|Why not!? Everyone else is doing it.|
|Photo courtesy of the Wildcatville Blog: Check out the Blog here.|
WC11 is still in the hunt for the NWC pick ‘em championship as I’m only 3 points off the lead. I won’t close this weekend but may have a shot with how the points shake out with our pre-season NWC standing predictions. For (509)Rat, he’s been done for weeks now with regards to the NWC title chase but has been entertaining as heck on this blog and that’s what really matters.
I don’t want to spend too much time looking towards 2016 for the NWC but I’m already seeing some early stories on the horizon. Linfield will be loaded once again but will have to go to the Pine Bowl and beat Whitworth at their place, Pacific has big losses on offense, Puget Sound will continue to be solid, Willamette is going to slip more, PLU will be trending upwards, Fox is a wildcard depending on their off season, and L&C will improve but are still a long ways from being viable in the conference.
So let all the chest beating and number manipulation begin as its recruiting season for the other NWC members not named Linfield (and probably Whitworth). I’m looking forward to hearing all the stories about what programs are saying they’re on the verge of beating Linfield, or showing off their SCIAC conference championship rings (looking at you Chapman), and why these coaches think the players they’re recruiting are not good enough to crack the lineup at Linfield so they should go their school instead so they can play right away and lose by 50 to Linfield. It’s always entertaining.
Onto the picks!
Northwest Conference Games of the Week:
#2 Linfield (8-0) over Pacific Lutheran (2-6) (at PLU): (509)Rat says Linfield: One win closer to getting screwed by the national committee. This game should be over midway through the 2nd quarter. Next.
#25 Whitworth (8-1) over Lewis and Clark (0-8) (at Whit): So D3football.com is calling it that Whitworth should capture one of the last Pool C bids and get a return trip to McMinnville. Sandberg is on the National Playoff Committee so that can’t hurt their chances either and D3football.com is usually right about playoff bids so look for the Rats to close out the regular season in style over the Pios and get the buses ready for another trip to the Willamette Valley. Should be a heck of a rematch.
(509)Rat Says Whitworth: The only thing worth discussing regarding this game, is how the SOS hit Whitworth will take could very well be the difference between making/missing the playoffs. Thanks L&C...and Chapman...and PLU...and Willamette...
Pacific (6-3) over Puget Sound (5-3) (at UPS): Linfield beat these two teams by a combined score of 149 to 13 so there’s that. However, I think that Pacific’s style is better suited for the rain in the forecast and the mud pit the Loggers play in. Seriously, if you’re going to be an Air Raid style offense, you need to get rid of the garbage sod and install a different surface that helps your strength and not hurt it. Anyways, Pacific will push UPS around enough to finish the year 7-3 and then their coaches can start tweeting about how great they are as they go into recruiting.
(509)Rat says Pacific: Pacific should win. I think they are the better team, but I've never trusted Pacific further than I can throw them (and I haven't worked out in 7 years so...). Deep down I'd love to see UPS win, mostly because I feel bad for the Loggers and don't like Pacific at all. Pacific should be able to control the line of scrimmage and possess the ball long enough to hold off UPS. UPS needs a better defense if they want to win with a pass heavy offense that can't score 40-50 pts/game.
Willamette (2-6) over George Fox (3-6) (at GFU): A big game for both of these programs as they head into the off season. Fox has been on the skids in losing 4 in a row after starting the season at 3 and 3 and Willamette is trying to keep their head above water in the NWC rankings. Besides Linfield and Trinity, Willamette has played everyone pretty tight. If the Bearcats had any sort of offense, they would have been a good football team this year. George Fox’s marketing department will probably claim 3,500 people jammed into their bandbox to watch these two NWC titans slug it out but we all know the truth. I should probably take Fox here as I think they have more offensive weapons but I’m smelling the Bearcat rumble and victory over Linfield Lite.
(509)Rat says Willamette: This pick is mostly because I think they may have gained some confidence after a tough L to Whitworth last week. Don't tell the Bearcats that the weather greatly helped their cause (because I need them to win). The crazy thing about this game is that the Bruins are probably the favorite...in a make believe world where d3football has vegas-like oddsmakers.
West Region Game of the Week
St. Norbert (9-0) over Monmouth (8-1) (at SNU): It’s a battle for the MWC title and the right to see who gets to go have their head’s caved in during the first round of the NCAA playoffs. I never paid any attention to the MWC in all my years around division III and the most MWC football I watched was that one trick throw video that Monmouth QB put out a few years ago. Besides that, who cares about these sacrificial lambs of the Midwest. I’ll take Norbert just for the heck of it.
(509)Rat says St. Norbert: St. Norbert seems to have more impressive results against equally terrible competition. The winner of this game earns the right to get monkey stomped by a MIAC/WIAC champ in round one. Congrats.
National Games of the Week:
#13 Mary Hardin-Baylor (8-1) over #23 East Texas Baptist (7-2) (at UMHB): This is a HUGE game for both teams as the ASC conference doesn’t have an auto bid so this is essentially a "play-in" game for both teams. Yeah, maybe an 8-2 UMHB team still gets the nod but I think it would be unlikely. I don’t think it comes down to that as UMHB has their backs against the wall and at home against a talented ETBU. I’m looking for the ‘Cru to make a statement and set up a HSU rematch in round one of the playoffs.
(509)Rat says UMHB: They can't lose again, can they? I think the matchup against UMHB was much better for HSU than it is for ETBU, and therefore I'm not putting a whole lot of stock in the fact that ETBU beat the Cowboys and the Cowboys beat the Cru. Hardin Simmons had the defense to stay with the Cru and a more inconsistent offense that happened to play great that Saturday (not to mention a last minute 57yd game winning TD pass). ETBU has a talented offense that I expect to score 3TDs at best, but won't be able to consistently stop UMHB. It makes sense in my head even if the 4 people reading this are thoroughly confused.
#21 Salisbury (6-2) over Frostburg State (6-3) (at Salisbury): Hey, you knocked of Wesley the week before, that’s good enough for me. Go Gulls!
(509)Rat says Salisbury: When you beat Wesley, you get picked by (509)Rat the next week. Paul Johnson would be so proud of the Seagulls' flexbone. I can't stand watching it, but hey, it works for them.
#1 Mount Union (9-0) over #15 John Carroll (8-1) (at JCU): I don’t even know why this game is listed here. Mount Union hasn’t lost a regular season game in that cream puff conference in about 20 years and they’re not going to this weekend either as the playoff committee will line Mount’s path to the Semi-Finals with a bunch of scrubs once again. Next.
(509)Rat says Mount: Won't be close. Mt with their toughest game until the Semis...
#7 Wabash (9-0) over DePauw (8-1) (at DePauw): The Little Giants have one of the best defenses in the country (6.5 PPG allowed) and defense will once again be the driving factor in a Wabash Monon Bell victory.
(509)Rat says Wabash: I feel much safer picking against Depauw this week than I apparently should have felt earlier in the season. The Monon Bell stays with the Little Giants for the 7th consecutive year.
Wildcat11 Week 10 Northwest Conference Power Ranking
1. Linfield – 7 NWC titles in a row and doesn’t look like they’ll slow down soon
2. Whitworth – Still in the hunt for a Pool C bid and return trip to McMinnville
3. Pacific – Only three losses are to teams that will probably be in the playoffs. Not bad.
4. UPS – Best year they’ve had in a long time but still have miles to go.
5. Willamette – Terrible offense but have shown fight all year long.
6. PLU – Much like Willamette, solid defense but a terrible offense.
7. GFU – For all of their talk, the Bruins are sitting on a single NWC win this year.
8. L&C – Should be better next year but are probably going to be in the cellar in 2016 as well.