05/08/02 Rocky Larson
Shut out. Blanked. Goose-egged. In a sport where teams can score 17 points by accident and defensive coordinators get paid in cases of Rogaine, the Lincoln Capitols did the near-impossible last week, beating the Sioux City Bandits 20-0. Lincoln held Sioux City scoreless even though the Bandits were inside the Cap’s 10-yard line 7 times, but the tenacious Lincoln defense held and Sioux City walked away with nothing. The only other shutout happened two years ago, when the Tri-City Diesel held their opponent scoreless. That opponent? The Sioux City Bandits.
Even though the average score last week was 46-45 in favor of the home teams, the visitors ended up taking home wins in 6 of the 10 games played. This week my football fortune telling was back on the plus side, as I accurately predicted the outcome in 7 of 10 games. This brings my yearly total to 48-26, or an accuracy of 64.9%.
The National Indoor Football League has 10 games scheduled this weekend.
Thursday, May 8th
Lincoln Capitols (4-3) @ Omaha Beef (4-2)
Lincoln has been on fire as of late, rattling off three wins in a row and charging towards the top of the Pacific North Division. This week they face the Omaha Beef, the division front-runner who has had trouble fighting through injuries as of late. This should be a great game and will come down to the wire. I like the Cap’s to steal this game on the road.
Friday, May 9th
Tennessee RiverHawks (2-3) at Oklahoma Crude (0-6)
The RiverHawks would face stiffer competition if this was a BYE week. Simply put, the 2-year old Crude franchise hasn’t figured out the indoor game. The veteran leadership of the ‘Hawks will prove to be too much for the Crude, who remain winless. Tennessee wins by 16.
Saturday, May 10th
Tupelo FireAnts (1-5) @ Austin Rockers (3-3)
Last week, the Austin Rockers scored an impressive 70 points against Utah. And lost. Good news, Rockers fans: Tupelo is coming to town. There is no way the Ants can keep up with the newly-discovered scoring offense of the Austin Rockers. Tupelo makes it interesting down the stretch, but Austin holds on to win.
Billings Outlaws (3-4) @ Bismarck Roughriders (3-3)
Now this is what I’m talking about! Two gritty teams from the black-and-blue Pacific West Division square off with everything to gain and everything to lose. A loss by Billings would mean a 3-5 record and almost no chance of earning a playoff spot without help. A loss by Bismarck would put the ‘Riders in the middle of the log jam that is the Pacific West. And, to top it off, these teams don’t like each other. This is indoor football. I think that Billings has finally gotten over their early season hump and will give Bismarck all that they can handle and then some. In a single-digit win, the Outlaws rob the Roughriders.
Tri City Diesel (2-5) @ Wyoming Cavalry (4-3)
The Diesel have lost 5 games straight and are a team on the decline. The Cavalry are in the hunt for a division title even after losing by 3 points to Billings last week. I’ll take the Cavalry big.
Evansville Bluecats (0-6) @ Lexington Horsemen (4-1)
Their records speak volumes. Need I say more? Lexington wins, but by less than 10 points.
Lake Charles Land Sharks (5-1) @ Louisiana Bayou Bucks (4-3)
These two teams met during week 7, with the Bucks knocking off the Land Sharks to the tune of 48-35. I have one word to say: fluke. Fluke, fluke fluke. There is no way that the Bucks should have beaten the Land Sharks, and the boys in Lake Charles know it. Expect some payback. Lake Charles makes a statement with a big win.
Rapid City Red Dogs (4-3) @ La Crosse Night Train (3-4)
Talk about two teams with problems. La Crosse switches players and coaches faster than most people change their socks. Rapid City, according to former owner Bruce Bailey, has been without an owner since before the season started. Chaos abounds. Now, back to football. With the off-the-field problems, the Red Dogs are coming off of a bye with little to no practice. The last time this team had their minds on something other than football, they got spanked by Lincoln at home. La Crosse is planning on starting af-2 veteran quarterback Sean Hoolihan. Couple this with a cold Red Dogs defense and it means a La Crosse win. Both teams end up .500.
Sioux City Bandits (4-3) @ Sioux Falls Storm (3-4)
Is there a better football rivalry in the NIFL than Sioux City vs. Sioux Falls? Both teams have been sliding as of late and need to regain some confidence and swagger before things get out of hand. This game comes down to venue: Sioux City doesn’t win often on the road. Sioux Falls doesn’t lose often at home. Just like the La Crosse/Rapid City game, the contest ends with both teams walking out of the arena at .500.
Ohio Valley Greyhounds (6-0) @ Show Me Believers (2-4)
Forget the records, this game will be closer than many people think. Ohio Valley, while undefeated, hasn’t put away teams this season like they have in the past. They’re good, perhaps the best, but my opinion is that they are a step down from the NIFL Championship team of last season. Show Me doesn’t have a record that they can boast about, but they play a solid brand of football and have enough play-makers to burn the unwary. Show Me fans are in for a treat as they host Ohio Valley, but not a win. The Greyhounds remain undefeated.
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
||They’re on top, but I want to see some domination!
||These guys can score on anybody.
||Lake Charles Land Sharks
||One little stumble, but back on the winning track.
||Are their injuries behind them? Can they control a game?
||Rapid City Red Dogs
||A bye, after a loss, no paychecks and little practice. Distractions, anyone?
||Tough loss last week. I blame the refs.
||Fort Wayne Freedom
||Could be the sleeper team in the Atlantic.
||Huge come from behind win last week. Can they keep their momentum up?
||You’d think a 4-1 record would impress the pollsters.
||Sioux City Bandits
||Blanked twice in three seasons? Break out the paper bag masks.
||Another team at a crossroads, on and off the field.
||Sioux Falls Storm
||Home sweet home.
||They’re in a solid position for the playoffs.
||What a turn-around!
||Show Me Believers
||Still the best team without a winning record, in my opinion.
||They can score, but can they stop anybody?
||Lacrosse Night Train
||Does the team have enough time to gel with their new qb?
||Doing better than I thought they would.
||Houma Bayou Bucks
||They beat Lake Charles and have a winning record. At least they’re in the top 20.
||Things are looking gloomy in Kearney.
||Myrtle Beach Stingrays
||More consistency couldn’t hurt.
||They’re moving up the chart. Imagine what 2 wins would do!
||Don’t bluecats linger near the bottom in the wild, too?
||And the award for the most appropriate team name goes to…
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