This is THE week. I hate to raise the bar too high but this might be the greatest weekend of football that we have all season.
Yes, I am serious, Kosciusko. How could it get any better? Notre Dame/Michigan, NorthWood/Concord, Warsaw/Plymouth, the NFL returns and Tom Wogomon returns to Syracuse. I don’t know how to put this weekend into words, *wipes tear from eye*, it’s beautiful.
There is a lot of talking to do with the picks so let me just say congratulations to the Warsaw volleyball team on defeating Elkhart Memorial last Thursday. That was a huge victory for the Lady Tigers. Also, Tiger volleyball player Jordyn Lindeman was in a bad car wreck earlier this week and ended up in the hospital. Thankfully Lindeman is just too tough for words and is doing well now. Thoughts and prayers are going out to her as she recovers!
Okay, it’s finally time to get picking this mecca of football weekends.
Last Week: 6-3
High School Football Week 3 9/5
Culver (1-1) at Triton (1-1), 7 p.m.
The Scoop: Well, I may have hopped on the Trojan bandwagon too soon. I got all swept up in Triton’s big win in week one and that led me to a poor pick last week. Maybe I should proceed with caution but I’d rather just have faith in Grant Stichter and the Trojans offense this week.
Joey Corder will be playing on Friday night, that was previously up in the air. Corder’s presence will be huge. As I talked about last week, he creates a big mismatch for opposing defenses. I really think this turns into a game about possession time. If Stichter can make things happen with his feet and get completions to Corder on occasion, Triton will win a low-scoring contest to move to 2-1.
The Pick: Triton 13, Culver 7.
Manchester (1-1) at Tippecanoe Valley (0-2), 7 p.m.
The Scoop: The Vikings were Topper-ed last week by Bremen and Ryan Topper, who scored four times. This week the Vikings take on a Manchester squad that they have beaten 17 times over the past 20 years. This is the kind of game that the Vikings need to get back on track. It won’t be any easy task but I think Valley finds the win column this week since the game is being played in Death Valley. Garrett Bell is going for three scores in this one to lead the Vikings.
The Pick: Valley 35, Manchester 31.
Southwood (2-0) at Whitko (0-2), 7 p.m.
The Scoop: Okay, Wildcat fans, there is no need to panic. While an 0-2 start is far from ideal, both losses came to talented teams and Whitko also started 0-2 last season before winning a share of the Three Rivers title. That’s all the good news. The bad news is that Southwood is on a role and is currently ranked No. 12 in class 1A. The Knights are a talented group and right now I think they are just the better team. We’ll see what the Wildcats bring this week.
The Pick: Southwood 31, Whitko 20.
Concord (2-0, 1-0) at NorthWood (2-0), 7:30 p.m.
The Scoop: This is just the first of three major games in the Northern Lakes Conference this weekend. NorthWood seemingly has found its way back to relevance after starting the season 2-0. Everybody is jumping on the Panther bandwagon, a bandwagon being driven by Panther legacy Nate Andrews (and his visor). NorthWood downed a Jimtown squad that was suffering from a suspension and a young Fairfield team. I’m probably alone with this, but I think the Panthers are being over-hyped.
Concord is down this year, but the Minutemen still have a stellar defense and play makers on offense. I expect Concord to bring NorthWood back down to earth this Friday with a decisive victory behind a great game from quarterback Cullen Fisher.
The Pick: Concord 27, NorthWood 3.
Northridge (2-0) at Wawasee (2-0), 7:30 p.m. *Game of the Week*
The Scoop: This week’s game of the week actually is the Game of the Week for WHME. So, you know it’s big.
This is the game that Wawasee has been waiting 364 days for. On September 6, 2013 the Warriors were bested by their former coach, Tom Wogomon in Middlebury. This year Wawasee welcomes Wogomon back to Warrior Field and this game is going to be a classic. Raider stars Cam Ridenour and Payton Carson will try to capture Northridge’s first victory in Syracuse since 1998, and it might happen.
Northridge is as good this season as it ever has been. Wogomon has built up a solid defense and has a very talented backfield that will challenge a very determined Warrior defense. Wawasee’s D has played with a chip on its shoulder this season and it will need that attitude on Friday night.
Let me just get this out of the way, Northridge is going to score early. There will be a well-sustained drive by the Raiders and they will look unstoppable, it’s going to happen. When it happens, the Warriors just need to let it go because they are getting the last laugh in this one.
Northridge’s defense will be tested more in the opening quarter by Gage Reinhard and the Warrior offense then it has been all year. If the Warriors can get an early, two-score lead then Northridge will struggle to catch up with its “run first” offense. Don’t get me wrong, Northridge has a potent attack and it can shred defenses. But Wawasee is going to put everything into this game and not allow itself to lose, much like Northridge was not going to lose to the Warriors last fall.
This will be an emotionally charged game that will swing on a turnover and fans on both sides will be talking about this game for years to come.
The Pick: Wawasee 37, Northridge 28.
Warsaw (1-1) at Plymouth (2-0), 7:30 p.m.
The Scoop: My apologies to coach Phil Jensen and the rest of the Warsaw Tiger football family. I really didn’t think the Tigers would pull it out last week. I really didn’t have much doubt, to be honest. Maybe I underestimated the Tigers, maybe I overvalued East Noble, I’m not sure. Either way, the road doesn’t get any easier for Warsaw this weekend. Plymouth comes in averaging just over 47 points per game, one of the highest averages in class 4A. The Tigers can make a huge statement this Friday, but it will take a fantastic effort to slow down the Rockies offensive attack.
Warsaw pulled out a 20-19 victory last season over its rivals to the west and I know the Tigers can do it again, I just don’t think they will. I see Plymouth as the dark horse NLC favorite this season, maybe I’m wrong, I hope I am (seriously, I despise Plymouth). This will be the best test yet for both teams and this game will go a long way in helping to shake out the NLC race.
The Pick: Plymouth 42, Warsaw 25.
College Football Week 2 9/6
Central Michigan (1-0) at Purdue (1-0), 12 p.m.
The Scoop: The Boilers did it! They beat an NCAA Divison I FBS school for the first time since 2012. That’s a big step forward for the program and Darrell Hazell. I’m not trying to come off as sarcastic, Indiana was in the same position a few years back and that program is doing much better now. Now that the monkey is off the back of Purdue the fun can begin.
I’m looking for the Boilers to come out and cut loose this Saturday. Purdue should be able to roll over this team, even though Central Michigan is a better team than Western Michigan. Either way Danny Etling is going big in this game to move Purdue to 2-0.
The Pick: Purdue 42, Central Michigan 10.
Michigan (1-0) at No. 16 Notre Dame (1-0), 7:30 p.m.
The Scoop: Both of these teams looked FANTASTIC last weekend. Of course, both teams should have looked great playing the likes of Appalachian State and Rice. To be fair, ASU is a power in its division and Rice did win 10 games last season.
Anyways, Michigan’s quarterback Devin Gardner and ND’s signal caller Everett Golson are going to make this game a lot of fun. Golson was just winging it last week and made it look so easy on some plays. Gardner did the same. These two are going to pick apart their opposing defense with ease and give fans an outpouring of offensive production in what will be a very memorable win for the…Irish.
The Pick: Notre Dame 48, Michigan 42.
NFL Week 1 9/7
Buffalo (0-0) at Chicago (0-0), 1 p.m.
The Scoop: I don’t want to get Bears fans on my bad side to start the season, but I hate this week one match up. I don’t know if it is possible to have a trap game in week one or not. If it is, then this is a trap game. Buffalo has a lot to prove in week one. Is EJ Manuel a competent quarterback? How good is the defense without Kiko Alonso? Are any of their talented receivers useful? The Bears weak secondary does not want to be the victim of a Manuel coming out party. If Buffalo’s offense shows up and can manipulate the Bears D then it will be a long day for Chicago.
Fortunately I think the Bills will take too long to get going and Jay Cutler will rip apart Buffalo’s defense in the mean time. Cutler goes for 300+ and three scores in this one.
The Pick: Bears 31, Bills 20.
Indianapolis (0-0) at Denver (0-0), 8:30 p.m. Sunday Night Football
The Scoop: Luck v. Manning II.
I was lucky enough to be in attendance for Peyton Manning’s return to Indy last year (and lucky enough to get the pick right). This year I will not be at the game (don’t act so surprised) but I will be watching every minute of it from my couch. Manning has dismantled the teams he’s faced in week one the past two seasons and while it pains me to say this, I don’t think that will change this year.
The Colts have a lot of questions on defense with the absence of Robert Mathis and that will be the downfall of Indy this Sunday. Indy is great at playing to the level of its competition, so don’t expect a total blowout but without an effective pass rush, it is very hard to beat Peyton Manning. If Bjorn Werner and Erik Walden can step it up and pressure Manning, then the Colts might pull it out. I just don’t see that happening.
Andrew Luck will have some good throws and this game will be close in the first half but Manning and the Broncos will pull away in the third quarter.
The Pick: Broncos 41, Colts 28.