Friday, November 8, 2013

NWC Pick 'Em Contest: Week 10

Man, how can you not love this place?

I can’t believe another regular season is almost at its end.  It’s been a fun year on the pick ‘em board as the competition has been tight near the top but it looks like (509)Rat and I are going to have to settle for coming up a little short this year as there is a 1st place tie between Dahlby and desertcat1 while (509)Rat and I are tied for 3rd and sit four games back.  We won’t catch those two but (509) and I should break away from each other as we disagree on four of this week’s games.

We both currently sit 42 out of 51 games on the year (82.3%).  Again, it’s a big week around the nation as we have a number of games with not only conference titles on the line but possible Pool B/Pool C implication.  Close to home the game down in Salem between Pacific and Willamette has a ton riding on it in terms of NWC impact.  If the Boxers win (I think they will, 509 does not) they set up a NWC title game with Linfield in the final week of the regular season.  A Pacific loss to Willamette will end the Boxers' NWC title and playoff hopes while allowing Linfield to clinch with Pool A bid since the ‘Cats have the head-to-head victory over PLU.  It should be a great week of action!

Northwest Conference Games of the Week:

#2 Linfield (7-0) over Puget Sound (1-6) (at Linfield): (509)Rat says: It’s too bad Vegas doesn't do d3 games. This one would set a record for largest point spread. Linfield -80

#15 Pacific Lutheran (7-1) over Whitworth (3-5) (at Whitworth):  This comes down to PLU being the better football team with more talent.  I don’t think Whitworth will be able to get off in the run and that should doom the Rats from upending the Lutes.

(509)Rat says Pacific Lutheran:  PLU has had their mojo back ever since they beat the Bearcats a couple weeks ago. An offensive line that got beat by UPS will not fare well against the Lutes. Last year PLU won 35-14...I don't expect it to be any closer this year

Pacific (7-1) over Willamette (5-2) (at Willamette):  Most of the action on the pick em board is favoring Pacific and I agree with the majority.  The Bearcats do have some fine skill players that are explosive and can make plays in all three phases of the game but their biggest weakness plays right into the heart of Pacific’s game…interior line play.  Willamette’s offense has been sputtering due to the timing aspect of their offense getting thrown off by the disruption caused of PLU and then Linfield’s defensive lines.  That won’t change this week as Pacific has a good defensive front.  Pacific scores their first “signature” NWC win this weekend.

(509)Rat says Willamette: Pacific has a much improved defense, I'll give them that. But Pacific beat what turned out to be a bad Whitworth team and almost won against a beat up (emotionally and physically, but mostly emotionally) post-Linfield, PLU team. The only argument you can make is that Willamette will resemble that PLU team. I just think the offense and special teams are too explosive for any major letdown from the Bearkitties.

West Region Games of the Week:

#21 Concordia-Moorhead (7-1) over #18 St. Thomas (at UST): This should be a tightly contest game between a team playing for its Pool C life (Concordia) and a team that’s playing out the string (UST).  I don’t think people feel Concordia will win this game due to Bethel waxing Concordia 45-22 and UST dropped their game to Bethel by a 28-21 margin.  I’m in the camp of UST not having enough offense to win.  Concordia moves into serious Pool C contention this weekend.

(509)Rat says St. Thomas: This isn't 2012 St. Thomas, but it's been shocking how far they've fallen. I really haven't been impressed with the Tommies. Mostly since they keep ruining my pick 'em totals. I just can't find it in me to pick against them. I take some comfort in the fact that they played Bethel so close and I write the St. Johns game off as a weird rivalry game result. Here's to St. Thomas finally coming through for me [cracks open Hamms]

Greenville (9-0) over St. Scholastica (8-1) (at Greenville):  We have to pick this game?  Being the champion of the UMAC is like being the best high school hockey player in state of New Mexico.  All I know is that Whitworth punked out St. Scholastica and that’s not a good thing.  Greenville?  They’ve stolen, excuse me, are modeling PLU’s EMAL gimmick into theirown EMAP image. (Every Man A Panther).   I’ll take Lutes light for the win.

(509)Rat syas St. Scholastica: Would you believe me if I told you there was an undefeated team with a worse defense than St. Scholastica? Well there is, and it’s Greenville. I guess Greenville has a good QB, but who knows what that means in a league where UPS would compete.

National Games of the Week:

#13 Wabash (8-0) over #16 Wittenberg (7-1) (at Wabash):  A monster North Region game in the NCAC as Wabash and Wittenberg have both been equally impressive in conference play as Wabash is only giving up 7.125 points per game while scoring 51 per contest.  Wittenberg isn’t too shabby either as their only loss is against I-AA Butler but since then has gone on to average 50 points per game while only giving up 13 per game.  This is a toss-up but I’m going to take the team with what looks like is the stronger defense playing at home.

(509)Rat says Wabash:  Two good teams who have beat up on the rest of the conference. I have no idea who's going to win so I'm sticking with the home team

#14 John Carroll over #10 Heidelberg (7-1) (at JCU): This is for second place in the OAC and for a Pool C playoff bid.  I’m torn because Heidelberg gave Mount Union a good run for their money (30-27 in the 3rd) before the Machine was able to pull away early in 4th quarter.  Heidelberg’s offense has been great this season but John Carroll has the number 1 defense in the country at this point as they only allow 3.25 pointers per game.  Yeah, that’s not a typo.  JCU has shutout 4 teams and nobody has hit triple digits against their defense yet.  That’s enough to get me to go with the Blue Streaks (terrible nickname, BTW).

(509)Rat says Heidelberg:  They stuck with Mt Union for 4 quarters. If you can score on MUC, you can score on anybody. Cartel Brooks took the whole first half to get going last week, but eventually started picking up yards in chunks. John Carroll hasn't been tested yet this season and I think you'll see them panic a little when this one is close at the end. Another possible letdown game for Heidelberg, after coming up short against MUC. But with a playoff spot essentially on the line, I expect them to be extra-focused and fired up for this one. Heidelberg can and will score against a stingy John Carroll defense and it'll be enough.

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