Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Linfield selected as the 2010 NWC pre-season favorites
Not surprisingly your Linfield Wildcats have been selected by the NWC coaches as the NWC Pre-Season favorites. This is not new ground for the 'Cats as Linfield has been tabbed as the pre-season team-to-beat 9 out of the past 10 years. However, what we know right now is that the NWC coaches haven't exactly been Nostradamus the previous 4 seasons. Linfield was picked as the NWC pre-season favorites from 2006-08 and was edged out by the Rats in 2006 and 07 and Willamette in 2008. So, the NWC coaches FINALLY decided to give the pre-season nod to somebody else this past year (Willamette) and guess what happens? Yup, Linfield says "Whoa, do you know who I am?" and blasts their way to an undefeated season and the 2009 NWC title.
So you have to ask yourself, is the NWC pre-season Coach's poll the kiss of death? Heck no, it's just that Linfield is considered the historical top dog of the NWC and for good reason. Willamette made a good case to be the favorite in 2009 with their 2008 performance. It's as simple as that. WC11 is not so superstitious where he believes in things like the Madden Curse or the SI jinx. I have no problem with the 'Cats having a target on their back and being seen as the top cat. Linfield has earned that honor and with the talent the 'Cats have back the coaches would have to be on a 5 hour bender of sniffing model airplane glue not to select Linfield as the 2010 NWC favorite.
There's a few other things that we should take a look at with regards to the poll. Willamette finishing 2nd was a no brainer and the Bearcats are very much going to be in lock step with Linfield for the NWC title. The early October match up between the 'Cats and Bearcats is going to determine who has the NWC 2010 title by the throat. The Bearcats do return some fine talent and if they can survive their early season meat grinder they are going to be a big time threat.
My only real surprise was to see PLU edge Whitworth out for the 3rd place. Yeah, Whitworth had a down year and PLU showed some signs of life towards the end of last year but the Rats where terribly hit with the injury bug and losing their work horse, Adam Anderson, early in the season was a blow Whitworth could never recover from. With Anderson back for a 5th year, I thought that the Rats would gobble up that 3rd spot with little resistance...apparently not.
L&C has been terrible for the longest time and even a head-to-head win over UPS last year still doesn't changes the coaches mind in giving the Pios a little hope and picking them 5th over the Loggers. If Willenbrock was back at the helm for UPS then you might have seen the coaches give the Pios the nod for the 5th spot but a new coach at UPS gives them enough to get over on L&C.
As for the Pios...they are getting healthier. Are they good yet? Nope but their roster is about at 70 this season and I hope they can get up to the 85-90 mark next season and that's when I think they'll start making some stands versus the middle of the NWC pack.
Pacific understandably is bring up the last spot and they are going to take their lumps as they re-start football in Forest Grove but I expect the Boxers to actually be a pretty decent team sooner rather than later. I think Pacific wants this to go well and we all know that if your administration is behind football and you have a solid coach then you will have a chance to do well. I just hope for all of hoping that the Boxers don't beat L&C this season. That might be biggest death blow the Pios could get.