IT'S HATE WEEK!
Welcome to week 13: Rivalry Week. This is the week where playoff hopes don't matter. Your season isn't over, no matter how poor your record. This week you get a chance at bragging rights for the next year. Time to beat your rivals, gentlemen. My 'Mericans are 4-8. The Hangovers are 2-10. Neither one of us are making the playoffs, but I can't express enough how much a Rivalry Week victory will salvage our seasons to some degree.
Of course, there are playoff implications this week (just not in my matchup). Finch and Leal are one win away from guaranteeing a first-round bye. Finch can probably guarantee a first-round bye even with a loss, but a win here would break the OIL record for most consecutive victories (putting Finch at 11-straight). His Hard Targets are averaging 178.82 points over their last seven games (and when you take out the outliers on the high end and low end, he's averaging 183.64 points over that stretch). So this 10-game winning streak is no fluke. They're the favorite heading into the playoffs.
If Leal falters, Bruesch could snag a bye with a win over the godless Dogs of War. Jessen could play spoiler against a Rogers team that needs a win to ensure a playoff spot. Pyle can do the same with a win against Schmidt (who he has struggled against historically), and Schmidt could sneak into the playoffs with a win against Pyle (and a little help). Pyle hasn't made the playoffs since 2010, so this is a HUGE matchup. It would be just like Schmidt to keep Pyle from making the tournament for a fifth-straight season.
Lots going on this week. We'll be sure to discuss it all on the podcast Wednesday at 1900 CST. Here are last week's matchup results; Rivalry Week analysis after the jump.
Rather than giving my predictions,
I'll let the rivals themselves tell the story of Hate Week.
[Note: The home team is determined by who won last year's Rivalry Week matchup. Records against each other are in parentheses.]
#10 Arrogant Americans (4-8) at #13 Hangovers (2-10)