Thursday, October 8, 2015

2015 NWC Pick 'Em Contest: Week 5

Get to the game!
We’re back for week 5 of the NWC Pick ‘Em contest as the first week of Northwest Conference play answered some questions but more light will be shinned on just where the conference picture is going as we have the critical Linfield/Pacific game and a chance for Whitworth to continue to build their case as a top 25 team. 

Right now, (509)Rat has a slight lead over Wildcat11 in the NWC pick ‘em standings but we’re both firmly right in the middle of the standings.  Both of us are in agreement with this weeks games except for the hot PLU/Willamette match up as the resistible force will face off against the movable object up in Washington. I’m curious to see how badly Fox will put the hurt on L&C and we’ll see if the improved Loggers will offer up much fight against a darn good Whitworth team.

Let’s get to the action!

Northwest Conference Games of the week

#3 Linfield (3-0) over Pacific (3-1) (at Linfield): (509)Rat says Linfield: Linfield's offense has looked out of sorts, at times, despite what the scoreboard reads at the end of the game. Pacific needs Linfield to turn the ball over, which the Wildcats have been willing to do in the running game, in order to have a shot in this one. I don't think Riddle will make too many mistakes in the passing game and the defense will be what you guys like to call "salty." Pacific shouldn't lose by 59 this year, but they aren't strolling into the Catdome and winning a game any time soon

Whitworth (4-0)  over Puget Sound (2-1) (at UPS): So this is the 2nd year in a row where UPS has a winning record in the month of October. Congrats on that but the Loggers will be sitting at .500 after this weekend.  Whitworth continues to start fast and boat race the competition. Looks like the Pirates also have some nice special teams weapons as their place kicker hit a 46 and 51 yard field goal last weekend.  I’m expecting more of the same as UPS will probably turn it over a few times and that will lead to the Rats winning by a comfortable margin.

(509)Rat says Whitworth: An improved D will be plenty to stop UPS and don't expect the Logger D to better their season avg of 435 yd/gm allowed. Whitworth will score early and often and get one week closer to their first (and what may be their only) test of the season. It's nice being a fan because I can look ahead to Linfield all I want.

Willamette (0-3) over Pacific Lutheran (0-3) (at PLU): Holy smokes. A few years ago it would have been hard to imagine that both these programs would be sitting winless at this point of the season. At least Willamette has been close in their last two losses (losing by a combined 7 points) while PLU has just been getting brutalized. Something has to give this weekend and I’m going to take the Bearcats to send PLU to 0-4. 

(509)Rat says PLU:  I literally flipped a coin. PLU can't run the ball, but Willamette gives up 140 yds/game (and that number would be much worse if you could throw out the UPS game since the Loggers can't and don't run the ball). Both teams turn the ball over about 3 times a game. Neither team knows what it feels like to win a game in 2015. This should be a close game...and a very sad game when you think about how far these two have fallen this year.

George Fox (2-2) over Lewis and Clark (0-3) (at GFU): Fox has done some nice things in year 3 of their restart of football, while Lewis and Clark is going to continue to take their lumps in year one of a total rebuild job at Lewis and Clark. The Pio defense is the better unit as the Lewis and Clark offense just doesn’t have the horses to get points on the board and Fox should be able to have a happy homecoming and push their record to 3-2 on the season.

(509)Rat says Fox: George Fox will beat L&C. The Bruins shouldn't have any problems moving the football and they are playing against the only team all year that they'll be able to stop defensively. Props to the Bruins for being more competitive in year 3 than Locey will be before he gets a better job. Don't get all upset Wildcat fans, not his fault, Larry Kehres couldn't win at L&C.

West Region Game of the week:

#1 UW-Whitewater (4-0) at #15 UW-OshKosh (3-1): The meat grinder continues for the Warhawks as UWW will face their 3rd ranked opponent in a row this weekend as the Titans host the Warhawks this weekend in biggest WIAC game of the year. If UWW is going to fall this year, then this weekend is for it to happen as the Titans are a legit contender but you just don’t go against the UWW.  I might be in the middle of the pick ‘em pack but I’m not ready to start throwing the hail mary quiet just yet.

(509)Rat says UWW: Plateville was a wake-up call. Whitewater had a post Morningside hangover, so what? Only a desperate man would pick against them.

National Games of the Week:

#24 Chicago (4-0) over Berry (4-1) (at Berry):
Chicago broke into the top 25 for the first time ever as the Maroons have raced out to a 4-0 record and look to build up on that as they travel to 3rd year program Berry who has shown incredible growth in a short period of the time as the Vikings have gone 0-9, 2-8, and now sit at 4-1 to start the 2015 season.  I’m expecting a low scoring game here but Chicago is going to have more firepower and will leave the Vikings black and Maroon.

(509)Rat says Chicago: Berry is in year 3 of football, and while they've already beaten 4 teams that they lost to in 2014, I don't think they can upset Chicago. Berry has a shot mostly because Chicago doesn't care too much about playing defense. Chicago, however, should be able to control time of possession, limit turnovers, and continue to run the ball down their opponents' throat. I really hope Berry pulls this one out...Whitworth is better than Chicago but won't creep into the top 25 until some of the low hanging fruit starts falling.

#20 Wittenberg (3-1) over DePauw (4-0) (at DePauw):
Not a very sexy match-up to wrap up this week’s pick em.  Whittenberg bounced back nicely last week after getting plunked two weeks ago by Wabash and DePauw is off to their best start since 2010.  I’m going to pick this purely on traditional strength of the Wittenberg program and the fact they’ve handled DePauw over the past few seasons.

(509)Rat says Wittenberg: I'll take tradition and the better defense. Wittenberg responded to losing a big rivalry game by shutting out Wooster, which is good to see. Depauw will score, but it will be much tougher sledding than in weeks past. Sure, Depauw has some nice box scores, but their opponents are a combined 3-19...they've basically played against the SCIAC every week. Depauw gets a wakeup call on Saturday.

Wildcat11’s Week 5 NWC Power Rankings:
1.    Linfield – ‘Cats get their first true test of the year this weekend
2.    Whitworth – It’s criminal that they’re not a top 25 team right now
3.    Pacific – Best performance of the year vs PLU sets stage for Linfield showdown
4.    UPS – The Loggers are the best of the middle of the pack.
5.    Fox – Have a legit shot at knocking of the other middle of the pack teams this season
6.    Willamette – That loss last week had to sting.
7.    PLU – I know the Lutes are young but man it has been ugly so far
8.    Lewis & Clark – Not going to have the offense to break into the win column this year

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