03/27/02 Rocky Larson
After this weekend, every team in the NIFL will have at least one game under their belt. Although every NIFL player has experienced the outdoor game of football, nothing can prepare them for the high-scoring, fast-paced pinball action of the Indoor War better than playing the game.
For the second week in a row, NIFL road teams had a difficult time dealing with the home field advantage. Last week, NIFL home teams won 7 of 9 games and have won 11 of the 13 games played overall. But looks can be deceiving. Even with only 2 wins to call their own, the away teams averaged a score of 33 points per contest compared to the average total of 35 points for home teams.
Of the 9 games played last week, I accurately predicted the outcome in 7 of the contests. That brings my yearly accuracy to 11-2, or 84.6% overall. The NIFL has 10 games slated for this week.
Thursday, March 27th
Sioux Falls Storm (0-1) @ Lincoln Capitols (0-1)
Both teams started their season last week with losses of less than a touchdown. Each team suffered from first-game jitters and mistakes. Thursday games have a way of sneaking up on a team, and this game will come down to whichever squad had the fewer tweaks to make to their game-plan. Lincoln is playing musical-chairs at the quarterback position while Sioux Falls as quietly improved their already stingy defense. Those two facts combine for a Storm victory as the Capitol signal callers are pressured into making mistakes.
Friday, March 28th
Bismarck Roughriders (0-1) @ Wyoming Cavalry (0-1)
In Week One, the new and improved Bismarck defense gave up a total of 61 points to the Billings Outlaws. That same week, the new and improved Wyoming defense gave up 81 points to the Rapid City Red Dogs. But never mind the defenses, it’s the offenses that win indoor football games. Bismarck, desperate for help at the qb and kicker positions, turned to their offensive coordinator and indoor qb veteran Chris Schwab. My sources tell me that their search for a kicker continues. Wyoming is stable with Matt Strand under center. I’m taking the Cavalry in a blowout.
Saturday, March 29th
Utah Warriors (1-0) @ Billings Outlaws (1-1)
Last week, Utah outplayed Billings 55-46 in front of an energetic Warriors home crowd. Lead by qb Danny Ragsdale, the Warriors were able to pour on the points and to make the stops when they counted most. Nobody throws the long ball better than Ragsdale. This week, Billings is looking to avenge their road loss to the Warriors and, I’m told, are not lacking in the motivation department. I’m going to go with the Outlaws grinding out a close, hard-fought victory at home.
Tupelo FireAnts (0-2) @ Fort Wayne Freedom (1-0)
What do you get when the 0-2 FireAnts visit the 1-0 Freedom, who are expecting a home crowd of 8000-9000 screaming fans? You get a huge Freedom win. Bet the farm on Fort Wayne.
Oklahoma Crude (0-1) @ Houma Bayou Bucks (1-0)
Last week the Crude were spanked at home to the tune of 55-33 at the hands of the Tri City Diesel. Things don’t get any easier for the Crude as they travel to Houma to face the Bayou Bucks, who are coming off of a home win last week over the Myrtle Beach Stingrays. Different venue for the Crude, same results. The Bucks stroll to a double-digit victory.
La Crosse Night Train (1-0) @ Tri-City Diesel (1-0)
The way I see it, the Night Train could be the most improved team in the NIFL. With a core of veteran players and a new-found swagger, they are a force to be reckoned with. The Diesel will play them hard and close, but in the end will fall short. The Night Train derail the Diesel.
Omaha Beef (0-0) @ Show Me Believers (1-0)
How is this for a lack of respect? The Believers are coming off of a victory over the Lincoln Capitols, are at home and are playing pretty good football, yet they are still underdogs in this game. That is because the Beef are coming to town, and Omaha has done an excellent job in upgrading their talent, from head coach on down. In yet another “this won’t be pretty” exhibition, the Beef stampede all over the Believers.
Lake Charles LandSharks (1-0) @ Lexington Horsemen (0-0)
What can you say about Lake Charles? They’re one of the top teams in the Atlantic Conference, they always put a quality product on the field and no team looks forward to playing them. On the other hand, Lexington is an expansion team. Need I say more? The Sharks take a big bite out of the Horsemen.
Rapid City Red Dogs (2-0) @ Sioux City Bandits (0-1)
The Red Dogs have shot out of the gate with 2 victories over divisional rivals in as many weeks. The Bandits are recovering from a week one beating they took at the hands of the Night Train of La Crosse. On the surface, it seems like a no-brainer to take the Red Dogs on the road. But the Bandits have spent their bye week upgrading their talent and working the kinks out of their offense. This game will be close. In the end, the Bandits simply cannot keep up with the Red Dogs offense. Rapid City wins.
Beaumont Drillers (2-0) @ Evansville BlueCats (0-1)
The Drillers of Beaumont are 2-0 at home and are making their first trip of the season to face the BlueCats of Evansville. Last week, Evansville lost a heart-breaker to the Fort Wayne Freedom 41-40 while Beaumont squeaked out a 6-point victory over the Austin Rockers. I think this will be a close game, with defense ultimately deciding the victor. The best defense in this contest belongs to the Drillers, so the victory is theirs.
NIFL Power Poll
Every week, a group of NIFL experts ranging from media personalities to rabid fans put together the NIFL Power Poll. Back for it’s third year, our pollsters rank each NIFL team. The poll results are then averaged and each team ranked according to power.
||Ohio Valley Greyhounds
||The NIFL Champs are back on top.
||Lake Charles Land Sharks
||Steady as a rock, the Sharks are in the thick of things.
||With Rags calling the shots, they’re a contender.
||Rapid City Red Dogs
||Coach Magic has turned his club around.
||No games played and still a top five team. Now that is respect!
||No kicker on the roster? And this was planned? Time for a reevaluation.
||They’re off to a flying start.
||Lacrosse Night Train
||Most improved team of the year.
||They could end up the best team in Nebraska.
||The Hawks are floundering, causing them to tumble down the poll.
||Houma Bayou Bucks
||I predict that a 2-0 start is in their future.
||I’m a Matt Strand fan! They’re on their way up.
||Fort Wayne Freedom
||With fan support like theirs, who needs away games?
||Sioux Falls Storm
||Penalties killed them in their first game.
||Haven’t played a game, but get Lake Charles this week. Ouch.
||Rumors swirl that the ‘riders are in trouble.
||Show Me Believers
||The lowest-ranked undefeated team. Are they a good-bad team or a bad-good team?
||Lincoln lost to Show Me? Oh, the shame.
||Played Beaumont close. They’ll rise in the poll.
||Sioux City Bandits
||Did the bye week fix all their problems?
||Lost a close one to Ft. Wayne.
||Better than last year. Not at the bottom of the heap, poll-wise.
||Myrtle Beach Stingrays
||They’re in a wide-open division, if they can get their offense on track.
||It’s going to be a long, long, long, long season.
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