The War Between the Walls #14

06/10/03 Josh Stein

Another day, another dollar.  Just a saying around here that shows the daily grind…do what you’re supposed to do, you’ll get your reward.  With that said, I demand my salary for this article to be doubled.  And with THAT said, it’s time to congratulate the one team that has thus far done what they have to do…to get their reward.  Yes, the one team that has clinched a playoff spot is the Pacific-North champion Omaha Beef.  Congratulations.

Now, onto more pressing matters.  Like checking out who the best team in the league is, as according to the Ohio High School Playoff formula…

Team Points
1) Ohio Valley 9.18
2) Lake Charles 8.42
3) Omaha 8.37
4) Utah 8.21
5) Houma 7.40
6) Bismarck 7.04
7) Sioux Falls 6.94
8) Rapid City 6.89
9) Lexington 6.63
10) Lincoln 6.43
11) Fort Wayne 5.92
12) Billings 5.20
13) Austin 5.00
14) Sioux City 4.59
15) Beaumont 4.44
16) Wyoming 3.98
17) Show Me 3.88
18) Tennessee 3.32
19) LaCrosse 2.81
20) Myrtle Beach 2.65
21) Tri-City 2.60
22) Oklahoma 1.89
23) Tupelo 1.07
24) Evansville 0.00

I still don’t think Evansville is the NIFL’s worst team, but they are until they prove otherwise.

Just four weeks of action left in the NIFL before it’s playoff time!  Some teams have four games in those weeks, and some only have two or three.  There are 11 games this week, meaning 22 teams will be battling for supremacy in this week.  Let’s take a look at those matchups.

***** BIG GAMES

Okay, titles aren’t my forte.

(7-4) Bismarck Roughriders @ (8-2) Utah Warriors

Now, Utah finds itself in a bad situation…they’re #2 in the Pacific Conference now, meaning if everything falls out like it is, Utah will be making a trip to Omaha in the Pacific Conference championship.  With that said, they have to get by Ragsdale’s old team again.  Bismarck is coming in very hot, nothing like the team that was awful in their first game at Billings.  The NIFL’s #1 touchdown thrower, Chris Schwab, tries to light them up against a team with a suspect defense.  Ragsdale gets to do the same.  I don’t think Utah has much left in their tank, and Bismarck might be the offense to end the home winning streak of the Warriors.  No one’s stopped them recently, and no one’s going to stop them here.  Bismarck by 3, but both teams will hit 60.

And why will they hit 60?  The quarterbacks.  Yes, here it is.  The touchdown watch.

Name Team GP TD Max GP Pace
Chris Schwab Bismarck 10 68 13 88
Danny Ragsdale Utah 10 52 14 73
Dusty Bonner Lexington 10 48 14 67
Albert Higgs Billings 12 47 14 55
Matt Strand Wyoming 11 41 13 48

(7-5) Rapid City Red Dogs @ (5-7) Billings Outlaws

Now the Outlaws are playing for pride.  Especially since they got beat @ Rapid City just last week.  The playoffs are pretty much out of the question, so they now get to try and spoil the fun for someone else.  This is the first of two spoiler shots they get.  Rapid City has one of the division’s best defenses (that’s not saying much, is it), and it has been enough to slow down some high-powered offenses, such as Utah’s.  Billings’ offense hasn’t been very high-powered, but they have enough to give the home fans something to cheer about (which hasn’t been very often this season).  No playoffs for Billings, no playoffs for Rapid City.  Outlaws by 10.

**** IMPORTANT BUT NOT EXCITING

(6-5) Austin Rockers @ (8-4) Houma Bayou Bucks

Well, that was bad.  Whenever you get beat by Oklahoma, you know there’s something wrong.  Especially since two of Oklahoma’s three wins in two seasons’ history are against Houma.  Whoops!  Austin is a terrible team away from home, and Houma is a strong home team.  Both of these teams desperately need to win to keep their fading playoff prospects alive.  Houma won’t want to repeat the awful performance, and that gives them a 14 point win at home.

(7-3) Fort Wayne Freedom @ (7-4) Sioux Falls Storm

The home game rematches keep coming for Sioux Falls, as another team that beat them comes to town.  Sioux Falls came to Fort Wayne earlier in the season and got sent home with a whipping.  The Freedom players are feeling as if they’re one of the few teams that have improved over the season.  Sure, they’ve improved…the players know the indoor game.  But now they get to play against an elite quarterback and a defense that will be rested up for them, two things they’re not used to.  Sioux Falls has a ball-hawking defense that forced Danny Ragsdale into three interceptions…Fort Wayne has their work cut out for them.  And now they get to play against Ryan Aulenbacher, one of the top four quarterbacks in the NIFL last year.  Good luck, you’re going to need it…to make the playoffs.  Storm by 17.

*** SOME RIVALRY, SOME INTEREST

(9-2) Omaha Beef @ (5-6) Sioux City Bandits

In one of the crackerbox’s last games, Sioux City hosts the division champion Omaha Beef.  This is a time of mourning, as one of the great icons of Indoor Football lore won’t be having any home games next year.  Let’s end the season with a bang, shall we?  Omaha doesn’t want to hurt anyone, so you can imagine that they’ll play conservative.  Sioux City is fired up.  Too fired up for a team that isn’t too worried about winning at this moment to beat them.  Bandits by 15.

(4-7) Show Me Believers @ (9-2) Lake Charles Landsharks

Throw out the records for this one…okay, well, I guess this isn’t too big a rivalry.  Hmm…Show Me is a team on the rise, after beating Sioux City and blasting Beaumont…although blasting Beaumont is kinda trendy these days.  Lake Charles is a strong home team, and you can’t imagine a team like the Believers coming down here and beating them.  Well, that probably won’t happen, but it won’t be a blowout, as the Believers are peaking just a little too late.  Sharks by 10.

** UH OH

(3-9) Tri-City Diesel @ (3-9) LaCrosse Night Train

This is the test.  Can LaCrosse get a win?  It’s probably too late to save the head coach’s job, as he is 1-8 since taking over a 2-1 team.  Marquette Smith isn’t playing that well, and now they lose a receiving threat in DiAllo Johnson, who gets to go try out in NFL-Land.  Tri-City is a bad away team, but they’re not this bad.  Diesel by 10.

(10-0) Ohio Valley Greyhounds @ (1-9) Tupelo Fireants

This has all the makings of a blowout.  But, Tupelo really is as good a team now as they were in 2001 when they went 7-7.  Problem?  Everyone else has improved.  OOPS!  Even if the Greyhounds don’t play all that well away from home, they’ll win this one by 20.

* THESE GAMES ARE NOT GOING TO BE PRETTY

(4-6) Tennessee Riverhawks @ (8-2) Lexington Horsemen

I got it right!  Yay!  They’re really the Horsemen!  Anyways, this game is going to be ugly.  How ugly?  VERY ugly.  Tennessee’s offense has become anemic, and their defense just doesn’t have enough to help keep games close.  They’ve gotten blasted twice by large margins @ Ohio Valley and @ Fort Wayne.  Lexington isn’t going to be nice about it, either.  Horsemen by 28.

(0-10) Evansville Bluecats @ (3-7) Myrtle Beach Stingrays

Evansville is in it for the long haul.  The Stingrays don’t look like they’ll be around after this year.  They play well at home, which is always a plus…at least try to get back above 1000 spectators at your game.  Evansville is a bad team everywhere, and going to the Beach won’t help.  Beach by 21.

(2-9) Oklahoma Crude @ (5-6) Beaumont Drillers

Let me be the first to say that it’s all over.  Shock Davis might be coming back to Beaumont after being cut by the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts (but I’d go right down the QEW and see if the CFL’s Hamilton TigerCats need any help before I go back to Beaumont), but it’s useless.  This team is cooked.  Oklahoma gets their first winning streak EVER, as they win by 10.

There we go.  That’s all for now.  We have a few games, quite a bit of action going on, and well…there will be some blowouts, as the haves and have nots have clearly defined themselves.  Playoffs coming soon, hopefully to a team near you.  This is the War Between the Walls.  Don’t miss a single snap.


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