Not a bad week 2 for Wildcat11 as I correctly picked 7 out of 8 games right. The only contest I missed is the nice win Pacific picked up on the road over Occidental. I’m sure the Oxy faithful is toasting their athletic director and her decision to fire the Tigers' legendary coach Dale Widolff for “violations” of some type. Looks like jettisoning Widolff is going to work out great for the rest of the SCIAC. Congrats. Overall the NWC had a great week in going 4-2 with only UPS being UPS and PLU battling but falling to Cal Lutheran. The conference is looking to be very competitive this season and should make for an exciting NWC season.
WC11 is currently sitting in a tie for 3rd place with about 8 other pickers and this week looks like a chance for folks to make some moves with big games throughout the NWC and around the nation. A great week of Division 3 football is in front of us.
Northwest Conference Games:
Willamette over East Texas Baptist (at Willamette): After opening eyes in their week 1 offensive explosion the Bearcats are back after a week 2 bye. This is actually a Friday night lights game for Willamette as they host East Texas Baptist. ETBU played Wesely well before falling in week 1 and had an unimpressive win in week 2. I think Willamette will put this one to bed and start the season 2-0 and edge closer to breaking the top 25.
Lewis & Clark over Pomona Pitzer (at Lewis & Clark): P-P dropped to Menlo last week in their season opener but that’s not surprising and L&C pulled out a close win over CMS. I still think L&C is in for a rude awaking once they get into NWC play but they get to at least feel good early in the season.
Whitworth over La Verne (at La Verne): La Verne with a really late start to the year as they host a Rat squad with 2 road games under their belt. La Verne is hosting their 1st night game in program history with a facility upgrade. The Leos didn’t play that bad under their 1st year coach and looks to be a program headed in the right direction. With that said, Whitworth should take care of business in what I think will be a closer than expected game.
Pacific Lutheran over Redland (at Redlands): Completely going against the grain on this pick as I’m the only one taking the ‘Lutes for the huge road win. I didn’t see it but I get the feeling that PLU played CLU tough last weekend and my gut is telling me the Dawgs might be sleeping on PLU a little. Might regret this one but I’m going to roll the dice.
West Region Games of The Week:
St. Olaf over Concordia-Moorhead (at St. Olaf): Two games in the MIAC have four teams sitting at 2-0. St. Olaf has had some pre-season hype with what they’re returning but Concordia-Moorhead is that program that seems to always chug along and produce solid teams. Should be a good one but I’ll take St. Olaf in the home win.
St. Thomas over St. John's (at St. John’s): Oh my. This is an annually huge game that sees crowds of over 12,000 plus fans pack to the rafters. The students, alumni, programs are not fond of each other…at all (warning: NSFW language). After years of owning St. Thomas the Tommies broke through and defeated SJU in 2010 in overtime to mark a changing of the guard as the MIAC’s top dog. That was reinforced by 2011’s epic stomping the Toms laid on SJU by a count of 63-7. SJU looks improved this season and UST is breaking in some new parts. The 2012 edition should be a fun contest but I’m looking for the over-talker and his Tommies to break SJU’s heart once again.
National Game of the Week:
Wesley over Mary Hardin-Baylor (at Wesley): Along with the Linfield at CLU game this is the other “national game of the week” You have the #3 team in the country hosting the #4 team in a rematch from last season’s South Regional Finals when Wesley defeated UMHB on the road. This should be a great game to witness and I’m torn on who to pick. I’m going with Wesley solely based on the fact that they’re hosting.