Around the Nation

Playoff picks, surprises and disappointments

Monmouth
Could Monmouth surprise? It only takes one game.
Photo by Steve Frommell, d3photography.com
 

By Adam Turer
D3sports.com

The 2016 playoffs changed the status quo of Division III football.

A first-time champion and a first-time Stagg Bowl participant expanded hope to the other 247 programs in the nation. The 2017 season and playoff bracket continued that theme.

Past picks

D3football.com has been making these picks in Around the Nation since 2001. Interested in a past season? Here's the list:

2001

2002 2003 2004

2005

2006 2007 2008

2009

2010 2011 2012

2013

2014 2015 2016

There is no clear-cut favorite this postseason. Three teams — defending champ Mary Hardin-Baylor, defending runner-up UW-Oshkosh, and perennial power Mount Union — received first place votes in the final Top 25 poll of the regular season.

The East region is guaranteed to break its decade-long streak of failing to advance a team to the national semifinals. But there are at least four teams capable of being the East program to snap that drought. Will a Week 1 rematch of Delaware Valley and Wesley decide that quadrant? Will Brockport continue its dream season long enough for quarterback Joe Germinerio to regain full strength? Or will Springfield run its way through the bracket?

Other intriguing rematches could happen even earlier, with Mary Hardin-Baylor facing one of the two ranked teams it defeated in the regular season in the second round (Hardin-Simmons or Linfield). Will we have an all-Ohio quarterfinal between Wittenberg and Mount Union? There are five first-round matchups between ranked opponents, highlighted by top-10 showdowns between No. 9 North Central and No. 6 St. John’s, and No. 5 Hardin-Simmons and No. 8 Linfield.

Last year’s Stagg Bowl participants appear to have the toughest paths just to make it to the quarterfinals, with a matchup against another top-10 team looming in the second round.

Is there a recipe for success? Four of the top five rushers in the country — John Smith (Husson), LeAnthony Reasnover (Eureka), Jordan Wilcox (Springfield) and Josh Breece (Washington & Lee) — are in the field. So are two of the top five leaders in passing yards per game — Chase Burton (Franklin) and Michael Whitley (Lakeland). Balance seems to be key, as only two of the top 14 receivers in the country — Jesse Zubik (Washington and Jefferson) and Jacob Isabel (Chapman) are in the tournament.

They key on offense appears to be having a quarterback who knows where to go with the ball. High completion percentages and low turnover rates are crucial in postseason play. Ten of the top 14 quarterbacks in passing efficiency led their teams to the playoffs. Mount Union’s D’Angelo Fulford is head and shoulders above the field, with a rating of 253.9. Burton is second at 193.2.

Of course, the best way to counteract a prolific offense is with stifling defense. Thirteen of the top 14 defenses in the nation (sorry, Wheaton) are in the field. St. Thomas allows just 147.1 yards per game and 2.63 yards per play, well ahead of MIAC rival St. John’s. The Johnnies are second in both categories at 196.5 yards per game and 3.28 yard per play. When those two met earlier this season, the Johnnies mustered just 151 yards of offense to the Tommies’ 386. Mary Hardin-Baylor leads the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 8.2 points per contest.

Last year’s playoffs were defined by defense. Only 56 points were scored in the two semifinals and Stagg Bowl. Will we see a similar trend this year, or will hyper-efficient quarterbacks find ways to lead their teams to the end zone more frequently? In many of the 31 playoff games on tap, this season’s unstoppable offensive forces will be tested against the nation’s most immovable defenses.

We have plenty of pages for you to bookmark now and keep an eye on as we guide you to the Stagg Bowl on Dec. 15. Don’t forget to make your picks in the bracket challenge by 11 a.m. EST on Saturday. On Friday will be our first Quick Hits of the postseason, where we predict not just winners, but final scores.

Our postseason panel consists of Publisher and Executive Editor Pat Coleman, Managing Editor and National Columnist Emeritus Keith McMillan, Around the West Columnist Josh Smith, In the Huddle Broadcaster and Stagg Bowl Sideline Reporter Frank Rossi, Senior Editor Ryan Tipps, and me, the Senior Editor and Around the Nation Columnist. Before we get to our specific game predictions on Friday, we took a deep look at each quadrant of the bracket.

For each region, we picked one team that will surprise, one that will disappoint, and one that will make it through to the national semifinals. The lack of consensus just goes to show you how exciting the 2017 postseason is going to be. Read on to find out what us “experts” predict, and chime in with your own predictions in the comments.

Nobody on the panel consulted with one another; each person did his part independently. The panelists are spread out across the four administrative regions, so hopefully any perception of bias balances out. Only one of our alma maters made the field of 32 this year, but I wasn’t bold enough to predict an upset of Mount Union in the first round, no matter what my heart tells me.

UW-Oshkosh Bracket

Dylan Hecker and Dom Todarello
By Steve Frommell, d3photography.com
 

SURPRISES

Adam: Trine. The Thunder didn’t just complete a perfect 10-0 regular season. They completely dominated every opponent they faced, compensating for a fairly weak schedule. With a 46.1-12.8 scoring differential, I can see the Thunder rolling to the quarterfinals. 

Ryan: Wartburg. Truth is, Wartburg is the only team in this little wing of the bracket that is on my Top 25 ballot, so I feel good about their chances of making it to the quarterfinals -- even if they go on the road after Round 1. Their offense has been great this season, with point totals in the 30s and 40s being pretty standard fare. I wouldn’t mind getting to see the Knights square off against Monmouth again, just as they did to open the season.

Frank: Trine. The Thunder’s defense began to click well at the right time, giving up just 12 points in the past two games against decent opposition. I think they make it through Monmouth and challenge the winner of Wartburg/Franklin.

Keith: That there are no surprises. This quadrant is set up for competitive games, not stunners. There's a clear pecking order though. The Trine-Monmouth game should be fun, and that team should lose to Wartburg. Same with North Central and St. John's, and UW-Oshkosh. So I can either say here that Lakeland will be surprisingly competitive, or that anything that bucks the clear expectations (Trine over Wartburg? Someone knocking off UW-Oshkosh before Dec. 9?) will be the surprise.

Josh: Wartburg. The Knights appear to have a clearer path to the quarterfinals than any of the teams in the top half of this bracket. Wartburg may not have enough to reach the semifinals, but how many people thought the Knights would be a poised for a deep playoff run in Week 1?

Pat: Monmouth. This is a great matchup for the Scots. It’s not often that a Midwest Conference team comes into the playoffs better-tested than its opponent, but Monmouth has a playoff team on its schedule. Monmouth isn’t world-beaters, but they’ve seen world-beaters, while Monmouth is the best team on Trine’s schedule so far. I’m counting on that and last year’s playoff experience carrying Monmouth on Saturday.

DISAPPOINTMENTS

Adam: St. John’s. The Johnnies, with just a three-point loss to St. Thomas, find themselves with the most difficult draw of any top-10 team. St. John’s must win at North Central then win at UW-Oshkosh just to get the quarterfinals. That’s a tough task for any team.

Ryan: St. John’s. It’s hard not to see disappointment in a top-10 team getting knocked out in Round 1 at the hands of another top-10 team. The opening matchup between St. John’s and North Central features teams that have massive rivalry games on their schedules -- and each of these teams lost their rivalry game this year. The Johnnies, however, haven’t felt the same since, and I don’t think they’ll make it through the weekend.

Frank: North Central. The Cardinals have been giving up too many points intermittently this season. Unless the offense improves right off the bat in the playoffs, I’m not sure North Central lasts more than a round.

Keith: A top-10 team in red. North Central can't be pleased that the team it finished ahead of in the CCIW gets a visit from 16th-ranked Case Western Reserve while it gets No. 6 St. John's. The Johnnies, meanwhile, should probably be playing a home game, and would be if they had done better than St. Scholastica and Presentation for non-conference games. In any case, one of these two, capable of beating more than two-thirds of the teams in the field, will be bounced in Round 1. I don't have a particularly good read on who it will be, so I'll cash in an opportunity to vaguely complain. It's a decent-looking tournament, with competitive potential later-round matchups and no clear overall favorite. But the fact that Round 1 will eliminate two top-10 teams, in the NCC/SJU and Hardin-Simmons/Linfield losers, is either an indictment of our poll or those who put the bracket together. And you know which I think it is.

Josh: North Central/St. John’s. One of these teams is going home after Round 1, and whoever wins has a brutal matchup with UW-Oshkosh to look forward to. It’s a tough draw for a pair of battle-tested 9-1 teams.

Pat: The North Central-St. John’s matchup. That these teams are playing each other, rather than Trine and Monmouth.

Story continues below ...
 

LAST TEAM STANDING

Adam: UW-Oshkosh. The Titans now know firsthand what it takes to make it to Salem.

Ryan: North Central. Hat-tip to the defending national runners-up UW-Oshkosh and how much they’ve proven again this year, but my gut is telling me that North Central’s roll since losing the Battle for the Little Brass Bell rivalry game isn’t going to slow down anytime soon.

Frank: UW-Oshkosh. I didn’t think the Titans had it in them to run the table this year with the strength in the WIAC, but they did. They are battle-tested and ready to win the next three games.

Keith: UW-Oshkosh. I don't think it's automatic by any means, given that this is now an offense-guided team rather than a defensively dominant one. The Titans allow 4.8 yards per play; by contrast, St. Thomas is sub-3, and UMHB and Linfield are both sub-4. However, going unbeaten through the WIAC, and having to face some Lakeland playmakers and a tough red-clad opponent in Round 2 might steel this team for a final four appearance and beyond. QB Brett Kasper has 46 games under his belt, weapons to work with and a 21-to-4 TD:INT ratio this season, so the Titans are equipped to win the Stagg Bowl that so narrowly eluded them last season.

Josh: UW-Oshkosh. The Titans’ revamped defense has played well and their experienced core of skill players on offense look even stronger than a year ago when they played for the national championship. It’s difficult to pick against UW-O.

Pat: UW-Oshkosh. But North Central gives me pause.

Mount Union Bracket

Mount Union
Photo by Dan Poel, d3photography.com
 

SURPRISES

Adam: Johns Hopkins. No, I’m not going to pick my alma mater to win in Alliance in Round 1. Once again, I’m a believer in the Blue Jays. But this time, I expect them to pull off just one upset, winning at Washington and Jefferson in the opening round.

Ryan: Frostburg State. A year after what many perceived to be a giant snub against the Bobcats come playoff-selection time, FSU has a shot to show the D-III world just what it missed out on. Wittenberg will be a tough debut matchup, but FSU is well-prepared for that caliber of team, as well as for what will come the following week.

Frank: Case Western Reserve. The Spartans have to feel like a game-show contestant that claims, “I’m just happy to be here,” based on Saturday’s miracle finish against Carnegie Mellon. It’s funny how something like that can loosen a team up. Illinois Wesleyan has looked mortal at times this season, making the CWRU/IWU game a good one in which I’ll give an emotional edge to Case.

Keith: Frostburg State. It's tough to pick a surprise in a bracket with No. 2 Mount Union, unranked Washington & Lee and six teams ranked Nos. 11-21 in the poll. Eleventh-ranked Illinois Wesleyan is the second-best team in the quadrant, just based on who it has had to play this season (UW-Whitewater, plus a deep CCIW). But the arrangement of this bracket, with pretty even matchups across the board (even W&L, whose offense is no fun to prepare for on a short week and would be trouble against someone other than Mount Union), leaves few opportunities for surprises, aside from upsetting the Purple Raiders. The Bobcats, ranked 15th but possibly the last team put into the field, could run into a wall against Wittenberg in Round 1, or play three playoff games. They're the variable.

Josh: Illinois Wesleyan. The Titans have played well all season against stiff competition. Of course, a second-round meeting with Mount Union could be their toughest test yet. But Illinois Wesleyan will be the Purple Raiders’ top challenger to date, too, setting up what could be an entertaining contest.

Pat: Johns Hopkins. This is the place where it’s most likely a road team could win a first-round game. But W&J is playing its first home playoff game since 2008, and passions and energy will be high.

DISAPPOINTMENTS

Adam: The PAC. Two unbeaten teams in the same region, and both may not make it past Week 12. Quarterback health issues may affect both Case Western Reserve and W&J. Instead of giving us a PAC championship matchup and guaranteed playoff win for the conference in Round 1, the committee sets up a scenario where the PAC goes 0-2.

Ryan: The PAC. Much has been said about Washington and Jefferson’s and Case Western Reserve’s vault into the postseason. I would’ve much rather seen them paired together in the first round, which is a game that should have taken place in the regular season. Still, the misfortune of splitting these teams up for the playoffs means that instead of guaranteeing a PAC team playing on Thanksgiving weekend, I don’t believe we’ll be seeing any.

Frank: The Team Alignment in the Bottom Half. Frostburg State and Johns Hopkins have played only once despite their relative proximity. This would have been a great matchup if the committee looked at the overall balance in the teams in the bottom pod. It looks instead like the committee went the route of using records alone to determine the matchups. Well, maybe we’ll see that matchup in Round 2.

Keith: Case Western Reserve. The Spartans are a team I want to love but keep picking against. The momentum from last week could have been a spark in a different matchup, but Illinois Wesleyan is too battle-tested. Nobody would have complained if the 10-0 Spartans had been given a home game in Round 1, suspect strength of schedule and all. Instead, they get a 450-mile, seven-hour bus ride to face one of the more sneaky-good teams in the field. We'll always have the blocked punt though.

Josh: Washington and Jefferson. The Presidents drew Johns Hopkins, which has won at least one playoff game in four of the past five years. If the Blue Jays continue their recent postseason trend, Washington and Jefferson is ousted early despite its march through the PAC.

Pat: Case Western Reserve. Unbeaten but on the road, facing its toughest playoff opponent in its four postseason trips, this is just a spot that’s a natural to expect Illinois Wesleyan to advance.

Story continues below ...
 

LAST TEAM STANDING

Adam: Mount Union. The Machine is on a mission this year. The test from John Carroll in Week 11 is just the wake-up call the Purple Raiders needed.

Ryan: Mount Union. I don’t think anyone is in position to push the Purple Raiders until the national semifinals.

Frank: Mount Union. It’s a team on a mission after 2016’s disappointment.

Keith: Mount Union. The margin in Week 11 against John Carroll gives Purple Raiders backers some pause, but viewed another way, it's nice to overcome some adversity before the playoffs. Illinois Wesleyan could be trouble in Round 2, but otherwise the first three playoff games will be a national coming-out party for D'Angelo Fulford, Justin Hill, Jared Ruth, Jawanza Evans-Morris and a handful of other Purple Raiders who are known around the OAC and by keen observers, but haven't peaked nationally.

Josh: Mount Union. Going out on a limb here, but I think Mount Union’s reputation suggests a deep playoff run.

Pat: Mount Union. Champion until proven otherwise.

Mary Hardin-Baylor Bracket

UMHB's Raylon Hickey
Photo by Joe Fusco, d3photography.com
 

SURPRISES

Adam: St. Thomas. The Tommies may have to go on the road twice (at Berry, at Mary Hardin-Baylor) just to get out of the region. I think they can do it.

Ryan: Berry. A win against Huntingdon in Round 1 wouldn’t count as much of a surprise, but playing St. Thomas competitively would. Expect the Vikings to make the most of their first playoff trip and prove that they belong among the nation’s top 20.

Frank: Huntingdon. This is a team that always seems to be standing at the end of the season. That experience will come in handy to get the team at least one win — and an airplane ride to Minnesota snow ...

Keith: Hardin-Simmons. Second-year freshman quarterback Landry Turner's 191.2 efficiency figure would be second nationally to Mount Union's Fulford if he'd played enough games to qualify. We know from the first Mary Hardin-Baylor game that the Cowboys' defense is up for a challenge; Turner didn't play in that game, and the defense gave them a chance to compete with backup Ty Hooper under center. One of Hooper's three interceptions directly led to seven of UMHB's points, so if Hardin-Simmons gets into a defensive struggle in Round 1 against Linfield, we've seen it hang in there before. The fifth-ranked Cowboys have the toughest road to the semis, potentially having to beat the No. 8 Wildcats, No. 1 UMHB and No. 4 St. Thomas, but they're capable of it.

Josh: Hardin-Simmons. The Cowboys made several crucial mistakes in a 10-point loss to Mary Hardin-Baylor. If the team gets past Linfield in the first round, Hardin-Simmons could give the Cru another strong challenge. As we’ve seen in previous seasons, it can be difficult to vanquish a familiar conference foe twice in one year.

Pat: Hardin-Simmons. The Cowboys didn’t have Landry Turner in the lineup for their game vs. Mary Hardin-Baylor. (Similarly, Linfield and UMHB have changed quarterbacks since they played each other.) This bracket will be fairly unpredictable.

DISAPPOINTMENTS

Adam: Mary Hardin-Baylor. The defending champions have the toughest region of the four. The Cru also have a rotation at quarterback. Falling short of Salem will be considered a disappointment.

Ryan: Linfield. Anyone who’s watched this Wildcats team this year likely hasn’t felt the same spark of years past. Sure, Linfield was always high on the radars of Top 25 voters and others in Division III, but they were never really in contention for a top spot. A loss and a couple of close calls this season hasn’t projected the confidence we’re used to. The Wildcats seem poised to be 0-2 against the ASC this year.

Frank: The rematch phenomenon. Many of us focused on the potential of UMHB and Hardin-Simmons potentially rematching in Round 2, but we seem to forget that UMHB and Linfield have played three times in the past 14 months. If we’re encouraging teams to play tough out-of-conference opponents that might be outside their region during the regular season, then this seems to run completely counter to that philosophy.

Keith: Linfield. Really the disappointment should be jamming four teams that could well win a quadrant into the same group of eight. Anything less than a return to the Stagg Bowl is probably a disappointment to UMHB. But in the interest of providing some variety to our analysis, the Wildcats might have to settle for extending their streak to 62 consecutive winning seasons and pivoting to Wyatt Smith at quarterback as the marks of 2017. Given a different draw, Linfield could win multiple playoff games. But by basically staring in a mirror, their Round 1 game is a toss-up, even at home. And the defending champions likely await beyond that. Getting grouped with Texas instead of home-game-vs.-SCIAC-champ'd isn't really helping Linfield.

Josh: Linfield. It’s not the Wildcats’ fault they’re marooned on the West Coast. But it doesn’t change the fact there are two top-10 teams in their half of the region. Linfield has found some key contributors on offense, but will that be enough to avenge a regular season loss to Mary Hardin-Baylor – or enough to top Hardin-Simmons, even?

Pat: Mary Hardin-Baylor. It’s going to be impossible to live up to the standards of the No. 1 ranking and somewhere along the line, the Cru will lose to someone ranked beneath them.

Story continues below ...
 

LAST TEAM STANDING

Adam: St. Thomas. The Tommies have been on a mission since being upset by UW-Stout in Week 2. They relish the role of underdog and will use that as fuel to get back to Salem.

Ryan: Mary Hardin-Baylor. I think the ASC was tougher top to bottom this year than last, which has given the defending national champs even more opportunity to perfect their game.

Frank: Mary Hardin-Baylor. The Cru were No. 1 on my ballot all season. Why would I change horses now?!

Keith: St. Thomas. Barring a learn-this-guy's-name breakout performance by Carl Robinson III of UMHB, Smith, or Turner, the team backing its outstanding defense with a junior quarterback (Jacques Perra) who made 10 starts should be the last one standing in the tournament's most rugged quadrant. The freshman quarterbacks for UMHB, Linfield, and Hardin-Simmons played in six games each this season, and experience matters when facing some of the nation's best defenses.

Josh: St. Thomas. This is a difficult call, but after going toe-to-toe with either Hardin-Simmons or Linfield in the second round, Mary Hardin-Baylor has to face another challenge in St. Thomas. Mary Hardin-Baylor’s defense carried the program to a national title last year; perhaps the Tommies’ D can do the same this season.

Pat: St. Thomas. They are firing on enough cylinders that this is a distinct possibility. St. Thomas will have to face an elite defense to get out of this bracket, but as long as the offense can protect the ball and get a few points on the board, the Tommies can rely on their own defense to back them.

Delaware Valley Bracket

Wesley's Will Scott and teammates Wesley athletics photo
 

SURPRISES

Adam: Wesley. The Wolverines will likely have to go on the road twice (at Brockport, at Delaware Valley). Their aggressive defense will give the Golden Eagles fits, and the Aggies would have to beat Wesley for the second time this season in order to advance. I thinking knocking off a pair of unbeatens on the road qualifies as a surprise, even if Wesley has the seasoned playoff pedigree.

Ryan: Husson. I kept staring at this bracket for a “surprise” pick and came to the realization that for each of the first three rounds, I think the home team will win every game. No road teams seem to benefit significantly from conference-caliber mismatches or from a record-affecting strength of schedule. Still, the most vulnerable of the bunch is likely Springfield, with Husson having looked pretty good over the past two months.

Frank: Western New England. I’m not saying they’ll beat Del Val, but I think the Golden Bears will actually make this game a challenge for the Aggies. It’s been a season for WNEU, starting 1-2 and nearly going to 1-3 after falling behind 14-0 to Husson. Since that half of football, the team has been on a roll. The defense will need to step up, though, for this surprise to materialize.

Keith: Wesley. For all the angst about there being an East-only quadrant in this year's tournament, the first-round favorites are ranked seventh, 10th, 13th and 19th -- certainly not stretches to be among the final 16 standing. Among those four, we already know Wesley can stand toe-to-toe with the top seed in this quadrant, based on the 24-19 Week 1 loss against Delaware Valley. What we don't know is how the Wolverines would fare in a Round Two game at Brockport. The only teams to score more than 20 on Wesley's defense are in the playoffs, and if Golden Eagles quarterback Joe Germinerio isn't 100 percent, Wesley could advance to the semifinals and keep an unfamiliar face from representing the East on Dec. 9.

Josh: Wesley. Maybe not a big surprise, given the program’s previous success in the postseason. But with three undefeated teams in the bracket, the 9-1 team could be the toughest out.

Pat: Wesley. We haven’t talked much about this, but I think being forced to put Khaaliq Burroughs in the lineup because of injury was the best thing that happened to this team this year.

DISAPPOINTMENTS

Adam: Brockport. The Golden Eagles seem like the program that made the biggest leap during the regular season, and should be content with 11 wins. A second-round loss would be disappointing, but will be a valuable learning experience.

Ryan: Brockport. The Golden Eagles were pretty high on my ballot early in the season, but it took quite a while for many other voters to come around and believe in the team. Yet without a healthy Germinerio under center, Brockport isn’t quite the same team. A month ago we were talking about them as a No. 1 seed. Now, they’ll be very lucky to make it past Round 2.

Frank: The Seeds?! We know the NCAA refuses to show seeding, but this is an instance in which we know the seeds based on the eight East region teams all coming from the same regional rankings. The only major travel restriction internally is Husson, so I understand there couldn’t be perfection in bracketing. But how did we end up with 1/8, 3/5, 2/6, 4/7? The Round 2 alignments don’t make sense based on this — the Del Val game winner should face the Wesley game winner, not the Springfield game winner. It just makes me scratch my head as to what the regional rankings really mean.

Keith: Delaware Valley. There are three 10-0 teams hosting in Round 1, and all should take care of their first opponent. That's where the road gets tougher, however. The Aggies have made quick work of every team they’ve played since Week 1, but that Wesley game remains the only playoff-level team they’ve beaten. Preparing for Springfield's triple option could spell trouble in the second round, and as the top seed, a loss there or in the following week against Brockport or Wesley would qualify as a letdown.

Josh: Brockport. The Golden Eagles played their way into the top 10, and have looked strong. But if my semifinal prediction comes true, then Brockport makes an early exit.

Pat: Delaware Valley. If Devauntay Ellis can’t go and everything is put in the hands of quarterback Dashawn Darden, then it should be interesting for Aggies beyond the first game or two. The win vs. Widener, however, was a good demonstration of how to win when your game plan gets blown up, and deep in the playoffs, that’s definitely something that teams have to contend with.

Story continues below ...
 

LAST TEAM STANDING

Adam: Wesley. The Wolverines become the first East region team to advance to the semifinals since 2006 by avenging a season-opening loss to Delaware Valley.

Ryan: Delaware Valley. We could very realistically see a Del Val/Wesley rematch, and if so, I’m banking that it’ll end the same way it did in the regular season.

Frank: Brockport. Germinerio is cleared to play Saturday after suffering a concussion vs. Alfred in Week 10. As long as he stays healthy and his team’s defense remains consistent, I think Brockport can make it through to the semifinals.

Keith: Brockport. I'm long on record calling the Golden Eagles a sleeper to go deep into the postseason, and with a healthy quarterback, they're the most dangerous team in the quadrant. If Germinerio is not healthy, a loss to Wesley, followed by the Wolverines beating the Aggies in a rematch, is what I expect.

Josh: Wesley. After a season-opening loss at Delaware Valley, Wesley bounced back with three shutouts and picked up notable victories over Frostburg State and Salisbury en route to winning the NJAC. With the Wolverines playing well, they could have better fortune in a rematch with the Aggies.

Pat: Wesley. The top two seeds have injury questions – even if Germinerio says he’s cleared to play, that doesn’t mean he’ll actually play, or that he’ll play well. Certainly we’ve learned to be skeptical about that in playoffs past. But Wesley seems to be the team that’s complete at the right time.

On tap

Catch up on the final week of Around the Region columns, which looked at playoff-bound teams. Quick Hits is coming on Friday, and we’ll predict not just winners, but final scores. We’ll have Road to Salem features beginning next week. Around the Nation will return in December for our annual Year in Review. Pat and Keith’s Around the Nation podcast continues each week, leading up to our expansive pre- and post-game shows in Salem. Drop me a note if you’ll be joining us in Salem for what is sure to be another exciting Stagg Bowl.

Read the rest of this column


Columnist

Adam Turer

Adam Turer graduated in 2006 from Washington and Lee University, where he was a two-year starter at free safety. He lives in Cincinnati and covers area high school sports in addition to his full-time job as an attorney. Adam has contributed to D3football.com since 2007 and is in his second season writing Around the Nation after spending four seasons writing Around the Mid-Atlantic.

2014-2015 columnist: Ryan Tipps.
2001-2013 columnist: Keith McMillan.

Feedback

Previous Columns

November 12, 2017 Playing up to expectations
November 9, 2017 End of a long road
November 5, 2017 Going out on a high note
November 2, 2017 Cru's success is infectious
October 29, 2017 Built for the stretch run
October 26, 2017 Surviving the quick change

Archives

Twitter

Ad

Other Columnists