Thursday, September 11, 2014

2014 NWC Pick 'Em Contest: Week 2

Gotta Love Game Week!
What a disaster in Week 1.  Only 3 out of 7 correct game picks is a unmitigated failure on my part.  Good news is that I wasn’t the only one as many around the NWC pick ‘em page took it in the shorts.  For review, I was 1-3 in Northwest Conference games which is so bad for someone that’s been around the conference for so long.  Pacific losing to a 1st year NAIA school was terrible (509Rat actually picked that right), I wasn’t surprised about Fox losing and should have trusted my gut, and I’m sure the UPS person that visits this blog daily said “Go pound sand, Wildcat11!” after the Loggers overcame CMS 13-10.  A rough start but hope to bounce back in week 2.

Also, I have the pleasure of welcoming back guest picker (509)Rat to the fold.  (509)Rat is a former Whitworth athlete that loves himself some Whitworth hoops and has been in agony watching Tully Ball over the past handful of years.  I’ve never met (509) and have no idea what he even looks like.  I picture less handsome version of Uncle Eddie from Christmas Vacation.  Like Uncle Eddie I can see Rat rocking a dickie to a holiday party.  So (509)Rat’s picks and opinions are his alone but I usually find his picks insightful to amusing to laugh out loud funny.

Enough of that, let’s get to the picks!

Northwest Conference Games

#4 Linfield (0-0) over Chapman (at Chapman): (509)Rat says Linfield: dahlby is a great guy (Chapman poster on and I now have a soft spot for Chapman, but no sane individual could think Chapman has much of a chance in this one. Another game where the outcome would be different if on-the-field results didn't matter. But in this case Chapman would get the W for having a better looking campus and better looking co-eds. Linfield's O and D lines will be too much for the Panthers who are still, at best, the 2nd best team in the SCIAC (Wildcat11 Note: I picked Linfield yesterday (I always pick Linfield) so no need for me to rehash my thoughts today.)

#17 Pacific Lutheran (0-0) over Cal Lutheran (0-0) (at PLU): I think CLU is in a bit of a retooling phase after running the SCIAC from 2009-2012.  Last year was a disaster for CLU and there looks to be a youth movement in Thousand Oaks.  Unfortunately, they’re going to take some lumps before they get back to contender status and one of those lumps will come at the hands of a what I expect to be an explosive PLU football team.

(509)Rats says Pacific Lutheran: Last time I checked Cal Lu still plays in the SCIAC, and you should never pick the SCIAC in a matchup with the NWC. They also have exactly 1 returning offensive lineman from an offensive line that wasn't any good last year. The SoLutes brought in a bunch of transfers like they usually do, but I don't think the sudden influx of talent (something that was missing in their 4-5 campaign last year) will not be enough to beat a PLU program that is suddenly developed some consistency. I expect the PLU O to have their way with the Kngsmen and the DL and LB crew to look better than they really are against a shaky Cal Lu O-Line. Both coaches are goobers, but Scott is the lesser of two evils so...EMAL

Occidental (0-0) over Puget Sound (1-0) (at Oxy):   Man, break up the Loggers!  I know that CMS isn’t a good team but that had to feel good for UPS.  However, I expect those good feelings to get dashed down at Oxy this weekend as the Tigers return 17 out of 22 starters from a team that went 5-4 last year.  I’m curious to see if the solid defense the Loggers played in week 1 was just an blip or if they’ve made significant improvement on that sides of the ball.  Oxy’s offense will provide a much greater challenge.

(509)Rats says Occidental:
Ok, so maybe this one time you pick the SCIAC. Unfortunately for UPS they are down a QB and Occidental (though a shell of their former selves) are still much better than CMS. Apparently Oxy has a dynamic offense. Whatever. UPS is bad and that's all that really needs to be said in this one.
Whitworth (1-0) over Whittier (0-0) (at Whittier): Well, Whitworth had a good scrimmage last week against the former college football team, Lewis & Clark.  The degree of difficulty for the Rats doesn’t increase that much this week as Whittier is a dumpster fire.  The hardest decision the Whitworth coaching staff will face this weekend is to decide to either watch The Notebook or Love Actually on the team flight down to SoCal.

(509)Rat says Whitworth: Whitworth's offense is much improved. That's not saying much but it’s the first time I've been excited to see us have the ball since Joel Clark was behind center. Unfortunately we all have to wait another week to see just how improved the Whitworth O is. L&C would get beat by several of the top High School football teams in both Washington and Oregon, they are that bad. Whittier can't be worse but they are not good enough to put up much of a fight in this one. Coach Sandberg will be the first to tell you that Whitworth doesn't have the beef or the talent to compete at a national level yet, but there hasn't been as much buzz surrounding the program and there haven't been as many talented kids showing interest in a long time.

Willamette (0-0) over Trinity (Tx) (0-1) (at Willamette): This is one that could blow up in my face. To me it comes down to quarterback play for Willamette.  If they get productivity out of that spot the Bearcats will be a competent team.  My gut says they’re going to go with the Sophomore Zack Moore but multiple QB’s could see time until that job is settled.  That could give Trinity (a run first offense) the chance they need to get a road win.  However, I’ll give the Bearcats the benefit of the doubt for this week.

(509)Rats says Willamette:  Trinity gave up a lot of yards against Howard Payne, most of them through the air. I think Trinity has more than enough talent to keep this one close, but I expect the Tigers to experience a little deja vu in Salem. I expect Willamette to have a capable QB but that has to be the biggest question mark coming in to this one. As long as whoever starts doesn't completely crap down their leg, Willamette should outscore Trinity by a couple of touchdowns.
La Verne (0-0) over George Fox (0-1): La Verne is a bad football program but their 20 something seniors and number of returning starters will be the difference here.  Fox has some pieces but their offensive line is terrible and their defense let a fellow first year team that couldn’t run the ball run wild on them last weekend.  I’ll take the Leos

(509)Rat says La Verne: Dang it, SCIAC again. GF stinks. It's too bad they play the game and don't pick the winner based on how crisp the helmets and jerseys look. GF would be undefeated.
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (0-1) over Lewis & Clark (0-1) (at CMS): Man, I should have given Keith Welch some more respect because he was the only thing standing in-between the Pios “hanging in there” and what this season could be.  It’s gonna get ugly.

(509)Rat says CMS: After last week, I will not be picking L&C in any game, ever. CMS gets a feel good win at home. If this isn't their homecoming game the AD should be fired.

West Region Game of the Week

#7 Bethel (0-0) over #15 Wartburg (1-0) (at Wartburg): This should be a donnybrook of a football game.  I had a Saint John’s fan reach out to me before the season from his local YMCA and say “Calling it right now, Bethel will be the 2014 National Champions”  Pretty high praise from inside the MIAC.  The Royals did had a fantastic 2013 and brings back a lot of their talent into 2014.  But, I also really like Wartburg and think they’re undervalued at #15.  The Knights started off the year right by pasting Augsburg 40-3 and head home to play a national contender.  I’m gonna take Bethel but this could be a great football game.

(509)Rat says Bethel: I'm sticking with chalk in this one, mostly because a slim majority of the MIAC guys also picked Bethel. I know nothing about either team and this one could go either way.

National Game of the Week

Rhodes (1-0) over Washington U (0-1) (at Rhodes): Slim pickings for key match ups around the other regions so we’re left with this.  I’m going to take Rhodes on the fact they had a solid win to kick off the year and are hosting.  This one is pure dart tossing.

(509)Rat says Washington U: They have a fantastic medical school. They beat Whitworth in basketball once. Therefore I respect the Bears. That's all I got.

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