Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Home of Tomorrow’s Mediocre NFL Players

The players who will compose future NFL practice squads and one day serve as the league’s injury necessitated peons take the field this weekend in the minor league to the NFL’s minor league. Starting Friday, the Arena Football Two playoffs begin in unpopular towns across the country. Central Valley, California; Memphis, Tennessee; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and Manchester, New Hampshire (not unpopular, simply undiscovered) all boast home teams in the wildcard round of the AF2 playoffs. Waiting in the wings are teams from Green Bay, Wisconsin; Estero, Florida (seriously); Spokane, Washington; and Tulsa, Oklahoma, who all won their divisions and received first round byes.

Here are the official FSC predictions for the first round of the AF2 playoffs before I list some things to look for.

Friday Games:

  • Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers @ Manchester Wolves (7:30 pm EST) – Obviously, this New Hampshire boy is picking the Wolves. The question is by how much. How about this, I’m just going to give the Wolves’ average points for and points against. Final score: 54-48, Wolves. Ooo… but look at that Ms. Pioneer Contest. It’s even held at the Oyster Bar. That’s got to count for something. Ok – final score, 52-50. It’s going to be a good game in Manchester.
  • Bakersfield Blitz @ Central Valley Coyotes (11:00 pm EST) – This, to me, is the hardest pick of the weekend. Both teams are 9-7, but more important, both the Blitz Dancers and the Coyote Girls have spectacular stripper names. In the end though, the Coyote Girls have far superior stripper poses in their team photos. Well, there’s that and the Coyote offense scored 8 points more per game this season than the Blitz. Final score: 48-38, Coyotes.

Saturday Games:

  • Louisville Fire @ Memphis Xplorers (8:00 pm EST) – Ugh. The stinker of the weekend. Memphis is much better, despite the idiotic X in their name. I hate teams that put X in their name for no good reason; that’s mainstream idiotic not fringe sports. Memphis wins in a walk, 49-23.
  • Arkansas Twisters @ Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz (8:00 pm EST) – This one is another dog of a game, although not quite as bad as the Memphis game. The Dawgz outscored the Twisters by more than 10 points per game during the regular season. Dawgz win 54-38. (And by the way, I hate extraneous use of Z in place of S at the end of words, too. It’s just dumb.)

Come back next week for predictions for the games involving the Green Bay Blizzard, Florida Firecats, Tulsa Talons, and Spokane Shock. First, though, things to look for this weekend:

  • Will any running back rush for as many as… 40 yards? You think I’m kidding. Oh no. Look at the season stats. The Blizzard led the league in rushing and averaged less than 40 yards a game. Needless to say, the next great NFL back-up RB will not be coming out of AF2.
  • Speaking of rushing, keep an eye on Oklahoma City’s defense. They allowed an impressive 12.6 yards rushing per game. There’s an off chance that the complete extent of the Twister’s rushing offense will be when they run onto the field at the beginning of the game.
  • Louisville allowed the most points of any team in the league, 854. The fewest? 655, by the Memphis Explorers (suck it, Memphis). In contrast, the most points allowed by any team in the NFL was 431 by the Houston Texans. Now, there are mitigating circumstances; Arena Football rules are pretty different than NFL rules. Unfortunately, I get the feeling that NFL scouts look at those stats and think “I’d rather watch the defensive line at Temple,” which no football prospect wants to hear. Come NFL guys – give Arena Football some love.


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