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Another round of predictions...that hopefully are close to reality

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With the regional rankings coming soon and the fact that we're in the thick of the second half of the schedule, playoff scenarios have been creeping into the discussion for many teams across the nation. Within the GNAC, that's only going to include Humboldt State this year. Despite takine one on the chin in last week's 35-10 loss on the road to Midwestern State, Humboldt State's playoff picture is still clear. Maybe it got a bit murky, but if the Lumberjacks win out and go 4-0 to wrap up the regular season HSU could - could - still have a shot.

Some of those in the know say a 9-1 Humboldt is in. I'm not so sure. It's been a while for the GNAC to get represented in the postseason - CWU's 2009 team is the last to get there - and there has been some close calls - Azusa Pacific last year and Humboldt in 2011 - but I'm hopeful those pundits are correct.

On to the games:

Central Washington (1-2 GNAC, 3-4 overall) vs. Humboldt State (3-0, 5-1)
On paper, this could be a long day for CWU. Humboldt scores the most points and holds team to the fewest points when it comes to GNAC conference statistics.

The Lumberjacks rush for a conference-best 285 yards per game. CWU defends the rush to the tune of 203 yards per game. Ja'Quan Gardner is averaging 206 yards per game himself for HSU. He's already scored 16 times on the ground this year.

Perhaps CWU's best defense is a good offense that keeps HSU's potent attack on the sidelines for as much as they can. Easier said than done as CWU's top two running backs Jordan Todd (injury) and Arthur Burns (suspension) are out, which leaves the carries to redshirt freshman Quincy Carter, who has taken a few touches a game, but has never been the first option. So CWU might need to rely on the passing attack, which includes Jesse Zalk and seldom-used Christian Gasca.

Humboldt however is too good on the offensive line and too good defensively. This is Humboldt's year, 38-20.

Simon Fraser (0-2, 0-5) vs. Western Oregon (2-1, 4-3)
Western Oregon has shown little signs of slowing down after knocking off then-No. 6 North Alabama, taking down CWU last week. The Wolves are home again against a Simon Fraser squad with little to show for their season besides a goose-egg in the win column.

The Clan are very inconsistent on offense, including a paltry 76 yards per game on the ground and they're OK on defense. WOU has shown life in a rushing attack that hasn't been there for a handful of years.

It's a guess here, but we may see plenty of ground game calls to keep the clock running as WOU should have this in the bag by halftime, 30-10.

Azusa Pacific (1-2, 4-3) vs. South Dakota Mines (2-1, 5-2)

South Dakota Mines has shown flashes of superiority this year and they have improved some over the past few years of taking some lumps. The Hardrockers are still far from domination that Humboldt and Azusa have shown in recent memory, but they're certainly better this year. Mines went on the road to defeat CWU two weeks ago, but of course have also veen vulnerable to strong teams in the 59-10 loss to Humboldt State.

Which team will show up this week? And to be honest, the same can be said for Azusa, which is behind SD Mines in the GNAC standings.

As of this blog post, it wasn't known if Chad Jeffries would start at quarterback for the Cougars, so APU may rely heavily on Kurt Scoby's carries and his 120 yards per contest.

I'm going to take Azusa in a close one, 27-20.

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