You’ll have to excuse me if this week’s article is not as cheery as usual. I recently had something ridiculous happen to me and I’d rather not talk about it, just know that I am embarrassed currently. No, actually, people of Kosciusko, you are my friends and I should explain what happened.
See, last night I was coaching the Kansas City Chiefs as part of a contest I won recently. Anyway, my team played spectacular and we ended up tied with Denver with under a minute to play. We got the ball back with around 40 seconds to play. Logic told me to do one of two things, pass the ball to try and win or take a knee and finish things in overtime. But I, being an amateur, decided to run the ball instead.
(A little backstory: The Broncos defense had already forced four turnovers at this point in the game.)
“If we run it,” I thought to myself on the sidelines, “the worst that could happen is that we fumble and Denver picks it up and scores a game-winning touchdown.”
I then laughed to myself because surely that of all things would never happen.
Unfortunately, I was wrong. We fumbled, Denver did pick it up and did score the game-winning touchdown. That’s when I wanted to scream and jump and throw things. But I then remembered that I was just an amateur coach. Any amateur may have made that same mistake.
What Kansas City needed in that situation was a well-experienced coach. One that had been to a Super Bowl. One that has nearly 150 career victories. The Chiefs needed a coach like Andy Reid, not like me. Certainly Andy Reid would never have made that same, bone-headed mistake. Why, that would be laughable.
Okay, I feel better about getting that off my chest, Kosciusko. I promise to never coach in the NFL again after that disastrous debut.
I’ll just move on to something I am at least respectable at doing.
Last Week: 9-2
High School Football 9/18
Wawasee (2-2, 0-2) at NorthWood (2-2, 0-2), 7 p.m.
The Scoop: Wawasee needs to find some consistency on offense. I know that statement is beyond obvious to Warrior fans, but I’m good at pointing out the obvious, I’m the media.
The past few years this NorthWood game has been where Wawasee has flipped a switch and turned its season around, that will be harder to do this season but I am feeling like leaning on the Green and Gold this week.If Wawasee’s O-line can get more of push in this game than it has the past two, that will open up a lot of things for Tyler Smith and the offense. Should be a close game either way in Nappanee, definitely an NLC game worth being at tonight. Here’s hoping I don’t look foolish.
Nick’s Pick: Wawasee 20, NorthWood 13.
Northridge (3-1, 1-1) at Warsaw (1-3, 0-2), 7 p.m.
The Scoop: This pick was an easy one for me last Friday night after seeing Warsaw fall to Elkhart Memorial. The Chargers definitely have talent, but that was a game the Tigers needed to win. Yes, I thought this would be an easy pick with Warsaw starting to look more “pretender” than “contender” but then I heard about the Raiders losing starting QB Nick Hooley.
Without Hooley, the Raiders are going to be in trouble, at least in this first week. Warsaw surprised a lot of people by upsetting Ridge in Middlebury last season and I think the Tigers will take advantage of the Raider’s new QB to pick up their first conference win of 2015.
(Don’t freak out, Tiger fans, I don’t think Warsaw is a pretender, I just mean that last week’s loss didn’t look great. No hate mail, please!)
Nick’s Pick: Warsaw 29, Northridge 16.
Tippecanoe Valley (1-3, 1-1) at Whitko (1-3, 0-2), 7 p.m.
The Scoop: It was a rough night for both of these teams last Friday. Whitko took a 32-18 loss at Rochester while Valley got thumped 59-7 at home by Northfield.
Both squads will look for a rebound in this rivalry game and I can’t wait to watch Alec Craig and Garrett Elder go back and forth leading these offenses on the gridiron. However, I think this game comes down to which team makes the stops on defense.
Whitko has shown in all four of its games that it can play defense, opponents average just 17 points per game against the ‘Cats. While the numbers are a little out of wack thanks to Northfield, Valley’s D surrenders over 30 points to opponents. I think Whitko will be able to capitalize on offense a little more often on offense and make a few more stops on D than the Vikings.
Nick’s Pick: Whitko 34, Valley 21.
Triton (1-3, 1-2) at Culver (1-3, 1-2), 7 p.m.
The Scoop: Things get a little easier for Triton this week after having two tough matchups back-to-back with Pioneer and Bremen. I don’t know anything about Culver except that it’s coming of its first win of the season (36-14 at West Central).
This should be a fairly even contest and I know that Triton is itching to get back in the win column. It’s a shot in the dark but I’ll go with the Trojans in a close game. Drew Stichter, I think you’re going to find the end zone this week and when you do, Gronk-spike the ball.
(Don’t actually do that, Drew, it will cost your team 15 yards.)
Nick’s Pick: Triton 27, Culver 23.
College Football 9/19
Ball State (1-1) at Eastern Michigan (1-1), 3 p.m.
The Scoop: Ball State beat top-25 ranked Texas A&M last Saturday….in the second half.
The Cardinals outscored the Aggies 20-7 in the final two quarters, which would have been more impressive if they had not already been trailing 49-3 at half.
Anyway, conference play starts this week for the Cardinals and I have no idea what to expect. When in doubt, chirp.
Nick’s Pick: Ball State 41, Eastern Michigan 34.
No. 14 Georgia Tech (2-0) at No. 8 Notre Dame (2-0), 3:30 p.m.
The Scoop: Georgia Tech has scored 65 or more points in its first two games this season. Notre Dame has seemingly lost more players to injuries than it has scored points this season.
The Yellow Jackets are favorites heading into South Bend and that seems fine. I don’t really think GT is as good as advertised, but I also don’t think ND is that great now either without Malik Zaire. However, ND has beaten quality, power conference opponents while GT beat up on Alcorn State and Tulane. Sure, an argument could be made that Texas might not be much better than Tulane (kidding, I think) but I still feel more comfortable about the teams the Irish have faced so far. This is GT’s first true test of the season and I think Brian Kelly will make that a hard test to pass. (Unrelated note: A lot of Kelly’s players have trouble passing tests.)
Nick’s Pick: Notre Dame 38, Georgia Tech 28.
Virginia Tech (1-1) at Purdue (1-1), 3:30 p.m.
The Scoop: Last time the Boilers played a school associated with a Virginia (West or not West), things did not end so well. (I’m talking about the Marshall game, if you didn’t pick up on that.)
Purdue looked great against Indiana State last week. In related news, some people were not aware ISU had a football program. That’s not a joke, I met people that were unaware of this. Funny, but not a joke. VT is coming off a big win over Furman. Related news, I did not know Furman had a football program.
Anyway, both of these teams bounced back after sloppy performances in week one (though, VT’s came against No. 1 Ohio State) then played a cupcake in week two. Those facts mean nothing, I just wanted to fill space. VT wins easy.
Nick’s Pick: Virginia Tech 43, Purdue 20.
Western Kentucky (2-0) at Indiana (2-0), 4 p.m.
The Scoop: This is weird to think about but IU’s defense actually stepped up and won the Hoosiers the game last week after nearly blowing its the week before. The Hoosiers defense is pitiful, at best and it will struggle against a WKU squad that boasts a talented gunslinger in Brandon Doughty.
“Talented” meaning he will tear it up in is conference and against IU but not against respectable programs. This will be a shootout but I expect the Hoosiers to pull it out seeing as they are freaking Big Ten program playing at home. Someday I will enjoy being an IU football fan and not have to think twice about teams like WKU
Nick’s Pick: Indiana 54, Western Kentucky 38.
NFL Week 2 9/20-9/21
Arizona (1-0) at Chicago (0-1), 1 p.m.
The Scoop: The Bears looked good last week, a lot better than anybody expected. Judging by recent history, that solid performance means that Chicago is heading for bad showing this week.
Historically the Bears favor well against Arizona but I think Carson Palmer is going to have an outstanding season statistically, that started last week and will continue Sunday.
The Bears could make things interesting but they need a good pass rush and some turnovers, I just don’t have faith they will get the stops they need on defense.
Nick’s Pick: Cardinals 31, Bears 17.
New York Jets (1-0 at Indianapolis (0-1), 8:30 p.m. Monday Night Football
The Scoop: I had a few Colts fans giving me some crap after picking the Bills to win last week, but I knew what was coming up in Buffalo. The Bills have a strong front seven and a new coach. Opening the season at home was just a nice bonus that added to the hype in Buffalo. The Bills blitzed all day and really disrupted everything the Colts wanted to do. I expect more of the same Monday night from the Jets, but I think the Colts will be better prepared this time around.
The Jets will try to do exactly what the Bills did to the Colts, and NY has the players to do it but I like Andrew Luck to bounce back and lead his team to victory on the national stage.
Nick’s Pick: Colts 24, Jets 15
Finally, happy birthday to my dad! The old boy turns 44 today. I tell ya, if you don’t pay attention, parents will grow up so fast on you.