|Team, Excellence, Attitude, Class|
(509)Rat is calling his shot this week in the Linfield/Whitworth game and I’m smelling an “upset” in another NWC contest this weekend. With over half the season over, you can see that the NWC is in a transition period. Yeah, Linfield is still boss hogging their way around and Whitworth is coming on like gangbusters but the rest of the conference has been interesting.
UPS does have a legit shot in finishing in the top three as their schedule sets up to be 5-2 overall and 4-1 in NWC play when they visit the ‘Catdome on Nov 7th. At that point, Pacific should have a 2nd conference loss to Whitworth and set up a 3rd place battle for their season closer.
You already got my thoughts on Willamette and I think that program is in “Lewis and Clark might pass us up in a few seasons” trouble. Pacific has done nothing but trend up from years 1-5 so them flattening in year 6 has to be a little concerning. Fox has developed some good front line talent but if you have to put your starters back in the game to hold off a Lewis & Clark rally you know you have zero depth at this point.
And then you have PLU. A PLU backer reached out to me and asked if I thought Scotty Westering was in trouble in Parkland. I wrote back saying there is not a chance they cut him loose. PLU has been pretty darn good recently, and though they are taking their lumps this season, they seem to have some young talent that will launch them back into the conference mix sooner rather than later. However, if PLU’s admin is thinking differently, then they better be careful. Frosty’s legacy lives on with Scott in how PLU approach everything they do as a program. If you dump Scott and bring in someone else, you’re risking blowing up your whole identity that makes PLU unique, cutting off a relatable thread with decades of EMAL alumni, and then you’re just a college football program playing in a community high school stadium 20 minutes away from campus.
Enough of my ramblings…let’s do it!!!
Northwest Conference Games of the Week
#2 Linfield (5-0) vs #25 Whitworth (6-0) (at Linfield): (509)Rat says Whitworth: I have reached a level of complete desperation in the pick'em. Like I've said all year, Whitworth is in fantastic shape under Sandberg but are still 2 years away from being competitive with the Linfield's of the D3 universe. Linfield should win this game by 2 touchdowns, especially at home. I can't imagine this game is a Pacific-type monkey stomp, however this is a Whitworth team that hasn't played anyone as remotely talented as Linfield. I don't think the magnitude of this game will get to them...I really hope it doesn't
Puget Sound (3-2 ) over Lewis and Clark (0-5) (at L&C): The good news for Lewis and Clark is that they’re starting to score some points but the bad news is that they’re doing it late against the other teams 2nd and 3rd units. The Loggers offense continues to be a pass first and keep on passing offense. The Loggers leading rusher has 135 rushing yards total…for the season…really…that’s all. The Loggers passing attack has been very effective but it’s pretty much hit short crossing routes and let other teams Linebackers try to tackle their shifty slot receivers. It’s worked a number of times this year and will this weekend against the Pios. However, I’m calling this one within a two score game.
(509)Rat says UPS: Lewis and Clark won't win a game this year. We could just keep them out of the pick'em blog posts to save time/space since the "L" is unfortunately a given for a while.
Pacific (4-2) over Willamette (1-4) (at Will): Two teams just playing out the string as Willamette has been bad all year and Pacific post-season hopes have been cooked since Linfield took them behind the woodshed for another epic spanking. Willamette’s defense isn’t too shabby but that Bearcat offense is bad. Seriously, if the Bearcat offense was a movie it would be staring Adam Sandler. I expect Pacific’s offensive weapons to shake loose enough to get the win.
(509)Rat says Pacific: If you went by score against a common opponent (Linfield) I guess you'd say Willamette is the better team. If you've seen the Bearcats play, you wouldn't give em a shot in this one. Pacific wins comfortably.
Pacific Lutheran (0-5) over George Fox (3-3) (at PLU): I’m calling for an upset in this one. Yes, I said upset. Right now, George Fox is the better football team while PLU hits the reset button on their program in 2015. I expect PLU to roll out freshman QB Cole Chandler this weekend and the kid is pretty talented. Let’s face it, George Fox’s defensive backs couldn't guard a crosswalk. So if I was PLU, I’d ditch their terrible rushing attack and chuck it in the air 50 times and let the chips fall where they may. If PLU take WC11’s advice, I think the Lutes could pull it off.
(509)Rat says GFU: PLU is not good. They were very unimpressive last week against Whitworth. PLU is traditionally the better program, but I actually believe Fox is the better team. GF will score and I don't know that PLU will. Bruins with what is probably considered an upset.
West Region game of the Week:
#5 UW-Oshkosh (5-1) at #12 UW-Platteville (5-1) (at Platt): You can pretty much pick a WIAC game every week and call it the west region game of the week. So much quality in that conference and this week is no different. After year’s of calling Platteville “fools gold” the Pioneers smacked me in the mouth with their win over North Central but Oshkosh is a different animal. The Titans are for real and will get one step closer to an outright WIAC championship.
(509)Rat says Oshkosh: Oshkosh beat Whitewater, Plateville didn't. I'll take the Titans.
National Games of the Week:
#3 Mary Hardin-Baylor (6-0) over #24 Texas Lutheran (5-1) (at UMHB): These two teams played twice last year with UMHB rolling TLU in the first match-up and a tight one in the 1st round of the playoff in a bizarre game split up over two days due to weather. I have a feeling this game is going to be more like the first game of 2014 with UMHB flexing their muscle and putting the muzzle on the Bulldogs.
(509)Rat says UMBH: The Cru has only given up a couple of touchdowns, that weren't in garbage time, all year. Line 'em up and knock 'em down. TLU is next.
#4 Wesley (6-0) over #21 Rowan (5-1) (at Wesley): Rowan has changed their style this year to more of a power football team and hardnosed defense, which is almost an oddity in today’s game. The Profs will do all they can to get Withler Marcelin the rock as much as possible but it won’t matter. Wesley has been mopping people up to the tune of 49 to 18 on the year and I’m expecting the Wolverines to beat Rowan by a comfortable margin.
(509)Rat says Wesley: Callahan has been playing great this year. The Wolverine offense rolls in this one.
#8 Wheaton (6-0) over #16 North Central (4-2) (at NCC): MAJOR battle in the CCIW between the two of the best teams in the country. There are no secrets between these two and I’m sure it’s going to be a hotly contested game but it’s the Thunder’s year to carry the flag for their conference and make a serious run the NCAA playoffs.
(509)Rat says Wheaton: This pick is for Coach Sandberg's old program. I also recently saw Garth Brooks in concert...and the Thunder rolls...
Wildcat11’s Week 7 NWC Power Rankings
1. Linfield – Gotta prove it this weekend
2. Whitworth – Huge moment in the early Sandberg era
3. Pacific – UPS coming up fast on the Boxers
4. Puget Sound – When was the last time UPS had a chance to be 4-2 this late in the year?
5. George Fox – The offense has been good but the defense stinks.
6. Willamette – Trending downward
7. PLU – Should be much better in 2016
8. L&C – Coach Locey only lost 18 games in 10 years at Linfield. On track to lose 9 in 1 year at L&C. That’s a tough rebuild job.