Friday, October 14, 2016

2016 NWC Pick ‘Em Contest: Week 7

It's fall in the Pacific Northwest. Let's play some football!
We’re at the mid-way point of the season and once again it has been going by way too fast. In the pick ‘em contest, (509)Rat is still very much alive for this year’s NWC pick ‘em title while sitting in 3rd place and I’m purely playing for pride as I’m hanging out with the cellar dwellers. It’s too late in the night break out accuracy percentages but let’s just say that Rat is having a very good year and Wildcat11 is pulling presidential 3rd candidate level polling numbers.

For the NWC, last week didn’t do much for all but one team…PLU. With the convincing win at Willamette, the ‘Lute have quieted some of my concerns and started to build their case as the bounce back program of the year in the NWC. Both Wildcat11 and (509)Rat were onto PLU in the preseason but their low output offense put the breaks on thoughts they might be a conference title contender but the Lutes’ are making it work and have set up a massive showdown with Whitworth this weekend.

IMO, with the weather being predicted tomorrow, conventional wisdom regarding the conference isn’t safe. It could be an upside down day but I’m basing my picks tomorrow on if it was a 65 degrees and sunny day and let the weather do what is going to do.

Last word is to be safe if you’re planning on traveling tomorrow. Make good decisions and stay safe!

Northwest Conference Games of the Week

#8 Linfield (3-1) over Willamette (2-3) (at Linfield): (509)Rat says: I should have taken the Lutes last week, I even had my pick 'em post edited to reflect my lack of faith in Willamette and decided not to submit it. I'm glad I don't have to worry about the Bearcats this week, Linfield will roll despite the fact that they can't get out of their own way at times.

Pacific Lutheran (3-1) over Whitworth (4-1) (at PLU): My Oh My. PLU’s defense has been nails this season in only allowing 12.2 points per game and only allowing teams to convert 32% of 3rd downs and have been great in the red zone (offenses only convert 54% of the time in Red Zone) but the ‘Lutes offense has been dreadful in only putting up 19.2 points per game. Whitworth is just on the opposite side of the scale in putting up nearly 49 points per game but have trouble stopping anybody not named Whittier.  I just think the Rats are going to struggle mightily with PLU and it has all the makings of a huge win for the Lutes’. 

(509)Rat says Whitworth: I have a feeling this is a bad pick. I don't think PLU's defense can stop Whitworth on their own...but they'll have a lot of help this weekend from Mother Nature. The storm of the century is going to hit the Seattle-Tacoma area. Rain and 40 mph winds will do more to slow down the Whitworth attack than the guys PLU is going to put out on the field. PLU isn't a threat to throw the ball regardless of weather but everyone else has had success against a soft Whitworth D, the Lutes probably will too.

Pacific (1-4) over Lewis & Clark (0-4) (at Pacific): Good news for both of these teams is that they were both in their respective games at the half. The bad news is that each team still had to play the second half of their games and were blown out. Both of these teams have some fine talented players but just not enough to make an impact this season (especially L&C).  Like every Pacific Northwest team this weekend, the weather is going to turn this into something ugly but it’s going to be even uglier for the Pios.

(509)Rat says Pacific: Mcat (pick ‘em page administrator) should consider giving everyone 1 point for the L&C game, saving us the time and energy of picking whoever the Pioneers are playing against each week

George Fox (1-3) over Puget Sound (2-2) (at GFU):  Regardless if this was played on a dry sunny day or in what is waiting for everyone tomorrow, I would be taking George Fox regardless. Last season the Loggers gave up 27.2 points per game and through four games the Logger defense is allowing 47.5 points per game. That is the difference between a winning season and losing one right there. Fox and the 15,946 fans that braved the elements to battle their cross town rivals will be soaking up the W over UPS.

(509)Rat says GFU: Fox is the better team. This is a winnable game for the Loggers which, like I said last week, they desperately need. I will take some satisfaction in UPS dropping 6 of their last 7.

West Region Games of the Week:

Coe (6-0) over #21 Dubuque (6-0) (at DU):  I haven’t been sold on Dubuque since I watch their game vs Pacific. They just didn’t jump off the page as a top 25 team and I’m not a believer, even if they handled Central better than Coe did. For the Cohawks, I haven’t seen them play at all this year so I don’t feel very confident in this pick but what the hell.

(509)Rat says Dubuque: This is likely for the IIAC championship, though a Dubuque win and Coe loss could create a 3 way tie with Wartburg. I'm gonna take Dubuque in a very evenly matched game because they are at home and because teams have had some success throwing on the Coe D.

St. Scholastica (5-1) over Northwestern (5-1) (at St. Scholastica): This is a conference where your best teams would be like on a Puget Sound level. I know, right? St. Scholastica with the dub.

(509)Rat likes St. Scholastica:
St. Scholastica is the best team in a garbage conference. I can't imagine this will be an enjoyable game to watch, but it should be an easy 2 points for those of us in the pick 'em.

National Games of the Week:

#18 Stevenson (5-0) over Widener (4-1) (a Widener):  I’m 100% on Stevenson in this game.  The ‘Stangs have been impressive since they started their program back in 2011. Along with that, I’ll take any chance I can to pick against Widener.  Chip Kelly still isn’t in Philly anymore so the Pride’s head coach won’t have anyone to blame for their loss this weekend.

(509)Rat says Stevenson: my early season MAC sleeper (ok, you can't call the Mustangs a "sleeper" but it makes me feel smarter) goes on the road for a big conference test. I'm gonna let the early prediction ride and take Stevenson.

#3 Mary Hardin-Baylor (5-0) over East Texas Baptist (5-0) (at ETBU): Please. Next.

(509)Rats says UMHB: another week, another monkey stomp for the Cru

#6 North Central (5-0) over #11 Wheaton (6-0) (at North Central): Mega, massive, huge game in the CCIW.  Pretty much the title game for that conference as the Cardinals and Thunder hook up for almost an annual CCIW title showdown.  Even though Wheaton is undefeated the Thunder have slid from #7 in the nation to #11.  Why? Wheaton has had to survive against some subpar competition while North Central has rolled. I’m taking the Red Birds big.

(509)Rat says North Central: This will be the best opponent either team has played so far this season. These are the best two programs in the CCIW as of late, with Wheaton having bested the Cardinals the last two seasons. The Thunder have had one too many close calls this year for me to have a whole lot of confidence in them.

Wildcat11’s Week 7 NWC Power Rankings
1.    Linfield: ‘Cats turned it over 5 times and still beat Pacific by 38.
2.    Whitworth:  An electric offense with a defense that is gonna cost the ‘em.
3.    Pacific Lutheran: An electric defense with an offense that is gonna cost ‘em
4.    George Fox:  Should secure the 4th spot in facing off with UPS.
5.    Willamette: They may not be the best team but they play hard for four quarters.
6.    Pacific: Kobe Williams is the fastest player in the NWC but struggles catching the ball.
7.    Puget Sound:  Their defense is giving up 47 points a game.
8.    Lewis & Clark:  Just not enough Jimmy’s and Joe’s to hang in the NWC.

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