Good Day, SupaNation-
We're now fully in the throes of Autumn. So many teams have called it a season and a relatively few are playing for all of the marbles. It's hard to believe that the 2010 season is almost in the books- but the reality is that it is. This season has been one in which many surprising changes took place, but it was also one in which some of the predictable old shortcomings of the game revealed themselves. It's not yet time to write the story of the 2010 season, though, as there are still trophies to be won and dreams to be fulfilled. Let's get to it!
West Central Wildcats @ Indiana Generals
The WCW have had perhaps the most interesting story of any team in the region over the past 6 years. Generated out of a split among the players of the early Generals organization, the WCW have known both great success and mediocrity over the years. Early games against IFL foes before they entered the league proved that though they were the best of a crop of MFL teams, the Wildcats still were not ready for the weekly challenge and relative parity of the big boys league. All of that sentiment has been put to rest after the 2010 season. The Wildcats have shown that they were more than a bunch of hard nosed country boys, but rather a cohesive team with talent and some impressive execution at times. Regardless of the outcome of Saturday's game, the WCW have to see the 2010 campaign as a success. Now for the bad news. The Generals have done what few teams have done over the last decade plus: absorb new talent, retain the team's core players and identity, and suppress internal strife. We all know that winning takes care of a lot of things, but there is a good reason that Generals have won in the fashion that they have. It's not just that they are the most talented team in the state (Sorry Tornados), it's rather that a number of them remain very hungry in spite of the weekly demolishings they visit upon their opponents. It's that desire that will make this game a much bigger margin than the talent differential would suggest.
Battle Creek Blaze @ Noble County Wolfpack
I have to be honest: this is the matchup that I was hoping for before a down of football was played in the IFL this season. The Blaze organizational reputation preceded it and it was clear that the Wolfpack were likely to be something very very special. While no team or organization is made up purely of angles, so to speak, it's clear that these two teams represent much of the best the game at our level has to offer. There is something to be said, too, for the way in which this division shaped up- a very competitive lot this season. Though the Blaze are on the road, they've played better (relative to their performance on the road) than any team in the IFL, and as a result, the advantage to the Wolfpack is much smaller that it would be for other teams. The Pack, however, have played very good defense over the course of the toughest total game schedule in the league. Those taking in this game will see a lot of talent on both sidelines and a lot of respect among the players- respect for one another and respect for the game itself. It's hard to imagine that one of these teams has to go home after a great season, but my guess, actually, is that the dreams of a perfect season for the Pack will come to an end not next week, but at the hands of the visiting Blaze. The Wolfpack will have gotten caught looking ahead to the game they expect to play with the Generals and will fall at home in a shocker.
Centerville Bulldogs @ Union City Indians
It's clear that last week was an important win for the Indians, but this week might be an even more important test. With a strong start behind them, UCHS now faces a series of very similar teams over the course of the next few weeks. If the team plays well, they could be very well placed to make a run at the conference title. If on the other hand, the team plays badly, they could easily lose 3 of the next 4 and be in the middle of a repeat of the 2009 season. The Bulldogs are much like the Indians, but feature a better defense. As long as Beef does not put all his eggs in the basket of his high powered offense, my bet is on the host Indians. Let's hope I'm right.
That's it. By now you all know the drill.Go forth and be awesome. Bring back much detail. And in all things, be sure to make your mommas proud!