Thursday, September 20, 2012

NWC Pick 'Em Contest: Week 4

'Cats on the Bye Week.  Time to relax.

Another not bad week for Wildcat11 but still not good enough to get in the top 1/3 of the NWC pick ‘em page. I was 6 out of 8 on the weekend and nailed the PLU over Redlands game but where I tripped up was in the West Region and National Game of the Week. DAMN YOU MARY HARDIN-BAYLOR AND YOUR HYPHEN! I’m currently 18 out of 23 on the year (78.3%) which is just ok but not Pick ‘Em Champ material. Still plenty of time but I’ll need to have a string of great weeks to get out of the middle of the pack.

What we’ve learned so far in 2012 is that the NWC is on a big upswing as a conference. I think we have four high quality teams (Linfield, Willamette, PLU, Whitworth), an ok team (L&C), a team slowly building in the right direction (Pacific), and one team way behind (UPS). Currently the NWC sits 12-4 in their non NWC action and 7-2 against the SCIAC. That is HUGE improvement from the past few seasons. Linfield is the favorite (rightfully so) but it’s going to be a battle to win this 2012 conference title. The conference season should be exciting.

Northwest Conference games

Whittier over Puget Sound (at Puget Sound): This should be an offensive explosion between two not very good teams. I’ll take Whittier’s offense to send UPS to 0-3 and headed in the direction of another 0’fer season. UPS might have to change their recruiting strategy from nationally to intergalactic at this rate. I hear the Loggers have five prospects from Mars filling out applications.

Lewis and Clark over Macalaster (at L&C): This might be a tight game between two undefeated teams. L&C’s offense hasn’t had the same pop this season as last year but their defense has been holding down some suspect teams at a reasonable level. The fighting Scots are flying half way across the country and I think L&C will have a little too much. The Pios are saying “they can beat anyone”. I say L&C starts the season 4-0 but will wind up 4-5 when it’s all said and done.

Whitworth over Chapman (at Whitworth): The Rats finally get to come home and play after finishing their “2012 Soft as Charmin” tour to kick off the season. The Rats wrapped up their 3-week roadie in beating St. Scholastic, Whittier, and La Verne. I feel I’ve learned much more about PLU in their first two games (PLU is looking dangerous) than I know about a 3-0 Whitworth at this point. Rats take care of Chapman on the back of Ronnie Thomas as we won’t know anything about Whitworth until Oct 6th.

Willamette over Pacific (at Willamette): In a strange twist this is actually a Non-Conference NWC game. Both Pacific and Willamette wanted that 10th game but instead of tracking down an opponent outside of the NWC they decided to save a few bucks and just stay within Northwest Oregon. These two will play a 2nd time later this season in a NWC game up at Pacific in early November. Pacific is 1-1 after securing a nice road win at Occidental but it turns out that Occidental is a dumpster fire this season. Menlo tacked up 56 1st half points before shutting it down in a 56-6 win. Yikes. I think after two games Willamette has proven that the NWC pre-season poll was terribly incorrect when they slotted the Bearcats 5th. Willamette has played damn good football out of the games and is looking like a NWC title contender along with Linfield, PLU, and Whitworth. The Bearcats will continue that early season roll this weekend.

West Region Game of the Week:

Carroll over St. Norbert (at St. Norbert): Look out. You know that it’s thin picking in the West Region when we have to stoop down into the lowly MWC to find a game. This conference almost as bad as the SCIAC *rimshot*. Only kidding my SoCal readers. Gosh, I really don’t know here. St. Norbert already let me down once during week 1 and fool me once…shame on..shame on you. Fool me…can’t get fooled again. I’ll go with Carroll.

National Game of the Week:

#22 Hampden-Sydney over Huntingdon (at H-S): I know close to nothing about these two teams in the South Region. All I know is that Hampden-Sydney is ranked and Huntingdon has a loss on the year. I don’t feel like doing any research here so I’m going to go with the old “They’re ranked and at home? The other team isn’t ranked? I’ll take the ranked home team.” 60 percent of the time, it works every time. #2 Mary Hardin-Baylor over Trinity (TX) (at Trinity): If the Cru went up to Wesley and won then I have no single reason to think that the Trinity Tigers are going to be able to stop UMHB from rolling along. Go with the Cru.

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