help to know the last few teams I have in: Mt. St. Joseph, Wabash, RPI and Millsaps are in. Albright and UW-Stevens Point possibly should be. Beyond that, I’m not overly impressed with anyone, but we’re deep enough into the season where we can begin re-evaluating the teams with losses. Heck, Hardin-Simmons has played three opponents better than some teams will play all year. But they went 0-3 against them. Christopher Newport might have done the same, but at least they scratched out one win. Neither team is ranked right now, but with time to build up their résumés before the season is over, they might be able to sneak back in. Not that that is much solace for teams more accustomed to playoff bids. At least for the Captains, they still have a shot at theirs.

Games to Watch


Gordon Mann’s take on Week 7’s contests of national significance:

In sports we usually honor those who meet challenges head on. We elevate those who look adversity in the eye with a steely glare and plow forward. Determination is celebrated and avoidance is the refuge of quitters. 

But you know what? Sometimes avoidance is good. “That which does not kill you makes you stronger” sounds nice but it’s not much comfort for the quarterback who just got hammered by a blind side blitz. Sometimes that which does not kill you still leaves you pretty screwed up. And so here are five teams who hope to avoid problems of one kind or another this weekend.

Avoid that second loss: OAC teams are generally expected to take at least one conference loss a year since they play No. 1 Mount Union. With the expanded playoff bracket and the Purple Raiders’ reputation, that loss probably won’t kill a team’s playoff hopes. But a second loss puts a severe dent in a team’s chances of making the post-season. That’s what No. 7 Capital (5-0, 4-0) and No. 11 Ohio Northern (4-1, 3-1) will try to avoid when they meet in Columbus.

ONU has to bounce back from last week’s 44-0 loss to Mount Union, starting with the running game. The Polar Bears were held to minus-9 yards rushing last week and face another tough challenge in Capital (12.6 rushing yards per game). The Crusaders will continue to lean on their defense as their offense suffers a Monty Python-like rash of injuries (“Lose our top two receivers and starting quarterback? Merely a flesh wound!”). The Crusaders need to stay undefeated going into the Mount Union game on Oct. 27.

Avoid that first conference loss: Members of other conferences don’t have the luxury of playing for an at-large bid. When Mt. St. Joseph handed Franklin its only loss last season and the Grizzlies missed the playoffs at 9-1, it implied pretty strongly that the HCAC is such a conference. This Saturday those two teams will try to avoid the same fate as Mt. St. Joseph (5-0, 3-0) hosts Franklin (4-1, 2-0). The HCAC’s automatic qualifier is likely on the line again here since Defiance (2-0 in conference) has to play both teams on the road later this year.

Avoid painful tie-breaker scenarios: Last season the CCIW ended in a three-way tie between Augustana, Wheaton and North Central. The same could happen this year depending on the result of Saturday night’s game between No. 5 Wheaton (5-0, 2-0) and Augustana (3-2, 1-1). Having beaten North Central last week, the Thunder can avoid reliving that scenario with a win. Other three-way ties involving Illinois Wesleyan (3-2, 2-0) and Elmhurst (4-1, 1-1) still remain a possibility. D3football.com’s Pat Coleman and Keith McMillan head to Chicago for an Elmhurst-North Central, Wheaton-Augustana double-header.

Avoid overconfidence: Defending MWC champion St. Norbert (6-0, 5-0) is in the middle of a three-game stretch that will likely determine whether the Green Knights return to the NCAA playoffs. Last week they scored 21 straight points to put away Monmouth 48-28. This week they travel to Carroll (4-2, 4-1) before hosting Ripon (4-2, 4-1) in Week 8. Last year St. Norbert shellacked the Pioneers 41-0 on homecoming. But Carroll narrowly missed upsetting the Green Knights the last time they met in Waukesha, falling 36-35 in 2004.

Avoid injury: Last year Cortland State’s playoff hopes appeared to take a big hit when it lost quarterback Alex Smith to injury during a 49-21 victory over Western Connecticut. Ray Miles played well in that game (10-15 for 142 yards, two touchdowns) but the Red Dragons fell short three weeks later against eventual NJAC champion Rowan. This year Smith is injured entering Saturday’s game against Western Connecticut so it’ll be Ray Miles’ turn to try to avoid the injury bug. For their part, the Colonials (3-2, 1-1) will try to avoid a seventh consecutive loss to Cortland State (4-1, 3-0), whom they have never beaten.

Other games not to avoid: UW-Oshkosh at No. 3 UW-Whitewater; Coe at No. 6 Central; Wittenberg at No. 14 Wabash; No. 20 Linfield at Division II Southern Oregon; No. 23 Trinity (Texas) at DePauw; Emory and Henry at Randolph-Macon; Case Western Reserve at Carnegie Mellon; Coast Guard at Bridgewater State; Maine Maritime at Massachusetts Maritime

Check The Daily Dose on Friday for Pat, Keith and a guest’s primer on Week 7 games in Triple Take.

Who are those guys?


Taking a look at those unfamiliar names on schedules, and following Division III teams in interdivisional play:

There were no games last week, and for the third week in a row, none against Division II teams.

vs. Division I, FCS (No games in Week 6, 4-7 in 2007) 
None.

vs. Division II (No games in Week 6, 3-10 in 2007) 
None.

vs. NAIA (No games in Week 6, 15-5 in 2007) 
Southern Virginia at Frostburg State
Southern Oregon at No. 20 Linfield
Faulkner at Huntingdon

For running lists of the season’s interdivisional scores and accompanying discussion, visit our Post Patterns threads D3 vs. D-IAA, D2 and D3 vs. NAIA.

Unbeaten/Winless watch


Through Week 5’s games, there were both 27 teams without a victory and 27 without a loss, not including four of each in the NESCAC, which had only two games under its belt at the time. On both sides in Week 6, 26 of the teams were in action. Nine unbeaten teams picked up their first loss -- although it was bound to happen when undefeated St. Olaf met St. John’s -- and seven winless teams garnered their first W, two against teams that remained winless (Texas Lutheran outlasted Howard Payne 55-48 and Methodist knocked off Averett).

With 18 unbeatens and 20 winless teams left, again not yet including the NESCAC, it’ll be a few more weeks before we list them all here. But some surprises join the familiar on either side. Waynesburg, Case Western Reserve and Plymouth State are the biggest eye-openers among the unbeaten. Lycoming, King’s, Averett and Howard Payne are the most surprising teams without a win, though St. Thomas, Wooster, Texas Lutheran and Albion were all surprisingly on the list until this past Saturday.

Streak watch


Only two streaks ended in Week 6 among the five types ATN tracks, but they were major. Becker picked up the first win in program history in grand fashion, beating Gallaudet 30-6. The Hawks scored in every quarter, including twice on plays longer than 80 yards, to end a streak of 21 consecutive losses, which was tied for Division III’s longest. Before beating Baldwin-Wallace on Saturday, Heidelberg hadn’t won an Ohio Athletic Conference game since beating Marietta 21-13 on Oct. 4, 2003. The 36-game conference losing streak was the nation’s second-longest, which almost dwarfs the fact that the Yellow Jackets were a ranked opponent.

By surviving Redlands 28-21, Occidental kept the nation’s longest regular-season and conference winning streaks alive.

Here’s where Division III’s other streaking teams stand:

The longest current winning streak in Division III: 
Mount Union (28 consecutive wins, last loss vs. Ohio Northern, 21-14, Oct. 22, 2005; 5-0 in 2007)

Longest current losing streaks: 
Hiram (22 consecutive losses, last win vs. Earlham, 7-2, Oct. 1, 2005; 0-5 in 2007)
Lewis and Clark (22 consecutive losses, last win vs. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, 27-11, Oct. 9, 2004; 0-4 in 2007)
LaGrange (16 consecutive losses, no wins in program history; 0-5 in 2007)

Longest current regular-season winning streaks: 
Occidental (30 consecutive wins, last loss at Chapman, 31-28, Sept. 11, 2004; 4-0 in 2007)
Curry (25 consecutive wins, including two NEFC title games, last loss at Maine Maritime, 28-21, Sept. 17, 2005; 5-0 in 2007)
Central (23 consecutive wins, last loss vs. Coe, 17-14, Sept. 17, 2005; 6-0 in 2007)
St. Norbert (23 consecutive wins, last loss vs. Monmouth, 28-20, Sept. 17, 2005; 6-0 in 2007)
Mount Union (18 consecutive wins, last loss vs. Ohio Northern, 21-14, Oct. 22, 2005; 5-0 in 2007)

Longest current conference winning streaks: 
Occidental (23 consecutive SCIAC wins, last loss vs. Redlands, 18-14, Oct. 11, 2003)
Curry (21 consecutive NEFC Boyd wins, not including Bogan Division or title games, last loss at Mass-Dartmouth, 18-13, Sept. 25, 2004)
St. Norbert (20 consecutive MWC wins, last loss vs. Monmouth, 28-20, Sept. 17, 2005)
Central (19 consecutive IIAC wins, last loss vs. Coe, 17-14, Sept. 17, 2005)
Wilkes (18 consecutive MAC wins, last loss at Delaware Valley, 17-14, Sept. 17, 2005)
UW-Whitewater (17 consecutive WIAC wins, last loss vs. UW-La Crosse, 35-10, Nov. 13, 2004)
Mary Hardin-Baylor (17 consecutive ASC wins, last loss at Howard Payne, 24-20, Oct. 8, 2005)
Mount Union (16 consecutive OAC wins, last loss vs. Ohio Northern, 21-14, Oct. 22, 2005)
Mount St. Joseph (15 consecutive HCAC wins, last loss vs. Hanover, 40-34, Oct.1, 2005, 1-0 HCAC in 2007)
Concordia, Wis. (13 consecutive IBFC wins, last loss vs. Lakeland, 17-14, Oct. 15, 2005)
Washington & Jefferson (13 consecutive PAC wins, last loss vs. Thiel, 38-35 in OT, Oct. 1, 2005)

 Longest current conference losing streaks:
North Park (49 consecutive CCIW losses, last win vs. Elmhurst, 31-21, Oct. 7, 2000)
Lewis and Clark (16 consecutive NWC losses, last win vs. Puget Sound, 25-23, Sept. 27, 2003)
Hiram (16 consecutive NCAC losses, last win vs. Earlham, 7-2, Oct. 1, 2005)
Wisconsin Lutheran (15 consecutive MIAA losses, last win vs. Tri-State, 37-14, Oct. 1, 2005)
Cornell (15 consecutive IIAC losses, last win vs. Dubuque, 25-21, Oct. 15, 2005)

Tracked streaks must be a season (10 games) or longer. All research has been done and updated by hand, so e-mail Around the Nation or use our feedback form for additions and corrections.

Highly recommended


Other things around the Web that might be of interest:

 This week’s Around the Nation podcast is available on The Daily Dose.

 Gordon Mann alluded to the injuries on the Capital offense. Pat Coleman spotlights the Capital defense in his weekly column on CSTV.com.

 If you haven’t seen our photo galleries, use the left-hand rail on the front page to check them out. Photographers across the country are doing a really nice job with games, and they aren’t all between top 25 teams. You can get a feel for what the game is like elsewhere across the nation, and if it’s your game they shot, reprints are available. I know I would’ve loved some high-quality pictures of myself in action.

Feedback


Around the Nation is largely interactive, and since its inception has made reader feedback a part of the column. We keep a running board on Post Patterns (under general football) to discuss issues raised in the column, and we'll share feedback and answer questions there, as well as in the column occasionally. Send all correspondence to keith@d3football.com, or use our feedback form.

Topic of the Week 
 Send in your midseason review suggestions. Most bang for the buck, biggest surprise, best/worst play or coaching decision. Make a category up! We’ll relive the early part of the season next week and get you prepped for the stretch run. If you need help finding a way to categorize your suggestion, glance back at last season's Oct. 12 column.

Call for video


Around the Nation is always looking for video of anything Division III football-related. That means we'd like to get our hands on documentaries, local cable broadcasts and re-airs, links to archived broadcasts and coaches' tapes. 

Anyone with access to footage, please send an e-mail to keith@d3football.com. Arrangements can be made to keep coaches’ footage private or to pay fans for shipping and materials.

For journalists and broadcasters


Keith McMillan is available on Thursdays and Fridays or by appointment to talk Division III football. For more information, e-mail Keith.

Attention SIDs


Around the Nation is looking for conference media guides this season, but will follow individual schools online or by request. Please use your individual login and D3football.com’s news release capabilities instead of Keith@D3football.com for general and game-related releases. That way, they get front-page play and still catch Around the Nation’s attention. Feel free to send personally addressed e-mail at any time.

To reach Around the Nation by mail, use D3football.com, 13055 Carolyn Forest Dr., Woodbridge, Va., 22192.

Thank you.

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