I still have a ton of non-blog/football stuff to get to today so I’m going to cut the lead up short this week and just say to go out and enjoy some football this weekend because the season is going to be over before you know it. Go ‘Cats!
Northwest Conference Games of the Week
#2 Linfield (7-0) over Puget Sound (5-2) (at Linfield): (509)Rat says Linfield: UPS doesn't really stand a chance. I mean, good for UPS that they moved up in the standings this year and the program seems to be improving. I assume they will be sending Willamette and PLU gift baskets for stinking it up this year and giving the Loggers that opportunity. Linfield is the class of the far west, Cats roll, again.
Whitworth (7-1) over Willamette (2-5): Willamette’s offense got a big old dose of confidence last weekend after getting to rough up Lewis & Clark but that feeling will be short lived as the Bearcats host Whitworth this weekend. The only hope Willamette has if their defense plays out of their minds and Whitworth forgets to bring the defense from Spokane. Rats cruise.
(509)Rat says Whitworth: Normally a matchup with Willamette would worry me. I can't remember how many years Whitworth was the better team and either lost or barely pulled out a W against the Bearcats. But that was under the old regimes and Willamette is a special kind of dysfunctional this year. Whitworth all but wraps up a 2nd place finish in the NWC and the already slim pool C hopes stay alive.
Pacific Lutheran (1-6) over Lewis and Clark (0-7) (at L&C): Two bad football teams get together and it’s just going to be another kick in the gut for the Pios as the Lutes should take care of business and get a little momentum before their season finale against Linfield. The Pios 1st team offense has only scored 28 points all year in the first half of play. Yikes.
(509)Rat says PLU: Feel good week for the PLU EMALs. Attaway Lutes. Just wish I could be there to see the synchronized dancing jumping jack warm-ups in person.
Pacific (5-3) over George Fox (3-5) (at Pacific): Pacific’s defense was lit up last week out in the Pine Bowl but that was to be expected. Pacific’s offense should have enough gas in the tank to outlast the Bruins. For GFU, their athletic department only has one more weekend to manipulate their attendance numbers so they can claim NWC attendance dominance.
(509)Rat says Pacific: George Fox held Linfield to its lowest point total of the season...Pacific should beat them easily. Pacific D showed some life early against Whitworth last week and should hold Fox to a respectable point total. Despite last week's result, the Bruins are unlikely to stop the Pacific offense with any regularity. I haven't checked the weather forecast, I imagine Fox is praying for heavy rain again, and if it comes you could see a wild result in this one. I'll take the safe pick and cling to my middle of the pack ranking in the pick'em, my final standings will give me a nice bump at the end of the year.
West Region Game of the week:
Redlands at Chapman: This is an inside joke on the pick ‘em board as both of these programs have 100% gone into the ditch this season. I guess Chapman spent too much time and energy on SCIAC championship ring design this offseason and not enough on trying to put together a good football team and Redlands fans are freaking out about the state of their program. I’m just ticked because their lame seasons have really hurt Linfield’s strength of schedule numbers. If there was a way both of these programs could lose this weekend, I’d be all for it, but I’ll take Chapman.
(509)Rat says Chapman: As a Whitworth fan, I obviously want Champan to win this game. Go Panthers. I don't know what happened to Redlands but they are bad. Just not any good at football this year. I have no problems seeing Maynard struggle and secretly hope his team continues a downward slide towards the SCIAC cellar. "Never Forget."
National Games of the week:
Thomas More over Case Western Reserve (at Case): I have to say that I liked CWRU’s stadium and set up when Linfield traveled back their a few years ago. That’s about it, Thomas More should roll.
(509)Rat says Thomas More: Thomas More shouldn't struggle with this one. Case Western may win a knowledge bowl, or a match-up of medical schools (because Thomas More doesn't have one)...but the academic accolades won't help them on Saturday. Thomas More stays undefeated.
Wesley over Salisbury (at Salisbury): Wesley has owned this series against the Gulls for a long time and will continue to for another season. Too much offensive firepower for Salisbury to contain as the Wolverines march to a high playoff seed continues.
(509)Rat says Wesley: The Wolverine offense will be too much. Callahan is legit and Salisbury won't be able to keep up. The Seagulls only hope is to slow the game way down with the running game and force Wesley into more than a couple mistakes. The traditional powers will have a good week this Saturday.
Wheaton over Illinois Wesleyan (at IWU): A lot of people saw last week coming as IWU was knocked from the undefeated ranks when they actually played a good football team. That losing trend continues for the Titans as Wheaton comes to down and eliminate IWU from Pool C contention. Next.
(509)Rat says Wheaton: Another pick in honor of coach Sandberg. IWU was exposed as a bit of a pretender last week which wasn't a big surprise. Wheaton wraps up CCIW championship this week.
Wildcat11’s Week 9 Northwest Conference Power Rankings
1. Linfield – Close to NWC title number 7 in a row.
2. Whitworth – A fantastic season for the Rats.
3. UPS – Have two weekends to prove they belong in the top 3.
4. Pacific – The Boxer defense has been gashed this year.
5. Willamette – Best offensive performance against the Pios but that’s not saying much.
6. PLU – the Young Lutes still are not very good but could have a bright future.
7. GFU – Still stuck on a single NWC victory this year.
8. Lewis and Clark – The season couldn’t end quick enough for the Pios.