|Team, Excellence, Attitude, Class|
I have nowhere to go but up (I hope) in week 2 as we have a FULL slate of games to go through and I’m excited to also welcome back (509)Rat back into the Pick ‘Em fold. For those that are new to the blog, (509)Rat is a former Whitworth athlete and a passionate backer of the Rats. Honestly, I have no idea who Rat really is. I don’t know his name, have a general idea what he does, but all I know is that he’s very knowledgeable about the sport, the NWC, and he cracks me up. Welcome back (509)Rat.
Let’s see what’s cooking in week 2.
Northwest Conference Games of the Week:
Linfield (0-0) over Chapman (0-0) (at Linfield):
(509)Rat says Linfield: Chapman just doesn't have the horses to compete with Linfield. Not to mention, breaking in a new QB against Alex Hoff and friends is less than ideal. I would bet this game resembles something closer to the 2nd time these two teams met in 2014...than the 1st. Linfield should win comfortably and the SCIAC continues to serve as the NWC's "AAA" affiliate.
Whitworth (0-0) over Whittier (0-0) (at Whitworth): I’m expecting Whitworth’s defense to be more sound this season and why I think they’re going to be a top 3 NWC team by the time the dust all settles. Whitter has been and continues to be a mess of a SCIAC program. They’re like the straight to DVD of football programs on the West Coast. I’m expecting Kolste to put up video game numbers and for the Rats to roll.
(509)Rat says Whitworth: Nobody actually "fears the poet" do they? I expect Whitworth to continue to improve in year 2 under Sandberg and co. Whittier kept it close last year as Whitworth stumbled out of the gate. Whitworth's offense will continue to put up big numbers despite the loss of Peterson. Kolste will get the start and I expect him to do well with 4 returning OL in front of him and an offense with a scheme and playcalling actually worthy of a college football field.
Redlands (0-0) at George Fox (0-1) (at GFU): GFU let victory slip away down in La Verne last week (maybe should have used some TAPE on the football for better security) and that’s actually a positive sign as GFU was very competitive in their first real road trip as a program. I’m expecting for Fox to have some moments on Saturday but Redlands should take care of the Bruins by a comfortable margin.
(509)Rat says Redlands: Even though they are no longer the top dog in the SCIAC, there is more than enough talent to beat George Fox. I feel bad for the Bruins, not because of the 0-2 start after only winning 1 game last year, but because they have to deal with John Tully. Luckily for the Bruins he should only be working with quarterbacks and won't be allowed any play calling duties.
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (0-1) over Lewis and Clark (0-0) (at L&C): L&C is in year one of a total rebuild and are not going to beat a so-so CMS team that laid an egg last week against UPS. On a sidenote…it’s just bizarre to see Locey use long standing Linfield traditions up at L&C. It’s like watching someone put Mercedes decals on a pinto.
(509)Rat says CMS: Good high school teams in WA and OR and especially CA could beat Lewis and Clark. CMS shouldn't have too many problems with the Pios. They have a game under their belt already this season which is a significant advantage IMO.
Occidental (0-0) over Puget Sound (1-0) (at UPS): Oxy’s offense was pretty dang efficient last season (it was their defense that stunk) and the Tigers bring back most of their firepower and I think they can make some noise in the SCIAC this season. The Logger offense was a turnover machine last week but did convert 50% on 3rd down and put up 477 yards. Maybe that first game got the blood flowing for UPS but I still like Oxy to take this one.
(509)Rat says Oxy: Oh how the mighty have fallen. Oxy is a shell of their former selves (circa 10 years ago). The good news is that despite what people on the NWC boards want you to believe, UPS is still as bad as they were 10 years ago. This one could honestly go either way, but you gotta like what Semone is doing with the program down in Eagle Rock.
Trinity (Tx.) (1-0) over Willamette (0-0) (at Trinity): Very tough call here. I think the holes left by Willamette’s All-American departures this year are going to be hard for Willamette to overcome. They still have some talent on the roster but I think the Bearcats are in danger of being a bottom half of the NWC standings team this year. Trinity…no idea if they are middle of the road or decent but I’m just going with my gut.
(509)Rat says Willamette: This is more NWC homerism than anything. I don't know what to make of Willamette. They lose to Whitworth and PLU, then knock off Linfield, then lose to Pacific. I shouldn't have any faith in a Bearcat team that is traveling to San Antonio to play an improved Trinity team, in 90 degree heat that will feel warmer with some humidity from the thunderstorms rolling through...but what the heck, go NWC!
Cal Lutheran (0-0) over Pacific Lutheran (0-0) (at CLU): PLU is young on offense…very young. I think the Lutes were very happy with their recruiting class and they landed some talented players but they won’t be ready for primetime this season. I think the Lutes take a step back before being a conference contender again in 2016. For this weekend, CLU and their transfers will get a much needed season open victory over PLU.
(509)Rat says PLU: Another NWC homer pick, that and CLU's coach is a bit of a doucher. PLU has some question marks coming into this season and will probably take a small step back. However, they have been recruiting well lately with big incoming classes with enough talent to get it done this year again. I hope I'm not wrong on this one. (Wildcat11 sidenote: I like Coach Mac very much. Have talked to him a few times and he’s a good dude.)
West Region Game of The Week:
#6 Wartburg (1-0) over #19 Bethel (1-0) (at Bethel): Monster game out in Minnesota this weekend. Wartburg is a legit contender to crash the purple party in Salem this year and Bethel has proven their worth as a top 15 program for a number of years now. This should be a treat for any football fan and I would love to be there to take in an early fall Midwest football game. I think Wartburg will pull out a hard fought win.
(509)Rat says Wartburg: If I remember correctly, I picked against Wartburg last year in a game against Bethel. Not this time. The knowledgable folks of d3football.com seem to think Wartburg is the better team. I'm going to agree with them and pick the corn-fed boys from Iowa (a wonderful place BTW, you should visit some time WC11).
National Games of The Week:
#18 Texas Lutheran (1-0) over Hardin Simmons (1-0) (at HSU): TLU is a program on the rise and HSU continues to try to regain traction as the D3 program in the state of Texas. The biggest hang up for the Cowboys over the past seasons as been their defense so if they improved in that area, they have a shot of knocking off TLU. However, I think TLU will be too explosive and win this Lone Star State showdown.
(509)Rat says TLU: HSU hasn't been the same since Feaster graduated, just a very above average program without any major highs or lows. If the Cowboys are on the upswing or got lucky with another stud QB, this could be a very good game. TLU, on the other hand, has done nothing but improve since their disaster of a season in 2009. I expect the Bulldogs to win this game, but I have a soft spot for HSU and wouldn't mind seeing the Cowboys win this one and return to former glory when they could actually give UMHB a game.
Illinois College (1-0) over Rose-Hulman (1-0) (at IC): No idea here. Last year these two put up like 1,345 points combined so this will probably be a 3-0 game. IC has been a program that’s flirted with the Top 25 the past few years and puts up points. I’ll take them for the W.
(509)Rat says IC: I know nothing about these two teams. Rose-Hulman plays in a better conference, but the game is in Illinois. Illinois college came out of the gate against Aurora with a win as convincing as in 2014, while Rose-Hulman struggled a little with Kalamazoo compared to last season (apparently Kalamazoo is a real school). Does that mean Rose-Hulman isn't as good as they were last year? Maybe. That's all I can come up with.