|Gonna need all four quarters this Saturday!|
It’s the end of the road for another year of the pick ‘em posts. First, it was another fun ride to talk games with you all. There are a small segment of our readers that have mentioned they enjoy this post the most during week. I think that’s because of (509)Rat’s ability to tick off everyone in the NWC, Linfield fans included. We’ll be back next year, at least I hope so. I’d like to thank (509) for pitching in each week and being a non-Linfield voice on the blog. He’s probably the only Whitworth guy that I’ve ever met that I liked and that’s probably because I’ve never actually have met him face-to-face. For all I know he could be Manti Te'o’s girlfriend this whole time. However, I know he must really be a true Whitworth fan due to his passionate dislike in the past for Tully Ball. All kidding aside, (509)Rat is a bright guy and knows this conference inside and out. I’ve enjoy the heck out of having him take part of this. Thanks Rat!
Onto the non Linfield/Pacific action this week. Lewis & Clark and Whitworth are done for the season a week early. L&C started the offseason with a bang as Chris Sulages resigned yesterday as the Pio’s head coach. I can’t really blame him. He brought that program back from almost folding in 2005 to a banner season in 2011 (7-2, 2nd place in the NWC). However, the non-existent support for football at Lewis & Clark caught up to his program and there is no light at the end of that tunnel for whoever takes that job next. Whitworth got off to a solid start for the Sandberg era in going 6-4. I’m not looking forward to seeing what he does with Whitworth moving forward as the Rats are going to be a motherbear to deal with. We get to see how UPS responds after getting smacked by Linfield against a Willamette teams that has dealt with some big highs and lows this conference season. Fox will visit PLU and to me that’s the biggest NWC question mark headed into this upcoming offseason. Where does PLU go from here after losing so much of their firepower and talent this offseason?
As for our year to date totals? Who cares? We stunk it up this year so take what we have to say below with a grain of salt.
Northwest Conference Games of the Week:
Willamette (5-3) over Puget Sound (3-5) (at Willamette): I’m very curious to see how this one plays out in Salem. Puget Sound has been competitive in every game this year (sans Linfield) and the Loggers’ offensive strength goes against Willamette’s biggest weakness (WU’s pass defense). Willamette’s mindset this game should be something to watch but in the end I think the Bearcats will be able to pull it together and ride Dylan Jones to victory.
(509)Rat Says Willamette:Willamette blew it last week. Statistically you would have thought they won. But when you give your opponent short fields (Pacific had scoring drives of 57,3,26,36,5, 55, and 31 yds) you lose football games. Jones will run wild on UPS and I don't think Willamette has to worry as much about this Logger team capitalizing on the inevitable mistakes. Another win for the home team on Senior day.
Pacific Lutheran (6-2) over George Fox (1-7) (at PLU): This should be Fox’s last spanking of the season as you know that Scotty W. is going to want to let his huge group of Seniors go out in style. I’m sure he’s going to let that group get extended minutes and the outcome is going to be a big lopsided score by the end. Fox should have marked improvement in 2015 but boy did their offense stink this year….even for a first year program.
(509)Rat Says PLU: PLU has had a disappointing season based on a standard set by teams that came before them. It will be interesting to see if Scott lets the senior starters play in this one, their last game, even when the Lutes are up by 50-60 points.
West Region Game of the Week
Illinois College (7-2) over Macalester (8-1) (at IC): Wow. Silm pickings this week in the west region. This is the for the conference title in MAC and the right to get slaughtered in the 1st round against either St. John’s or Wartburg. My old buddy One Armed Scot is gonna be ticked that I didn’t take Macalester but I think the Blueboys of IC are going to have too much in the tank.
(509)Rat Says Illinois College: Macalester comes in playing their best football from what I can tell. It has been a great season for Macalester and now they are playing against a team who is used to being up near the top of the league in recent years. The defenses have been very comparable during conference play and Illinois College has had a slightly better offense, statistically speaking. I'm trying to sound like I actually know something about these two teams in case I still have anyone fooled into thinking I'm semi-knowledgeable about a random MWC game. Blueboys at home in a nail biter.
National Games of the Week
Mt. Union (9-0) over John Carroll (9-0) (at Mount): There are a few things in life that are as certain as Death and Taxes but one of those certainties is Mt. Union beating the opposition in the OAC. Look, John Carroll is having another GREAT season with a wrecking ball defense but they did the same thing last year and then got smoked by Mt. Union in the 2013 season finale. More of the same here as the Purple Raiders roll in their weak conference and then get another golden path to the NCAA national semifinals.
(509)Rat says Mount Union: I would love to see John Carroll win this game. It ain't happening though. Mount is Mount and until they actually lose a conference game, I won't be the guy picking against them. If you look at common opponents (and scores), you might think this would be a close game. I am not of that opinion. It won't be over by the end of the first quarter like every other game the Purple Raiders have played this year, but they still win comfortably. 3 TD victory, an OAC championship, and then a bunch of playoff cupcakes till the semi's (per usual).
Widener (9-0) over Del Valley (8-0) (at Widener): For the first time in the 36 meetings between these two teams, both will be a perfect 9-0 with the Middle Atlantic Conference title on the line. Both teams feature high powered offenses (Widener hasn’t trailed all season long) and I think the Pride’s defense will be the difference maker here.
(509)Rat Says Widener: I'm ending this horrid pick'em season with one of my favorite cliches: Defense wins championships...and Widener's is better. It's been real. Until next year, cheers.