Thursday, September 29, 2016

2016 NWC Pick 'Em Contest: Week 5

Fire it up!!!
Finally it’s time for Northwest Conference action. This NWC bye week has felt like forever but part of that is probably the way my guys went into the bye. But now it’s time to get down to business and for the race to the NWC title, and more importantly, the race to secure the automatic playoff bid is now afoot. There are already a lot of interesting match-ups this opening week as PLU and Pacific play what is pretty much a knock out game in week one of NWC play, UPS gets a chance to go 3-0 for the first time in what is probably too many years to count and to set up a showdown with Whitworth, and the Rats get GFU this week and that means since they gave up nearly 50 their last game, Whitworth should throw a shutout this weekend.

I’m also talking a lot about the NWC race because I don’t want to bring any attention to the fact that I’m continuing to suck eggs in the 2016 NWC pick ‘em race.  I’m still sitting in dead last 4 weeks into the season and I better get going.  Meanwhile, (509)Rat current sits in 2nd place and is crushing it so what I’m trying to tell you is that if I’m picking your team then you should be worried.

Enough chitchat, let’s get down to brass tax and talk games.

Northwest Conference Games of the Week:

#7 Linfield (1-1) over Lewis & Clark (0-2) (at Linfield): (509)Rat says Linfield: Lewis and Clark football and wildcat11's pick 'em picks this year have a lot in common. Now that I have that out of the way, my pick, in the form of a gif...

Pacific (1-2) over Pacific Lutheran (1-1) (at PLU): I was so high on PLU entering this season. I thought that they had a star QB in the making in Sophomore Cole Chandler and with so many offensive returners, I was sure the Lutes were going to have a huge bounce back year. Nope. Instead PLU is going with the duel QB’s in Jon Shaub and Chandler and it has been so blah (they total 3 picks to 2 TD passes as a pair).  I know Shaub has been a good solider but if you have two QB’s you really have none.  PLU is playing good defense but I think unless Pacific really pees down their leg, this is Pacific’s game for the taking.

(509)Rat says Pacific: The Cal lu win and the Trinity loss look a little worse after last week for the Lutes. The defense has played well but the offense has been worse than expected. I'm not sure who will play QB for the Lutes because I'm not sure the Lutes know who'll be under center for most of this game. Pacific's offense got a little confidence boost thanks to a matchup against a SCIAC team. Pimental and Williams probably won't have the same success against PLU, but the Lutes won't score enough to keep up.

Willamette (1-2) over Puget Sound (2-0) (at UPS): I’m just picking this game out of spite.  The odds of Willamette winning this game are low but I do think they’ll be in the game late and have a chance. Puget Sound has been on the double bye so they are either going to be the most prepared team in Division III this weekend or are going to have some serious ring rust early on this game. I’m sure the UPS coaching staff is already planning on their post-game victory party on the rock quarry that dubs as a Tacoma Beach.

(509)Rats says UPS:  the Solutes ran and threw for more yards than Willamette last week, but somehow the Bearcats found a way to win. I don't think the little bit of momentum they built up in the second half during their come-from-behind win is enough to carry over to the game this week. UPS's 2-0 record is only slightly surprising. Their chatter on Twitter will be insufferable after they move to 3-0. Luckily they get to bus over to Spokane for a loss the following week.

Whitworth (2-1) over George Fox (0-2) (at GFU): It’s homecoming for GFU so prepare to inflate that home gate by 2,500 fans instead of their usual 1,500 fans. Seriously, it’s beyond comical at this point and I would bet you a C-Note that GFU’s Whitworth game story leads off with the fake attendance number that either “packed” or “jammed” or “stuffed” their stadium while Whitworth opened up a can. Also, I wonder if it will be strange for Coach Tully to be sitting in GFU’s booth and see a Whitworth team that plays competent offense?  Regardless, this game will only be interesting depending on what Rat defense shoes up.

(509)Rat says Whitworth:   The 50% chance of rain is the only thing that will slow down the Whitworth offense on Saturday. George Fox will feel a little better about themselves after scoring a few too many times (for my taste) against a Whitworth D that hasn't stopped anyone this year. Ultimately though, the 8,000 George Fox fans at the stadium will be going home disappointed.

West Region Games of the Week:

#2 UW-Whitewater (3-0) over #8 UW-Platteville (3-0) (at Platte): Nope. Not going to even waste too much time thinking about this one.  UWW honks are worried about this pass defense and that’s what Platteville does…throw the ball. Regardless, it might be close but I just don’t pick against Whitewater.

(509)Rat says UW-Whitewater:  2004. That was the last time the Warhawks lost to Platteville. The Pioneers have had some very good teams as of late and have played UWW well the last 2 seasons. You just can't pick against Whitewater until they actually lose to somebody in their conference. They have 4 conference losses in the last 10 seasons, don't expect it to go to 5 on Saturday.

#24 Central (4-0) over Dubuque (4-0) (at Central): I watched pretty much the whole Pacific vs Dubuque and the Boxers blew that game more than Dubuque won it. I don’t think either team is a very strong undefeated team but it seems that it’s Central year to own the IIAC and that starts with knocking off Dubuque in his big IIAC showdown.

(509)Rat says Central: Obviously as a Whitworth fan I need Central to do well, so I'm probably not the person to listen to regarding this matchup. Dubuque's offense isn't as potent as Bethel made them look in week 1, but if Loras can put up 30+ on Central, anybody can. This should be a high scoring contest where the loser is within a score late in the game. Central is at home and I need them to win. The fine people of Pella also make fantastic windows and doors. Go Dutch.

National Games of the Week:

Case Western Reserve (3-0) over St. Vincent (3-0) (at Case):  First time in St. Vincent’s short history that they’ve started 3-0, so that’s pretty neat. Oh, they’re going to lost to Case Western this weekend.

(509)Rat says Case Western Reserve: A team from Ohio and another from Pennsylvania meet up for an important SOUTH region matchup...I don't get it either. Case killed the Bearcats last year and while St. Vincent is undefeated and may put up more of a fight, Case Western should pick up a W again. The difference will be defense in this one, in that I don't expect St. Vincent to play much of it.

Hendrix (3-0) over Centre (4-0) (at Hendrix):  Hendrix has been impressive in their short few year of playing football and have instantly become a challenger to Centre.  It was a wild one last year between these two and I expect more of the same this year with Hendirx getting it done.

(509)Rat says Hendrix: Hendrix has done nothing except improve since starting a football program 4 years ago. They made the playoffs last year after winning the SAA and in the process squeaking out a 51-48 win against Centre. I don't know a whole lot else about these two programs, so I'm gonna take the home team who gets better every year and seems to be playing a better defense so far this season.

Wildcat11 Week 5 NWC Power Rankings

1. Linfield – This weekend is a warm up to a huge game at Pacific next weekend
2. Whitworth – The offense should have a field day with the Bruins
3. Pacific – Even with the week off and I haven’t changed my mind. This is a good team.
4. Puget Sound – They are saying they’re a legit program. We’ll see.
5. George Fox – Big but slow upfront is not going to play into their favor this weekend.
6. Willamette – Been a 2nd half team but will need both halves to knock off UPS
7. PLU – If the offense is non-existent this weekend, it’s time to ring the alarm.
8. L&C – Looking more like a real football team but not enough Jimmy’s and Joe’s.

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