04/24/02 Rocky Larson
Is it possible to be the best, worst team? Last week I highlighted the 4 undefeated teams in the NIFL. This week, we’ll take a look at the other end of the spectrum, where 3 NIFL teams are sitting with a big fat 0 in their win column. First up, the Evansville Bluecats (0-4), who have lost with an average score of 30-44. Evansville has lost 2 at home and 2 on the road, which doesn’t bode well for them in the tough Atlantic East Division. Next, the Oklahoma Crude (0-4) clock in with a 25-46 average score. Finally, the Tupelo FireAnts (0-4) have limped to their winless record by scoring an average of 21 points per contest while giving up over 45. Ouch. Most teams in the NIFL can score 21 points per game by accident. Which team will crawl out of the basement first? My money is on Evansville.
The home teams spanked their visitors last week, winning 9 of the 11 games played to an average score of 49-39. For the first time this year, my crystal ball was cloudy. I managed to accurately predict only 5 of 11, bringing my yearly accuracy to 36-16, or 69.2%.
This weekend, the National Indoor Football League as 12 games on the card.
Friday, April 25th
Fort Wayne Freedom (2-2) @ Ohio Valley Greyhounds (4-0)
Fort Wayne is, most likely, the only team in the Atlantic East Division that could hope to give Ohio Valley a challenge for the division championship. But that is all they can do is hope, as the NIFL defending champions keep on with their winning ways. OV doesn’t lose often, and they hardly ever lose at home. The Greyhounds stay on top of the NIFL with an impressive win.
Tri City Diesel (2-3) @ Lincoln Capitols (2-3)
Both teams really need a win in order to steer clear of falling to 2-4. In the Pacific North Division, a 2-4 record at this point in the season would effectively eliminate a team from any chance of making the playoffs. These two teams are evenly matched and the game promises to be a good one, regardless of their respective win-loss records. Lincoln has not won a home game yet, but I have a feeling that they are due. I’ll take Lincoln to win in a low-scoring affair.
Saturday, April 26th
Oklahoma Crude (0-4) @ Austin Rockers (2-2)
What can I say about the Crude that hasn’t been said before? They need a spark, something to rally behind, something that will make a statement. And, to tell you the truth, that spark could be a win in Austin this weekend. But the Rockers play on the NIFL version of the Frozen Tundra, with thin turf draped over a frozen hockey rink. It’s hard to beat home-field advantage and soggy turf. I’ll take Austin by 12.
Omaha Beef (3-1) @ Billings Outlaws (1-4)
Omaha is rolling and wishes to remain hot on the heels of the Sioux City Bandits for the Pacific North Division race. Billings has fallen on hard times and is a team in desperate need of a break. Not this week, Billings faithful. In what could be the largest margin of victory this week, the Omaha Beef put down the Outlaws in dramatic fashion.
Louisiana Bayou Bucks (2-3) @ Lake Charles Land Sharks (5-0)
Three words: Sharks win big.
Lexington Horsemen (2-1) @ Tennessee RiverHawks (2-2)
Just when I think that Tennessee is down for the count, they jump up swinging and prove me wrong. I think it’s personal, but don’t tell the RiverHawks that. Okay, just to throw them off of their game, I’m going to pick them this week to unseat the Horsemen. Seriously, it looks like Tennessee has solved some of their problems on offense, and this should allow them to simply outscore Lexington. Tennessee wins at home.
La Crosse Night Train (2-3) @ Show Me Believers (1-3)
La Crosse is running into all manners of trouble, ranging from players to coaches to ticket-takers, if rumors out of the Land of Cheese are to be believed. They’ve added af-2 gunslinger Sean Hoolihan to the mix in order to keep the team competitive. On the other hand, the Believers are a team born under a bad sign. They play tough, close games more often than not, but always seem to come up short. But not this week. Show Me finally gets over the hump as fortune smiles upon them. The Believers earn the W.
Myrtle Beach Stingrays (1-3) @ Evansville Bluecats (0-4)
Sometimes, there are games played that only the fans of the teams involved show any interest in. This, my friends, is such a game. With only 1 win between these two teams, the action in this game could be a comedy of errors more than a professional football game. Even then, somebody has to win. I’ll hold my nose and take the Bluecats in this stinker.
Sioux Falls Storm (3-2) @ Utah Warriors (3-1)
Both of these teams suffered divisional losses on the road last week, with the Bismarck Roughriders downing the Storm and the Rapid City Red Dogs upending the Warriors. In the tight Pacific West Division, losses have to be few and far between if a squad hopes to make the post-season. Neither team can afford to lose two straight division games, but that is exactly what is going to happen for one of these teams. Utah has a stellar passing offense that simply outscores the competition. The strength of Sioux Falls is in their defense, but can they force Utah into making enough mistakes to steal a road win? I don’t think so. Utah gets back to their winning ways, winning my 2 touchdowns.
Sioux City Bandits (4-1) @ Bismarck Roughriders (2-3)
Sioux City is sitting alone atop the Pacific North Division, having won 4 straight. Bismarck is coming off of a huge home win over the Storm and have improved dramatically since the beginning of the season. This promises to be a great game. In the end, I think the ‘Riders will surprise the Bandits, squeaking out a home win by a narrow margin.
Beaumont Drillers (4-1) @ Tupelo FireAnts (0-4)
Say, aren’t practice games supposed to be played before the season starts? Guess not, as the Drillers roll into Tupelo to face the FireAnts. This should be an excellent game for exactly 2.5 quarters of play. In the remaining 1.5 quarters, expect a spanking as the Drillers take it to the Ants. Drillers win.
Sunday, April 27th
Rapid City Red Dogs (4-2) @ Wyoming Cavalry (3-2)
Rapid City is coming off of their biggest win of the season as they knocked off the previously undefeated Utah Warriors. Wyoming fought a pitched battle with Billings and came out of the fray with a victory. A win could set the tone for the rest of the season for either squad. In the end, there is too much in the Red Dogs tank for Wyoming to be able to handle. Rapid City wins by a field goal.
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.
||Ohio Valley Greyhounds
||Lake Charles Land Sharks
||Sneaking up on the Greyhounds, one poll ranking at a time.
||Tough road loss, but still the team to beat in the Pacific Conference.
||Rapid City Red Dogs
||Huge win over Utah. Now, can they take their show on the road?
||Sioux City Bandits
||The highest poll climber this season. They’re good.
||Sioux Falls Storm
||Tough loss to Bismarck last week, but still a force.
||Not as good as their record.
||Excellent turnaround early in the season. Feisty.
||Fort Wayne Freedom
||Better than a .500 team. Not as good as Ohio Valley.
||Tumbling down the poll. Is relief in sight?
||3 games in and they’re already at a crossroads.
||Only one game away from .500. There is hope yet.
||Show Me Believers
||Not as bad as their record.
||Not the strong team they once were.
||Will the real Capitols please stand up?
||Overcoming their problems, one week at a time.
||Lacrosse Night Train
||Changes are good. Sometimes.
||If you can’t beat them, freeze them!
||Houma Bayou Bucks
||Keep on losing and keep on sliding.
||Myrtle Beach Stingrays
||The best of the bottom teams. For this week.
||A win this week and this team could move up to #21!
||0-4 and they moved up in the poll? I think the fix is in.
||Or….maybe the Crude are just that bad.
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