Northwest Conference Games:
#3 Linfield (1-0) over #22 Cal Lutheran (0-1) (at Linfield): (509)Rat says Linfield: Linfield is a lot better than the cat posters on here would like you to believe. The defense was nasty against HSU and the passing game hasn't lost a beat. I wasn't real impressed with their running game the first few series, but Yoder converted pretty much every 3rd down so it didn't matter (and it turns out they'd get it going). Cal lu is talented again and my money would be on them repeating as SCIAC champs, but that doesn't mean much. They couldn't beat the 2nd best NWC team, I don't see them beating the 1st.
#11 Pacific Lutheran (1-0) over Redlands (0-1) (at PLU..well at Puyallup): I love making fun of Redlands for ducking Linfield over the years but I have to tip my cap to them with the way they’ve scheduled their non-conference over the past few years. North Central, Mary-Hardin Baylor, PLU. Those are heavy hitters so props to Whitworth submarin'er Maynard for picking up those games. Regardless, Redlands is a notch below CLU and PLU should handle their business up at Sparks.
(509)Rat Says PLU: Redlands did ok against UMHB, I guess. I still don't think they are as good as the solutes...who already lost to the nolutes. PLU racked up 234 rushing yards on CLU and should be able to get a buncha yards this weekend against a defense that's giving up 6.2 ypc
Whitworth (2-0) over La Verne (0-0) (at Whitworth): La Verne is a program that has some mojo going on in the SCIAC. They’ve made some very good improvements to their roster and facilities and seem to have a path laid out to being a respectable program. However with this is their 1st game and Whitworth will continue to pad their non-conference record with a Tully-ball style win.
(509)Rat Says Whitworth: La Verne is another bad SCIAC team. Next.
Whittier (0-1) over Puget Sound (0-1) (at Whittier): UPS lost last week to Chapman 57-14 in their new bar code uniforms (I think they're going for tree bark?) and the quote from the UPS head coach is “We are way better than last year”. I’ll take the Poets to beat the improved Loggers.
(509)Rat Says Whitter: UPS is bad. Whittier isn't very good either. I just hope Whittier doesn't have one of those video feed setups that's going to ask people to PAY to watch this game...
Pacific (2-0) over Menlo (1-2) (at Menlo): Menlo is on their 3rd head coach and 3rd offensive system in 3 years. They’re terrible. The Oaks only put up 7 points in their 1st two games (losses) and could only scratch out 4 offensive TD’s and 350 yards of offense vs the juggernaut known as Pomona-Pitzer. Again, terrible. Pacific’s defense should limit Menlo and find plenty of offense to move to 3-0 and setting up a huge road game in two weeks at Whitworth.
(509)Rat Says Pacific: Pacific has proved that they can move the football, tighten up on D when they need to, and win on the road...Menlo won't do them any favors. The grass hasn't been cut in 7 years and they will try and kill your coaching staff via cherry picker. Unless all of that has changed...probably hasn't. Another road win for the Boxers.
#9 UW-Platteville (2-0) over Lewis & Clark (0-2) (at L&C): For real? I swear to you that when I saw this on the pick ‘em page that I went on L&C’s website to just make sure this wasn’t a typo. Shouldn’t this say “Crown vs L&C” or “Smart College of the Midwest vs L&C”. UW-Platteville? Good luck with that.
(509)Rat Says Platteville: Platteville comes from the WIAC which is the top to bottom, deepest league in the country. Plus they are one of the best teams in said league. LC is young and small and not good at defense. Monkey stomp.
West Regional Game of The Week:
#2 St. Thomas (2-0) over St. John's (2-0) (at U$T): Linfield fans and SJU fans have had some big battles in the past and it doesn’t help that SJU is 3-0 lifetime on Linfield. But Division III football is better off (and more fun) when the Johnnies are a national contender but the problem is they haven’t been for a number of years now and that’s coincided with the rise of St. Thomas. UST has handled the Johnnies the past few years and I don’t see that changing this year. I think this is the best rivalry in D3 football but UST’s head coach has the Tommies firing on all cylinders like the many used cars that I’m sure he sold during his life.
(509)Rat Says St. Thomas: This game has the potential to return to 2010 form, won by last second heroics after a back and forth game. St. Thomas is too good to let that happen. St John's has 2 wins against 2 WIAC opponents this season. I at least think the Johnnies put up more of a fight this year.
National Games of The Week:
#4 Mary Hardin-Baylor (2-0) over #5 Wesley (2-0) (at UMHB): The “game of the week” in Division III squares the Cru vs Wesley as UMHB finally gets to open up their mega Division III stadium. The place is a palace and should be packed to the gills. On the field, Wesley has had to have some luck to be 2-0 at this point and I think the ‘Cru will open up the new crib in style.
(509)Rat Says UMHB: I almost picked Wesley. The UMHB passing game (that really remains to be seen) made me hesitate as Wesley will not allow the almost 5.5 yards per carry the Cru is getting. I still think UMHB will have to throw the ball a few more times this game, but the defense is too good to pick against. They give up less than 40 rushing yards a game and have 5 ints on. The extra motivation of winning the opening game of the new digs doesn't hurt either. Cru at home.
#15 UW-Whitewater (1-0) over #35 Buffalo State (2-0) (at Buffalo State): In 2012, Buffalo State landed the upset of the season when they knocked off Whitewater. It was big news and set the tone for another down year for a Whitewater offense that lacked any punch. I think this will be a tight one as Buffalo State’s offense has some fire but whose defense has been lacking. I think this is should be a fun game but I have a hard time seeing Buffalo State get Whitewater in consecutive years.
(509)Rat Says Whitewater: Last year was a fluke. I got nothing else.