|Team. Excellence. Attitude. Class.|
In terms of the NWC pick ‘em contest (which at this point you REALLY don’t care about), both Wildcat11 and (509)Rat had a solid week 9 as the only miss was the Linfield game (everybody missed that one). That brings our yearly totals to 44 out of 58 (75.8%) and (509) is at 42 out of 58 (72.4%). There are some split feelings on some of the conference games and regional/national games. This is where the season gets REALLY interesting. Cue the music!
Northwest Conference Games of the Week:
#11 Linfield (6-1) over Puget Sound (3-4) (at UPS): (509)Rat says Linfield: The Wildcats can't possibly lose to UPS. Although, I'm pretty sure I typed those same words last week...
Pacific (5-2) over #25 Willamette (5-2) (at Pacific): Willamette is coming off a monumental win for their program and has to be feeling good and Pacific is coming off a terrible performance when they had to go to OT to overcome Lewis and Clark. With that said, Pacific can win a share of the NWC crown with a win over Willamette and I think that’s what’s going to happen this weekend. If this game was in Salem, I would take Willamette but I like Pacific to get over on a Willamette team that will have a big win hangover.
(509)Rat Says Willamette: This is a perfect letdown game for the Bearcats after a big win over Linfield, on Linfield's home field, ruining any shot Linfield had of hosting past the first round IMO...but I refuse to pick Pacific. I'm out of this thing anyways so I don't have to compromise my integrity like I'm sure wc11 will picking the Boxers.
PLU (5-2) over Whitworth (6-3) (at PLU): Again, I think the home field advantage is a big deal this weekend as the Lutes host the Rats. I think this will be an exciting football game with lots of wild swings of momentum and offense but PLU’s offensive diversity is going to carve up the Rats in the end for the win.
(509)Rat says Whitworth: PLU will probably win this game but remember when we were all certain Linfield would beat Willamette last week? PLU's defense has been pretty bad this year and that will be enough to keep Whitworth in this game. Expect the Lutes offense to continue their post-Linfield resurgence against an undermanned Pirate D. Again, I can stick with my allegiances this week and sleep well at night being so far down the leaderboard in this pick'em.
Lewis and Clark (0-8) over George Fox (0-7) (at GFU): Everybody has this game penciled in as Fox’s first and only win of the 2014 season. I’ve been on board with that for the great majority of the year and still think that Fox has a great chance in knocking off L&C but the Bruin offense has been tragically bad in conference play (only 5.4 PPG). The Bruin defense has been a solid first year unit but I think L&C has a good enough scheme and will find enough points for the upset win over GFU. And to think there were some people that thought Fox would have a winning season in year one? It’s not that easy…
(509)Rat Says George Fox: These are two teams who also lost to Willamette, so they have something in common with Linfield. You could not pay me to sit outside in northwestern Oregon and watch this game. Bruins get their first win in basically forever against what is nothing more than an above average Oregon high school team.
West Region Games of the Week
#10 Bethel (7-1) over #18 St. John’s (7-1) (at SJU): All of the craziness in the MIAC season has boiled down to this game. Bethel is currently undefeated in MIAC play and SJU only has one loss. If the Johnnies win, SJU gets a piece of the MIAC title and the auto-bid (each team has games next week against the bottom feeders of the MIAC) and if Bethel wins, the Royals lock up back-to-back MIAC titles (that would be impressive). For the betterment of Division III football, the Johnnies are climbing back to a national relevant program but I still think they are a year away from making the big leap back. This is Bethel’s time to shine and think they’ll polish off the Johnnies in the Natural Bowl.
(509)Rats Says SJU: Willamette jokes aside, this game should be fantastic. Bethel's secondary is supposedly their strong point, however the only "test" those guys are going to get is seeing how well they tackle Sam Sura. St. John's will win if they can establish the run early and often. Collegeville will be rocking and the St. John's defense will feed off one of the more impressive home crowds/atmospheres in d3 football.
#21 Chapman (6-1) over Redlands (5-2) (at Redlands): First off, go to the Chapman Athletic website and check out their Student-Athlete of the Week. Seriously, a water polo bro named “Chase Middlesworth” in front of palm trees with the tough guy arms crossed pose is too much. He might as well be wearing a Cobra Kai Gi and yelling at Johnny: “It’s OVER Johnny. Get ‘em a Body Bag…YEAAAAHHHH!!” About the game, all of the SCIAC marbles comes down to the clearly best two D3 teams in SoCal. I like Redlands’ physicality but I think this is Chapman’s year to breakthrough and rep the SCIAC in the 1st round eventual loss.
(509)Rat Says Chapman: This is the first time Chapman has ever been able to say that they are legitimately more talented than Redlands. They better not let dahlby down. Chapman has a very well rounded team this year. That QB is a tough kid, very good athlete, who doesn't seem prone to turnovers. The defense has played well early in games which will be key against a Redlands team whose offense has come alive as of late. It's so tough though judging these teams against most of the rest of the SCIAC, because of how bad most of those teams are. This is Chapman's year if for no other reason than to piss off Oxybob!
National Games of the Week:
#7 Hobart (8-0) over St. Lawrence (7-1) (at Hobart): Both Hobart and St. Lawrence haven’t been lightening up the scoreboard this season as both teams are built on defense. I think Hobart’s defense is better and will help the Statesmen to knock off the Saints.
(509)Rat Says Hobart: Not sure what state Hobart is in, but I feel like I've seen them on the d3football home page doing some good things this year. Maybe not. Either way, its late and I have an overpriced band aid to charge somebody for.
#9 Wabash (8-0) over #14 Wittenberg (7-1) (at Witt): Both Wabash and Wittenberg have been pounding NCAC teams this season and both of these squads want to avoid being moved into the Pool C (I don’t blame ya). Wabash seems to have a little more offensive pop that the Tigers and both feature tough defenses. I think the Little Giants continue their march to the Post Season uninterrupted.
(509)Rat Says Wabash: I trained at the same hospital as a guy from Wabash. He even had a pair of those red and white striped overalls they ripped off from Wisconsin. I don't know if that's true...if you can't tell I've given up on this whole pick'em thing and am only here for entertainment purposes (mostly my own)