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Kickoff '16 Predictions

August 25, 2016

On Tuesday, d3football.com released their 2016 edition of Kickoff, which meant I was finally able to adjust for returning starters and finalize my 2016 projections thanks to their in-depth coverage of every team in DIII. Herein lies my model's predictions for every conference in Division III, and how they differ from those in Kickoff

 

Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference

Hansen Ratings Conference Rank: 1

D3Football.com Conference Rank: 1

 

Team, Hansen Rank, D3Football Rank, Projected Record vs. DIII

UW-Whitewater, 2, 3, 8.1-0.9

UW-Oshkosh, 4, 6, 7.4-1.6

UW-Platteville, 8, 12, 7.1-1.9

UW-Stevens Point, 14, 61, 6.4-3.6

UW-La Crosse, 32, 72, 5.3-4.7

UW-Stout, 62, 85, 2.4-6.6

UW-River Falls, 85, 59, 2.8-7.2

UW-Eau Claire, 114, 97, 2.2-7.8

 

 

 

Overall this conference is still head and shoulders above the rest of the country. Their teams have an average rating of around 0.950 out of 1.000 (an average team would be rated 0.500), while the second best conference in the country is rated closer to the seventh-best conference than they are to the WIAC. 

 

 

 

College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin

Hansen Ratings Conference Rank: 2

D3Football.com Conference Rank: 7

 

Team, Hansen Rank, D3Football Rank, Projected Record vs. DIII

North Central Ill., 7, 13, 7.2-0.8

Wheaton Ill., 12, 8, 8.2-1.8

Illinois Wesleyan, 17, 47, 6.2-2.8

Augustana, 20, 98, 6.5-3.5

Carthage, 50, 86, 5.1-4.9

Elmhurst, 84, 128, 4.2-5.8

North Park, 99, 122, 3.6-5.4

Carroll, 136, 120, 2.2-7.8

Millikin, 177, 165, 1.8-8.2

 

 

The CCIW has a lot of talent returning in 2016. My model is typically higher on the CCIW than D3Football.com, but the amount of returning starters in 2016 is really what bumped some of these teams up in my ratings. While the conference still appears to be a two-horse race, look for Augustana - with a ton a talent back on D, a successful head coach, and a former Wartburg player as defensive coordinator - to surprise some people this year.

 

 

Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference

Hansen Ratings Conference Rank: 3

D3Football.com Conference Rank: 2

 

Team, Hansen Rank, D3Football Rank, Projected Record vs. DIII

St. Thomas, 3, 4, 9.7-0.3

St. John's, 11, 9, 8.4-1.6

Bethel, 19, 26, 6.6-3.4

Concordia-Moorhead, 34, 31, 5.4-3.6

Gustavus Adolphus, 47, 82, 5.7-4.3

Augsburg, 92, 119, 4.7-5.3

St. Olaf, 141, 187, 3.3-6.7

Hamline, 148, 108, 3.1-6.9

Carleton, 166, 174, 2.4-7.6

 

For all of the talent returning n the CCIW, the MIAC is losing it. On-field results from recent years would definitely suggest that the MIAC is the clear second best conference in the country, but with several schools graduating large senior classes (St. Thomas, St. John's) or graduating arguably the best quarterbacks in school history (Gustavus, Augsburg), the model doesn't seem to think the overall level of competition will be as high in 2016 as it was in 2015. I would expect some shake up in the normally stable conference pecking order. 

 

As an interesting aside, has anyone else noticed that Bethel wins the conference every three years?

 

 

Empire 8

Hansen Ratings Conference Rank: 4

D3Football.com Conference Rank: 5

 

Team, Hansen Rank, D3Football Rank, Projected Record vs. DIII

St. John Fisher, 24, 28, 7.5-2.5

Alfred, 33, 29, 6.7-3.3

Cortland, 38, 17, 5.9-4.1

Ithaca, 63, 71, 5.2-4.8

Brockport, 71, 43, 4.8-5.2

Buffalo State, 77, 84, 5.2-4.8

Hartwick, 80, 127, 5.3-4.7

Utica, 86, 73, 4.5-5.5

Morrisville State, 109, 76, 3.7-6.3

 

If anyone tells you they know who will win the E8 this year, they're lying. I've written before about the extreme parity in the conference, and this year looks to be much of the same. Thanks to differences in returning starters, my model likes Fisher and Alfred slightly more than defending champ Cortland (and is surprisingly high on Hartwick), but every team is projected to finish with at least two conference losses and two conference wins. Expect another bloodbath once the conference schedule gets going.

 

 

Ohio Athletic Conference

Hansen Ratings Conference Rank: 5

D3Football.com Conference Rank: 4

 

Team, Hansen Rank, D3Football Rank, Projected Record vs. DIII

Mount Union, 1, 1, 9.6-0.4

John Carroll, 9, 18, 7.8-2.2

Heidelberg, 22, 75, 6.6-3.4

Ohio Northern, 30, 22, 6.7-3.3

Baldwin Wallace, 40, 41, 6.2-3.8

Capital, 133, 152, 3.3-6.7

Muskingum, 139, 168, 3.4-6.6

Otterbein, 143, 123, 3.3-6.7

Marietta, 184, 162, 2.0-8.0

Wilmington, 210, 173, 0.9-9.1

 

Due to a glitch in my projection model, the number for my Pool A Probabilities for the OAC don't add up to 100% (I'll fix it sometime this season), but I think you still get the picture. Despite graduating an amazingly talented senior class, Mount Union is more likely to go undefeated than not in 2016, John Carroll should remain the second-best team (Ohio Northern was not the second best team last year, my model had them pegged as fourth), and Wilmington very possibly could win two games in as many years.

 

The interesting thing to me is how the middle of the OAC will shake out. depending on the week, any team from #2 to #8 appears capable of beating each other, but will anyone win enough games to get an at-large bid? Ohio Northern was helped out last year by the selection committee's apparent disregard for their own criteria; I wouldn't expect that to happen again.

 

 

Northwest Conference

Hansen Ratings Conference Rank: 6

D3Football.com Conference Rank: 3

 

Team, Hansen Rank, D3Football Rank, Projected Record vs. DIII

Linfield, 6, 2, 8.2-0.8

Pacific Lutheran, 46, 96, 5.7-3.3

Whitworth, 54, 19, 6.2-3.8

Willamette, 60, 145, 5.5-3.5

George Fox, 73, 115, 3.8-5.2

Pacific, 101, 62, 4.1-5.9

Puget Sound, 147, 88, 3.0-6.0

Lewis and Clark, 205, 198, 0.7-8.3

 

No team in the country is more likely to win their conference in 2016 than Linfield. That is pretty much the only thing my model agrees on with human voters when it comes to the NWC, though.

 

When I first looked at my model's projections for 2016, I thought I had misentered some game scores, because PLU didn't play anything like a Top 50 team last year, and Whitworth appeared to be a clear Top 25 caliber team (when they weren't playing Linfield). Games early in the season should answer the question of whether last year's upheaval in conference standings is a sign of the future, or a one-season aberration. 

 

 

Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference

Hansen Ratings Conference Rank: 7

D3Football.com Conference Rank: 11

 

Team, Hansen Rank, D3Football Rank, Projected Record vs. DIII

Wartburg, 23, 38, 7.6-2.4

Central, 29, 100, 6.8-3.2

Dubuque, 36, 35, 6.3-3.7

Coe, 45, 81, 6.5-3.5

Simpson, 74, 125, 5.1-4.9

Loras, 100, 94, 4.5-5.5

Luther, 113, 148, 3.8-6.2

Buena Vista, 132, 180, 2.5-6.5

Nebraska Wesleyan, 174, 137, 1.6-7.4

 

Never underestimate Rick Willis's ability to get Wartburg to play with a chip on their shoulder. Last year's inexplicable defeat to Dubuque is more than enough fuel to get the Knights to play above their rankings, but they definitely have some huge question marks to fill at their skill positions.

 

Elsewhere in the conference, my models seems to think that rumors of Central's fall from grace are greatly overstated (they're favored at Whitworth in Week 1 by 2 points), Loras probably won't be able to find a defense to match their passing game (>30 ppg against), and Nebraska Wesleyan will struggle to compete in their new conference. The lack of a heavyweight and the excellence of nearby conferences hurts the conference in the eyes of D3Football's panel, but make no mistake, the IIAC has plenty of depth.

 

 

American Southwest Conference

Hansen Ratings Conference Rank: 8

D3Football.com Conference Rank: 8

 

Team, Hansen Rank, D3Football Rank, Projected Record vs. DIII

Mary Hardin-Baylor, 5, 5, 9.1-0.9

Hardin-Simmons, 21, 10, 6.6-2.4

East Texas Baptist, 53, 55, 5.6-3.4

Belhaven, 105, 170, 3.9-6.1

McMurry, 111, 112, 3.6-4.4

Louisiana College, 115, 67,3.1-5.9 

Sul Ross State, 153, 149, 2.2-4.8

Howard Payne, 219, 211, 0.4-7.6

 

 

Despite the loss to Hardin-Simmons last season, Mary Hardin-Baylor remains the heavy favorite in the ASC. Hardin-Simmons and co-champ East Texas Baptist figure to be the clear #2 and #3 team in the conference, but beyond that, it's a bit of a mystery where teams will finish. McMurry and Belhaven are still relative unknowns to my model with only one (recent) season of (a few) DIII games to their names, but it appears the #4 spot in-conference is completely up for grabs. Hopefully an expanded conference in 2017 (thus more DIII opponents for my model to decipher and compare) will provide clarity for future projections.

 

 

Centennial Conference

Hansen Ratings Conference Rank: 9

D3Football.com Conference Rank: 9

 

Team, Hansen Rank, D3Football Rank, Projected Record vs. DIII

Johns Hopkins, 16, 15, 8.6-1.4

Muhlenberg, 28, 39, 7.5-2.5

Moravian, 78, 37, 5.6-4.4

Franklin and Marshall, 81, 57, 5.5-4.5

Ursinus, 89, 126, 5.2-4.8

Susquehanna, 98, 107, 4.7-5.3

Dickinson, 117, 130, 3.8-6.2

Juniata, 124, 151, 4.2-5.8

Gettysburg, 129, 90, 3.7-6.3

McDaniel, 161, 195, 2.8-7.2

 

I'm going to admit right now that I don't have very much first-hand experience with the remainder of these conferences, so pretty much everything I say is informed by my model and whatever I read on the d3boards. 

 

With that said, Johns Hopkins has pretty much owned the CC recently, with last year's senior class really setting up the program for a bright future. While their total wins will probably slip this season, they're not in too much danger of losing their hold on the CC's Pool A bid. Muhlenberg, and not Moravian (another team missing a few starters from last season), appears to be in the best position to knock them off. 

 

 

Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference

Hansen Ratings Conference Rank: 10

D3Football.com Conference Rank: 17

 

Team, Hansen Rank, D3Football Rank, Projected Record vs. DIII

Texas Lutheran, 25, 21, 7.1-2.9

Trinity Texas, 88, 93, 4.8-5.2

Southwestern, 126, 175, 3.3-6.7

Austin, 149, 142, 3.7-5.3

 

It may seem weird for a conference with only one team projected to finish with a winning record to be in my Top 10, but the lack of a truly terrible team helps the SCAC's case. Their double round-robin format this season is may be my favorite thing ever in football scheduling, but it also makes it extremely unlikely the conference beats out the ASC for the NCAA's lone Pool B bid. The only hope would be a TLU victory at home against UMHB in Week 2 combined with a victory on the road against Hardin-Simmons a few weeks later (probability of success: 1.7%, or about the same as Iowa's undefeated regular season in 2015).

 

 

President's Athletic Conference

Hansen Ratings Conference Rank: 11

D3Football.com Conference Rank: 12

 

Team, Hansen Rank, D3Football Rank, Projected Record vs. DIII

Thomas More, 15, 11, 8.6-1.4

Washington and Jefferson, 35, 36, 7.3-2.7

Carnegie Mellon, 48, 63, 6.2-3.8

Westminster Pa., 49, 48, 3.4-3.6

Case Western Reserve, 58, 34, 6.9-3.1

Waynesburg, 96, 117, 4.9-5.1

Geneva, 110, 167, 4.8-5.2

St. Vincent, 131, 146, 4.5-5.5

Bethany, 135, 129, 3.6-6.3

Thiel, 197, 205, 2.2-7.8

Grove City, 200, 190, 1.1-8.6

 

Does scheduling in the PAC drive anyone else a little crazy?

 

A lot was made of CWRU's relatively easy conference schedule (compared to W&J for example) in Kickoff '16, but here's the thing, they're still not that likely to beat all of the teams they do play. My model thinks they're the fifth-best team in the conference, but they should finish with the second-best record thanks to their schedule. Despite this, they're only the fourth-most likely team to win the conference's Pool A bid. Why you ask? Because they would have to basically win the conference outright, and not tie, in order to get the bid. The conference's tie-breaker rules reward tougher competition when head-to-head competition isn't available, so in a tie with Thomas More or W&J, Case probably wouldn't get the bid. The good news is that the top half of the conference is pretty dang good, so Pool C wouldn't be out of the conversation at 9-1.

 

 

New Jersey Athletic Conference

Hansen Ratings Conference Rank: 12

D3Football.com Conference Rank: 6

 

Team, Hansen Rank, D3Football Rank, Projected Record vs. DIII

Wesley, 10, 7, 9.4-0.6

Salisbury, 59, 23, 6.2-3.8

Kean, 65, 69, 6.3-3.7

Rowan, 69, 44, 5.9-4.1

Frostburg State, 79, 405.7-4.3, 

Christopher Newport, 91, 101, 5.5-4.5

Montclair State, 120, 83, 4.9-5.1

TCNJ, 144, 118, 3.6-6.4

William Paterson, 192, 154, 2.7-7.3

Southern Virginia, 223, 216, 1.2-8.8

 

The NJAC probably differs more than any other conference from where D3Football ranked the conferences. Yes, Wesley is still the biggest heavyweight on the East Coast, and yes, all but three of the teams in this conference are projected to finish with a record of 5-5 or better, but the discrepancy is mostly due to the difference in the relative perception of their competition (and football in the East in general). 

 

The biggest question for me is which team gives Wesley their best competition this season. While no team has a very good chance individually (sorry Salisbury), there's about a 50-50 chance that somebody beats them in conference.

 

Old Dominion Athletic Conference

Hansen Ratings Conference Rank: 13

D3Football.com Conference Rank: 13

 

Team, Hansen Rank, D3Football Rank, Projected Record vs. DIII

Washington and Lee, 42, 20, 7.0-3.0

Guildford, 44, 79, 8.0-2.0

Randolph-Macon, 82, 131, 6.4-3.6

Hampden-Sydney, 93, 54, 5.8-4.2

Emory and Henry, 137, 91, 4.2-4.8

Bridgewater, 152, 138, 3.1-5.9

Shenandoah, 167, 133, 3.6-6.4

Catholic, 170, 176, 3.6-6.4

 

While the ODAC may look like a two-team competition for the Pool A bid, Washington and Lee proved again last season that teams can (and pretty much always do) come out of nowhere in the ODAC. My model likes Guilford over W&L thanks to home-field advantage (W&L is viewed as the ever-so-slightly better team).

 

Sleeper pick for 2016: RMC. They return quite a few starters from a 2015 squad that was competitive in every conference game. My model likes them for third, but if the pieces come together, a trip to the postseason is well within the realm of possibility.

 

 

Southern Athletic Association

Hansen Ratings Conference Rank: 14

D3Football.com Conference Rank: 14

 

Team, Hansen Rank, D3Football Rank, Projected Record vs. DIII

Hendrix, 43, 50, 6.8-2.2

Berry, 56, 53, 7.2-2.8

Washington U., 70, 68, 6.0-4.0

Centre, 83, 74, 6.7-3.3

Chicago, 94, 58, 5.0-5.0

Millsaps, 121, 147, 4.4-5.6

Birmingham-Southern, 142, 135, 4.0-6.0

Rhodes, 175, 143, 2.9-7.1

Sewanee, 201, 201, 1.4-8.6

 

With the exception of the University of Chicago, the SAA is ranked eerily similar in my model and in Kickoff. While Hendrix and Berry are the frontrunners, a total of five teams have greater than 8% odds to advance to the postseason.

 

 

Liberty League

Hansen Ratings Conference Rank: 15

D3Football.com Conference Rank: 15

 

Team, Hansen Rank, D3Football Rank, Projected Record vs. DIII

Hobart, 26, 30, 8.3-1.7

St. lawrence, 41, 45, 7.9-2.1

Springfield, 112, 104, 4.9-5.1

WPI, 119, 87, 5.8-4.2

RPI, 125, 95, 5.1-4.9

Rochester, 151, 184, 4.3-4.7

Union, 164, 171, 2.9-7.1

Merchant Marine, 179, 158, 3.3-5.7

 

From Kickoff: "[The LL is] at its best when Hobart is winning playoff games."

 

Odds are pretty good Hobart will win the League again this year, but whether they're the type of Hobart team capable of pulling off a W or 2 is to be seen. Home-field advantage would help, but a loss to St. Lawrence would likely send Hobart on the road in the playoffs.

 

 

Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association

Hansen Ratings Conference Rank: 16

D3Football.com Conference Rank: 18

 

Team, Hansen Rank, D3Football Rank, Projected Record vs. DIII

Albion, 57, 66, 6.6-3.4

Trine, 103, 78, 6.4-3.6

Adrian, 104, 64, 5.1-4.9

Olivet, 107, 56, 5.0-5.0

Hope, 138, 153, 5.0-5.0

Kalamazoo, 155, 169, 4.4-5.6

Alma, 162, 141, 4.0-6.0

 

Albion beating UW-Stevens Point Week 1 last year was the most impressive thing about the MIAA; don't expect a repeat performance in 2016. While there aren't any terrible teams here, all but Albion are ranked 103 or worse.

 

 

Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference

Hansen Ratings Conference Rank: 17

D3Football.com Conference Rank: 19

 

Team, Hansen Rank, D3Football Rank, Projected Record vs. DIII

Redlands, 39, 105, 6.6-2.4

Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, 61, 46, 6.3-2.7

Chapman, 76, 156, 4.9-4.1

Cal Lutheran, 106, 77, 4.1-4.9

Occidental, 116, 121, 4.5-4.5

La Verne, 123, 111, 4.1-4.9

Pomona-Pitzer, 150, 206, 4.3-4.7

Whittier, 221, 226, 0.4-8.6

 

The SCIAC may be one of the more interesting conference races in the country this season. La Verne won the conference last year, and my model gives them only a 1 in 20 chance to repeat. Meanwhile, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps seems poised to make a breakthrough, but Redlands should still be the team to beat in 2016 despite a mediocre 2015. Without a clear #1 in the preseason, I could see anyone (except Whittier, no matter how witty their mascot may be), claiming the Pool A bid, and a likely trip to Oregon to get beaten by 50 or so. 

 

 

Middle Atlantic Conference

Hansen Ratings Conference Rank: 18

D3Football.com Conference Rank: 10

 

Team, Hansen Rank, D3Football Rank, Projected Record vs. DIII

Delaware Valley, 51, 25, 6.8-3.2

Albright, 52, 16, 7.3-2.7

Widener, 55, 32, 7.1-2.9

Stevenson, 87, 27, 6.2-3.8

Lycoming, 102, 70, 5.5-4.5

Lebanon Valley, 127, 106, 4.9-5.1

King's, 154, 139, 4.0-6.0

Wilkes, 172, 124, 3.1-6.9

Misericordia, 206, 196, 1.5-8.5

FDU-Florham, 207, 191, 1.5-8.5

 

Every team in the MAC is ranked worse in my model than they were in Kickoff. That's a little baffling. None are that much worse, but if every team is viewed just a little worse, it adds up (or subtracts) to a #18 ranking instead of #10.

 

The top 4 teams in this conference are all good teams. Are they Top 25 good though? Doesn't seem like it right now. If one pulls away, they're probably one of the 25 best teams in the country, but it seems unlikely that more than one team in the conference will finish there at year's end.

 

 

North Coast Athletic Conference

Hansen Ratings Conference Rank: 19

D3Football.com Conference Rank: 16

 

Team, Hansen Rank, D3Football Rank, Projected Record vs. DIII

Wabash, 13, 14, 9.1-0.9

Wittenberg, 18, 42, 8.5-1.5

DePauw, 64, 33, 6.8-3.2

Ohio Wesleyan, 66, 114, 6.1-3.9

Denison, 130, 102, 5.5-4.5

Kenyon, 173, 192, 4.1-5.9

Hiram, 185, 157, 2.9-7.1

Oberlin, 187, 202, 3.2-6.8

Wooster, 191, 188, 2.7-7.3

Allegheny, 229, 204, 0.8-9.2

 

Much like Pacific Lutheran and Redlands, my model expects a return to form by Wittenberg this year. Are they maybe overrated a bit? Sure. But have they been one of the two best teams in this conference for the last decade? Absolutely. Wabash is still the heavy favorite, but don't sleep on Ohio Wesleyan, they're only ranked two spots behind DePauw.

 

 

USA South Athletic Conference

Hansen Ratings Conference Rank: 20

D3Football.com Conference Rank: 20

 

Team, Hansen Rank, D3Football Rank, Projected Record vs. DIII

Huntingdon, 37, 24, 8.4-1.6

N.C. Wesleyan, 95, 80, 5.9-4.1

Methodist, 140, 172, 4.3-4.7

Maryville Tenn., 146, 99, 5.2-4.8

Averett, 156, 177, 4.0-6.0

LaGrange, 158, 164, 3.6-5.4

Ferrum, 168, 182, 4.1-5.9

Greensboro, 216, 212, 1.3-7.7

 

Huntingdon will probably win the conference outright, and Greensboro probably won't win a conference game. Any predictions beyond that have a huge amount of uncertainty. 

 

(Can you tell I'm running out of steam?)

 

 

Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference

Hansen Ratings Conference Rank: 21

D3Football.com Conference Rank: 22

 

Team, Hansen Rank, D3Football Rank, Projected Record vs. DIII

Franklin, 27, 49, 7.4-1.6

Rose-Hulman, 67, 65, 7.6-2.4

Bluffton, 108, 140, 6.7-3.3

Mount St. Joseph, 118, 113, 5.5-4.5

Manchester, 159, 160, 4.8-5.2

Defiance, 165, 213, 4.3-5.7

Hanover, 211, 181, 2.3-7.7

Anderson, 226, 220, 1.4-8.6

Earlham, 234, 227, 1.4-8.6

 

When is the last time anyone but Franklin won the HCAC, you ask? Well, RHIT was co-champs in 2013, but Franklin had the tie-breaker. Other than that, nobody was close before Mount St. Joe won the conference outright in 2009. That's six straight Pool A bids for the Grizzlies. To me, the question of whether Rose can bring back a title hinges on another, more philosophical question: "Does playing better teams make your own team better?" With games against Thomas More and Butler, Franklin definitely plays the tougher non-conference schedule (Rose plays Illinois College and Millikin). History appears to be on Franklin's side - they pretty much always play the toughest non-conference schedule in the HCAC.

 

 

Midwest Conference

Hansen Ratings Conference Rank: 22

D3Football.com Conference Rank: 23

 

Team, Hansen Rank, D3Football Rank, Projected Record vs. DIII

Monmouth, 31, 52, 8.3-1.7

St. Norbert, 68, 60, 7.0-3.0

Illinois College, 75, 134, 7.3-2.7

Lake Forest, 169, 166, 5.8-4.2

Ripon, 178, 132, 5.2-4.8

Cornell, 181, 183, 4.8-5.2

Macalester, 190, 197, 4.5-5.5

Beloit, 204, 210, 3.6-6.4

Knox, 209, 214, 3.5-6.5

Grinnell, 231, 229, 1.2-7.8

Lawrence, 232, 224, 1.7-7.3

 

St. Norbert last year reclaimed their place at the top of the MWC. While they're possibly the best team in the conference again this year, the game at Monmouth should be a challenge. Illinois College should also have a shot at a title, but beyond that, a conference title may be out of reach for this season.

 

 

Massachusetts State College Athletics Conference

Hansen Ratings Conference Rank: 23

D3Football.com Conference Rank: 21

 

Team, Hansen Rank, D3Football Rank, Projected Record vs. DIII

Framingham State, 72, 51, 8.1-1.9

Bridgewater State, 145, 109, 6.5-3.5

Western Connecticut, 157, 144, 5.8-4.2

Fitchburg State, 163, 92, 6.3-3.7

Mass-Dartmouth, 186, 179, 3.5-6.5

Worcester State, 188, 186, 4.3-5.7

Massachusetts Maritime, 208, 200, 5.6-4.4

Plymouth State, 217, 228, 2.8-7.2

Westfield State, 227, 221, 1.6-7.4

 

Framingham State is good. They'll probably win the conference. I don't really know anything else about the MASCAC.

 

 

Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference

Hansen Ratings Conference Rank: 24

D3Football.com Conference Rank: 25

 

Team, Hansen Rank, D3Football Rank, Projected Record vs. DIII

Lakeland, 122, 110, 5.9-4.1

Benedictine, 134, 116, 5.5-4.5

Wisconsin Lutheran, 171, 161, 4.3-4.7

Aurora, 180, 207, 4.2-5.8

Concordia Wis., 182, 155, 5.0-5.0

Concordia-Chicago, 224, 223, 2.1-7.9

Rockford, 225, 193, 2.3-7.7

 

The NACC is the best conference without a team ranked in the Top 100 (the UMAC and ECFC are the other conferences with that distinction). So they got that going for them, which is nice...

 

Lakeland and Benedictine look to be the teams with a best chance to make the playoffs, but any of the next three teams should have a shot as well.

 

 

New England Football Conference

Hansen Ratings Conference Rank: 25

D3Football.com Conference Rank: 24

 

Team, Hansen Rank, D3Football Rank, Projected Record vs. DIII

Western New England, 90, 89, 7.5-1.5

Salve Regina, 97, 103, 7.7-1.3

Endicott, 176, 136, 4.7-5.3

Curry, 193, 208, 4.5-4.5

MIT, 195, 215, 4.0-6.0

Maine Maritime, 218, 219, 2.3-6.7

Coast Guard, 220, 185, 2.7-7.3

Nichols, 222, 230, 3.2-6.8

 

This is perhaps the most extreme example of two teams' chances of making the playoff dwarfing the chances of every other team's chances. Matt Noonan at Noontime Sports probably knows more about these guys than I do. 

 

 

Upper Midwest Athletic Conference

Hansen Ratings Conference Rank: 26

D3Football.com Conference Rank: 27

 

Team, Hansen Rank, D3Football Rank, Projected Record vs. DIII

St. Scholastica, 128, 163, 7.6-2.4

Northwestern Minn., 183, 203, 6.3-3.7

Greenville, 189, 189, 6.2-3.8

Eureka, 196, 194, 5.8-4.2

Crown, 198, 217, 5.1-4.9

Westminster Mo., 202, 222, 4.9-5.1

MacMurray, 213, 199, 4.3-5.7

Minnesota-Morris, 215, 225, 4.4-5.6

Iowa Wesleyan, 228, 237, 2.4-7.6

Martin Luther, 237, 233, 1.9-8.1

 

I'm honestly pretty surprised St. Scholastica only has a 50% chance of winning the conference. Whoever the eventual champion is, they have a much higher than 50% chance of losing badly in the playoffs.

 

 

Eastern Collegiate Football Conference

Hansen Ratings Conference Rank: 27

D3Football.com Conference Rank: 26

 

Team, Hansen Rank, D3Football Rank, Projected Record vs. DIII

Husson, 160, 150, 6.9-2.1

Norwich, 194, 159, 5.0-5.0

SUNY-Maritime, 199, 209, 5.6-4.4

Becker, 203, 218, 5.5-4.5

Castleton, 212, 178, 4.4-5.6

Mount Ida, 214, 232, 4.2-5.8

Gallaudet, 235, 231, 2.0-8.0

Anna Maria, 236, 234, 1.6-8.4

 

Husson has a good running back, I think. That's about all I know about the ECFC.

 

 

Independents

Team, Hansen Rank, D3Football Rank, Projected Record vs. DIII

Finlandia, 230, 235, 1.6-3.4

Alfred State, 233, 236, 1.1-5.9

Maranatha Baptist, 238, 238, 0.5-5.5

 

Did you know Maranatha Baptist used to actually post 0.500 records? Me neither. 

 

Finlandia only returned like 14 starters. After their first season of competition... Do you know how uncommon that is? The last four teams to start DIII competition lost fewer returning starters over four seasons combined than Finlandia did this season.

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