Thursday, September 18, 2014

2014 NWC Pick 'em Contest: Week 3

The Linfield Offensive Line looks to have a big weekend at Redlands.
After stinking it up in week 1, Wildcat11 had a bounce back week 2 in nailing 8 out of 9 games to bring my overall total to 11 out of 16 (69.75%).  That’s still terrible but it’s enough to put me in a current 2nd place tie with about 85 other people on the NWC pick ‘em page.  (509)Rat is also 11 out of 16 on the year but I have him on a bonus game pick so I’m slightly ahead on the point total (15 points to 14 points).

In week 2 around the NWC, Willamette had a strong start last week, Whitworth showed some cracks but a victory otherwise at Whittier, L&C lost to CMS but at least it wasn’t by 50 points (it’s about the small victories), UPS lost but looks to be a more competitive club in 2014, and Fox let La Verne put up 590 yards of offense on the board.  That’s a major yikes.  A good slate of games await us in week 3 as a number of NWC teams have challenging long road games to contend with before Northwest Conference plays opens up in two weeks.  Let’s get to the action!

Northwest Conference Games of the Week

#7 Linfield (1-0) over Redlands (0-1) (at Redlands). (509)Rat says Linfield:  Redlands will think that their offense has improved after moving the ball and probably scoring a few points this weekend. No offense to Linfield, but anyone will look better when they aren't playing against that UMHB defense. This game will only be close if the Wildcats get the same QB play they got last week. I don't think that happens, so Linfield by 17.

Whittier (0-1) over Lewis and Clark (0-2) (at Whittier): The drive for un-perfection marches on for the Pios as Whittier will write off Lewis and Clark.  (See what I did there?  “Write off”.  The Whittier Poets…..*sigh*…forget it).

(509)Rat says Whittier:  Rivera (Whittier QB) is a good athlete who doesn't throw the ball real well. He will be more than enough to beat a Lewis and Clark team who gives up around 6 yards per play. Whittier actually has some talent; they just don't execute and kill themselves with mistakes/penalties. Normally that's the kind of team I pick against, but this week I'm going to make an exception.

Willamette (1-0) over Cal Lutheran (0-1) (at CLU): I’m 100% going to regret taking Willamette to steal one on the road at the Cal Lu’s home soccer field that sometime acts as a football facility.   The Bearcats had another good start to their season in turning over Trinity to victory while CLU put up a darn good fight up at PLU.  I want to take CLU but their defense has been so bad over the past year that I can’t take them in a game against a quality opponent.  Willamette starts another year hot until they eventually run into PLU and Linfield.

(509)Rat says Willamette:   I'm not super confident in the Bearcats, they won't be able to turn the ball over 4 times and beat the solutes. Willamette beat Trinity because they were more talented, but Cal Lu will easily match them in that department. The Bearcats defense will win them this game after forcing 5 turnovers and holding Trinity to 247 total yards. Cal Lu will probably again split time between 2 QB's, which is dumb. Besides Tully-ball, there isn't anything that drives me crazier than teams who platoon QB's. Inconsistent play at the QB position will give Cal Lu their 2nd loss of the season.

Whitworth (2-0) over La Verne (1-0) (at Whitworth):  La Verne is not a very good football team.  Not much else to say beyond that as the Pirates wrap up their killer tough non-conference schedule by going 3-0.  Seriously, SEC teams would shutter at the prospect of having to play Lewis & Clark, Whittier, and La Verne to start a football season.

(509)Rats says Whitworth: La Verne gave up a ton of yards and points to George Fox. They should be able to put up some points on the Pirates but it won't be enough. I expect Kolste to improve on his 50% completion rate this week. He has to since La Verne will be the best offense the Pirates see this year, and will likely put up points against an "ok" Whitworth defense. No way the Leopards beat the Pirates for the second time in as many years. Remember, you (almost) always go with the NWC.

Dubuque (0-2) over Pacific (0-1) (at Debuque): This was a tough one that I lingered on.  Pacific had a bye week to get some issues worked on and the fact that College of Idaho won last week as well had to take a little sting out of losing to a 1st year program.   However, Dubuque may not be a ball of fire but they’re capable of playing some good football.  I’m expecting this to be a close one and could go either way but I’m taking the home team.

(509)Rat says Debuque: I've never understood all the Pacific love on d3boards. They lost a lot guys from a team that took advantage of a weak (outside of Linfield and PLU) NWC. Dubuque almost knocked off UW-Plateville last week and that's enough for me to take them over a Pacific team that has to travel 2 times zones. Of course, now that I'm picking Dubuque, they'll play more like they did against UW-LaCrosse in week 1 and Pacific will come back with a W.

West Region Game of the Week:

St. Johns (2-0) over Concordia-Moorhead (2-0) (at SJU):  This should be highly entertaining football as it looks like SJU has found their mojo once again in the form a legitimate rushing attack and solid defensive play.  The Cobbers are no slouch themselves as Concordia-Moorhead has outscored their 1st two opponents 70-22 to start the season.  Division 3 football is 100x more fun when SJU is relavent so I’m taking the Johnnies mainly out of hope that the Johnnies are back.

(509)Rat Says SJU: There might not be a single pass this game. Sam Sura is averaging 7.5 yards per carry...on 60 attempts. That's insane. St. Johns is at home and Collegeville will be rockin. One of my good buddies played football at St. John's so I'm a closet Johnny fan anyways.

National Game of the Week:

#5 North Central (1-0) over #7 UW-Platteville (2-0) (at NCC):  This is a rematch from last year’s 2nd round playoff game when North Central SLAPPED Platteville 52-24.  I know that Platteville has been strong in the WIAC for the past couple of seasons but they come off to me like a paper tiger.  I just think they are clearly a cut below the next grouping of the Division 3 “elite” and that gets played out this Saturday. NCC in a boat race.

(509)Rat says North Central:  North Central is a legit program. I think Plateville gets a little too much love simply because they are the second best team in the WIAC. I don't think this one will be close. North Central cruises at home.

Bonus Game of the Week:

#10 John Carroll (1-0) over # 16 Heidelberg (1-0) (at JCU): The battle of the who gets to be the runner’s up in the OAC game.  John Carroll is known for their defense (unless they’re playing Mount Union or anybody in the playoffs) and Heidelberg is hyped due to their dynamic running back Cartel Brooks (he’s good).  JCU finally was able to get out from under Heidelberg’s thumb in 2013 and I see that continuing on Saturday.

(509)Rats says Heidelberg:  The "Student Princes" is a stupid mascot, but so is a "Lutheran" and PLU has a pretty good team. John Carroll took it to Hberg last year, in a game where the final score was not indicative of how talented Hberg was. The Student Princes think they are a better team this year and they took a step towards proving it by absolutely crushing Alma in week 1. John Carroll lost some key contributors on both sides of the ball but they have Don Shula's grandkid running the Defense...that has to make up for something. I will probably be wrong but I need to pick up a game on WC11 somehow.

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