The War Between the Walls #7

04/24/03 Josh Stein

Well, making a statement about a fan helped me last week.  I talked last week about a Lincoln fan complaining about my 0-4 record picking Capitols’ games, and look what happened.  I’m 1-4 in picking Lincoln games, and they even won!  Heck, I went 9-2 last week.  Hooray for me!  Yay!  Now, back to reality.

First, there has been plenty of argument over who the NIFL’s best team is.  The NIFL Weekly has the expert poll and there is an article with a computer ranking system.  Well, I’m going to throw my own ranking system in here.  This one is one that a few fans are familiar with, as it closely follows the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) football playoff system.  Quite simple.  You get points for two things.  You get points for winning a game.  Because there is only one “division,” you get an equal number of points for each win.  You get points for the teams you beat winning games.  That’s it.  No margin of victory involved here…just like in Ohio’s high school playoff system.  For more information, go to http://www.ohsaa.org

Note:  the maximum score in theory would be 20 points by this system (a 100% winning percentage is worth 10 points, a 100% winning percentage by the teams you’ve beaten would be worth 10 points…that’s not really possible, though, since in order to be undefeated, they can’t lose, and they’d have lost to you…).  If you want more in-depth analysis of this, email me at .  The points are given by number of wins divided by total games to be played during the season (14).  The points for beating teams on your schedule are given by number of wins (only by the teams you’ve defeated) divided by total number of games played by all of your opponents (14 opponents * 14 per opponent = 196 total games).  Teams that have played a lot of games (Rapid City) will be helped by this.

Team Points
1) Lake Charles 3.98
2) Rapid City 3.37
3) Sioux City 2.45
4) Ohio Valley 3.11
5) Beaumont 3.06
6) Sioux Falls 2.45
7) Wyoming 2.40
8) Omaha 2.35
9) Utah 2.35
10) Bismarck 1.73
11) Lincoln 1.73
12) LaCrosse 1.68
13) Austin 1.53
14) Tennessee 1.53
15) Tri-City 1.53
16) Houma 1.48
17) Lexington 1.48
18) Fort Wayne 1.43
19) Billings 0.82
20) Myrtle Beach 0.82
21) Show Me 0.82
22) Evansville 0.00
23) Oklahoma 0.00
24) Tupelo 0.00

This is not an indicator as to who will make the playoffs or who won’t.  But it’s interesting to see how messy the OHSAA playoff system is…it will look a lot better when the season draws to a close and everyone has the same number of games played.

Second, I’ve decided to throw a couple of things around here and there and do this differently.  Because my pay is so well, and because this has nothing to do with my University of Akron (yes, 63-7 losers to Nebraska a few years ago, THAT Akron) education, I am going to plagiarize.  The USA Today has a feature during the NFL season that has a guest writer come in and guess the games, but putting them in an order of “best looking game” (5-stars) to worst (1-star).  It sounds like fun.

***** GAME OF THE WEEK

(3-2) Sioux Falls Storm @ (3-1) Utah Warriors

Big game this week for both teams, as they try to come off of away losses.  Utah’s high-flying offense up and died in the second half in Rapid City, and Sioux Falls’ punishing defense didn’t quite get it done in Bismarck.  What gives?  Well, Utah’s offense should be perfectly fine with QB Danny Ragsdale still at the helm.  Sioux Falls didn’t lose anyone, so their defense should be just as fine.  In games like this, usually, it’s the other groups that win or lose it.  Utah’s defense is pretty strong, with a couple of lapses.  Sioux Falls’ offense isn’t really all that strong, with the Storm riding on their defense.  Coupled with the fact that this game is in Utah, I gotta go with the Warriors winning by about 7.

**** GOOD GAMES TO WATCH

(4-1) Sioux City Bandits @ (2-3) Bismarck Roughriders

The records aren’t quite all that important, as Bismarck is a shadow of the team that lost 61-18 in Billings to begin the season.  The Riders are running for a playoff spot, and Sioux City doesn’t want them to get anywhere closer on their account.  Bismarck QB Chris Schwab has lit some people up, in carrying on the passing torch from Ragsdale.  Sioux City has a fairly strong defense, quite good in the secondary, and has an efficient offense.  I’m not sold on Bismarck’s defense in any way, shape or form.  This game will be a good one from opening kickoff to the final gun, but the Bandits keep their division lead and move to 5-1 with a 6 point win up in Bismarck.

(4-2) Rapid City Red Dogs @ (3-2) Wyoming Cavalry

Big division game right away.  But, not so big as to determine #1 seedings or anything of that sort.  To open the season up, Rapid City smacked Wyoming 81-60.  That was then.  In Rapid City.  This is now.  In Casper.  Wyoming has started to play some (gasp!) defense, and Rapid City’s offense isn’t quite as strong as first billed.  Rapid City has also gotten their defense to play much better, but Wyoming’s offense is just as strong as first billed.  Matt Strand passes over the Red Dogs.  Anthony Simmons runs over the Red Dogs.  The Cavs are making a run at Indoor Bowl III, just like they went to Indoor Bowl I, with a 10 point win.

Cavalry QB Matt Strand is one of the strongest arms in the NIFL.  Chris Schwab and Danny Ragsdale, in earlier mentioned games, are two very strong arms as well.  With that said, it’s time for the Touchdown Watch.

Name Team GP TD passes Pace
Danny Ragsdale Utah 4 19 67
Albert Higgs Billings 5 22 62
Dusty Bonner Lexington 3 13 61
Matt Strand Wyoming 5 21 59
*Chris Schwab Bismarck 4 17 55
Derrick Taite Beaumont 5 18 50

*Schwab can only play in 13 games.

Look at that, Beaumont sends in stats and Taite is instantly on the touchdown watch.  Another game like that with Lake Charles, he won’t be again.

*** COULD BE INTERESTING

(2-3) Tri-City Diesel @ (2-3) Lincoln Capitols

This game should probably be higher, but with the Diesel falling on their faces (0-3 after a 2-0 start) and Lincoln forgetting how to play football after a win, it can’t be.  With that said, something has to give.  Lincoln won last week, meaning they’ll lay an egg.  Tri-City hasn’t won for awhile.  The run games are what make these two teams tick, with Sherman Jones leading the Diesel and John Hall leading the Capitols.  The key to the game?  Run defense.  Lincoln appears to have a better one.  Caps get their first home win by 10.

(3-1) Omaha Beef @ (1-4) Billings Outlaws

Forget the 1-4, Billings is really hurting and they’re wounded.  Omaha still isn’t exactly a dominant road team.  Albert Higgs is physically hurting, which may lead the way for Bryan Meier to get some snaps at the quarterback.  This is a problem.  Why?  Meier is the team’s #1 receiver.  If he’s fast enough, he could find himself on a 15 yard streak pattern, but that’s unlikely.  Omaha brings a strong offense and defense with QB Troy Travis, RB Clinton Childs and WR Tyrone Tyler leading the way.  Billings doesn’t really have much of a defense, even after the additions.  Beef.  It’s what’s for dinner.  Give ‘em 10 points or so in this one.

(2-1) Lexington Horsemen @ (2-2) Tennessee Riverhawks

If the offenses start humming, Lexington’s pass and Tennessee’s run, they might be able to outscore the number of fans that show up.  That’s sad.  Tennessee hasn’t faced a premier pass game this season, and Lexington hasn’t faced a true running team like this…ever.  I like the Horsemen to make the playoffs, but they’re not going to win this game.  Hawks by 7.

(2-3) LaCrosse Night Train @ (1-3) Show Me Believers

The Believers are potentially the best one-win team in the NIFL right now.  They’ve had a couple of bad breaks, and they could just as easily be 4-0.  The home fans will start coming out if the Believers can get some big wins.  The coaching change has seemed to make LaCrosse players a bit apathetic.  That’s not a good way to get wins.  I could be wrong.  But not here.  I believe.  Show Me by 17.

** GO TO THE GAME, IT SHOULD BE FUN!!

If you’re the home team, that is…well, maybe not…Okay, that was a bad title.

(2-2) Fort Wayne Freedom @ (4-0) Ohio Valley Greyhounds

The Freedom want one of those banners like the one Ohio Valley has hanging from the rafters (note:  it says NIFL Champions).  Well, the team isn’t too experienced, but high-flying QB Antoine Taylor could be the guy to get them there.  Not yet.  They’ve never experienced anything like the Kennel, and the Greyhounds are going to beat them around.  Hounds by 24.

(2-3) Houma BayouBucks @ (5-0) Lake Charles Landsharks

Lake Charles could have been off a close emotional win over former 4-0 Beaumont.  We’re missing one important factor.  The Sharks proved they were the team to beat in the Atlantic South with a 61-20 win AT Beaumont.  Houma has some issues.  They’ve lost three straight.  Oh sure, you want me to pick against Lake Charles.  Do they have a Big Mac deal?  Sharks by 24.

(4-1) Beaumont Drillers @ (0-4) Tupelo FireAnts

By all rights, this game is bad.  Beaumont is angry after a big loss at their place, and Tupelo is the fresh meat du jour.  Beaumont knows exactly what to expect from Tupelo, as they already stomped them at home once.  Tupelo’s defense is not bad, getting no help from the offense.  But wait!  Lake Charles gave the whole world an easy route to beating Beaumont.  Taite sure did fold up like a big ole’ tent.  Tupelo can get some pressure on the QB.  Risk a couple of long touchdowns and blitz every play.  Surprise, surprise folks.  Tupelo is gonna be 1-4.  Ants by 6.

* GO JUST TO SUPPORT THE HOME TEAM…OR JUST STAY HOME

(0-4) Oklahoma Crude @ (2-2) Austin Rockers

They play on turf laid on ice.  They play on turf that isn’t all there, so some of the ice is exposed.  What the heck?  That doesn’t sound good at all.  Oklahoma doesn’t really have a chance, because they haven’t played on this crap.  Is this what home field’s about?  Rockers by 10.

(1-3) Myrtle Beach Stingrays @ (0-4) Evansville BlueCats

You want the fans to keep coming?  WIN A GAME!  I feel better now.  QB Akili Roberson has had a week off to start feeling a little better, and he has probably politely (and when I say politely, I mean anything but) told his team what they need to do to get something done on offense.  Block for him, he burns defenses by running or throwing on them.  Myrtle Beach poses no threat here.  BlueCats by 21 to get that elusive first victory.

Six weeks have come and gone.  There’s eleven of them left, and then the second season begins.  With some big games this week, the contenders will start to separate from the pretenders.  Unless everyone pulls off upsets.  Of course, that’s why this is The War Between the Walls.  Don’t miss a single snap.


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