Saturday, October 22, 2016

2016 NWC Pick Em Contest: Week 8

Stand Tall 'Cats!
Welcome to a Saturday morning edition of the NWC pick ‘em contest.  I’m currently typing this in a hotel room in downtown Spokane and I gotta say that the view of downtown Spokane isn’t too shabby.  Since I have about 436 things to do such as get my camera gear ready, shower, shave, drink coffee, get in my 500 push-ups, breakfast, etc, I have to keep the intro short and not pontificate about the current shape of the conference.  So grab a pumpkin spiced latte, slip off your Uggs, and curl up with your smartphone for this week’s game picks!

Northwest Conference Game Picks

#8 Linfield (4-1) over Whitworth (5-1) (at Whitworth): (509)Rat says: The Cats might score 100 this week. This one is going to be a blowout and I'm ok with that, despite the fact that Whitworth doesn't field a defense, the program is still moving in the right direction if you ask me. As long as someone hides the gun from Linfield's offense, preventing the self-inflicted wounds that have slowed them down previously, they'll likely have subs in for most of the 4th quarter. That's how bad the rest of the NWC is because I still believe Whitworth is the second best team in the conference.

Pacific Lutheran (3-2) over George Fox (2-3) (at Fox): Man, this had to be a tough week to be a Lute. They had that Whitworth game in the bag but couldn’t finish the job and give the Rats their due for never stop believing and coming back for a big win but that had to be a hard afterglow. I think (509) and I have been proven right that PLU is a legit team this year but Fox has been quietly playing good football this season. If the Lutes don’t have their head in the game this weekend, the Bruins are capable of knocking off PLU but I think the Lutes are the better team and that will show at the end.

(509)Rat says PLU: In games against Whitworth, PLU impressed me more. I should probably take Fox though since I've whiffed on every even PLU matchup to date. The Lutes offense should have gotten a nice morale boost last week and hopefully that carries over this week against the Bruins. I worry that crowd noise may be a factor...Lutes in a close one

Pacific (2-4) over Willamette (2-4) (at Willamette): I’ve seen these two teams up close and personal the past two weeks and Pacific is easily the more talented team on both sides of the ball. That Willamette offense is still terrible and in many ways the Bearcats were fortunate to leave the ‘Catdome 40 down instead of much more. The Boxers will hit some home runs and put away the Bearcats.

(509)Rat says Pacific: I blame Puget Sound and Cal lu for allowing me to ever believe Willamette was a good team. Pacific doesn't breed much confidence either but I like the Boxers on both sides of the ball compared to the Bearcats. Pacific has also had 2 weeks to prepare for this one while Willamette probably spent most of last week in ice baths after a beatdown in McMinnville.

Puget Sound (2-3) over Lewis & Clark (0-5) (at UPS):  I hate to tell you I told you so about Puget Sound…actually that’s a lie.  I told you that Puget Sound was going right back to the bottom tier this season and that is being proven over the course of the season. The Loggers just don’t have the dudes up front and throwing 85 shallow drags a game isn’t the solution either. Thankfully, the Loggers get a slight reprieve this week as they are playing a Lewis & Clark team with no offensive punch and no defensive backbone.  You had to figure Coach Locey knew it was going to be a big job but I wonder if he thought it was going to be this big?

(509)Rat says UPS: I hope Loggers fans realize this is UPS's last win of the season and celebrate accordingly.

West Region Games of the Week

Redlands (4-1) over Claremont-Mudd-Scripts (4-1) (At UofR): For all the braging about being right about PLU and UPS, I have to eat a fat bowl of crow for picking CMS as my fancy little pick to win the SCIAC title this year. The Stags had a nice run and good non-confernece win over Washington and Jefferson but that fun little story hit a brick wall last Saturday in a 34-0 beatdown by Cal Lutheran. Yikes. Redlands has been taking care of business in the SCIAC this year and I look for that to continue against the Stags.

(509)Rat says Redlands: Redlands still has a long ways to go to get back to Bulldogs teams of old, but they at least appear to be back on top of the SCIAC. As much as I enjoy seeing Maynard lose, I don't think the Stags will win after last week proved to me that they were pretenders.

#4 UW-Oshkosh (5-1) over #9 UW-Platteville (5-1) (at UWO):  Platteville is a very good football team but I feel like they just always fall short to Whitewater and Oshkosh and this weekend will be no different.  I expect a highly competitive game but in the end it will be the Titans making a few more plays to pull out the win.

(509)Rat says Oshkosh: The Titans are very comfortable in low scoring games, because they have that much faith in a talented and well coached defense. That does not mean that they aren't capable of putting points on the board. This game probably resembles the score of the UWW v Platteville game, more so than UWW's game with Oshkosh, meaning both teams will score some points. But these types of games typically come down to "stops" and I trust the Titans to get one or two more of those throughout the game.

National Games of the Week: 

#3 Mary Hardin-Baylor (6-0) over #11 Hardin-Simmons (6-0) (at UMHB): I’m one of the top 25 voters who has UMHB ranked number 1 in the country. Hardin-Simmons knocked off UMHB last year and played the Cru’ well in the playoff game but this version of UMHB is a better version and that means Hardin-Simmons will be going head first into the waters of Pool C.

(509)Rats says UMHB: Does Justin Feaster have eligibility left for Hardin Simmons? If not, the Cru will roll.

#15 Stevenson (6-0) over #25 Delaware Valley (5-1) (at Stevenson): Stevenson hasn’t let me down yet.

(509)Rat says Stevenson: I don't think Delaware Valley's loss to Albright should affect who you pick in this one. You either believe Stevenson is ready to take the crown from the Aggies or you don't. I hitched myself to that wagon early in the season and I'm gonna stick with the Mustangs at home.

#21 Rowan (5-1) over Wesley (4-2): Tough call but this just isn’t the Wesley teams of past years and while the Wolverines have been laying the wood the past three weeks I’m smelling a Profs win.

(509)Rat says Wesley: Wesley isn't as good as they have been in recent years, but they are playing better as of late. Probably because they are playing worse competition, and I probably shouldn't pick them because of it, but I'm going to. Literally anyone can get into Wesley, so I'm sure they still have the talent. I'm banking on the assumption they got off to a slow start early this season due to some big personnel losses and that they are finally starting to run on all cylinders.

Wildcat11’s Week 8 NWC Power Rankings

1. Linfield: This is the week we find out if this Linfield is for real.
2. Whitworth:  This weekend is what Sandburg has been building towards for three years.
3. Pacific Lutheran: They had Whitworth BUT THEY LET THEM OFF THE HOOK!!!!
4. George Fox:  Defense has been good against the run this year.
5. Pacific: Still could play spoiler but it’s a lost year for the Boxers.
6. Willamette: Their talent is slipping.
7. Puget Sound: The Loggers’ defense is offensive.
8. Lewis & Clark:  At the end of season two, Coach Locey will have as many losses as he did in ten years at Linfield. Whoa.

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