No. 21 Northeastern (0-0) at No. 4 Stanford (3-0) – Friday, 3 p.m. PT
COYNE: Can anyone slow down the Stanford juggernaut? At this point, it appears that Colorado State and Arizona State are the only two with the goods to bring the Cardinal back down to earth. The two-headed monster of attackman Jack Farr, who had eight goals and two assists against Oregon, and midfielder Peter Doyle, who torched UCSB for a fiver, is proving to be nearly unstoppable.
Northeastern is certainly a program on the rise, and the Huskies Golden State trip to play No. 13 Cal, No. 4 Stanford and No. 7 UC Santa Barbara in a four-day span to start the season is commendable. With Chris Tecca (30g, 19a in ’12) returning up front, Northeastern will provide stiff competition, but I worry the Huskies might suffer the same fate as Boston College last year. The Eagles flew to California and played Chapman, Cal Poly and UCSB in four days and took the broom. It’s just too much, too soon for a New England team. Cardinal, 12-7.
SCHOOLER: It is only a matter of time until teams figure out how to stop Peter Doyle — or at least slow him down. The Gauchos were not prepared for the dual threat. But the question is whether Northeastern has the defense to stop Farr and Doyle. The Huskies keep most of their defense intact, but losing first team PCLL defenseman Kyle Bedell has to hurt. I am going against my Berkeley roots and picking the Cardinal, 10-6.
No. 15 Cal Poly (2-1) at No. 18 Minnesota-Duluth (3-0) – Friday, 9 p.m.
COYNE: There’s a lot riding on this game for both of these teams. Cal Poly bounced back from the UCSB debacle with wins over Grand Canyon and Loyola Marymount last weekend, but continued its poll nose-dive. The Mustangs need a ranked win to remind pollsters that they came up two goals short of all the marbles last year, as well give themselves a little confidence for the WCLL slate. Duluth needs a ranked win to give it a chance when selection Sunday rolls around without the AQ safety net.
New coach Sam Litman said Duluth will once again be predicated on its defense, and that has been confirmed so far with only 12 goals allowed in three games (albeit against some lightweights). In order to win this game, however, the UMD staff has to break free of the conservative Graff/Clark regimes and unshackle the offense, letting guys like attackman Ryan Butts (9g, 2a) and middie Stan Drutowski (5g, 6a) be creative.
I may be the only person left in America right now outside of SLO who thinks Poly is far better than its No. 15 ranking, and I’ll stick to my guns. ‘Stangs, 10-9.
SCHOOLER: I don’t know how they do it, but the Bulldogs manage to put together a quality team every season. Maybe it’s the coaching. Maybe it’s the proximity to the Canadian border. Who knows?
But I know one thing for certain: this is not the Cal Poly team we saw last year. They had their chance and one bad game cost them. The Mustang’s performance against UCSB on their home turf was atrocious. This is Cal Poly’s chance to put their name back in the conversation. Unlike Jac, I do not see this being a one goal game. I have Duluth winning comfortably, 12-9.
No. 3 BYU (1-0) vs. No. 9 Chapman (1-1) – Friday, 7 p.m. (at Las Vegas)
COYNE: If we’ve learned one thing from the last two times these programs have met, it’s that Chapman has a hard time holding a late lead. In the regular season matchup last year, the Panthers held a 10-6 advantage going into the fourth quarter and lost, 12-11, in overtime. When they met again in the national quarterfinals, Chapman took a 9-7 edge into the final frame before allowing the Cougars to notch an eight-spot for the 15-12 win. The fact that Dallas Hartley’s squad had an 8-6 fourth-quarter lead over Oregon last weekend and still lost 9-8 doesn’t instill a lot of confidence in their closing ability.
Fortunately for Chapman, BYU is very different than last year’s senior-laden squad. In addition, the young Cougars only have one game under their belt and will have to play UNLV on Thursday night. Alas, considering its current late game woes, it’s difficult picking the Panthers. Percentages say they’re due to pull one of these out, however. Chappy, 11-10.
SCHOOLER: It’s a toss up. I would be lying if I said that I am confident with my picks this early in the season. My pitiful performance last week proves that point. Last week, I would have guessed that this game would be a close one, but Chaptown lost to the Ducks. I’m doubting just how good Chapman is. Could this be the year that my Gauchos get back on top on the Panthers? This game will be a good measuring stick.
You can never count BYU out. Year in and year out, they are a contender, and nothing changes this year. Cougars win, 14-11.
No. 24 Arizona (1-1) at Grand Canyon (1-1) – Saturday, 7 p.m. MT
COYNE: It’s easy to get blinders on when covering the MCLA. It’s routine to fall into the trap of seeing certain scores and extrapolating them out over the course of the season to predict outcomes. It wasn’t one of our picks last week, but based on its opening-game performance against San Diego State, I thought Grand Canyon could hang with Cal Poly. The Mustangs cured me of that notion with a convincing, 15-11 result over the ‘Lopes. Unfortunately, I just can’t quit GCU.
The ‘Lopes enter the game with Arizona as underdogs – the Wildcats boast a No. 24 national ranking even after being dispatched by California, 14-5. ‘Zona has proven weapons, notably Zach Johnson (3g, 3a) and William Stanaback (4g), but they are frighteningly young on the backline, with rookie Philp Pierce as the last line of defense. That’s spells trouble. Grand Canyon, 12-8.
SCHOOLER: I’m down by a few games and my gut is telling me to go with Grand Canyon. But doesn’t that go against what I said early in the season when analyzing the jump from Division II to Division I? So I am conflicted here. Arizona had a less than average season last year, so I am hesitant in picking the ‘Cats. Plus, I do not trust the voters this early in the season.
I picked the ‘Lopes last week over Cal Poly. That proved to be stupid, but I guess I should stick with my gut and take Grand Canyon again, 10-9.
For more: http://www.laxmagazine.com/college_men/club/2012-13/news/022013_schooling_schooler_where_are_we_headed_next