I knew last weekend’s play — and my picks — would kill me. It wasn’t as bad as I thought.
Last week’s picks: 6-3-1
Straight wins, that’s .640 so far for the season. Factoring in ties, it’s .710 and not completely honest, as I haven’t called any.
This weekend, there’s a full slate of CCHA play with Western sitting out this one (but not, as coach Jeff Blashill said, taking the weekend off).
I’ll be covering the Notre Dame-Michigan game Friday and the Ohio State-Michigan State game Saturday. Please do say hello if you see me at either venue, and if you’re a local fan, feel free to talk smack about Sunday’s Lions-Bills game — as I’ve been bolstering my friends who are Lions fans with the prospect of at least a 3-13 season, courtesy of my beloved Buffalo Bills.
BGSU at NMU. Each team split a pair of games last weekend and neither coach was happy about it. For the Falcons, the win over the Irish was their first league win (and fourth overall) of the season; for the Wildcats, it was three in a row over CCHA opponents until Saturday’s loss to the Lakers. NMU is 6-3-1 in the last 10 games between these two teams; last year, the Wildcats beat the Falcons and took the shootout the following night Jan. 15-16, in Marquette. BGSU 3-2, NMU 3-2.
FSU at LSSU. Well now. The Bulldogs certainly surprised me with their five points over visiting Miami last weekend — but I don’t know why they should have. They finished in third place last season, have a very solid defensive corps, play hard, are well coached. This weekend, they face a Lakers team that is poised to be one of the CCHA have-nots, through very little fault of their own. The league is tight from top to bottom, and although LSSU is six points behind FSU in the standings (and likely to finish much lower than the Bulldogs this season), no game is a gimme this year. The Lakers are 3-1-1 at home against the ‘Dogs in their last five meetings, all five contests decided by a goal or less. The teams split Feb. 12-13 in the Soo. FSU 4-2, LSSU 3-1.
OSU at MSU. Last weekend offered an odd reversal of fortune for each of these teams. The Buckeyes swept visiting Alabama-Huntsville and scored 11 goals in the process; the Spartans went to Kalamazoo and were swept by Western Michigan for the first time since 2007. I believe that this is where anything unusual about this story ends. The teams split a pair of games Jan. 22-23 in Munn, where MSU is 38-6-3 all-time against OSU. MSU 4-2, 3-2.
ND at UM. Here’s the series of the week. One point separates the Irish from the Wolverines at the top of the CCHA standings. Each team split last weekend, the Irish in Ohio and the Wolverines in Alaska. Last year, the teams split against each other, with the Wolverines taking a home game Dec. 11 and the Irish doing likewise Dec. 13. Everyone’s favorite note about this series this weekend is about the Rust brothers; Wolverine senior Matt will face Irish freshman Bryan for the first time at the college level. How lucky that each Rust son gets to play for such excellent coaches and programs. How do the parents root? The Wolverines are perfect on Saturdays (4-0-2), not so much Friday nights. ND 3-2, UM 3-2.
UAF at Miami. Another hot ticket sees the Nanooks in Oxford to face the chagrined RedHawks. Last week, I said I wouldn’t pick against the ‘Hawks until they lost. Well, they lost … but I’m still not picking against them. Had they merely split in Big Rapids, I’d call one of these games Alaska’s way. Conceding all but one point to the Bulldogs, though, changes things. Two points separate these teams in the standings, Miami in third place, Alaska in fourth. I know the teams have split in Oxford in recent history, but I see Carter Camper’s one-game hiatus from the score sheet as a reason to call a sweep. Nanook fans, take heart: I’m often wrong. Miami 3-2, 4-2.
Three more notes that have nothing to do with picks:
- Read Dave Starman’s interesting proposal to increase offense in college hockey. I think he’s wrong, but perhaps you’ll agree with him.
- Read this week’sTuesday Morning Quarterback if you haven’t done so already. There are plenty of reasons to do so, but one good one is to let my buddies Jim Connelly and Todd Milewski know that they missed a team in their discussion of Bulldogs.
- Read Russell Jaslow’s SUNYAC column this week, because he leads with my beloved alma mater.