Thursday, October 29, 2015

2015 NWC Pick 'Em Contest: Week 8

It’s hard to believe that we’re already rounding the bend towards the end of the regular season. It’s gone by fast and it’s been an interesting year in the Northwest Conference.  I already gave you my breakdown on the NWC last week and where I see some of the programs are headed.  Last week, PLU finally made it in the win column and I guess this is the Lutes worse record since the 1960’s. Yikes.  Whitworth still has something to play for but I think they’re a long shot for one of the Pool C at-large playoff bids.  I don’t think their case will be good enough compared to teams like Hardin-Simmons, SJU, Salisbury, Whitewater, etc. 

But I’m keeping a close eye on Puget Sound as the Loggers have a huge game against PLU this weekend.  The Loggers haven’t knocked off PLU since 2005 and this is their best chance yet to get it done.  With a win, UPS will move their conference record to 4-1 and get to roll into the ‘Catdome with legit shot to play for a share of the NWC lead if they could pull off a monster upset over the ‘Cats.  That should add some nice spice to what’s been a traditional pretty ho-hum week with the Loggers.  So look for that around the conference.

Let’s do it!

Northwest Conference Games of the Week:

#2 Linfield (6-0) over George Fox (3-4) (at GFU):  (509)Rat says Linfield: You know why the Bruin offense is better this year? Two words. John. Tully...Linfield wins by 100

Whitworth (6-1) over Pacific (5-2) (at Whit):  Playing for the right to finish 2nd in the NWC and that’s nothing to feel bad about at all.  I think Whitworth is a good team and is a program on the rise and Pacific has won two straight after the Linfield loss but have been a bit uneven.  I think Whitworth is the more complete team this year and has a better defense so I’ll take the Rats to knock off the Boxers.

(509)Rat Says Whitworth: Whitworth has a ways to go and I have no problem with Linfield showing them the type of talent it takes to get there. I don't think this is a team or staff that will feel sorry for themselves and drop a game they should win after last week's beatdown. Pirates show up, pissed off, and win comfortably.

Puget Sound (4-2) over Pacific Lutheran (1-5) (at PLU): The last time Puget Sound had five wins in a season was in 2006 when they finished 7-3.  I’m fully expecting them to reach that 5th win this week when they play the young Lutes this week at Sparks Stadium.   PLU kept the offense very simple last week but they found something on offense.  Granted, they were playing GFU’s defense and lots of people have found something against Fox but I don’t think it will be enough against UPS and their Air Log offense.

(509)Rat says UPS: PLU should have lost last week. Somehow, for some reason, UPS has me believing they are good enough to do what George Fox couldn't do...put away the Lutes. Loggers get one win closer to finishing in the top half of the conference. I feel like David after the Dentist (hopefully WC11 inserts a youtube link so the older crowd gets this), "Is this real life?"

Willamette (1-5) over Lewis and Clark (0-6) (at Will):  It’s the battle for the Wagon Wheel in Salem this week as one of the two of the NWC bottom dwellers get something to be happy about after a football game this season.  Willamatte’s offense highest point total of the year is 24 points.  It’s a terrible offense but they’re going against a terrible team so they might be able to break the 30 point mark at least once. Maybe L&C knocks them off this week but I think the Bearcat defense is good to get it done.

(509)Rat says Willamette: Willamette gets to feel good about themselves for a week. L&C, the struggle is real.

West Region Game of the Week:

#6 St. Thomas (7-0) at #14 Concordia-Moorhead (7-1): I think the Tommies are a legit National Championship threat this season with that bruising running game and defense.   They’ve been the class of the MIAC this season and I have a ton of respect for the quality of football they play there.  Concordia-Moorhead is a quality program that seems to play good football on a yearly basis but I just don’t think they have the horses to knock off the Tommie juggernaut this year.

(509)Rat says UST:  The Tommies are good. Neither the Cobbers nor the Gusties are going to stop St. Thomas from winning the MIAC this year.

National Games of the week:
#3 Mary Hardin-Baylor (7-0) at #13 Hardin-Simmons (7-0) (at HSU): It’s really good to see Hardin-Simmons become a playoff quality football team again.  It makes the ASC a much better conference and I just like what that program is about.  However, UMHB isn’t going to lose to the Cowboys this weekend.  I’m expecting a quality football game and maybe even a tight one but I just don’t see this Cru team losing this weekend. This should be a preview of a pending 1st round playoff game though.

(509)Rat says UMHB:  Even when Hardin-Simmons was pretty darn good, they couldn't get past the Cru. UMHB will once again put little brother in his place. If this was a Feaster led HSU offense with the defense they are actually playing this year, I would consider taking the Cowboys in an upset. I just don't think they'll be able to move the ball consistently enough to win this one.

Trinity (5-0) at Middlebury (4-1) (at Trinity): I’ve never paid any attention to the NESCAC conference because they are not eligible for playoffs by choice.  So by choice I’m not going to write very much and just say Trinity will win. Whatever.

(509)Rat says Trinity: You know how when your wife or mother fills out NCAA tourney brackets, she picks based on things like mascots and uniform colors? Well, according to wikipedia, a Bantam is a small breed of chicken in which the male (not sure if I can say "cock") is noted for its aggressiveness. Count me in.   *Wildcat11 note: You just did, Rat.

#19 North Central (4-3) over #15 Illinois Wesleyan (7-0) (at IWU):  Illinois Wesleyan looks like a contender but it’s fool’s gold. They haven’t played anyone good yet, while North Central has been though a meat grinder of a season and have come up just short of some top 25 victories.  I think that experience shows this weekend with NCC taking out the Titans.

(509)Rat says NCC: Don't let the records or the rankings fool you. North Central has lost to UW-Platteville, Wesley, and Wheaton. IWU has beat nobody. IWU does seem to pull out a 6-1, 2nd place league finish every other year. They were 2-5 in conference last year so they're due. Not enough for me to pick them against a much more consistent North Central Program.

Wildcat11’s Week 8 NWC Power Rankings
1.    Linfield – The ‘Cats beat Whitworth and Pacific by a combined score of 129 – 20.
2.    Whitworth – Probably won’t get a Pool C, even at 9-1, but are trending upward.
3.    Pacific – In danger of Puget Sound catching them for the 3 spot
4.    UPS – Will have a shot to play for a share of the NWC lead next week at Linfield.
5.    Fox – A few weeks ago GFU players were talking about winning the NWC title.
6.    Willamette – Showed life against Pacific but PLU could overtake them soon.
7.    PLU – Big win over GFU and they found a QB for the next 3 seasons.
8.    Lewis & Clark – I just don’t see a win on the schedule for L&C.

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