|Oh man...you can smell football in the air!|
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…..Yes, yes it is. Football is back and you would have a hard time slapping the smile off my face. For those that are new to my humble little blog, every week of the season (traditionally on Thursday) we run Wildcat11's weekly Northwest Conference game picks with Regional and National Games mixed in as well. This is actually part of a popular segment on the D3football.com’s posting board community as a number of fans organize pick ‘em contests for in their respective conferences. This is the 7th year the NWC has had a pick ‘em contest and it is open to ANYBODY that wants to take part.
Here is the link to the NWC pick ‘em page and all you have to do is register to become a board member and get your picks in each week. Simple.
I am a former champion of the pick ‘em page (2010) but my title reign dissolved faster than Lewis & Clark's pass protection. The past two seasons has seen Wildcat11 in the middle of the pack at best and I lay full blame at the feet of UPS football for giving me hope of numerous victories to only get let down time and again from Logger Nation. Oh, and your nicely produced football video isn’t gonna fool me this year either!
The past two years former Whitworth football player “(509)Rat” has joined me as well and has an open invite for 2014. I think I need to send (509)Rat some money because I haven’t been able to reach him as of late. I think his mom finally cut off his basement internet rights.
Week 1 features some sure fire locks but some toss up games are sprinkled throughout that should have pickers divided. Let’s get to the action!
Northwest Conference Games
Whitworth over Lewis & Clark (at Whitworth): The new look Rats, and by new look I mean head coach, coaching staff, offense, defense, and uniforms. The Rats will be hosting the Lewis & Clark Pioneers in a the RARE season/conference opener for both teams. I think L&C is headed for a zero win season and Whitworth will get a confidence clinic out of the gates at Whitworth. BTW, good luck to any coaching staff getting the Rats home game film this year. I’m sure it will be easy to identify players by their numbers.
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps over UPS (at UPS): Yeah, I know that I just said that UPS wouldn’t fool me again but I wanted to pick the Loggers in this one so badly. CMS is a middle of the road SCIAC team (that means they stink) but UPS does return a lot of their roster (a roster that only won 1 game last year…but) and Puget Sound gets the advantage of hosting CMS in The Morgue (I call it that because the atmosphere at UPS is dead). Oh man…I just have to say I’m going with CMS before I change my mind and switch to UPS and have that faith in the Loggers ultimately get let down yet again.
Pacific over College of Idaho (at Pacific): Easy pick. First game ever for College of Idaho (NAIA) and it’s on the road against a solid Pacific program. It should be a blood bath and give the Boxers a chance to break in their new QB in what should be a glorified scrimmage.
George Fox over Arizona Christian (at Fox): I thought about this one for a few minutes before settling on Fox. Both of these schools are entering their 1st year playing football since whenever it was. I don’t know if Fox will have a QB that can throw the ball consistently 20 yards down the field but they should have some talented RB’s and other skilled players. What gave me pause is that this will be Arizona Christian’s 3rd game of the season already while this will be Fox’s first. ACU is 0-2 and have been terrible on offense but looks to have some size and athletic ability. However, the travel for them is going to be brutal for a 1st year team. I see Fox getting past some jitters to eventually control and win their 1st game back as a program. The Bruins will then celebrate that night with a Sadie Hawkins dance in the quad. WHEEEEEE!!!!!
West Region Game of the Week:
St. Scholastica over Ripon (at St. Scholastica). I’ve been following Division III football since 1998 and I couldn’t tell you jack about either school besides the fact that St. Scholastica is one of those teams that wins their terrible conference each year and then gets throttled by the Bethel’s of the world in what is essentially a 1st round playoff bye. Ticks me off each year to see Linfield having to get in death matches with PLU and CLU in the 1st round while these guys are fodder for some MIAC school. Go pound sand, St. Scholastica!!!! Oh, I think they’ll beat Ripon.
National Game of the Week:
No. 16 Wabash over No. 20 Hampden-Sydney (at Wabash): Dubbed “The Gentlemen’s Classic” or the "Toilet Seat is Always Up" game matches the two all-male school (that’s really still a thing?) and what is promising to be a massively entertaining game. Both teams showcase high powered offenses as Wabash posted 46 points per game while only allowing 11.3 per game. However that wasn’t good enough as the Little Giants were a 2013 playoff snub after compiling a 9-1 record. Hampden-Sydney have high hopes for 2014 as they return a potent QB/WR combo and Linfield knows the Tigers are a talented squad from last season’s playoff game. I just hope that Hampden-Sydney worked on their punt coverage this off season. LOOK OUT! I like Wabash to take a close and hard fought game.
No. 25 Franklin over Illinois Wesleyan (IWU): A lot of people are split over this one and it could go either way easily. Both of these squads were 2013 playoff participants as Franklin is the favorite to win the HCAC while IWU is chasing North Central in the highly regarded CCIW. I’m expecting a lot offense and for the Griz to pull out a hard fought road victory.