Wednesday, September 30, 2015

2015 Game 3 Preview: Linfield (2-0) at Lewis & Clark (0-2)



Linfield looks to make it 39 victories in a row over Lewis & Clark
Back in the saddle as we’re done with the bye week and done with non-conference play.  The ‘Cats now enter the start of NWC play with the traditional big fat target on their backs as the team-to-beat but Linfield wouldn’t want it any other way. 

The ‘Cats have started off the season in a fashion that most folks expected as Linfield easily handled both Chapman and Redlands of the SCIAC, however, it wasn’t perfect for the ‘Cats as Linfield was penalized way too much for my liking and the ‘Cats offense has hampered by little mistakes that sunk promising drives. This 2015 Linfield team is still a work in progress and still hasn’t been tested the way I feel they will in the upcoming weeks.  The upside of this team is HUGE but these players have to keep their focus on the task in front of them as they continue to build upon the season.

Linfield will once again head up to Lewis and Clark, as they did in 2014, to play a new look Pioneer team that had major staff changes this past season.  Let’s not beat around the bush…this is really strange to be talking about Jay Locey as the head coach at Lewis & Clark.  I mean, Coach Locey was at Linfield for 26 or so years, lead the program to the 2004 title, I was playing when he was promoted to the head coaching job, etc, etc.  To see him in orange and black is beyond bizarre and leaves me with mixed feelings.  In fact, there are a number of former Linfield coaches, former players, and former support people who are now at L&C and it’s strange.  I’m not going to go any deeper into than that but I’m officially dubbing Saturday’s game “The Awkward Bowl I”.

Obviously, the coaching staff at L&C is a major upgrade than the previous regime but L&C is going to need time before they can start truly making some noise in the Northwest Conference.  Their roster lacks top of the line talent and the depth required to hang with the top half of the conference.  Yes, the Locey led Linfield teams reeled off six consecutive NWC titles and a national championships but people forget that his first four years at Linfield were 5-4, 6-3, 7-2, and 6-3 before things started happening….and that's at a place that LOVES football and had a rich tradition of football rolling even before Coach Locey first took over.  What I’m getting at is that while you should expect L&C to improve but they’re not going to become an overnight sensation.

For the ‘Cats, this weekend is all about maximizing the opportunity to play Linfield football to the best of this team’s ability.  I truly believe this group could round into something incredibly special but there is still much work to do.  I’m excited to see the guys strap up in the stromtrooper gear and get after another program that wants what Linfield has.

Get to Know A Wildcat
Photo courtesy of Brad Thompson: Find Brad's 2015 Linfield Football Photos here

#4 Jake Reimer, Linebacker, Sophomore
Hometown: Sherwood, Or, High School: Sherwood High School

Favorite place to eat in Mac: Wildwood Cafe for breakfast. Tacos El Gordo any other time.

Favorite Movie: A River Runs Through It

Favorite Music: Country Favorite

TV show: How I Met Your Mother

Favorite Book: The Last Best League

Class I Most Look Forward to: Psychological Aspect of Sport and Physical Activity

Iphone or Android: Android 

CPU Homepage: Catdomealumni's YouTube page (WC11 note: Smart man Jake!!!)

Personal Mantra: "It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog."

Social Media of choice: Instagram

Car or Truck: Truck

Xbox, PS3, or Wii: GameCube

What first inspired you to play football: Watching the high school games when I was in 1st and 2nd grade.

Favorite Coach Smith Saying: "Somebody has got to go to jail."

Favorite part of playing at Linfield: Working for the chance to compete for a national championship with my teammates.

Fastest Linfield Linebacker: Patrick Pipitone

Post Linfield aspirations: Go to law school.

Wildcat11’s Keys to Victory

Be the best Linfield team you can be: This is the biggest challenge of Saturday’s game.  There is not a single doubt on who is going to win this Saturday but the challenge for Linfield is to forget who is across the field and put their sole focus on being the very best Linfield Wildcat football team possible.  I’m talking about the little things that will be a huge difference when Linfield plays the Pacific’s and Whitworth’s in the upcoming weeks.  Focus on executing to your highest level, laser focus on sideline adjustments, enthusiasm on the sideline, coaching each other up, sustained energy and joy in being able to play college football on what is promising to be a beautiful early fall day.

Attacking offense from the first play: Get after it on offense with a steady mix of the rushing attack and take your shots on the deep ball.  The L&C defense has played well in their first two games in only allowing 23.5 PPG and 354.0 yards per contest.  The ‘Cats are going to have to earn their points this Saturday and I’m looking for this unit to start realizing that huge potential they possess.

Limit mistakes and take care of the ball: This is a great opportunity for the Wildcat offense to make some positive strides before they head into the meat of their schedule in terms of minimizing drive killing mistakes and show better decision making with the ball.  I’m not saying to be conservative in nature but find that edge without going over it.  Controlled aggression.

Sound tackling:  I suspect that L&C isn’t going to want to run a ton of long developing passing plays so I expect a heavy dose of the bubble screen game action and quick passing that’s going to try to get the ball in space and see if their guys can pick up yardage after the catch.  Linfield’s defensive backs have to be the more physical group and attack the screen game but be alert for L&C trying to sneak a big play out of these sets.   

Flip the field with Special Teams: L&C doesn’t kick the ball very well and Linfield’s special teams needs to continue to shine with their coverage and ability to flip the field in the return game.

Overall:

‘Cats by a bunch.  I expect L&C to be a more sound and better coached team than in years past.  That’s a no-brainer but at this time they just don’t have the starting talent or depth to contend with the ‘Cats.  The ‘Cats should roll and I hope to see Linfield come out with a truckload of energy and excitement to play this weekend.  Go ‘Cats!

Friday, September 25, 2015

2015 NWC Pick 'Em Contest: Week 4

Team, Excellence, Attitude, Class...often imitated, never duplicated.

Sorry we’re late this week but (509)Rat has been pulling double shifts at Plaid Pantry the past couple of days so he’s asked if we could post this late.  Not a problem, my good friend.  Last week, I was just ok in picking 5 out of 8 games correctly, while (509)Rat nailed 6 out of 8.  I’ve been getting waxed with the National Games of the Week picks so far this year as Hobart was exposed as a pretender and NCC took one on the chin vs a WIAC contender.

As for the NWC goes, the biggest surprise was Pacific dropping their home opener vs an 0-2 Debuque team.  Debuque did drop their first two games to top 25 teams so it wasn’t like they were losing to Lewis and Clark but that was a case of Pacific again losing a non-conference game you would think should be a sure thing.  Willamette showed some fight but they’re going to take a number of losses this year, Lewis & Clark blew their only chance for a win this year, and Whitworth raced out to a 36-0 lead over La Verne before mailing it in the second half. 

This is a very difficult week of games this week.  I feel there are a lot of evenly matched rosters/programs facing off so there is a chance of this being big on the pick ‘em page with separation in the standings.  Right now, both (509)Rat and I are stuck in the middle of the standings but there is a lot of season left.  Let’s do it!

Northwest Conference Games of the Week

Pacific Lutheran (0-1) over Trinity (Tx.) (3-0) (at PLU):  It may be curious to pick a 3-0 team to lose this weekend but I believe that the Lutes are going to be able to get the job done against a Texas team making a LOOOONG road trip to the Pacific Northwest.  Yeah, Trinity is 3-0 but the teams they’ve beat so far in 2015 are a combined 0-7.  Not exactly talking about the stiffest slate of competition for the Tigers so far and I think they’ll wind up getting tripped up by a young but capable PLU squad.   

(509)Rat Says Trinity: PLU can't run the football and it's not because Cal Lu's defense is that good. I mean, Willamette outgained them last week. Trinity has essentially made this trip, playing at Willamette last year, and should be better prepared in that regard. Trinity appears to be a well rounded team that has an improved defense from last year. They aren't really good at any one thing, but they seem to do everything well. 2 weeks and I've already abandoned my NWC loyalty...It's all PLU's fault, really. 
 

Pacific (1-1) over Occidental (1-0) (at Oxy): Man, I didn’t see that loss last week coming for Pacific.  That was very surprising to see that outcome and the fact that Debuque was close in the 4th quarter to making it a boat race before Pacific was able to make it close with a late rally.   So now the Boxers Pool C hopes are dashed and they get a last tune-up before NWC play as they head to SoCal against the offensive minded Oxy Tigers.  I’m expecting some fireworks from both offenses but Pacific should be the deeper and more talented team.

(509)Rat says Pacific: I hate Pacific. Partly because they come on the scene as a new program and quickly started winning, but mostly because they continue to ruin my picks. They beat a COI team that is better than them and then lose to a Dubuque team who is worse...at home. I can't figure them out. I don't think Occidental will have them figured out either though. I'll take one of the better NWC teams against a middle of the road SCIAC program any day. A team that couldn't stop UPS from scoring 41 is going to have a tough time beating Pacific. Plus, apparently Pacific is better on the road.

Whitworth (2-0) over Chapman (0-1) (at Chap): A lot of people in both the NWC and SCIAC are going to be taking a good look at what could be a very competitive football game down in Orange County.  Whitworth has come out of the gates firing in two impressive victories over some of the SCIAC bottom feeders and look to have made big strides in year 2 of the Sandberg regime. Chapman is a solid team but I’m not sure if they’re going to have enough offense to hang with Whitworth.  I’m looking for this to be a statement win for Whitworth and for the Rats to start picking up some more top 25 votes as a result.

(509)Rat Says Whitworth: The Pirates haven't played anyone yet, this will be a good test to see how they respond to real competition. The defense is improved and they get a Chapman offense that will likely take some time to get up to speed. Whitworth shut out a La Verne team until they put in the 2nd string to start the second half after opening up a 39-0 lead. And even though Linfield's defense will make every offense look bad, Chavez was inaccurate and unable to move the ball downfield when they fell behind the sticks on 1st and 2nd down. Whitworth's defense will do just enough for them to steal a win down in Orange.

George Fox (1-1) over Arizona Christian (0-2) (at ACU): A match-up of two second year programs that seem to be going in two different directions.  So far the GFU offense seems improved on the early year compared to year one but their defense is giving up a ton of yardage and points while ACU has been pounded in their first two games of the year.  Granted ACU has played much better competition that Fox so it’s a little hard in trying to compare box scores to get an idea of how these two programs will match-up.  This was a tight game last year and I expect it will be the same thing this year as well.  I’m just going to take Fox for the hell of it.

(509)Rat Says GFU: Fox lost a close one last year and the Bruins appeared to be improved in year 2. I know nothing about the NAIA program from Phoenix, they could very well have landed some stud transfers/recruits and blow GF out of the water. I have faith in the Bruins though and their new QB coach.

West Region Game of the Week

#8 St. Johns (3-0) over #12 St. Thomas (3-0) (at SJU):  Oh, I would love to be out in Collegeville this week.  I have no problem in saying this is the prime time rivalry game in all of Division 3 and with both programs being top ten quality and undefeated, it just ramps up the intensity that much more.   UST has downed SJU 3 out of the last 4 years and could easily do again this week.  Again, I’m picking SJU because they have a stud running back and I enjoy seeing anybody get over on UST.

(509)Rat says SJU: I already said I was taking the Johnnies from here on out. A heavy dose of Sam Sura and his 6.3 yds/carry should help St. John extend their win streak in this rivalry to 3 games. St. Thomas has looked real good (beating bad WIAC teams) so far this season and this is a rivalry game, so nobody should be surprised if they win this game. Should be a good one, looking forward to some ESPN coverage of the rivalry Saturday.

National Games of the Week:

#5 Wesley (2-0) over #22 North Central (1-1):   This had the makings of another top ten’ish match-up but NCC dropped one to the a program that I just called Fool’s Gold last week (Platteville).  Thanks for nothing North Central.  May Wesley run up and down on your backsides for helping give Platteville some validity this season.  A pox on your house. A POX, I SAY!

(509)Rat says Wesley: Wesley is the better program and is basically Mount Union-away from winning a championship at some point in the past 10 years. I think North Central comes out a little flat after that heart breaking loss to Platteville last week. They can't afford to do that against the Wolverines and end up digging themselves in a hole they can't get out of.

#9 Wabash (2-0) over #15 Wittenberg (at Wabash) (2-0): The best rivalry game outside of SJU/UST as the traditional top two powers in the North Coast Athletic Conference hook up once again.  Wittenberg has won this game a great clip than the Little Giants but I think this is going to be one of those seasons where Wabash can get it done.  The Little giants have only given up 3 points in two games while the Tigers have been pretty tough on defense as well (giving up some garbage time scores).  I expect this to be close but Wabash might have a little more firepower this season.

(509)Rat Says Wabash: Wittenberg has beaten Wabash in each of the last 2 seasons. Wabash is due and I'm picking them to win this one at home. Another rivalry game that could go either way. This should be a good game, and I'm hoping at some point the Little Giants run the Annexation of Puerto Rico. 

Wildcat11’s NWC Week 4 Power Rankings

1.    Linfield – Have some kinks to work out but they have the look of a contender.
2.    Whitworth – HUGE game for the Sandberg era this weekend in SoCal.
3.    Pacific – Expect a bounce back win vs. Oxy.  Think they’ll be dangerous in the NWC.
4.    PLU – Going to take some lumps but they have talent.
5.    UPS – Easily be in the bottom 3 in the near future but are safe with the double bye.
6.    Willamette – Gave CLU a good run but not sure if they can hang with the top four.
7.    Fox – Unfair that I dropped them after a bye but they gave up 500 yards of offense to that Redlands offense.  Not a good sign. 
8.    L&C – Locey called Pomona-Pitzer a “good team”. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

‘Cats Win!!! Linfield puts Redlands in the doghouse with 44-7 spanking in the ‘Catdome.

Alex Hoff #55 and the 'Cats defense brought the salt truck to the 'Catdome against Redlands.
The ‘Cats put on a defensive clinic this past Saturday at Maxwell field as Linfield would build a 44-0 lead in the 4th quarter before giving up a Redland’s face saving TD late in the game for the final outcome.  It wasn’t a perfect performance for Linfield as the ‘Cats still have a number of issues they need to iron out as the season moves into Northwest Conference play and those games become even more paramount.  I think if you would ask anybody on the offensive side of the ball if they are satisfied with Saturday’s performance the overwhelming response would be “no”.  There is so much talent on the offensive side of the ball but little things have killed drives/scoring opportunities and that has to rub this talented offensive unit the wrong way.  Even with the rough first half of offense, the ‘Cats did rip off four consecutive touchdowns to start the 2nd half to get themselves back on track but there is work to be done.

That may sound silly to some people in not being fully satisfied in just beating a team by 36 points but this program has such lofty goals and aspirations that every live moment on the field counts towards building a profile that will allow this team to measure up and go toe-to-toe with the very best in division 3. So when there are rough edges in performances, it’s ok to take a critical eye to some sore spots.  It’s not being critical just to be critical but more of acknowledging where this team needs to see improvement if Linfield will truly be the contender they inspire to be.

The ‘Cats get the bye week at a good time. I think we would all rather just keep playing games but this week will give Linfield a chance to get back to basics and start building up for the start of Northwest Conference play.  Linfield will head up to Palatine Hill in two weeks to square off with Lewis & Clark. The conference is setting up to be another challenging gauntlet of challengers as Pacific, PLU, and Whitworth all look to dethrone Linfield as the number one team in the NWC. I’m excited for the start of conference as we know anything can happen but if this group of Wildcats continue to keep put in the work, the sky is the limit for Linfield.

As for the blog during the bye-week, we'll have a mini-highlight on Wednesday (a technical glitch sank me last night...lots of yelling at my computer was involved) and our pick 'em post up on Thursday with a news round-up on Friday.  Go 'Cats!

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

The Good

2nd half effort:  All three units put the pedal down in the 2nd half as Linfield took a 17-0 lead and blew it out to a 44-0 margin by the end of the 3rd quarter.  It was classic Linfield football as special teams would pin Redlands deep, the defense creating turnovers or short possessions, and the offense making them pay.  I’ve seen that sequence time and again in the ‘Catdome and it’s a thing of beauty.

Defensive lock down:  The defense continues to impress for the ‘Cats. Linfield only allowed 8 first downs, 27 net rush yards (0.7 per carry),  and only 136 yards of total offense (only 91 yards through the first three quarters).  It was such a blistering performance for the Linfield defense that Redlands only crossed Linfield’s 50 yard line twice….and that’s only because Linfield turned it over twice in their own territory.  If Linfield didn’t give it up there’s a good chance that Redlands would have never crossed midfield all game long.

Special teams great again: This group has already been a big difference maker on the young season and is going to continue to be.  We have guys that can break it open in the return game, guys that can fly down the field and cover, and might have the best collection of kickers in the division.  This has been a fun group to watch operate.

Red Zone Offense: Once again the Red-Zone offense continues to be impressive. The ‘Cats went 7 of 8 in the red zone and six of the trips resulted in touchdowns.  The only miss was hampered by a penalty and a rare field goal miss.  Beyond that, the ‘Cats offense once again showed diversity in how they attack the defense in these short field situations and that bodes well for down the road.

Pressure: 8 sacks by 7 different Wildcats and 14 total tackles for loss by the ‘Cats defense.  Linfield straight up whooped the Bulldogs offensive line as the push across the board was noticeable. I loved the pressure and play making by the ‘Cats upfront and by the Linebackers.

Pass Protection:  The big guys up front for Linfield gave up zero sacks and zero QB hurries in 40 passing attempts on the day.  I think as this group continues to gel this offense will start to take off in a hurry. 

A photo posted by catdomealumni (@catdomealumni) on
The Bad:

Uneven 1st half offense: I already addressed it up above. The 2nd half was much better but Linfield’s offense needs to see some growth as the season develops.

The Ugly:

Dumb Penalties:  The ‘Cats made some straight up bad decisions during the game that cost Linfield some big plays and killed some drives. Linfield was penalized 9 times for 75 yards and that’s just too much for a team as talented as Linfield. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

2015 Around the 'Catdome: Week 3

The 'Cats O-Line will be ready to go tomorrow vs Chapman.
It's a shortened Around the 'Catdome this week.  Great player spotlight on Eli Biondine ran by Linfield Sports.  Go check out the Around The Nation podcast by D3football.com.  It's a great way to get a understanding on the national landscape.  I would LOVE to post the articles from McMinnville's newsregister but the N-R had to go to a paywall so that's out the window.

D3blogs.com's Around the Nation Podcast: Pat & Keith kickoff by talking Linfield vs Chapman 

The Linfield Review: Linfield downs Chapman in Homecoming game

Linfield Sports: Player spotlight on Senior Linebacker Eli Biondine

ocregister.com: Chapman drops rematch with Linfield

The Panter: Chapman repeats last season start with loss against Linfield

kptv.com: Fox wins home opener Redlands

The Willamette Collegian: Bearcats look to turn it around after Trinity loss

The News Tribune: Oxy stands tall in 46-41 win over UPS

CLU Echo: Kingsmen begin season with a bang over PLU.

krem.com: Rats run past Whits

The Spokesman-Review: Rats open season with convincing victory

Lewis Clark Athletics YouTube Page: Football Highlight

Lewis Clark Athletics YouTube Page: Locey post CMS game remarks

Puget Sound YouTube Page: Jeff Thomas reflects on Oxy loss

KPTV.com: Good story on Fox Frosh and his mother who is battling life threatening cancer.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

2015 NWC Pick ‘Em Contest: Week 3

Love this place!
That was a much better week 2 for Wildcat11.  I landed 7 correct picks last week out of 10 as I missed both the national games (HSU and Rose-Hulman winning) and to no surprise I missed GFU knocking off Redlands (as did everyone else).  That puts me in the top half of the pick contest but (509)Rat has some ground to make up as his faith in the NWC last week was not rewarded. 

Let’s talk about the NWC for a minute.  It’s hard to judge from just one week of games.  Team do make big strides from game one to game two and throughout the season, but there have been a few surprises.   I’ll admit that I didn’t think Fox would knock off Redlands so that’s a feather in GFU’s cap that they’ll build off of.  Pacific and Whitworth are for sure conference contenders, and while PLU is very young, I think the Lutes are going to give some NWC teams fits this year as they reload.  UPS….not sure yet.  They could make a run to the middle of the conference but Fox’s performance tells me that maybe the Loggers are going to be in the bottom half along with Willamette and L&C. LOTS of football to be played but it should be a fun year in the NWC.  Let’s get to it!

NWC Games of the Week:


#3 Linfield (1-0) over Redlands (0-1) (at Linfield): (509)Rat says Linfield. This one is laughable as Redlands is apparently the 6th or 7th best team in the NWC. Redlands gave up 521 total yards of offense to the Bruins last week. That is not a typo. George Fox averaged 6.1 yards per play. Redlands actually won the turnover battle and TOP was a wash, so it’s not as if they beat themselves. As far as I can tell Redlands suited up their best players...I cannot envision a scenario where those same players are competitive in McMinnville. Sam Riddle would be a good DraftKings pick-up for you weekly fantasy guys.

Cal Lutheran (1-0) over Willamette (0-1) (at Will): So Willamette laid a complete egg out in Texas but I’m not surprised.  I pegged Willamette to have one of the biggest step downs in the conference this season and for good reason as they lost their two guys that made them competitive last year and L&C had a better recruiting class that Willamette.  Not good signs for the Bearcats for this year and moving forward. CLU pulled off a last minute win against a young PLU team and I’m expecting the Kingsmen to knock off Willamette as well.  Coach Mac’s teams haven’t tasted victory in the state of Oregon for a long time so I’m sure he’ll savor this one.

(509)Rat says CLU: My homerism got the best of me last week and left me near the bottom of the pick'em standings. Not this week. Willamette has a lot of work to do on both sides of the ball. They gave up 3 sacks, threw 3 picks, lost 2 fumbles, gave up 5 yards per rush...the only nice thing you can say is "at least they didn't lose to George Fox." I don't think Willamette's problems are any that will be fixed in a week's time. CLU should shut down another NWC rushing attack, forcing Willamette to the air and getting "W" number 2 on the season.

Pomona-Pitzer (0-1) over Lewis & Clark (0-1) (at P-P):  Pomona-Pitzer is terrible. They stink…but L&C is one who wears similar cologne. I’ll admit that talking about L&C is so strange because of the coaching situation there.  Yeah, the Pios will improve with time but they’re going to take their lumps for a few years. I know all L&C talks about is Coach Locey’s pedigree (which is WELL deserved) and excellence this and “new era” that but folks don’t remember that when Locey first took over Linfield, the ‘Cats went 5-4, 6-3, 7-2, and 6-3 in his first four seasons as Linfield’s HC before the program took off again, and that's at a place that loves their football program and was still viable even thought that was a time of transition.  What I’m saying is that Locey will make L&C a much better program but it’s not going to happen overnight and the Pios are going to stink for a number of years until he builds not only a quality starting line ups but also depth…..and that takes time….years.

(509)Rat says Pomna-Pitzer: You couldn't pay me to watch this game. P-P and L&C are in similar positions within their respective conferences...in the cellar. This is actually a very winnable game for L&C, certainly the only one left on the schedule, I just don't think L&C has enough talent to do it. Locey just hasn't had nearly enough time to get actual football players enrolled at L&C so you have to think of them last year's team with some coaching improvements. Hopefully I get a "wc11 edit" here because I want his opinion, but what's the Over/Under on seasons Locey lasts at L&C?  (WC11 edit: No idea but I say at least 6 seasons but maybe 8 at the most.  Just guessing.)

Whitworth (1-0) over La Verne (1-0) (at Whit): Another SCIAC chump for the Rats to get fat on. The one benefit of .500 Tully Ball over the past decade is that Whitworth had some of the mouth breathers of the SCIAC lined up to play games against.  Whitworth should have plenty of fireworks and put up a fat number of the Leos. Rats in a romp.

(509)Rat says Whitworth: Kolste and the Pirates should have another strong offensive showing, plenty of crooked numbers on the scoreboard again. The defense is definitely improved, not good enough to challenge Linfield for NWC supremacy, but they're better. La Verne will score some points, but this won't be the 50-48 shootout we saw 1 year ago.

Pacific (1-0) over Dubuque (0-2) (at Pacific): The Boxers landed a great week one comeback win over College of Idaho.  I think Pacific is legit and will push Linfield (along with Whitworth) for the conference title this year, and if they fall short, I think Pacific could be a Pool C contender this year.  Dubuque’s offense has been as explosive as that 14 year old’s clock in Irving, Tx. Pacific will pound the Spartans and start picking up more top 25 votes.

(509)Rat says Pacific: College of Idaho is a good team and Pacific got yet another W that I don't understand. Shaw should continue to play solid, error-free football against a Dubuque team that has been getting shelled by some top #25 caliber teams early this season. Pacific's defense will get a little break as well, though Dubuque's lack of offensive production could have a lot to do with who they've played. They beat Pacific at home last year and this year I think the Boxers return the favor.

West Region Game of the Week:

#8 St. Johns (2-0) over Concordia-Moorhead (2-0) (at CM): SJU has not beaten Concordia-Moorhead since the 2011 season but that’s going to change this weekend up near Canada.   I do think SJU is a legit player again on the national scene and that’s a good thing for division 3 football.  It’s just more fun with SJU being in the hunt and if they can take down a very good Concordia-Moorhead team, the Johnnies are one step closer to being in the national title hunt.

(509)Rat says SJU: The Johnnies are back! I have a good friend who played football at St. Johns so I'll probably roll with them in any future pick'em weeks (you might as well just pencil that in now). The Johnnies have absolutely steamrolled their first 2 opponents, both of whom were overmatched. They could come out a little sluggish against C-M, which is their first real test of the year, but when the dust settles they should go away with a comfortable win. Sura and the running game will be too much for the Cobbers.

Nationals Games of the Week:

#13 North Central (1-0) over #22 UW-Plattville (2-0) (at UWP): There is one thing that I’ve learned over the years in doing this pick ‘em and that’s UW-Plattville is fool’s gold.  They get way too much credit because they are from the WIAC but when it comes down to playing against top tier programs the Pioneers never seem to be able to punch through their glass ceiling.  More of the same here as North Central will kick Platt to the curb and right out of the Top 25.

(509)Rat says UW-Platteville: When two very good programs are a part of the pick'em, neither of whom I know much about, I pick the home team. I also like to pick the WIAC team when playing against a team from...well, pretty much anywhere. I would love nothing more than to see someone knock the Warhawks off of their perch.

#16 Hobart (2-0) over #24 Ithaca (1-0) (at Ithaca):  I have this very strange soft spot for Ithaca.  I don’t know if it’s because they have this not fancy but cool home field setup, or it could be that “Bombers” are a sweet nickname, or maybe it’s the fact that Ithaca’s consecutive winning season streak ended at 40 years in 2011when the Bombers finished at 4-6.  Either way, I like the Bombers but I don’t think they have the firepower to knock off Hobart.

(509)Rat says Hobart:  When you lose an offensive linemen to the second day of the NFL draft, you're gonna take a small step backwards. Hobart should still be fine. Ithaca will keep it close, but I think Hobart wins. If Hobart gets a running game going, which they struggled with so far this season, Hobart should be able to pull away and win by a couple of touchdowns, but I've been mostly wrong so far this season. Take my advice at your own risk.

Wildcat11’s NWC Week 3 Power Rankings

(Doing something new this year as I’m going to tag the end of our pick ‘em posts with my personal NWC power rankings.  The rankings can change wildly from week to week based of the previous week’s results.)

1.    Linfield – Looked strong in game one
2.    Pacific – Comeback win is sign of program that’s maturing.
3.    Whitworth – Improved defense bodes well for the Rats.
4.    PLU – Better debut than I thought vs CLU.
5.    GFU – Give the devil its due.
6.    UPS – Loggers with back-to-back bye weeks? You can catch Coach Thomas at the BEACH!
7.    Willamette- A clunker in Texas.  Wasn’t a good sign for Willamette
8.    L&C – Look into my eye.  This is probably your only chance to win a game this year.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

2015 Game 2 Preview: Linfield (1-0) vs Redlands (0-1)


It's 'Cats vs Dawgs this weekend in the 'Catdome!
Back in the ‘Catdome once again as your Linfield Wildcats will be hosting SCIAC contender the University of Redlands Bulldogs.  YOUR ‘Cats are coming off a 52-14 pasting of Chapman where Linfield had plenty of rough spots to work on but flashes of promise of what this team can be.  One area of this Linfield team that I’m going to be closely paying attention to is the ‘Cats focus and preparedness.  As most of you know by now, Redlands took a very tough loss last week in their season opener as they dropped a close contest to George Fox.  That had to be incredibly disappointing for Redlands, and in fact, downright embarrassing on many fronts.  I’m sure the Redlands coaching staff and players took a long hard look in the mirror the past few days and will be coming to McMinnville looking to prove that last week was a fluke and that the Bulldogs has what it take to stand toe-to-toe with one of the nation’s elite programs. 

For the ‘Cats, this is going to be the first in a few tests on if this group of players took to heart the lesson the Willamette game taught Linfield last year.  For those that don’t remember, Linfield pasted PLU early in the 2014 season 41-14 and then later in the season PLU hammered Willamette 56-14.  Well, the ‘Cats saw that score and assumed a Bearcat butt whipping was on the agenda when Willamette came into town but what was served was one of the largest upsets in recent NWC history as Willamette upended Linfield 31-28.

So that’s the test for Linfield.  Do they see that Fox took down Redlands and just say to themselves “Oh, we’re gonna roll next week.” or does this Linfield team take nothing for granted and focus on being the very best Linfield team these ‘Cats can be when they hit the turf this weekend.  If Linfield wants to get to reach their ultimate goals, the ‘Cats have to understand every team they face is going to give them their very best and has to be prepared to answer the challenge.  So we’ll see if Linfield assumes they’re getting puppies this weekend or if they’re getting ready for a dogfight.

Get To Know A Wildcat

Thaddeus Cox, #57, Senior, Offensive Tackle
Hometown: Rocklin, Calif.  High School: Whitney High School

Favorite place to eat in Mac: Tequila Grill

Favorite Movie: Happy Gillmore

Favorite Music: Rap/Hip-Hop

Favorite TV show: The League

Favorite Book: White Fang

Class I Most Look Forward to:  Partial Differential Equations

iPhone or Android: iPhone

CPU Homepage: Google

Personal Mantra: Put a smaile on and keep on going

Social Media of choice: Instagram

Car or Truck: Car

Xbox, PS3, or Wii: Xbox

What first inspired you to play football: Just wanting to put on a helmet and hit someone

Favorite Coach Smith Saying: “In all reality”

Favorite part of playing at Linfield: The close community that the program develops

Post Linfield aspirations: Go on to grad school and earn a PHD in either physics or some type of engineering

Wildcat11’s Keys To Victory:

Start fast and finish strong:  If Linfield can come out of the gates firing on all cylinders and push the tempo on both sides of the ball it will go a long way to making Redlands uncomfortable and not allowing the Bulldogs to gain traction and smother belief that they can hang with Linfield for the whole game.

Establish a balanced offensive attack:  This Linfield offense is going to be at their most efficient when they are attacking defenses with a balanced offense.  I would love to see Linfield really mix it up against Redlands and keep attacking teams with that play action pass game.

Limit the Bulldog Rushing Attack:  Redlands is going to attack Linfield with two very capable running backs in Devin Appleton and Curtis Tanquary.  Along with that, QB Kevin Russell is a dangerous runner as well.  The ‘Cats defensive effectiveness this game will hinge on Linfield’s ability to limit the Bulldog rushing attack.  If Linfield can force Redlands into 3rd and long situations consistently then look for a big day for the Linfield defense.

Count on Special Teams:  A great debut for the ‘Cats special teams against Chapman.  I’m not asking for another two TD performance but I’m asking for great coverage and execution in the kicking game.  The special teams battle will be a huge component in the final result in this non-conference tilt.

Aggressive Pass Rush:  Linfield’s Alex Hoff had extra company this past weekend as Chapman consistently threw two bodies at the ‘Cats All-American this past weekend.  I’m expecting Alex to get that treatment all season long so it’s going to be up to the other ‘Cats to make teams pay for trying to minimize Hoff’s impact on the game.  Linfield has to get after the QB in those passing situations this weekend.

Capitalize on scoring opportunities:  It was a great debut for the 2015 ‘Cats Red Zone offense this past Saturday and that trend needs to continue against Redlands.  I loved how Linfield mixed it up with getting the ball in their playmakers hands in space and letting them do their thing.  If Linfield squanders these opportunities this Saturday it could allow Redlands to hang around and make life hard for the ‘Cats.

Overview

‘Cats by 17. I’m expecting to Linfield not to pay attention to scoreboard watching from last weekend and be ready to handle their business against Redlands.  Regardless of last week’s result, the Bulldogs are a competitive program that have given the ‘Cats all they can handle in previous games.   No doubt, Redlands will come into this game with a renewed focus, but Linfield comes out and executes and performs to the talent level of this roster, the ‘Cats are going to get it done.

Monday, September 14, 2015

‘Cats Win!!! Linfield uses all phases to run past Chapman in 52-14 pounding.

#8 Spencer Payne was dynamic in the passing game for the 'Cats
Photo Courtesy from Brad Thompson: View Brad's Linfield Football photos here

The bad news and the good news right off the top for the ‘Cats.  The bad news - Linfield’s effort this past Saturday had a lot of rough spots.  The good news – even with a number of things to clean up, the ‘Cats still put on a 38 point licking against what I think is a pretty solid Chapman team.  That bodes well for what the season may hold for this very talented Linfield football team. 

In talking to Linfield Defensive Coordinator, Jackson Vaughan, towards the end of the game, he said jokingly that it’s almost a yearly tradition for the opposition to take the first possession of the year and march it right down the field.  It’s a combination of nerves, new scheme, cohesion, etc., and that was the case this past Saturday as Chapman marched right down the field in 5 plays and punched in a short TD to take a 7-0 lead.  It was a little cold water in the face but the momentum quickly turned as Linfield capitalized on a muffed punt and never looked back.

For Chapman, I think that team has a good chance of repeating in the SCIAC.  They have some good dudes that can ball and are a very sound team that should be a pain in the backside to deal with if you’re a team in SoCal but they just don’t have the horses to hang with the ‘Cats at this time.  Linfield just has wave after wave of guys that come at you in all phases of the game and Chapman had the displeasure of experiencing that first hand on a very hot day in McMinnville.

This Linfield team isn’t nearly a finished product.  I think there are areas of improvement all over the field for the ‘Cats but you can see the potential to put together what might be a very dangerous football team. The ‘Cats have some critical early season match-ups so the time to get everybody on the same page is minimal.  There has to be significant growth from game 1 to game 2 and we’ll find out soon enough just how good this group wants to be.

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

The Good

All three phases scoring touchdowns – You don’t see that every often.  Not only did the Linfield offense do their thing, but the ‘Cats special teams chipped in with two big touchdowns and a great individual effort by Linfield linebacker Jason Farlow with a spectacular 26-yard punt block for TD, and then Kennedy Johnson’s electric 77-yard punt return for TD.  The ‘Cats defense got in on the act as Linfield Senior Rover Keanu Yamamoto rolled the dice on a Chapman bubble screen and swiftly picked it off for a 23 yard pick six (his 2nd of his career). It was great to see each phase of the ‘Cats game making such big impacts on the outcome of the contest.
Linebacker #25 Jason Farlow with a clutch 26-yard punt block and return for TD that lit up the 'Catdome
Photo Courtesy of Brad Thompson: View Brad's Linfield Football Photos here

Linfield has numerous weapons to choose from– The ‘Cats have a lot of guys that are dangerous with the ball in their hand.  Not to get too much into this but Linfield has a great mix of steady guys that will get you that 1st down yardage to some guys that can flat out hit the home run. Once the offense irons out a few things, I think the big play is going to be a common theme in Linfield games this season.

Pass defense – Chapman QB Andrew Chavez came out gunning and torched Linfield’s secondary on the 1st drive of the game to the tune of 4 out of 4 passes and 74 passing yards.  But once Linfield talked it out on the sideline, the ‘Cats secondary locked Chavez and his receivers down to the tune of 11 of 28 passes for only 101 yards. 

Fantastic Special Teams – The ‘Cats special teams was great on Saturday.  All three of our kickers were outstanding (McClean with 3 punts that avg 40.3 yards and 3 within the 20 yard line, Cayman Conley with 9 kickoffs and 6 were for touchback, and Michael Metter with a 41 yard field and perfect in PATs), our coverage was great, a critical fumble recovery early by Franklin Lime, the huge punt block/TD, great returns, and then the 77-yard punt return TD by Kennedy Johnson.  This group is going to be a weapon for Linfield this season.

Red Zone Offense – Linfield went 4 out of 5 in the end zone and the one miss was when the ‘Cats took a knee on Chapman’s 10 to kill the clock to end the game. I really liked the versatility of the ‘Cats offense the red zone and they should continue to be effective moving forward in the season.

Solid Defensive Effort – After the initial drive, the ‘Cats defense settled down and forced the Panther to seven 3-and-outs and eight drives of three plays or less.  Along with that, Linfield limited Chapman to only 273 yards of total offense (75 yards of that with the game put away in the 4th quarter), and held Chapman to 4 of 16 on 3rd down.  I’m sure the defensive staff has identified a number of areas of improvement but it was a very good effort out the gates considering Linfield had a number of new faces in the lineup.
A photo posted by catdomealumni (@catdomealumni) on
 
The Bad

Penalties – Bad. Just bad.  Linfield was flagged 9 times for 80 yards on Saturday and that needs to be cleaned up.  The ‘Cats strive to play a controlled aggression style of football, so sometimes Linfield will get flagged, but Saturday was too much laundry on the field for anybody’s liking.

Inconsistent Execution – You can see the potential of this team.  It’s bubbling all over the place but there is a lot of work to do if Linfield is going to be a serious contender for that National Championship.  I’ll give most the issues that popped up this weekend to first game wrinkles and issues but Linfield staff and players know they have to clock in and put in the work if they’re going to reach the potential this roster has.

The Ugly

Flopping Punter – Come on man….you can’t do this on the a football field.  This is the second time that I can remember a player from the SCIAC breaking what should be a clear unwritten rule in football…NO FLOPPING.  During the 1st quarter of action, the Chapman Punter was slightly grazed in the upper body by a Franklin Lime on a block attempt and this punter when down like his leg snapped in two and then proceed to roll around the turf like Ric Flair had slapped on the figure four leg lock.  The best/worst part was his celebration after he saw the flags tossed. Thankfully it was only called as a running into the kicker and not roughing. I mean WWE wrestlers don’t sell fake injuries as well as this guy did.  Soccer players would have said “Too much bro” if they saw that act.  Brutal and don’t think this ugly will be topped this season.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

2015 Linfield College Scoreboard Team Intro

Great way to start the season.  Game review on Monday so until then I'll leave you with this.


Friday, September 11, 2015

2015 Around The 'Catdome: Game 1

Tomorrow is Game Day!
Welcome to our first Around the 'Catdome for 2015. I don't know if this will be here every Friday because once the season starts the number of articles you'll see will shrink significantly but if there are still a good chunk of material during the week, we'll gather them up in once place for you to get your weekly primer.

For those that are new to the blog, the ATC is a link round up of articles and videos of not only relating to Linfield but also Linfield non-conference opponents and the NWC line up.  We have over 30 links for you today so lots of goodies to get you caught up on the happening around the conference and our two SCIAC teams.

Also a plug for D3football.com.  The good folks there put out a tremendous on-line preseason publication that is a MUST for any fan of division 3 football.  It's only $11 and that's a deal. It will help you become more familiar with the landscape of our division and there are a ton or great stories of young people reaching for their own greatness.

Don't expect much over the weekend.  We'll have an embedded twitter feed running tomorrow, so use the hashtag of "Catdome" for your tweets and instagram posts.  Follow me on twitter, facebook, and instagram.  I'm think I'm a decent follow.....at least I crack myself up.

D3football.com's Kickoff: Well worth the $11.  Go get it now.

The Daily Orange: Linfield honors late teammate with monument, jersey tradition

Oregonlive: Linfield aims to play for Moore

Hero Sports: Linfield's Joe Smith named one of top coaches in D3.

Statesman Journal: Linfield hopes to maintain winning ways

Hero Sports: Linfield Football: THE STREAK

Reddit CFB: Linfield College: The Greatest Streak Never Known

D3blogs.com: D3football.com crew names Linfield/Chapman D3 game of the week.

Hero Sports: Linfield All-American D-End Alex Hoff named one of best defensive linemen in D3.

The Orange County Register: Expectations soar for Chapman

The Orange County Register: Chapman new QB thinks they should have gone further in the playoffs last year

Daily Pilot: Chapman football player ready for his opportunity

The Panther (Chapman Student Paper): Chapman gets ready for Linfield

RedlandsDFSports YouTube Channel: Redlands Preview 2015

Redlands Daily Facts: Redlands reports and Maynard is really, really excited

Redlands Daily Facts: Redlands ready for 2015 season

The Press Enterprise: Redlands ready to meet expectations with XTREAM DESIRE AND MENTAL TOUGHNESS

Statesman Journal: Willamette football in a rebuilding mode

Newberg Graphic: Late turnover dooms GFU

The News Tribune: PLU freshman says he wants Linfield

PLU Mast: PLU kicker, Annika Smith-Ortiz, blazing trail as a Lute

PLU YouTube Page: Scott Westering doesn't take a single breath in his season preview of the Lutes

The New Tribune: PLU's Welch expecting a big season

Kxly.com (w/ video): Rats open up camp

WhitworthPirates YouTube Page: Sandberg talks in a bunch of football coach cliches.

The Spokesman-Review: Rats are investing heavy in Offensive Line

The Spokesman-Review: Rats open vs Poets.

Portland Tribune: New Head Coach leads Pioneers

Tacoma Weekly: Loggers think they are now a "team to be reckoned with"

Puget Sound YouTube Page: Jeff Thomas is back from the hot Tacoma beach scene to lead his Loggers

The News Tribune: Ronnie Espedal III takes long road to gridiron at UPS

Oregonlive: GFU's Tony Long also takes a different path to college football. Thank you for the service, Tony.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

2015 NWC Pick 'Em Contest: Week 2


Team, Excellence, Attitude, Class
Holy cow that was a brutal week 1.  Only 2 out of 6 games correct as the Boxers put on a great late comeback, Stevens Point forgot how to play defense, Thomas More took St. John Fisher to the woodshed, and Rowan stunned Widener.  

I have nowhere to go but up (I hope) in week 2 as we have a FULL slate of games to go through and I’m excited to also welcome back (509)Rat back into the Pick ‘Em fold.  For those that are new to the blog, (509)Rat is a former Whitworth athlete and a passionate backer of the Rats.  Honestly, I have no idea who Rat really is.  I don’t know his name, have a general idea what he does, but all I know is that he’s very knowledgeable about the sport, the NWC, and he cracks me up.  Welcome back (509)Rat.

Let’s see what’s cooking in week 2.

Northwest Conference Games of the Week:

Linfield (0-0) over Chapman (0-0) (at Linfield):

(509)Rat says Linfield: Chapman just doesn't have the horses to compete with Linfield. Not to mention, breaking in a new QB against Alex Hoff and friends is less than ideal. I would bet this game resembles something closer to the 2nd time these two teams met in 2014...than the 1st. Linfield should win comfortably and the SCIAC continues to serve as the NWC's "AAA" affiliate.

Whitworth (0-0) over Whittier (0-0) (at Whitworth):  I’m expecting Whitworth’s defense to be more sound this season and why I think they’re going to be a top 3 NWC team by the time the dust all settles.  Whitter has been and continues to be a mess of a SCIAC program.  They’re like the straight to DVD of football programs on the West Coast.  I’m expecting Kolste to put up video game numbers and for the Rats to roll.

(509)Rat says Whitworth:  Nobody actually "fears the poet" do they? I expect Whitworth to continue to improve in year 2 under Sandberg and co. Whittier kept it close last year as Whitworth stumbled out of the gate. Whitworth's offense will continue to put up big numbers despite the loss of Peterson. Kolste will get the start and I expect him to do well with 4 returning OL in front of him and an offense with a scheme and playcalling actually worthy of a college football field.

Redlands (0-0) at George Fox (0-1) (at GFU):  GFU let victory slip away down in La Verne last week (maybe should have used some TAPE on the football for better security) and that’s actually a positive sign as GFU was very competitive in their first real road trip as a program.  I’m expecting for Fox to have some moments on Saturday but Redlands should take care of the Bruins by a comfortable margin. 

(509)Rat says Redlands: Even though they are no longer the top dog in the SCIAC, there is more than enough talent to beat George Fox. I feel bad for the Bruins, not because of the 0-2 start after only winning 1 game last year, but because they have to deal with John Tully. Luckily for the Bruins he should only be working with quarterbacks and won't be allowed any play calling duties.

Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (0-1) over Lewis and Clark (0-0) (at L&C): L&C is in year one of a total rebuild and are not going to beat a so-so CMS team that laid an egg last week against UPS.  On a sidenote…it’s just bizarre to see Locey use long standing Linfield traditions up at L&C.  It’s like watching someone put Mercedes decals on a pinto.

(509)Rat says CMS: Good high school teams in WA and OR and especially CA could beat Lewis and Clark. CMS shouldn't have too many problems with the Pios. They have a game under their belt already this season which is a significant advantage IMO.

Occidental (0-0) over Puget Sound (1-0) (at UPS):  Oxy’s offense was pretty dang efficient last season (it was their defense that stunk) and the Tigers bring back most of their firepower and I think they can make some noise in the SCIAC this season.  The Logger offense was a turnover machine last week but did convert 50% on 3rd down and put up 477 yards.  Maybe that first game got the blood flowing for UPS but I still like Oxy to take this one. 

(509)Rat says Oxy: Oh how the mighty have fallen. Oxy is a shell of their former selves (circa 10 years ago). The good news is that despite what people on the NWC boards want you to believe, UPS is still as bad as they were 10 years ago. This one could honestly go either way, but you gotta like what Semone is doing with the program down in Eagle Rock. 

Trinity (Tx.) (1-0) over Willamette (0-0) (at Trinity): Very tough call here.  I think the holes left by Willamette’s All-American departures this year are going to be hard for Willamette to overcome.  They still have some talent on the roster but I think the Bearcats are in danger of being a bottom half of the NWC standings team this year.  Trinity…no idea if they are middle of the road or decent but I’m just going with my gut.

(509)Rat says Willamette: This is more NWC homerism than anything. I don't know what to make of Willamette. They lose to Whitworth and PLU, then knock off Linfield, then lose to Pacific. I shouldn't have any faith in a Bearcat team that is traveling to San Antonio to play an improved Trinity team, in 90 degree heat that will feel warmer with some humidity from the thunderstorms rolling through...but what the heck, go NWC!

Cal Lutheran (0-0) over Pacific Lutheran (0-0) (at CLU):  PLU is young on offense…very young.  I think the Lutes were very happy with their recruiting class and they landed some talented players but they won’t be ready for primetime this season.  I think the Lutes take a step back before being a conference contender again in 2016.  For this weekend, CLU and their transfers will get a much needed season open victory over PLU.

(509)Rat says PLU: Another NWC homer pick, that and CLU's coach is a bit of a doucher. PLU has some question marks coming into this season and will probably take a small step back. However, they have been recruiting well lately with big incoming classes with enough talent to get it done this year again. I hope I'm not wrong on this one. (Wildcat11 sidenote: I like Coach Mac very much.  Have talked to him a few times and he’s a good dude.)

West Region Game of The Week:

#6 Wartburg (1-0) over #19 Bethel (1-0) (at Bethel): Monster game out in Minnesota this weekend.  Wartburg is a legit contender to crash the purple party in Salem this year and Bethel has proven their worth as a top 15 program for a number of years now.  This should be a treat for any football fan and I would love to be there to take in an early fall Midwest football game.  I think Wartburg will pull out a hard fought win.

(509)Rat says Wartburg: If I remember correctly, I picked against Wartburg last year in a game against Bethel. Not this time. The knowledgable folks of d3football.com seem to think Wartburg is the better team. I'm going to agree with them and pick the corn-fed boys from Iowa (a wonderful place BTW, you should visit some time WC11).

National Games of The Week:

#18 Texas Lutheran (1-0) over Hardin Simmons (1-0) (at HSU):  TLU is a program on the rise and HSU continues to try to regain traction as the D3 program in the state of Texas.  The biggest hang up for the Cowboys over the past seasons as been their defense so if they improved in that area, they have a shot of knocking off TLU.  However, I think TLU will be too explosive and win this Lone Star State showdown.

(509)Rat says TLU: HSU hasn't been the same since Feaster graduated, just a very above average program without any major highs or lows. If the Cowboys are on the upswing or got lucky with another stud QB, this could be a very good game. TLU, on the other hand, has done nothing but improve since their disaster of a season in 2009. I expect the Bulldogs to win this game, but I have a soft spot for HSU and wouldn't mind seeing the Cowboys win this one and return to former glory when they could actually give UMHB a game.

Illinois College (1-0) over Rose-Hulman (1-0) (at IC): No idea here.  Last year these two put up like 1,345 points combined so this will probably be a 3-0 game.  IC has been a program that’s flirted with the Top 25 the past few years and puts up points.  I’ll take them for the W.

(509)Rat says IC: I know nothing about these two teams. Rose-Hulman plays in a better conference, but the game is in Illinois. Illinois college came out of the gate against Aurora with a win as convincing as in 2014, while Rose-Hulman struggled a little with Kalamazoo compared to last season (apparently Kalamazoo is a real school). Does that mean Rose-Hulman isn't as good as they were last year? Maybe. That's all I can come up with.