Thursday, October 8, 2015

2015 NWC Pick 'Em Contest: Week 5

Get to the game!
We’re back for week 5 of the NWC Pick ‘Em contest as the first week of Northwest Conference play answered some questions but more light will be shinned on just where the conference picture is going as we have the critical Linfield/Pacific game and a chance for Whitworth to continue to build their case as a top 25 team. 

Right now, (509)Rat has a slight lead over Wildcat11 in the NWC pick ‘em standings but we’re both firmly right in the middle of the standings.  Both of us are in agreement with this weeks games except for the hot PLU/Willamette match up as the resistible force will face off against the movable object up in Washington. I’m curious to see how badly Fox will put the hurt on L&C and we’ll see if the improved Loggers will offer up much fight against a darn good Whitworth team.

Let’s get to the action!

Northwest Conference Games of the week

#3 Linfield (3-0) over Pacific (3-1) (at Linfield): (509)Rat says Linfield: Linfield's offense has looked out of sorts, at times, despite what the scoreboard reads at the end of the game. Pacific needs Linfield to turn the ball over, which the Wildcats have been willing to do in the running game, in order to have a shot in this one. I don't think Riddle will make too many mistakes in the passing game and the defense will be what you guys like to call "salty." Pacific shouldn't lose by 59 this year, but they aren't strolling into the Catdome and winning a game any time soon

Whitworth (4-0)  over Puget Sound (2-1) (at UPS): So this is the 2nd year in a row where UPS has a winning record in the month of October. Congrats on that but the Loggers will be sitting at .500 after this weekend.  Whitworth continues to start fast and boat race the competition. Looks like the Pirates also have some nice special teams weapons as their place kicker hit a 46 and 51 yard field goal last weekend.  I’m expecting more of the same as UPS will probably turn it over a few times and that will lead to the Rats winning by a comfortable margin.

(509)Rat says Whitworth: An improved D will be plenty to stop UPS and don't expect the Logger D to better their season avg of 435 yd/gm allowed. Whitworth will score early and often and get one week closer to their first (and what may be their only) test of the season. It's nice being a fan because I can look ahead to Linfield all I want.

Willamette (0-3) over Pacific Lutheran (0-3) (at PLU): Holy smokes. A few years ago it would have been hard to imagine that both these programs would be sitting winless at this point of the season. At least Willamette has been close in their last two losses (losing by a combined 7 points) while PLU has just been getting brutalized. Something has to give this weekend and I’m going to take the Bearcats to send PLU to 0-4. 

(509)Rat says PLU:  I literally flipped a coin. PLU can't run the ball, but Willamette gives up 140 yds/game (and that number would be much worse if you could throw out the UPS game since the Loggers can't and don't run the ball). Both teams turn the ball over about 3 times a game. Neither team knows what it feels like to win a game in 2015. This should be a close game...and a very sad game when you think about how far these two have fallen this year.

George Fox (2-2) over Lewis and Clark (0-3) (at GFU): Fox has done some nice things in year 3 of their restart of football, while Lewis and Clark is going to continue to take their lumps in year one of a total rebuild job at Lewis and Clark. The Pio defense is the better unit as the Lewis and Clark offense just doesn’t have the horses to get points on the board and Fox should be able to have a happy homecoming and push their record to 3-2 on the season.

(509)Rat says Fox: George Fox will beat L&C. The Bruins shouldn't have any problems moving the football and they are playing against the only team all year that they'll be able to stop defensively. Props to the Bruins for being more competitive in year 3 than Locey will be before he gets a better job. Don't get all upset Wildcat fans, not his fault, Larry Kehres couldn't win at L&C.

West Region Game of the week:

#1 UW-Whitewater (4-0) at #15 UW-OshKosh (3-1): The meat grinder continues for the Warhawks as UWW will face their 3rd ranked opponent in a row this weekend as the Titans host the Warhawks this weekend in biggest WIAC game of the year. If UWW is going to fall this year, then this weekend is for it to happen as the Titans are a legit contender but you just don’t go against the UWW.  I might be in the middle of the pick ‘em pack but I’m not ready to start throwing the hail mary quiet just yet.

(509)Rat says UWW: Plateville was a wake-up call. Whitewater had a post Morningside hangover, so what? Only a desperate man would pick against them.

National Games of the Week:

#24 Chicago (4-0) over Berry (4-1) (at Berry):
Chicago broke into the top 25 for the first time ever as the Maroons have raced out to a 4-0 record and look to build up on that as they travel to 3rd year program Berry who has shown incredible growth in a short period of the time as the Vikings have gone 0-9, 2-8, and now sit at 4-1 to start the 2015 season.  I’m expecting a low scoring game here but Chicago is going to have more firepower and will leave the Vikings black and Maroon.

(509)Rat says Chicago: Berry is in year 3 of football, and while they've already beaten 4 teams that they lost to in 2014, I don't think they can upset Chicago. Berry has a shot mostly because Chicago doesn't care too much about playing defense. Chicago, however, should be able to control time of possession, limit turnovers, and continue to run the ball down their opponents' throat. I really hope Berry pulls this one out...Whitworth is better than Chicago but won't creep into the top 25 until some of the low hanging fruit starts falling.

#20 Wittenberg (3-1) over DePauw (4-0) (at DePauw):
Not a very sexy match-up to wrap up this week’s pick em.  Whittenberg bounced back nicely last week after getting plunked two weeks ago by Wabash and DePauw is off to their best start since 2010.  I’m going to pick this purely on traditional strength of the Wittenberg program and the fact they’ve handled DePauw over the past few seasons.

(509)Rat says Wittenberg: I'll take tradition and the better defense. Wittenberg responded to losing a big rivalry game by shutting out Wooster, which is good to see. Depauw will score, but it will be much tougher sledding than in weeks past. Sure, Depauw has some nice box scores, but their opponents are a combined 3-19...they've basically played against the SCIAC every week. Depauw gets a wakeup call on Saturday.

Wildcat11’s Week 5 NWC Power Rankings:
1.    Linfield – ‘Cats get their first true test of the year this weekend
2.    Whitworth – It’s criminal that they’re not a top 25 team right now
3.    Pacific – Best performance of the year vs PLU sets stage for Linfield showdown
4.    UPS – The Loggers are the best of the middle of the pack.
5.    Fox – Have a legit shot at knocking of the other middle of the pack teams this season
6.    Willamette – That loss last week had to sting.
7.    PLU – I know the Lutes are young but man it has been ugly so far
8.    Lewis & Clark – Not going to have the offense to break into the win column this year

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

2015 Game 4 Preview: Linfield (3-0) vs Pacific (3-1)

Should be a fantastic environment for football on Saturday!
HUGE week in Northwest Conference play as YOUR Linfield Wildcats will once again host a hard charging Pacific Boxer football team this Saturday in the ‘Catdome. First off, that 59-0 score from last year….flush it.  It doesn’t mean jack.  That score has zero bearing on this weekend’s game and this will be a completely different game as the senior laden Boxers are going to come into the ‘Catdome with a truckload of motivation and inspiration to finally knock off the one Northwest Conference team they’ve yet to conquer.

This is a very experienced Pacific football team.  10 out of 11 offensive starters are seniors, they have a savvy, mobile, and accurate QB in Warner Shaw (97 of 135, 71.9 completion percentage, 12 TDs, 2 picks, and 321 yards per game), a big and sound offensive line (average 6’2” and 280lbs), and the best group of receivers the ‘Cats have seen this season.  Along with that, the Boxer defense is aggressive and physical as the Pacific defense is coming off their best performance of the year in holding PLU to 7 points, 181 yards of total offense, and sacked the Lutes 6 times this past Saturday.

For Linfield, this is going to be the ‘Cats first true test on the 2015 season as the previous three teams the Wildcats have played just haven’t been up to par as true challengers.  The ‘Cats are finally going to line up across a team that’s going to offer a stiff physical, talent, and schematic challenge to this Wildcat team.  No matter what Pacific has said about not thinking about Linfield until this week, you know the Boxer football program spent a significant amount of time this off-season scheming and preparing for the ‘Cats this season and are not going to get caught off-guard this time around.

We’re going to find out what this Linfield team is made of on Saturday as they get a team that’s going to punch back and will be very aggressive in their plan of attack. This is an all-hands on deck type of Saturday as Linfield is going to need their offense, defense, and special teams all clicking in order to starve off what I feel is a very worthy challenger. 

Get To Know A Wildcat

#68 Stephen Nnabue, Offensive Guard, Junior
Hometown: Issaquah, Wash.  High School: Mount Si High School

Favorite place to eat in Mac: Panda Express

Favorite Movie: Saving Private Ryan

Favorite Music: Rap but not what's been coming out recently

Favorite TV show: Sons of Anarchy

Favorite Book: Point Blank

Class I Most Look Forward to: Intermediate Accounting

Iphone or Android: Iphone 5

CPU Homepage: Google

Personal Mantra: You are what you do, not what you say you'll do.

Social Media of choice: Instagram

Car or Truck: Mom's Mini Van

Xbox, PS3, or Wii: Xbox

What first inspired you to play football: I got a GameCube in 6th grade and started playing Madden and thought it was pretty neat

Favorite Coach Smith Saying: "You don't know what you don't know"

Favorite part of playing at Linfield: Playing with such a close knit group of guys

Linfield O-lineman you would want to be in a Zombie Apocalypse with: Aaron Kokubun, because I feel like together we could put a serious dent in a crowd of zombies and if it got too serious I think I could outrun him.

Post Linfield aspirations: Become a CPA and see where it takes me

Wildcat11’s Keys to Victory

Start Fast and Finish Strong: Linfield cannot afford to have aspects of their game come out and sputter and takes a half to get going.  No, this is the time to come out of the gates clicking and confident and being able to sustain that effort for a full four quarters. This Pacific team is a mature group and has shown an ability to improve as the games goes on so Linfield has to be in the mindset of a full four quarter effort.  Anything less than that and the scoreboard could very well not be kind to the ‘Cats at the end of the game.

Limit the Pacific Rushing Attack: The Boxers have been very balanced in their attack this year in 134 rushing attempts against 137 passing attempts and while the passing attack has been the more explosive aspect of Pacific’s offense (92.5 rush yards per game/321.8 passing yards per game), the ‘Cats defense must neutralize the Boxer rushing game and try to make Pacific one dimensional.  That will make the
Boxers’ play-action sets less effective and would increase the ‘Cats defensive effectiveness.

Get the Running Game Going:  Linfield’s offensive attack has to find the balance this weekend, especially if the weather is going to be an issue (forecast calling for rain during game time) so the ‘Cats need to get it rolling on the ground with their talented offensive backfield.  If Linfield can attack the Boxers on the ground consistently, it will only open up the aspects of the ‘Cats offensive attack.

Win 3rd down: Converting on 3rd down has been a calling card for the Boxer offense as they’ve been building their program the past few years and 2015 is no different.  Right now, Pacific is converting on 49% of their 3rd down attempts (24 of 49) and this will be a critical down as Pacific will look to own the football and keep the number of opportunities for the Wildcat offense at a minimum.  This will be a money play for both squads on just who controls the tempo and possibly the game.

Solid Special Teams: This is a type of game where special teams play is vital in flipping field position and pinning the opposition in unfavorable starting position. Linfield specials teams have been flipping fantastic in the first three games of the year and Linfield will need another big effort from this group.

DB’s up the challenge: This Boxer trio of receivers might be the best Linfield will face this season. Nathan Suyemastsu, Jason Smith, and James Berry have combined for 77 of the Boxers 98 completions through the first four games.  All four are fantastic rout runners and can cause a lot damage after the catch and are going to challenge what I think is an exceptional group of Linfield defensive backs.  This match-up is going to be a key in Saturday’s outcome.

Value the ball and limit mistakes: Turnovers and penalties can swing games like this out of your favor.  It’s imperative that Linfield not only secure the football and make good decisions with it but also don’t kill offensive drives or extend their offense with silly infractions. I know that Linfield showed improvement last week with the yellow laundry and that will need to be the cast this weekend as well.


‘Cats by 7.  This is what college football Saturday’s in the ‘Catdome are all about.  Pacific is a tough and capable football program and Linfield is going to have to bring it to win this football game.  If all three phases can fire off and execute for all four quarters, this will be the ‘Cats game to win. If Linfield stumbles around the field, the ‘Cats are going to get more than they bargained for. I’m putting my money on the ‘Cats to come out sharp and ready to perform. I can’t wait to see it go down.

Monday, October 5, 2015

‘Cats Win!!! Linfield rolls Lewis & Clark down the Oregon Trail in a 73-0 victory.

#7 Tavon Willis reached out for his 4th touchdown of the season vs the Pios
Photo courtesy from Brad Thompson: View Brad's photos here
It was a beautiful day for football up in Portland as your Linfield Wildcats opened up Northwest Conference play with a decisive victory over the new look Lewis and Clark Pioneers.  Linfield’s defense was once again fantastic throughout the day and once the ‘Cats offense started clicking the points piled up in a hurry. 

What I wanted to see this past Saturday was a team that was excited to play football and not mail it in because they were facing a rebuilding program and that’s what I saw before and during the game. It can be tough to get yourself mentally ready for that challenge when the team you’re facing isn’t at your level but it spoke volumes about the ‘Cats that they were locked in and ready to go. Yeah, the beginning of the game wasn’t perfect for the offense and we’ll talk about that below but once the damn broke it was a tidal wave of ‘Cats reaching the end zone and living in the Pioneer backfield.

At the end of the day, Linfield accomplished what they set to and that was to turn in a sharp performance and get in as many ‘Cats as possible for some serious varsity minutes.   Mission accomplished on both of those fronts.

Now let’s be real, the ‘Cats have played and dispatched three not very good football teams to open up the season.  Linfield has done what great teams should do to lesser opposition and that’s roll them right out the door but all that changes this weekend with a huge NWC showdown with Pacific.  The Boxers make the return trip back to Linfield sitting at 3-1 and coming off their most complete game of the season in crushing PLU 34-7.  This is a very tough Pacific team.  They have a veteran group on offense, a poised duel threat QB, hard charging RBs, a tough defense, and a trio of play making receivers that have put up some big numbers.  You know Pacific has done a lot of reflection of last year’s 59-0 loss to Linfield and I’m sure have spent a lot of extra time in perpetration on how they’re going to attack the ‘Cats this weekend.  It’s a dangerous opponent for Linfield and the ‘Cats better be ready to roll.
A photo posted by catdomealumni (@catdomealumni) on

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Good

Defensive Domination: The numbers speak for themselves: 135 yards of offense allowed (97 yards of passing, and 38 yards of rushing) over 65 offensive plays.  The ‘Cats defense piled up 13 tackles for loss and All-American defensive end Alex Hoff feasted with 5 TFL’s, a sack, a fumble recovery, and caused general chaos in a little over a half of action.

#55 Alex Hoff dominated the Pios defensive front in the 1st half of play.
Photo courtesy from Brad Thompson: View Brad's photos here
Passing Attack: The ‘Cats quarterbacks went 23 of 31 for 392 yards (12.6 yards per pass attempt) and looked sharp.  Sam Riddle tossed four TD’s in only one half of action as our QB went 12 of 17 for 174 yards and looks to be developing deeper chemistry with his receiver corps.   

Young ‘Cats getting extended time: This is what I was really hoping to see on Saturday as Linfield was able to get deeper in the roster and let a number of other units get extended reps during live varsity action.  It was fun to get a glimpse at some of the other talent on the roster as Linfield continues to be deep with players that can produce and have a number of up and coming prospects in the freshman class.

1st unit penalties down:  The ‘Cats 1st team was only penalized twice during the first half of play and that is some big improvement from the first two games of the year.  This has to continue to be a major point of emphasis for this team as discipline is going to be a major factor is if this Linfield team will be able to fully realize their potential.

Preserving the shutout: Redlands was able to escape the shutout two weeks ago with a late TD off a Linfield turnover deep in their own territory and that looked like it might have been the case again as the Pios blocked a Linfield punt on the Wildcat’s 13 yard line with 1:37 left in the game. Facing a 2nd and Goal from the 4, the ‘Cats brought the house and Linebacker Caden Wakefield forced a fumble that was scooped up by freshman defensive end Deven Illingworth who scooted 85 yards for the game’s final score.  It was a great little moment on multiple fronts and great to see Linfield blank another team.

Team cohesion: This is something that you won’t see on a stat sheet but you can feel it before the game, during the game, and in the post-game wrap.  This group is starting to truly carve out their own unique identity.  That might have been the biggest win of the day in my eyes is not that fact Linfield beat someone by 73 points but you can see and feel this group coming together as a single unit and that bodes well for the remainder of the season.

The Bad

Slow offensive start/short yardage: Yeah, it’s nitpicking but ‘Cats offense took a few series to get the ball rolling again and made little mistakes that negated what should have resulted in earlier touchdowns.  I’m still waiting for a faster and cleaner start from this offense and it needs to happen soon as the level of competition is going to increase significantly this weekend vs Pacific.

The Ugly

Nothing: Game was relatively free of injury, lots of ‘Cats clocked in well-deserved reps and produced results, and Linfield started the conference season off at 1-0.  On top of that, the weather for the game was probably the nicest I can remember for a Linfield road game at L&C.  It was a great day to be a Wildcat!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

2015 NWC Pick ‘Em Contest: Week 5

'Cats get to break out the new stormtroopers this weekend.
Your favorite game pickers are back for week 5 action as Northwest Conference play officially kicks off and we have helpings of goodness around the Division III landscape.  (509)Rat has been on the rise this season with his picks as he moves up the board, while I can’t get it going at all with my picks and I sit firmly in the middle of the pack.  I guess that’s the old post championship hangover kicking in. 

While there seems to be a clear cut top of the NWC this season, teams 4-7 are a complete mess. Fox has shown some very good improvement in year 2 and might be able to knock off some of these other programs that are in flux right now.  PLU’s offense is a dumpster fire right now with no ability to run the football and they continue to pass out more turnovers than a pastry shop. I’ve been hard on Willamette but maybe the Bearcats have chance to move to the top of the middle here and while UPS is improved, it’s just hard to think of them as better than PLU and Willamette.  I think overall the NWC is down a little this year, just based on the middle of the pack’s strength. 

Let’s get to the action!

Northwest Conference Games of the Week:

#3 Linfield (2-0) over Lewis and Clark (0-2) (at L&C): (509)Rat says: Lots of chalk this week. Unfortunately I'll have to wait another week to continue my rise to the top as I really start to pull away from WC11 in the pick'em standings. Why am I mentioning all of this here? Because there is nothing to talk about when it comes to Linfield v L&C. It's a shame this game is at L&C, only because less Linfield student athletes are going to get a chance to play with conference travel restrictions. It's also too bad Linfield has respect for Locey because it would be hilarious if they showed up without any starters...and still won by 40+

Whitworth (3-0) over George Fox (2-1) (at Whit):  I watched the great majority of the Whitworth vs Chapman game last week and color me impressed with the Rats.  Their offensive line is much improved from year (and big), Kolste can extend plays and keeps his eyes down the field, they have a number of sure handed receivers, tough running backs, and a much improved defense. The Rats are legit. Speaking of legit, this will be the first real opportunity to see if Fox’s offensive production is truly legit or not.  You can move the ball on Whitworth’s defense but they do a great job in creating havoc and ball hawking.  I do expect Fox to get some points but Whitworth should win by a comfortable margin.

(509)Rat says Whitworth: George Fox might be the best team Whitworth has played so far, which says less about the Bruins and more about the dumpster fire that is the SCIAC. Fox will score some points, but they have zero hope of stopping the Whitworth offense. If students do not bring signs referencing Tully's age discrimination lawsuit against the University, consider me one disappointed alumni.

Pacific (2-1) over PLU (0-2) (at Pacific): The more things change, the more they stay the same.  PLU just doesn’t take care of the football and it’s the biggest reason why they continue to lose football games the past years.  It comes down to bad decision making with the football and the Lutes have become experts at it.  If you’re Pacific’s coaching staff, you love the fact that the Boxers get better as the game goes on.  That bodes well for the Linfield and Whitworth games coming up.  Boxers boat races PLU.

(509)Rat says Pacific: 1.1 yards/rush, 27 yds/game for the Lutes this year...I promise I'm not making that up. Of the 53 points the Lutes have given up this season, 37 have come in the 3rd and 4th quarters, while only scoring 6 points in the second half of games themselves. Pacific has made a living this season showing up in the 4th quarter and putting points on the board, so PLU's only hope is to get out of the gate quick and form an insurmountable lead. I just don't see that happening. Especially when you can't run the ball and bleed clock against a team who has no problem doing its damage in the 4th quarter.

Willamette (0-2) over Puget Sound (1-1) (at Willamette): I’ve been really harsh on Willamette this year but I saw a little glimmer of hope out of that 2nd half vs CLU (granted CLU isn’t the 86 Bears) but I’m going to give the Willamette the benefit of the doubt.  This was a very hard game to pick as UPS is better and did beat Willamette in Salem last year but I just can’t pull the trigger on UPS this weekend.

(509)Rats Says Willamette: Willamette had to replace a number of players this year and I think they will continue to improve as the season wears on. Overall, though, they are still more talented than UPS despite the 0-2 record. The defense really stepped up in the second half against Cal Lu last week, and the offense gets a chance to get going against a bad Logger D this week. If I thought UPS could possess the ball and keep their defense off the field, I may have gone with the Loggers. Needing overtime to beat CMS just doesn't inspire confidence. Then again, neither do the Bearcats. I'll stick with the traditionally strong program in this one.

West Region Game of the Week

#1 UW-Whitewater (3-0) over #14 UW-Plattville (3-0): Whatever.  Next.

(509)Rats Says UWW: Seriously, who in their right mind would pick against Whitewater? Since 2005 they have lost 3 WIAC games and 2 of those came during a rebuilding year in 2012. Next.

National Games games of the week:

#18 Hardin Simmons (3-0) over Trinity (3-0) (at Trinity): Yeah, I think that Trinity gets the cold water in the face treatment this weekend vs HSU.  Granted, the jury is still out on if HSU is back to being a legit ASC contender but I still think they’re going to be the more talented and explosive team than the do everything solid but not great Tigers. 

(509)Rat Says: Hardin Simmons is back! Probably. Trinity got smoked by HSU last season, and while the Tigers are probably a better team this year, HSU definitely is. The Cowboys are only allowing 13.3 pts/game (a somewhat deceiving number given 2 of the 3 teams they played aren't very good), pointing to an improved defense. I find it interesting that defense may be the key to a program who has never had a very good defense...even when they had a very good team. If Trinity can continue to play mistake-free football they can make this a game, I just don't see them scoring enough points to win this Saturday.

#12 Thomas More (3-0) over #13 Washington and Jefferson (3-0) (at TMC): Last time I picked against Thomas More and they won 48-0 so I’m not going to fall for the banana in the tailpipe trick again.  I’m going for a big win for the Saints.

(509)Rat says TMC:  Thomas More has been the more impressive team this year. W&J are the reigning champs. These two have finished 1-2 in the PAC each of the past 7 years. It certainly could go either way but outside of St. Johns getting taken to the woodshed by St. Thomas, I've done pretty well on these toss up rivalry games so far this year. I'm sticking with the home team again, Saints win comfortably.

Wildcat11’s NWC Week 5 Power Rankings

1.    Linfield – One final tune-up before the ‘Cats hit the meat of their schedule
2.    Whitworth – Impressed with them. Should be a top 25 team, IMO.
3.    Pacific – Boxers get better as the game goes on.
4.    Fox – Offense looks way better this year. Must have cut a deal with the devil.
5.    UPS - …but I’m picking Willamette this week.
6.    Willamette – Could be number 4 in next week’s ranking
7.    PLU – Can’t run it and turn it over.  Bad Combo
8.    L&C – Will be in the basement for the remainder of the season.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

2015 Game 3 Preview: Linfield (2-0) at Lewis & Clark (0-2)

Linfield looks to make it 39 victories in a row over Lewis & Clark
Back in the saddle as we’re done with the bye week and done with non-conference play.  The ‘Cats now enter the start of NWC play with the traditional big fat target on their backs as the team-to-beat but Linfield wouldn’t want it any other way. 

The ‘Cats have started off the season in a fashion that most folks expected as Linfield easily handled both Chapman and Redlands of the SCIAC, however, it wasn’t perfect for the ‘Cats as Linfield was penalized way too much for my liking and the ‘Cats offense has hampered by little mistakes that sunk promising drives. This 2015 Linfield team is still a work in progress and still hasn’t been tested the way I feel they will in the upcoming weeks.  The upside of this team is HUGE but these players have to keep their focus on the task in front of them as they continue to build upon the season.

Linfield will once again head up to Lewis and Clark, as they did in 2014, to play a new look Pioneer team that had major staff changes this past season.  Let’s not beat around the bush…this is really strange to be talking about Jay Locey as the head coach at Lewis & Clark.  I mean, Coach Locey was at Linfield for 26 or so years, lead the program to the 2004 title, I was playing when he was promoted to the head coaching job, etc, etc.  To see him in orange and black is beyond bizarre and leaves me with mixed feelings.  In fact, there are a number of former Linfield coaches, former players, and former support people who are now at L&C and it’s strange.  I’m not going to go any deeper into than that but I’m officially dubbing Saturday’s game “The Awkward Bowl I”.

Obviously, the coaching staff at L&C is a major upgrade than the previous regime but L&C is going to need time before they can start truly making some noise in the Northwest Conference.  Their roster lacks top of the line talent and the depth required to hang with the top half of the conference.  Yes, the Locey led Linfield teams reeled off six consecutive NWC titles and a national championships but people forget that his first four years at Linfield were 5-4, 6-3, 7-2, and 6-3 before things started happening….and that's at a place that LOVES football and had a rich tradition of football rolling even before Coach Locey first took over.  What I’m getting at is that while you should expect L&C to improve but they’re not going to become an overnight sensation.

For the ‘Cats, this weekend is all about maximizing the opportunity to play Linfield football to the best of this team’s ability.  I truly believe this group could round into something incredibly special but there is still much work to do.  I’m excited to see the guys strap up in the stromtrooper gear and get after another program that wants what Linfield has.

Get to Know A Wildcat
Photo courtesy of Brad Thompson: Find Brad's 2015 Linfield Football Photos here

#4 Jake Reimer, Linebacker, Sophomore
Hometown: Sherwood, Or, High School: Sherwood High School

Favorite place to eat in Mac: Wildwood Cafe for breakfast. Tacos El Gordo any other time.

Favorite Movie: A River Runs Through It

Favorite Music: Country Favorite

TV show: How I Met Your Mother

Favorite Book: The Last Best League

Class I Most Look Forward to: Psychological Aspect of Sport and Physical Activity

Iphone or Android: Android 

CPU Homepage: Catdomealumni's YouTube page (WC11 note: Smart man Jake!!!)

Personal Mantra: "It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog."

Social Media of choice: Instagram

Car or Truck: Truck

Xbox, PS3, or Wii: GameCube

What first inspired you to play football: Watching the high school games when I was in 1st and 2nd grade.

Favorite Coach Smith Saying: "Somebody has got to go to jail."

Favorite part of playing at Linfield: Working for the chance to compete for a national championship with my teammates.

Fastest Linfield Linebacker: Patrick Pipitone

Post Linfield aspirations: Go to law school.

Wildcat11’s Keys to Victory

Be the best Linfield team you can be: This is the biggest challenge of Saturday’s game.  There is not a single doubt on who is going to win this Saturday but the challenge for Linfield is to forget who is across the field and put their sole focus on being the very best Linfield Wildcat football team possible.  I’m talking about the little things that will be a huge difference when Linfield plays the Pacific’s and Whitworth’s in the upcoming weeks.  Focus on executing to your highest level, laser focus on sideline adjustments, enthusiasm on the sideline, coaching each other up, sustained energy and joy in being able to play college football on what is promising to be a beautiful early fall day.

Attacking offense from the first play: Get after it on offense with a steady mix of the rushing attack and take your shots on the deep ball.  The L&C defense has played well in their first two games in only allowing 23.5 PPG and 354.0 yards per contest.  The ‘Cats are going to have to earn their points this Saturday and I’m looking for this unit to start realizing that huge potential they possess.

Limit mistakes and take care of the ball: This is a great opportunity for the Wildcat offense to make some positive strides before they head into the meat of their schedule in terms of minimizing drive killing mistakes and show better decision making with the ball.  I’m not saying to be conservative in nature but find that edge without going over it.  Controlled aggression.

Sound tackling:  I suspect that L&C isn’t going to want to run a ton of long developing passing plays so I expect a heavy dose of the bubble screen game action and quick passing that’s going to try to get the ball in space and see if their guys can pick up yardage after the catch.  Linfield’s defensive backs have to be the more physical group and attack the screen game but be alert for L&C trying to sneak a big play out of these sets.   

Flip the field with Special Teams: L&C doesn’t kick the ball very well and Linfield’s special teams needs to continue to shine with their coverage and ability to flip the field in the return game.


‘Cats by a bunch.  I expect L&C to be a more sound and better coached team than in years past.  That’s a no-brainer but at this time they just don’t have the starting talent or depth to contend with the ‘Cats.  The ‘Cats should roll and I hope to see Linfield come out with a truckload of energy and excitement to play this weekend.  Go ‘Cats!

Friday, September 25, 2015

2015 NWC Pick 'Em Contest: Week 4

Team, Excellence, Attitude, Class...often imitated, never duplicated.

Sorry we’re late this week but (509)Rat has been pulling double shifts at Plaid Pantry the past couple of days so he’s asked if we could post this late.  Not a problem, my good friend.  Last week, I was just ok in picking 5 out of 8 games correctly, while (509)Rat nailed 6 out of 8.  I’ve been getting waxed with the National Games of the Week picks so far this year as Hobart was exposed as a pretender and NCC took one on the chin vs a WIAC contender.

As for the NWC goes, the biggest surprise was Pacific dropping their home opener vs an 0-2 Debuque team.  Debuque did drop their first two games to top 25 teams so it wasn’t like they were losing to Lewis and Clark but that was a case of Pacific again losing a non-conference game you would think should be a sure thing.  Willamette showed some fight but they’re going to take a number of losses this year, Lewis & Clark blew their only chance for a win this year, and Whitworth raced out to a 36-0 lead over La Verne before mailing it in the second half. 

This is a very difficult week of games this week.  I feel there are a lot of evenly matched rosters/programs facing off so there is a chance of this being big on the pick ‘em page with separation in the standings.  Right now, both (509)Rat and I are stuck in the middle of the standings but there is a lot of season left.  Let’s do it!

Northwest Conference Games of the Week

Pacific Lutheran (0-1) over Trinity (Tx.) (3-0) (at PLU):  It may be curious to pick a 3-0 team to lose this weekend but I believe that the Lutes are going to be able to get the job done against a Texas team making a LOOOONG road trip to the Pacific Northwest.  Yeah, Trinity is 3-0 but the teams they’ve beat so far in 2015 are a combined 0-7.  Not exactly talking about the stiffest slate of competition for the Tigers so far and I think they’ll wind up getting tripped up by a young but capable PLU squad.   

(509)Rat Says Trinity: PLU can't run the football and it's not because Cal Lu's defense is that good. I mean, Willamette outgained them last week. Trinity has essentially made this trip, playing at Willamette last year, and should be better prepared in that regard. Trinity appears to be a well rounded team that has an improved defense from last year. They aren't really good at any one thing, but they seem to do everything well. 2 weeks and I've already abandoned my NWC loyalty...It's all PLU's fault, really. 

Pacific (1-1) over Occidental (1-0) (at Oxy): Man, I didn’t see that loss last week coming for Pacific.  That was very surprising to see that outcome and the fact that Debuque was close in the 4th quarter to making it a boat race before Pacific was able to make it close with a late rally.   So now the Boxers Pool C hopes are dashed and they get a last tune-up before NWC play as they head to SoCal against the offensive minded Oxy Tigers.  I’m expecting some fireworks from both offenses but Pacific should be the deeper and more talented team.

(509)Rat says Pacific: I hate Pacific. Partly because they come on the scene as a new program and quickly started winning, but mostly because they continue to ruin my picks. They beat a COI team that is better than them and then lose to a Dubuque team who is home. I can't figure them out. I don't think Occidental will have them figured out either though. I'll take one of the better NWC teams against a middle of the road SCIAC program any day. A team that couldn't stop UPS from scoring 41 is going to have a tough time beating Pacific. Plus, apparently Pacific is better on the road.

Whitworth (2-0) over Chapman (0-1) (at Chap): A lot of people in both the NWC and SCIAC are going to be taking a good look at what could be a very competitive football game down in Orange County.  Whitworth has come out of the gates firing in two impressive victories over some of the SCIAC bottom feeders and look to have made big strides in year 2 of the Sandberg regime. Chapman is a solid team but I’m not sure if they’re going to have enough offense to hang with Whitworth.  I’m looking for this to be a statement win for Whitworth and for the Rats to start picking up some more top 25 votes as a result.

(509)Rat Says Whitworth: The Pirates haven't played anyone yet, this will be a good test to see how they respond to real competition. The defense is improved and they get a Chapman offense that will likely take some time to get up to speed. Whitworth shut out a La Verne team until they put in the 2nd string to start the second half after opening up a 39-0 lead. And even though Linfield's defense will make every offense look bad, Chavez was inaccurate and unable to move the ball downfield when they fell behind the sticks on 1st and 2nd down. Whitworth's defense will do just enough for them to steal a win down in Orange.

George Fox (1-1) over Arizona Christian (0-2) (at ACU): A match-up of two second year programs that seem to be going in two different directions.  So far the GFU offense seems improved on the early year compared to year one but their defense is giving up a ton of yardage and points while ACU has been pounded in their first two games of the year.  Granted ACU has played much better competition that Fox so it’s a little hard in trying to compare box scores to get an idea of how these two programs will match-up.  This was a tight game last year and I expect it will be the same thing this year as well.  I’m just going to take Fox for the hell of it.

(509)Rat Says GFU: Fox lost a close one last year and the Bruins appeared to be improved in year 2. I know nothing about the NAIA program from Phoenix, they could very well have landed some stud transfers/recruits and blow GF out of the water. I have faith in the Bruins though and their new QB coach.

West Region Game of the Week

#8 St. Johns (3-0) over #12 St. Thomas (3-0) (at SJU):  Oh, I would love to be out in Collegeville this week.  I have no problem in saying this is the prime time rivalry game in all of Division 3 and with both programs being top ten quality and undefeated, it just ramps up the intensity that much more.   UST has downed SJU 3 out of the last 4 years and could easily do again this week.  Again, I’m picking SJU because they have a stud running back and I enjoy seeing anybody get over on UST.

(509)Rat says SJU: I already said I was taking the Johnnies from here on out. A heavy dose of Sam Sura and his 6.3 yds/carry should help St. John extend their win streak in this rivalry to 3 games. St. Thomas has looked real good (beating bad WIAC teams) so far this season and this is a rivalry game, so nobody should be surprised if they win this game. Should be a good one, looking forward to some ESPN coverage of the rivalry Saturday.

National Games of the Week:

#5 Wesley (2-0) over #22 North Central (1-1):   This had the makings of another top ten’ish match-up but NCC dropped one to the a program that I just called Fool’s Gold last week (Platteville).  Thanks for nothing North Central.  May Wesley run up and down on your backsides for helping give Platteville some validity this season.  A pox on your house. A POX, I SAY!

(509)Rat says Wesley: Wesley is the better program and is basically Mount Union-away from winning a championship at some point in the past 10 years. I think North Central comes out a little flat after that heart breaking loss to Platteville last week. They can't afford to do that against the Wolverines and end up digging themselves in a hole they can't get out of.

#9 Wabash (2-0) over #15 Wittenberg (at Wabash) (2-0): The best rivalry game outside of SJU/UST as the traditional top two powers in the North Coast Athletic Conference hook up once again.  Wittenberg has won this game a great clip than the Little Giants but I think this is going to be one of those seasons where Wabash can get it done.  The Little giants have only given up 3 points in two games while the Tigers have been pretty tough on defense as well (giving up some garbage time scores).  I expect this to be close but Wabash might have a little more firepower this season.

(509)Rat Says Wabash: Wittenberg has beaten Wabash in each of the last 2 seasons. Wabash is due and I'm picking them to win this one at home. Another rivalry game that could go either way. This should be a good game, and I'm hoping at some point the Little Giants run the Annexation of Puerto Rico. 

Wildcat11’s NWC Week 4 Power Rankings

1.    Linfield – Have some kinks to work out but they have the look of a contender.
2.    Whitworth – HUGE game for the Sandberg era this weekend in SoCal.
3.    Pacific – Expect a bounce back win vs. Oxy.  Think they’ll be dangerous in the NWC.
4.    PLU – Going to take some lumps but they have talent.
5.    UPS – Easily be in the bottom 3 in the near future but are safe with the double bye.
6.    Willamette – Gave CLU a good run but not sure if they can hang with the top four.
7.    Fox – Unfair that I dropped them after a bye but they gave up 500 yards of offense to that Redlands offense.  Not a good sign. 
8.    L&C – Locey called Pomona-Pitzer a “good team”. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

‘Cats Win!!! Linfield puts Redlands in the doghouse with 44-7 spanking in the ‘Catdome.

Alex Hoff #55 and the 'Cats defense brought the salt truck to the 'Catdome against Redlands.
The ‘Cats put on a defensive clinic this past Saturday at Maxwell field as Linfield would build a 44-0 lead in the 4th quarter before giving up a Redland’s face saving TD late in the game for the final outcome.  It wasn’t a perfect performance for Linfield as the ‘Cats still have a number of issues they need to iron out as the season moves into Northwest Conference play and those games become even more paramount.  I think if you would ask anybody on the offensive side of the ball if they are satisfied with Saturday’s performance the overwhelming response would be “no”.  There is so much talent on the offensive side of the ball but little things have killed drives/scoring opportunities and that has to rub this talented offensive unit the wrong way.  Even with the rough first half of offense, the ‘Cats did rip off four consecutive touchdowns to start the 2nd half to get themselves back on track but there is work to be done.

That may sound silly to some people in not being fully satisfied in just beating a team by 36 points but this program has such lofty goals and aspirations that every live moment on the field counts towards building a profile that will allow this team to measure up and go toe-to-toe with the very best in division 3. So when there are rough edges in performances, it’s ok to take a critical eye to some sore spots.  It’s not being critical just to be critical but more of acknowledging where this team needs to see improvement if Linfield will truly be the contender they inspire to be.

The ‘Cats get the bye week at a good time. I think we would all rather just keep playing games but this week will give Linfield a chance to get back to basics and start building up for the start of Northwest Conference play.  Linfield will head up to Palatine Hill in two weeks to square off with Lewis & Clark. The conference is setting up to be another challenging gauntlet of challengers as Pacific, PLU, and Whitworth all look to dethrone Linfield as the number one team in the NWC. I’m excited for the start of conference as we know anything can happen but if this group of Wildcats continue to keep put in the work, the sky is the limit for Linfield.

As for the blog during the bye-week, we'll have a mini-highlight on Wednesday (a technical glitch sank me last night...lots of yelling at my computer was involved) and our pick 'em post up on Thursday with a news round-up on Friday.  Go 'Cats!

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

The Good

2nd half effort:  All three units put the pedal down in the 2nd half as Linfield took a 17-0 lead and blew it out to a 44-0 margin by the end of the 3rd quarter.  It was classic Linfield football as special teams would pin Redlands deep, the defense creating turnovers or short possessions, and the offense making them pay.  I’ve seen that sequence time and again in the ‘Catdome and it’s a thing of beauty.

Defensive lock down:  The defense continues to impress for the ‘Cats. Linfield only allowed 8 first downs, 27 net rush yards (0.7 per carry),  and only 136 yards of total offense (only 91 yards through the first three quarters).  It was such a blistering performance for the Linfield defense that Redlands only crossed Linfield’s 50 yard line twice….and that’s only because Linfield turned it over twice in their own territory.  If Linfield didn’t give it up there’s a good chance that Redlands would have never crossed midfield all game long.

Special teams great again: This group has already been a big difference maker on the young season and is going to continue to be.  We have guys that can break it open in the return game, guys that can fly down the field and cover, and might have the best collection of kickers in the division.  This has been a fun group to watch operate.

Red Zone Offense: Once again the Red-Zone offense continues to be impressive. The ‘Cats went 7 of 8 in the red zone and six of the trips resulted in touchdowns.  The only miss was hampered by a penalty and a rare field goal miss.  Beyond that, the ‘Cats offense once again showed diversity in how they attack the defense in these short field situations and that bodes well for down the road.

Pressure: 8 sacks by 7 different Wildcats and 14 total tackles for loss by the ‘Cats defense.  Linfield straight up whooped the Bulldogs offensive line as the push across the board was noticeable. I loved the pressure and play making by the ‘Cats upfront and by the Linebackers.

Pass Protection:  The big guys up front for Linfield gave up zero sacks and zero QB hurries in 40 passing attempts on the day.  I think as this group continues to gel this offense will start to take off in a hurry. 

A photo posted by catdomealumni (@catdomealumni) on
The Bad:

Uneven 1st half offense: I already addressed it up above. The 2nd half was much better but Linfield’s offense needs to see some growth as the season develops.

The Ugly:

Dumb Penalties:  The ‘Cats made some straight up bad decisions during the game that cost Linfield some big plays and killed some drives. Linfield was penalized 9 times for 75 yards and that’s just too much for a team as talented as Linfield. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

2015 Around the 'Catdome: Week 3

The 'Cats O-Line will be ready to go tomorrow vs Chapman.
It's a shortened Around the 'Catdome this week.  Great player spotlight on Eli Biondine ran by Linfield Sports.  Go check out the Around The Nation podcast by  It's a great way to get a understanding on the national landscape.  I would LOVE to post the articles from McMinnville's newsregister but the N-R had to go to a paywall so that's out the window.'s Around the Nation Podcast: Pat & Keith kickoff by talking Linfield vs Chapman 

The Linfield Review: Linfield downs Chapman in Homecoming game

Linfield Sports: Player spotlight on Senior Linebacker Eli Biondine Chapman drops rematch with Linfield

The Panter: Chapman repeats last season start with loss against Linfield Fox wins home opener Redlands

The Willamette Collegian: Bearcats look to turn it around after Trinity loss

The News Tribune: Oxy stands tall in 46-41 win over UPS

CLU Echo: Kingsmen begin season with a bang over PLU. Rats run past Whits

The Spokesman-Review: Rats open season with convincing victory

Lewis Clark Athletics YouTube Page: Football Highlight

Lewis Clark Athletics YouTube Page: Locey post CMS game remarks

Puget Sound YouTube Page: Jeff Thomas reflects on Oxy loss Good story on Fox Frosh and his mother who is battling life threatening cancer.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

2015 NWC Pick ‘Em Contest: Week 3

Love this place!
That was a much better week 2 for Wildcat11.  I landed 7 correct picks last week out of 10 as I missed both the national games (HSU and Rose-Hulman winning) and to no surprise I missed GFU knocking off Redlands (as did everyone else).  That puts me in the top half of the pick contest but (509)Rat has some ground to make up as his faith in the NWC last week was not rewarded. 

Let’s talk about the NWC for a minute.  It’s hard to judge from just one week of games.  Team do make big strides from game one to game two and throughout the season, but there have been a few surprises.   I’ll admit that I didn’t think Fox would knock off Redlands so that’s a feather in GFU’s cap that they’ll build off of.  Pacific and Whitworth are for sure conference contenders, and while PLU is very young, I think the Lutes are going to give some NWC teams fits this year as they reload.  UPS….not sure yet.  They could make a run to the middle of the conference but Fox’s performance tells me that maybe the Loggers are going to be in the bottom half along with Willamette and L&C. LOTS of football to be played but it should be a fun year in the NWC.  Let’s get to it!

NWC Games of the Week:

#3 Linfield (1-0) over Redlands (0-1) (at Linfield): (509)Rat says Linfield. This one is laughable as Redlands is apparently the 6th or 7th best team in the NWC. Redlands gave up 521 total yards of offense to the Bruins last week. That is not a typo. George Fox averaged 6.1 yards per play. Redlands actually won the turnover battle and TOP was a wash, so it’s not as if they beat themselves. As far as I can tell Redlands suited up their best players...I cannot envision a scenario where those same players are competitive in McMinnville. Sam Riddle would be a good DraftKings pick-up for you weekly fantasy guys.

Cal Lutheran (1-0) over Willamette (0-1) (at Will): So Willamette laid a complete egg out in Texas but I’m not surprised.  I pegged Willamette to have one of the biggest step downs in the conference this season and for good reason as they lost their two guys that made them competitive last year and L&C had a better recruiting class that Willamette.  Not good signs for the Bearcats for this year and moving forward. CLU pulled off a last minute win against a young PLU team and I’m expecting the Kingsmen to knock off Willamette as well.  Coach Mac’s teams haven’t tasted victory in the state of Oregon for a long time so I’m sure he’ll savor this one.

(509)Rat says CLU: My homerism got the best of me last week and left me near the bottom of the pick'em standings. Not this week. Willamette has a lot of work to do on both sides of the ball. They gave up 3 sacks, threw 3 picks, lost 2 fumbles, gave up 5 yards per rush...the only nice thing you can say is "at least they didn't lose to George Fox." I don't think Willamette's problems are any that will be fixed in a week's time. CLU should shut down another NWC rushing attack, forcing Willamette to the air and getting "W" number 2 on the season.

Pomona-Pitzer (0-1) over Lewis & Clark (0-1) (at P-P):  Pomona-Pitzer is terrible. They stink…but L&C is one who wears similar cologne. I’ll admit that talking about L&C is so strange because of the coaching situation there.  Yeah, the Pios will improve with time but they’re going to take their lumps for a few years. I know all L&C talks about is Coach Locey’s pedigree (which is WELL deserved) and excellence this and “new era” that but folks don’t remember that when Locey first took over Linfield, the ‘Cats went 5-4, 6-3, 7-2, and 6-3 in his first four seasons as Linfield’s HC before the program took off again, and that's at a place that loves their football program and was still viable even thought that was a time of transition.  What I’m saying is that Locey will make L&C a much better program but it’s not going to happen overnight and the Pios are going to stink for a number of years until he builds not only a quality starting line ups but also depth…..and that takes time….years.

(509)Rat says Pomna-Pitzer: You couldn't pay me to watch this game. P-P and L&C are in similar positions within their respective the cellar. This is actually a very winnable game for L&C, certainly the only one left on the schedule, I just don't think L&C has enough talent to do it. Locey just hasn't had nearly enough time to get actual football players enrolled at L&C so you have to think of them last year's team with some coaching improvements. Hopefully I get a "wc11 edit" here because I want his opinion, but what's the Over/Under on seasons Locey lasts at L&C?  (WC11 edit: No idea but I say at least 6 seasons but maybe 8 at the most.  Just guessing.)

Whitworth (1-0) over La Verne (1-0) (at Whit): Another SCIAC chump for the Rats to get fat on. The one benefit of .500 Tully Ball over the past decade is that Whitworth had some of the mouth breathers of the SCIAC lined up to play games against.  Whitworth should have plenty of fireworks and put up a fat number of the Leos. Rats in a romp.

(509)Rat says Whitworth: Kolste and the Pirates should have another strong offensive showing, plenty of crooked numbers on the scoreboard again. The defense is definitely improved, not good enough to challenge Linfield for NWC supremacy, but they're better. La Verne will score some points, but this won't be the 50-48 shootout we saw 1 year ago.

Pacific (1-0) over Dubuque (0-2) (at Pacific): The Boxers landed a great week one comeback win over College of Idaho.  I think Pacific is legit and will push Linfield (along with Whitworth) for the conference title this year, and if they fall short, I think Pacific could be a Pool C contender this year.  Dubuque’s offense has been as explosive as that 14 year old’s clock in Irving, Tx. Pacific will pound the Spartans and start picking up more top 25 votes.

(509)Rat says Pacific: College of Idaho is a good team and Pacific got yet another W that I don't understand. Shaw should continue to play solid, error-free football against a Dubuque team that has been getting shelled by some top #25 caliber teams early this season. Pacific's defense will get a little break as well, though Dubuque's lack of offensive production could have a lot to do with who they've played. They beat Pacific at home last year and this year I think the Boxers return the favor.

West Region Game of the Week:

#8 St. Johns (2-0) over Concordia-Moorhead (2-0) (at CM): SJU has not beaten Concordia-Moorhead since the 2011 season but that’s going to change this weekend up near Canada.   I do think SJU is a legit player again on the national scene and that’s a good thing for division 3 football.  It’s just more fun with SJU being in the hunt and if they can take down a very good Concordia-Moorhead team, the Johnnies are one step closer to being in the national title hunt.

(509)Rat says SJU: The Johnnies are back! I have a good friend who played football at St. Johns so I'll probably roll with them in any future pick'em weeks (you might as well just pencil that in now). The Johnnies have absolutely steamrolled their first 2 opponents, both of whom were overmatched. They could come out a little sluggish against C-M, which is their first real test of the year, but when the dust settles they should go away with a comfortable win. Sura and the running game will be too much for the Cobbers.

Nationals Games of the Week:

#13 North Central (1-0) over #22 UW-Plattville (2-0) (at UWP): There is one thing that I’ve learned over the years in doing this pick ‘em and that’s UW-Plattville is fool’s gold.  They get way too much credit because they are from the WIAC but when it comes down to playing against top tier programs the Pioneers never seem to be able to punch through their glass ceiling.  More of the same here as North Central will kick Platt to the curb and right out of the Top 25.

(509)Rat says UW-Platteville: When two very good programs are a part of the pick'em, neither of whom I know much about, I pick the home team. I also like to pick the WIAC team when playing against a team from...well, pretty much anywhere. I would love nothing more than to see someone knock the Warhawks off of their perch.

#16 Hobart (2-0) over #24 Ithaca (1-0) (at Ithaca):  I have this very strange soft spot for Ithaca.  I don’t know if it’s because they have this not fancy but cool home field setup, or it could be that “Bombers” are a sweet nickname, or maybe it’s the fact that Ithaca’s consecutive winning season streak ended at 40 years in 2011when the Bombers finished at 4-6.  Either way, I like the Bombers but I don’t think they have the firepower to knock off Hobart.

(509)Rat says Hobart:  When you lose an offensive linemen to the second day of the NFL draft, you're gonna take a small step backwards. Hobart should still be fine. Ithaca will keep it close, but I think Hobart wins. If Hobart gets a running game going, which they struggled with so far this season, Hobart should be able to pull away and win by a couple of touchdowns, but I've been mostly wrong so far this season. Take my advice at your own risk.

Wildcat11’s NWC Week 3 Power Rankings

(Doing something new this year as I’m going to tag the end of our pick ‘em posts with my personal NWC power rankings.  The rankings can change wildly from week to week based of the previous week’s results.)

1.    Linfield – Looked strong in game one
2.    Pacific – Comeback win is sign of program that’s maturing.
3.    Whitworth – Improved defense bodes well for the Rats.
4.    PLU – Better debut than I thought vs CLU.
5.    GFU – Give the devil its due.
6.    UPS – Loggers with back-to-back bye weeks? You can catch Coach Thomas at the BEACH!
7.    Willamette- A clunker in Texas.  Wasn’t a good sign for Willamette
8.    L&C – Look into my eye.  This is probably your only chance to win a game this year.