Apologies for the late post. I am just trying to compete with the local news broadcast. We all know who is more entertaining.
I am happy to say that last week certainly lived up to the hype. The local prep teams gave us a few good games to talk about. Notre Dame and USC put on a show, as expected, it was just a sloppy one, also as expected. Then Sunday came.
The Bears took a nose dive, with maybe some assistance from the officials, and the Colts gave us a reason to feel good. Outside of the fact that perhaps their most likeable player is done for the season. Yes, last weekend gave Northern Indiana sports fans more than enough to talk about and with football sectionals starting this week and semi-states for both cross country and soccer, it can only get more exciting.
Last Week: 7-3
High School Football Week 10 10/25
Bellmont (4-5) at Whitko (6-3), 7 p.m.
The Scoop: The Wildcats looked good last week. Really, really good. Head coach Josh Mohr had them playing lights-out football and I still think Tippecanoe Valley is trying to figure out exactly what hit them last week in South Whitley. While Whitko did not get the most favorable match up in its sectional, it still managed to get a winnable game. If the Wildcats play at the level they were at last Friday, then they will live to see another day in the IHSAA playoffs.
The Pick: Whitko 27, Bellmont 21.
Warsaw (6-3) at Northrop (2-7), 7 p.m.
The Scoop: The Tigers could not grab themselves the NLC title last week, but they did manage to grab to most favorable sectional match up of any local team. Warsaw is in a weird spot right now, they came out strong last week but feel flat in a hurry. Even though Northrop is not that good of a team, it can still topple the Tigers if Warsaw does not get off to a hot start. The goal is simple for Warsaw, get out and smash the ball down the throat of the Bruins’ defense. The Tigers just need to show they are the superior team from the get-go and it will be smooth sailing. If not, there could be a long ride home for the orange and black.
The Pick: Warsaw 38, Northrop 16.
Leo (9-0) at Wawasee (5-4), 7 p.m.
The Scoop: This is one of the most intriguing games of the weekend, in my opinion. Wawasee has a very tough matchup against a very good Leo squad. There is no way to diminish Leo’s spotless record, I have heard fans trying to do just that all week. It does not matter that they play smaller schools or worse competition compared to Wawasee. Leo is 9-0 for a reason. That reason is that they have whooped up on all the schools that they should have whooped up on. Simple as that. The odds are stacked against Wawasee in this game but the Warriors get home field advantage and have played very well against some tough teams in Syracuse already this year. This is one of those games that is in reach for the Warriors but will most likely need a “perfect storm.” Remember how Wawasee responded last season in the sectionals against NorthWood and this season when a ranked Plymouth team came into Syracuse? The Warriors have played their best football when the chips are stacked against them, and that is never something to overlook come playoff time.
The Pick: Leo 45, Wawasee 35.
Triton (1-8) at West Central (6-3), 7:30 p.m.
The Scoop: I am just going to come out and say it: This is Triton’s best chance to steal a game all season. Yes, I know what this game looks like on paper but I am looking at it from a different point of view. Triton has absolutely nothing to lose this week. Nothing. They have lost eight straight games by ridiculous margins and barely have enough kids to make up a roster. West Central has already won this game and has probably spent most of this week’s practice discussing what South Central or Culver will bring to the table next week. Triton seniors, you told me in preseason you wanted to win the sectional, I am here to tell you that will not happen, but winning this game would be just as big. If you win, you are heroes, if you lose, so what? We all know what will probably happen but this is the playoffs, time to defy some odds. Go down swinging, Trojans.
The Pick: West Central 42, Triton 41.
Jimtown (7-2) at Tippecanoe Valley (5-4), 7:30 p.m.
The Scoop: The Vikings looked lost last week and need to rebound this week. Unfortunately, they drew a very rough matchup in the first week. The Jimmies bring a whole host of problems to any team they play. They are big and physical and will take control of the game early, if you let them. Jimtown has also been a little inconsistent at times and if that happens this week, then the Vikings can pull the upset. I expect Valley to rebound this week and have a good showing, just not quite good enough to pull this win off.
The Pick: Jimtown 31, Valley 20.
College Football Week 9 10/26
Ball State (7-1) at Akron (2-6), 12 p.m.
The Scoop: Ball State is on a roll and on the verge of cracking the top 25 for the first time since 2008. Akron is one of the most inconsistent teams in the NCAA. The Zips went into Ann Arbor a few weeks back and nearly knocked off Michigan and then last week had trouble beating a terrible Miami team. This should be another big win for the Cardinals led by quarterback Keith Wenning.
The Pick: Ball State 49, Akron 20.
Notre Dame (5-2) at Air Force (1-6), 5 p.m.
The Scoop: I really would like to set aside a few paragraphs to explain how terrible Tommy Rees is and also explain how badly Notre Dame needs him, but instead I will direct you to this article by Keith Arnold and he can do all of that for me. Now, since Rees will be playing this week the Irish should be just fine against a bad Air Force team. But make no mistake, Air Force will step up its game against Notre Dame as all teams do and the Falcons run the triple option which most defense struggles against because it is not commonly seen. The Irish need to get up big early and put it in cruise control to avoid anymore negative, yet justified, criticism from media “experts” like me.
The Pick: Notre Dame 42, Air Force 14.
High School Boys Soccer Semi-State 10/26
Crown Point (18-0-1) at Warsaw (14-2-5), Warsaw Semi-State, 12 p.m.
The Scoop: Can you feel the excitement yet? Four teams enter Saturday’s semi-state at Warsaw High School with hopes to advance to the state championship game in Indianapolis. The two best teams in the north are meeting in the second game of the day in Warsaw. Crown Point enters ranked No. 4 in 2A while Warsaw enters at No. 9. This will surely be a great match and if you have the chance to go, do not miss it. This could truly go either way but playing at home and with the experience that the Tigers hold, I would feel foolish to pick against them here.
The Pick: Warsaw 3, Crown Point 1.
Columbus North (19-0-1) at Avon (20-0-1), Evansville Harrison Semi-State, 12 p.m.
The Scoop: This is the game of the year for Indiana prep soccer. Not only are these teams ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the state but both are ranked nationally as well. North comes in at No. 12 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll while Avon enters as No. 18. Indiana is one of just two states to have two teams in the top 20. Who says we only play basketball? While anything could certainly happen in this heavyweight slugfest, I feel North will keep its top ranking for at least another week.
The Pick: Columbus North 1, Avon 0.
NFL Week 8 10/27
San Francisco (5-2) at Jacksonville (0-7), 1 p.m.
The Scoop: Both the Colts and Bears have a bye this weekend so I am not left with much in the NFL to choose from. Am I left with better options than this game? Of course, but I would rather focus on just how anemic the Jaguars are. In total point differential they are at -146, the next closest team is -90. But even worse than that is their performance at home. Home, where the heart is. In three games at home this season the Jaguars have been outscored 89-11 and have yet to score a touchdown. I repeat, that is AT HOME. But that all changes this week. Yes, the Jags finally find the end zone in North Florida and will shock the NFL this weekend in their match up with one of the league’s top teams. The Jaguars are 17-point underdogs in this game but they will only lose by 10! Another bold pick, you’re welcome.
The Pick: San Francisco 27, Jacksonville 17.