September 18, 2013

Poll positions: There's some movement coming

More news about: Linfield | Mary Hardin-Baylor | St. Thomas
Another good week by Linfield and the spread of No. 1 votes could change again, although it's more likely the UMHB-Wesley game will have an impact.
Linfield athletics photo 

After a Week 2 where not much changed in the top 25, we're looking forward at a Week 3 where there's almost guaranteed to be some movement.

No. 5 Wesley travels to No. 4 Mary Hardin-Baylor in the game of the week, and a thorough victory by the Cru might shift some No. 1 votes their way. The 25 voters are currently split four ways among their No. 1 votes -- more than I can ever remember, which makes sense since the poll began in 2003 and has mostly been running during the era of Mount Union and UW-Whitewater dominance.

Eleven votes are going toward those Purple Raiders, with the rest going deeper purple: Seven for No. 2 St. Thomas, six for No. 3 Linfield and one for the Cru. It appears one voter switched from UST to UMU after Week 2, after the split was 13-7-5 Mount Union-St. Thomas-Linfield in the preseason. 

The third-ranked Wildcats host fellow West Coast power Cal Lutheran, ranked No. 22, Saturday as well, so that should influence both the top and the bottom of the poll. No. 15 UW-Whitewater vs. also-receiving-12-votes Buffalo State could cause some movement as well, since someone has to lose and some of those votes are likely to go somewhere else.

A closer look at the points reveals there isn't a lot of bunching in the rankings except at the top, which is opposite of what we're normally used to as well.

Kickoff subscribers got a 1 to 244 ranking, and poking around those might be even more fun. Nobody likes it when everything is just as we expect, and No. 243 Hendrix winning its opener (granted, against No. 239 Westminster, Mo.) nearly beat No. 34 Birmingham Southern as well.

Some of the big upsets to date have involved No. 112 Texas Lutheran winning at No. 60 Trinity (Texas), No. 58 Christopher Newport beating No. 16 Salisbury and No. 137 Stevenson beating No. 52 Albright. 

The Lions, which opened up with a win over preseason No. 50 Kean, dropped 56 places in the Compughter Ratings, which I honestly had never seen before today. But as with all ratings, rankings and polls, any information taken with a grain of salt can reveal some interesting insight.

The up/down movers and shakers are the most interesting part of Compughter to me. Nobody fell further than Albright, though Mount Ida, Simpson and Rhodes each tumbled at least 50 spots as well, but Luther shot up 79 spots -- to 133.

Compughter goes to 235 -- appearing to rule out the NESCAC, although perhaps that's a function of them not having played any games yet. Computer ratings can rank everyone every week, which is perhaps more relevant to the masses given the number of decent teams in D-III and scarcity of elite ones.

As long as we're looking at different ratings for fun and only for fun, there was no need for me to speculate about the top 25 movement in the first few paragraphs. Atomic Football has already predicted the rest of September, so we know Buffalo State has just a 16.9 percent chance of beating visiting UW-Whitewater, and is going to lose 29-16 (which seems reasonable, actually).

Spoiler alert. UMHB wins 34-21, but Wesley bounces back the following week with a 39-21 win at Birmingham-Southern, which has only an 11.2 percent chance of winning that game at home. Linfield beats CLU 45-23, so why don't you go ahead and take your significant other out this Saturday instead.

Ryan Tipps

Ryan is's Senior Editor and began as National Columnist in fall 2014. He was the Around the Mid-Atlantic Columnist from 2007 to 2011, has worked on the preseason Kickoff publication since 2006 and has covered the Stagg Bowl in Salem for more than a decade. Ryan, a Wabash graduate, worked in newspapers as a writer and editor for 15 years before his current full-time job as editor of a magazine in Virginia.

2001-2013 columnist: Keith McMillan.

Previous Columns

November 19, 2015
Playoff picks, surprises, disappointments
Around the Nation has assembled a team of prognosticators for an annual look at who might surprise...
November 12, 2015
Between these four and the playoffs, an archrival stands
The final week of the regular season is full of great rivalry games and teams trying to clinch...
November 8, 2015
Snap Judgments: Muddying up the playoff picture
Yes, this was an actual Division III game from Saturday, with playoff implications. How did the...
November 5, 2015
Two-sport stars not ready to trade gridiron for court
Some of the hardiest of two-sport athletes in Division III play both football and basketball. The...
November 1, 2015
Snap judgments: Potent potential for Pool C
A couple of key losses this season have meant that some traditionally powerful teams are hoping to...
October 29, 2015
Clash of the Texas titans
It’s the first time since 2004 that Mary Hardin-Baylor and Hardin-Simmons have met so late in...
October 25, 2015
Snap judgments: Pools and conferences shaping up
This was certainly the kind of weekend that we needed to separate out some of the challengers. Now...
October 22, 2015
Linfield’s father figure
Sam Riddle's experience and maturity at quarterback for the Wildcats may well have its source in his...
October 18, 2015
Snap judgments: This week proves anything can happen
A few key wins by underdogs made sure some conference races were thrown wide open. Haven't beaten...
October 15, 2015
Re-ranking the conferences for 2015
Every August, Pat and Keith rank the conferences based on how they're expected to perform this...
October 11, 2015
Snap judgments: What we're learning
An instant classic proved that UW-Oshkosh was a legitimate contender. But how have Ryan Tipps' teams...
October 7, 2015
First-teamers square off
It was quite a show in Danville, Ky., where Hendrix and Centre met, bringing a pair of all-conferenc...
October 4, 2015
Snap judgments: Wet, and still wild
While a couple of games were cancelled and another was postponed, many games got played in various...
October 1, 2015
Starters in the making
Waiting is always going to be difficult. Some players sit for years behind a starter, preparing for...
September 27, 2015
Snap judgments: Frequently fixated
If you weren't at a game, or didn't have a vested interest in one particular team, Saturday was a...
September 24, 2015
Policing not only the streets, but also the backfield
Josh Brozek said a common question he gets asked is, “When do you sleep?” And considerin...
September 20, 2015
Snap judgments: Three teams to keep an eye on
Three weeks in is when the preseason predictions and expectations we had for the season really start...
September 17, 2015
D-III stacking up against the scholarship squads
When Division III teams take on the scholarship squads, a "moral victory" is not what...
September 13, 2015
Snap judgments: Beyond the blowouts
The big margins of victory grab a lot of eyeballs, and there's a lot of them, because there's a lot...
September 9, 2015
Change for the right reasons
At Augustana, Rowan and Emory & Henry, a little change has done the program some good. New...
September 6, 2015
Snap judgments: What does Week 1 tell us?
Around the Nation columnist Ryan Tipps weighs in on the first week's results, now that the teams...
 • More Division III football news releases

Other Columnists