Thursday, September 6, 2012

2012 NWC Pick 'Em: Week 2

First week is in the books and Wildcat11 just had a so-so week in picking 5 out of 7 games right. I missed big on St. Norbert vs John Carroll as J.C. pounded the Green Knights and I missed (along with almost everyone) Willamette putting up a huge offensive performance in beating Hardin-Simmons. It’s just one game but Willamette made a rather big statement that their offensive attack is going to be much different than the past almost two decades. Props to the Bearcats for winning down in Abilene which is no easy task.

While last week looked like some good picking, this week is looking to be a tough slew of games. Unlike Division I which has now turned into most of the major programs paying for wins by lining up cream puff former I-AA’s to take a payout for a beating. Division III actually has a number of high profile games early in the season because teams know strength of schedule matters along with the auto qualifier. If you miss the A-Q and go into Pool C you better have a resume to sell.

On to the picks!

Northwest Conference:

#11 Cal Lutheran over Pacific Lutheran (at PLU): A now annual battle of the Lutherans will take place up at Puyallup as the ‘Lutes are turning back the clock on their helmets and looking to restore their program back to the success of that era. However, waiting for them is a CLU that is bigger, deeper, and tougher than ever before (they do that every year). All joking aside, CLU is going to be the better team that should handle PLU.  The Kingsmen did drop a game to PLU back in 2010 as a heavy favorite and I might pay more attention to that but that's when PLU had a seasoned QB running the show. History won’t repeat itself this weekend.

Whitworth over Whittier (at Whittier): I have to be honest and I was surprised that the Rats only posted at 28-13 win over a blah St. Scholastica team. Thought the margin would have been much greater. Folks down in Whittier are talking big about making waves this year but that seems to be the only thing Whittier does well and that’s talk. Rats give the Poets a steady diet of Ronnie Thomas and lock up another “just ok” win.

Lewis & Clark over Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (at CMS): Lewis & Clark and CMS have traded home games with each team winning decisively on their home turf the past two years. The NWC picking board is split over this game but I’m going to give the edge to L&C. I think the Pios have a laundry list of questions to answer. I know it’s their QB’s show but he’s missing some big weapons on both sides of the ball. Now that I typed that I feel like I should go with CMS…nah. Let’s go with the Pios to start the year 1-0.

Occidental over Pacific (at Oxy): Man, I was following last week’s beating 51-14 Simon Frasier put on Pacific via twitter and I could just feel the air being let out of the Boxer balloon by the minute. No shame in losing to an improved DII team, but I think those around Boxer nation were putting too much stock into their close call with the Clan in 2010. Folks in Forest Grove were thinking last Thursday was a win waiting to happen. Ouch. Pacific may not lose by that big of a margin this weekend but Oxy should be prepared. I’ll take the Tigers.

Chapman over Puget Sound (at Chapman): I’d be shocked if UPS beat Champman. Not saying Champman is a SCIAC title contender but they’re a decent program. UPS may need to open up the recruiting globally instead of nationally at this rate.

West Region Game of the Week:

#14 North Central over #13 Redlands (at North Central): This is a big game for both programs. Last season, the Bulldogs built their entire season off of upsetting North Central in the 2011 season opener and rode that wave to an NCAA playoff berth. North Central went bonkers after losing to the ‘Dawgs and won 10 in a row before falling in the 2nd round of the 2011 playoffs. It looked like the rematch this year would be just as big of a game but some speed came off the fast ball when the Cardinal fell apart last week in getting upset 21-17 by the hand's of UW-Lacrosse. That screams to me that Redlands has a chance this weekend but I think N.C. will rebound over Redlands.

National Game of the Week:

Wesley over Salisbury (at Salisbury): This is the Division III national game of the week. Wesley had to work hard to put East Texas Baptist away last week (34-14) while Salisbury put Christopher-Newport to bed late by a count of 40-16. Salisbury has been close to breaking out on the national stage but keeps falling to Wesley year after year. This might be the Gulls game but I think Wesley will retain that number 3 ranking in edging out Salisbury.

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