Schooling Schooler: Weekend of Feb. 21
|Schooler nearly ruined a perfectly good wine vacation by taking an early lead in the Schooling Schooler competition. There won't be a big swing this week, but Coyne is in his head now by rolling out a Division II contest. How unhinged is Schooler with the advent of D-II pick 'ems? Well, he has let the political genie out of the bottle.|
The weather was perfect for my five-day tour of Sonoma wine
country with my betrothed and the fermented grapes were also in
fine form. However a pall was cast over my vacation with the
realization that I actually trailed Nick after the first week of
action by a game (Schooler: 3-2; Coyne: 2-3).
I pushed through the gloom, purchasing four cases during the stretch, but there was a hurt inside.
I lost the coin-flip that was the BYU-Chapman game, which I can deal with (although it made all of the Cougar pimping I've been doing for the last six months lose a little steam), especially since Nick's UCSB blinders sunk him against Cal Poly. We both completely missed the comprehensive beat-down administered by Oregon against Cal and both hit Arizona over Texas A&M.
The true swing game was the Loyola Marymouth-Santa Clara game. I went against all of my instincts to pick Santa Clara, and got burned. The Lions obliterated the Broncos over the final three quarters for the 15-8 victory.
It's time to regain that old magic and hopefully this wine will help.
To the games...
No. 15 Lindenwood vs. No. 7 Minn.-Duluth, 11 a.m. CT, Sunday (at Minnesota)
COYNE: Ever since I started covering the MCLA a couple of years back, there has always been an undercurrent of disrespect for Lindenwood. Most of it, I assume, was due to the Lions' annual appearance in the tourney out of the relatively week GRLC and their subsequent quick dismissal from the playoffs. Regardless, there's only one way to shake that label and it's by racking up some big wins during the regular season followed by a deep tourney run. Lindenwood may very well achieve both, but Sunday won't be part of that quest. UMD 14, Lindenwood 11.
SCHOOLER: During my playing days, I would have laughed at the thought of this as a top game. Both teams would beg for respect because they ran through a bunch of worthless teams in their respective leagues. I used to lump UMD into the same category as Lindenwood, but Duluth has proven themselves over that last few years (can't say the same about LU). They boosted their strength of schedule and managed to win games at nationals. The Bulldogs are returning a lot of starters, and Lindenwood will not come close, even if they manage to bring Justin Combs back from the real life. Dogs by a lot.
Western Michigan vs. No. 18 Wisconsin, 7:30 p.m., Saturday (at The Dells)
COYNE: Since I'm a Wisconsite now, I figured I'd give the new guys a little run. I'm guessing the win isn't in question, but rather the spread of the victory. Right or wrong, I think the final score will have a lot of people wagging - perhaps even myself - about just how good the Badgers will, or won't, be.
SCHOOLER: Not sure why this game was picked, but I'll run with it. Western Michigan finished at the bottom of their division last season with no wins. Wisconsin, my grandma's alma mater, is new to the MCLA, but not new to lacrosse. They seem to have a long history dating back to the 70's. The team was started and led by the ferocious Bruce Tully (pictured below). They performed pretty well in the Maryland tournament earlier this year, so I'll give it to them. Go Badgers!
No. 13 Boston College vs. No. 19 Michigan State, 3 p.m., Saturday (at Florida State)
COYNE: I was able to catch Michigan State play several MCLA and NCAA teams in Milwaukee in the fall and was mildly impressed. Scrimmages aren't worth much in terms of outside evaluation, but I feel like I was able to see enough of the Spartans to give me a feel for how they'll stack up this year. Will they be able to compete with the Top 10? Probably not, but I think they'll beat Boston College early in the year.
SCHOOLER: This is a very good game. I think both teams are on the same level. Both are returning some key starters and on the road early in the year. BC plays Florida State and Michigan State plays Georgia on Friday. Assuming that BC doesn't suffer any major injuries, I think that they will come away with the victory over the Spartans just because of a competitive game will have them more prepared.
No. 3 Davenport at No. 6 Emory, 1 p.m., Sunday
COYNE: One of my trump cards this season if, heaven forbid, I actually fell behind Schooler is the combination of Nick's inattentiveness of, and fundamental hatred for all things Division II. So what better time to roll out a match-up between a pair of junior circuit giants than when I'm trailing early? This will be interesting for a half, maybe, but I think Davenport has too much fire power and will take this inter-conference friendly. These two will meet again, however, so file it away.
SCHOOLER: You had to throw a Division II game at me. Does this have to count against me? I don't know anything about D2, nor do I want to know anything. So I'm going to do this a different way. Newt Gingrich, one of the most despicable human being on the face of the planet, graduated from Emory. So I am going to go with Davenport. Where is Davenport anyways?
COYNE: Despite his Berkeley wing-nut credentials, Schooler still marginalizes the downtrodden, blue-collar players toiling in Division II? Somewhere, Nancy Pelosi weeps.
For the record, Davenport is in Michigan - scenic Grand Rapids, to be precise.
No. 13 Boston College at No. 6 Florida State, 8 p.m., Friday
SCHOOLER: I picked this game because I find these types of round-robins quite intriguing. It reminds me of the one that Michigan hosts every year. I think that more top teams should schedule these, teams from California, Texas and Florida. Why? 1.) It prepares teams for nationals, 2.) it gets high level out-of-conference games, and 3.) it gets some of those teams out of the freezing cold.
With the loss of Corey Noonan at FSU, some people might question where the Seminoles stand. I think they stand in the same place that they have every year: right there in the top 10. BC might come into this game a little unprepared. I don't know how they do it in the Northeast, but I wouldn't be practicing in the freezing cold. I need sun and blue skies and that is what they have in Florida. I'm going with Florida State in this one.
COYNE: I eyeballed this game for the contest, but honestly I think it will be less competitive than the Western Michigan-Wisconsin game. ‘Noles big.