NIFL Weekly

04/17/02 Rocky Larson

The magic number is 4.

In the National Indoor Football League, only 4 of 24 teams have yet to suffer a defeat. The defending champion Ohio Valley Greyhounds (3-0), the Utah Warriors (3-0), the Lake Charles Land Sharks (4-0) and the Beaumont Drillers (4-0) all are, to date, experiencing perfect seasons. But that number will go down by at least 1 this week, as the Land Sharks and Drillers face off. Which team will remain perfect the longest? Only time will tell, but I’ll let you in on a little secret. That team already sports NIFL Championship rings.

Forget what I said about the dominating home-field advantage in the NIFL. As of last week, it no longer exists. Of the 11 games played, the visitors came away on top 9 times, outscoring their hosts on average 42-34. I expect this trend to continue for at least 1 more week, although the average should be much closer to 50%.

One NIFL game was played last week before the NIFL Weekly was written, so I was only able to cast predictions for the remaining 10 contests. Accuracy remains on my side, as I correctly predicted the outcome in 7 of the 10 games previewed. This brings my yearly accuracy to 31-10, or 75.6%

NIFL fans are being treated to 11 games this Easter weekend. To all those traveling, the contributors to the NIFL Weekly wish you a safe journey.

Friday, April 18th

Billings Outlaws (1-3) @ Wyoming Cavalry (2-2)

What a barn burner this games promises to be! The Outlaws started off the season with a win, but have since suffered 3 division losses which have placed them at the bottom of the Pacific West Division. The Cavalry are up and down, win-wise, and would love to get over that .500 hump. These two teams always put on a show when the play, and the rivalry is strong. I’m going with the Billings Outlaws to win in a nail-biter.

Show Me Believers (1-2) @ Omaha Beef (2-1)

I really do like the Believers. Few teams have shown that they can play this game with such intensity and competitive flair as the Believers can. But those wins just aren’t lining up for them. This week won’t be any different, as the Omaha Beef are back on track after dismantling the Lincoln Capitols last week. The Beef will prevail at home, but by less than double digits.

Lincoln Capitols (1-3) @ La Crosse Night Train (2-2)

Lincoln came crashing back down to earth last week as the Omaha Beef came in and abused them on their home turf. The Night Train came up a touchdown short against the Sioux City Bandits. Both teams are hungry for a victory, and both teams need one if they hope to keep their playoff dreams alive. It’s hard to pick against La Crosse at home, so I won’t. The Night Train win.

Saturday, April 19th

Houma Bayou Bucks (2-2) @ Austin Rockers (1-2)

Austin finally got their first win last week, beating Tupelo on the road. You’d think that earning that second win, at home, would be a sure thing. But not this week. The Bayou Bucks are a team that can put up points, and I don’t see Austin being able to keep pace. In a high-scoring contest, the Bucks pull away late.

Sioux Falls Storm (3-1) @ Bismarck Roughriders (1-3)

Sioux Falls could be the team to beat in the Pacific West Division. At least, they are the team to beat that isn’t names the Utah Warriors. The Roughriders fell a long snapper and a holder short of victory last week against the Rapid City Red Dogs. Bismarck needs a win if they hope to have any shot at the playoffs. Sioux Falls is just too strong, and are coming together at the right time. Sioux Falls wins as they force Bismarck to become 1-dimensional through the air, allowing their defense to feast.

Fort Wayne Freedom (2-1) @ Tennessee RiverHawks (1-2)

Yes Tennessee won last week. And yes, I picked them to lose. But I’m not bitter. I’ll let bygones be bygones, but that doesn’t mean that I’ll change my tune and pick Tennessee this week. Not with the high-flying Freedom coming to town. Take Fort Wayne in a big way.

Tri-City Diesel (2-2) @ Sioux City Bandits (3-1)

Since losing their first game, the Bandits have torn off 3 straight victories. The Diesel have worked their way to a 2-2 mark, but are they better than a .500 team when all is said and done? They might be, but they aren’t as deep or as talented as the Bandits. Sioux City keeps their home-field advantage alive and well with an impressive win.

Oklahoma Crude (0-3) @ Lexington Horsemen (1-1)

Can the Crude ever get a break? It’s a coin-flip between Oklahoma and Tupelo for who is the bottom-feeding team in the NIFL. A win would do wonders for this team, but a win on the road seems like a tall order. Lexington is far from spectacular, but they are balanced and they are at home. Those two things spell victory this week.

Utah Warriors (3-0) @ Rapid City Red Dogs (3-2)

Utah is the best team in the Pacific Conference. Utah is undefeated. Utah demolished Rapid City in a preseason game. And Utah is coming off of a bye week. The venue for the game has changed since preseason, but the results won’t. Utah wins in another landslide.

Myrtle Beach Stingrays (1-2) @ Ohio Valley Greyhounds (3-0)

This will be short and sweet. Ohio Valley ends up using the second half as an in-game practice as they roll over the Stingrays. The score will be closer than the contest, but don’t let that fool you. OV remains undefeated.

Lake Charles Land Sharks (4-0) @ Beaumont Drillers (4-0)

With two undefeated teams squaring off, this is the NIFL Game of the Week. Lake Charles is easily one of the top teams in the league and consistently win. The Drillers have jumped off to a fast and impressive start, but they simply are not of the same caliber as the Land Sharks. Casting records aside, I predict a Lake Charles win by at least 2 touchdowns.

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 its third year, our pollsters rank each NIFL team from top to bottom. The poll results are then averaged and each team is ranked according to power.

Rank Team Record Comments
1 Ohio Valley Greyhounds 3-0 They’re # 1. Somebody prove me wrong.
2 Utah Warriors 3-0 Top in the Pacific. Second in the league.
3 Lake Charles Land Sharks 4-0 How long have the Land Sharks looked up at OV in this poll? Longer than this season.
4 Sioux Falls Storm 3-1 Red-hot! Watch out, Pacific Conference.
5 Omaha Beef 2-1 Back on track and a force to be reckoned with.
6 Rapid City Red Dogs 3-2 Undefeated in their division, but here comes Utah.
7 Fort Wayne Freedom 2-1 Impressive showing for an expansion team.
8 Sioux City Bandits 3-1 Another team that is rocketing up the poll.
9 Beaumont Drillers 4-0 Undefeated and they’re slipping in the poll. Hrm.
10 Billings Outlaws 1-3 Have they reached a turning point?
11 Lacrosse Night Train 2-2 Not as dominating as they hoped, but still competitive.
12 Wyoming Cavalry 2-2 They’re dangerous.
13 Tri-City Diesel 2-2 Lets see some air under that ball!
14 Show Me Believers 1-2 If they didn’t have bad breaks, they’d have none.
15 Lexington Horsemen 1-1 Still have much to prove.
16 Houma Bayou Bucks 2-2 Their luck is about to change for the better.
17 Bismarck Roughriders 1-3 Heartbreaking loss last week. Will they still give it their all?
18 Lincoln Capitols 1-3 Hello, Lincoln? This is reality calling.
19 Tennessee RiverHawks 1-2 They won, but can this team keep it together for an entire season?
20 Austin Rockers 1-2 My favorite underdog team.
21 Evansville Bluecats 0-4 The best winless team! That’s like being the best F student.
22 Myrtle Beach Stingrays 1-2 In the Atlantic, anything could happen. Play-off bound Stingrays? Don’t count it out.
23 Oklahoma Crude 0-3
24 Tupelo FireAnts 0-4 Maybe it’s time for a change?

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