The War Between the Walls #11

05/23/03 Josh Stein

It’s been a good week for me.  As a certified loser, I got to travel on a road I’ve never been on before (Cincinnati’s Norwood Lateral/Ohio State Route 562) and my favorite basketball team (Cleveland) gets to play with LeBron.  To add to the excitement in my (non) life, the NIFL has a bunch of great games, including what might be the toughest test for the Greyhounds in their race to two straight Indoor Bowl titles…a game at the Lexington Horsemen.

But enough about me.  All 24 teams are playing again this week, and it’s time to look at how they’d stand if they were high schoolers in Ohio.  It’s getting to the point in the season where everyone’s played about the same number of games, and the contenders are separating from the pretenders.  Except for Evansville and Oklahoma…if either lose another game, they’re both out of the playoff running.  Already.  Tsk, tsk, tsk.

Team Points
1) Ohio Valley 6.63
2) Utah 5.71
3) Rapid City 5.56
4) Omaha 5.20
5) Lake Charles 5.15
6) Houma 5.10
7) Lexington 4.90
8) Sioux Falls 4.64
9) Sioux City 4.44
10) Beaumont 4.18
11) Austin 3.98
12) Bismarck 3.88
13) Billings 3.78
14) Lincoln 3.72
15) Wyoming 3.72
16) Fort Wayne 3.27
17) LaCrosse 2.60
18) Tri-City 2.50
19) Tennessee 2.35
20) Show Me 1.79
21) Myrtle Beach 1.58
22) Tupelo 0.92
23) Evansville 0.00
24) Oklahoma 0.00

The bottom four teams are in the Atlantic…and five of the bottom six are in the Atlantic.  At least the Atlantic is 2-0 in Indoor Bowls, I suppose.

Time to look at the games?  Yeah, why not…

*****  YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE, GO WATCH THESE ONES

(8-0) Ohio Valley Greyhounds @ (6-1) Lexington Horsemen

Oh, no…this game isn’t huge.  Really.  The Horsemen are here to prove they belong amongst the NIFL’s elite.  The Greyhounds are here to squash that dream.  Everyone’s going to sweat in this game.  It comes down to this…the Greyhounds can run with anyone, but with the receivers and quarterbacking starting to heat up, they have a little bit of snazzy play with the pass as well.  Lexington has a relatively good run offense, but anyone saying Lexington beats the Hounds with the run is nuts…Dusty Bonner might be the Atlantic Conference’s best quarterback, and he’s going to try to show why against the champs.  Lexington has faced some good competition, but they’ve never seen anything like the Greyhounds.  That’s the difference-maker, as the Champs go up 2 ½ games in the division by 7.

(6-3) Rapid City Red Dogs @ (6-1) Utah Warriors

70-16.  70-16.…wait a minute.  Everyone remembers the preseason blowout…but we all forget to mention where that 1 on Utah’s record comes from.  Oh, yeah…the Red Dogs.  To say this game isn’t huge again for the Dogs is stupid.  New ownership, maybe a roll with the fan support.  Now it’s time to go away from home and win a big one.  Utah has a pass game that’s better than any in the NIFL.  Rapid City’s offense is no slouch, either.  This one will be a big time Pacific Conference shootout with the Red Dogs going 2-0 against Ragsdale and crew.  Dogs by 7.

****  IMPORTANT DIVISIONAL GAMES

(4-5) Billings Outlaws @ (5-4) Sioux Falls Storm

As it stands, Sioux Falls is the fourth seed in the Pacific Conference playoffs.  And they have four losses in nine games.  How’s that for parity in a twelve team conference?  Of course, that means that the crew from Billings is one game out of a playoff berth.  Hmmmmm, big game?  Sioux Falls’ offense hasn’t done much, but it’s shown a few signs of life here and there.  Billings’ offense hasn’t been nearly as good as it was in the big run to a championship game.  It’s time for them to break out.  The Storm are still sliding, and it will cost them in a big way as the visiting Outlaws steal one by 10.

(5-3) Beaumont Drillers @ (6-3) Houma Bayou Bucks

This is the battle for (A) a playoff berth and (B) second place in a division behind a team that has faltered recently.  It’s huge.  Beaumont has lost a couple of receivers to higher leagues…which is what we’re here for.  All happiness aside, it still hurts one heckuva lot for a quarterback who can have an awful game when he feels like it.  Not a good situation, as Houma’s defense has been known to steal some passes meant for the other team.  With an offense that’s just good enough and a pretty strong defense, the Bucks push closer to the postseason.  Maybe Buck kicker Chris Stropolo is the MVP as the Bucks win by 9.

*** THESE GAMES HAVE POTENTIAL

(3-6) LaCrosse Night Train @ (4-5) Lincoln Capitols

The home crowd is sparse.  But the crowd is usually something that drives the Caps to victory.  LaCrosse has had some issues, losing to a team that hadn’t practice or wasn’t paid until close to the game…at home.  Oops.  Lincoln is one game out of a playoff berth.  LaCrosse has a bunch of new players and some possible dissention in the locker room.  This isn’t what they need.  Caps big, by 17 or more.

(4-5) Wyoming Cavalry @ (6-2) Omaha Beef

Sorry, folks…no Matt Strand, no backup to speak of?  Even if he comes back from his concussion, he can’t possibly be already at 100%.  And the Beef are starting to catch fire.  Good for coach Collins Sanders, because the dwindling fan support has to be concerning his job security a bit…of course, if the new ownership just kept the status quo, this wouldn’t be an issue.  Oh yeah, Beef by 24.

(6-2) Lake Charles Landsharks vs. (3-4) Tennessee Riverhawks @ Laredo, TX

They’re playing in southern Texas…that’s the interesting *** worthy storyline here.  Tennessee has no offense.  Lake Charles has a good defense.  Sharks by 17.

**  THERE ARE SOME DUDS

(5-3) Austin Rockers @ (2-5) Myrtle Beach Stingrays

Riverhawks and Stingrays players agreed at MB’s first home game that that was the worst turf they’ve ever played on…so hard and all.  The Rockers should feel at home with the bad turf.  MB is a bad team that won’t be getting better.  Austin is a mediocre team that will have a good record because of some of these games.  Rockers by 15.

(4-4) Bismarck Roughriders @ (3-6) Tri-City Diesel

Great offense plus decent defense going against bad offense with a defense that does well when they want to.  And we thought the diesel fuel spill on I-71 near Mansfield (Ohio) yesterday was bad…Riders by 30.

(4-3) Fort Wayne Freedom @ (0-8) Evansville Bluecats

Freedom are working on a playoff berth.  Bluecats are working on outdoing the AFL’s Carolina Cobras.  The crowd falls even further as the Freedom win by 19.

(5-4) Sioux City Bandits @ (2-6) Show Me Believers

Does anyone care about the Believers?  No, it doesn’t look that way.  This team with a bad defense is a good way for the Bandits to solve their offensive woes.  Sioux City by 20.

*  HAHAHA!

(1-7) Tupelo Fireants @ (0-8) Oklahoma Crude

The one star is for the combined win total…which should go up by one.  Oklahoma couldn’t beat some junior high teams.  Tupelo has a bit of talent.  The Ants should take this one by 20.

I don’t think I’ve seen a week with so many bad teams playing at home.  The home teams are going to look pretty bad.  Oh well.  Go to the game.  Support your team.  This is the War Between the Walls.  Don’t miss a single snap.  Unless you’re getting a beer.  Then I guess I’ll allow it.


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