By Backseat Coach

Opening Day of the WFA 2017 Season features 39 games!

Lock of the Week: Dallas Elite over Austin Outlaws
Nail Biter of the Week: Acadiana Zydeco @ Arkansas Wildcats
Upset Watch of the Week: San Diego Surge @ Pacific Warriors

Follow Backseat Coach on Facebook and Twitter!

1) DC Divas (D1) @ Philadelphia Phantomz (D2)
Philadelphia, in their first season as the Phantomz, advanced to the Division 2 National Conference Championship, losing to the Tampa Bay Inferno in a close game. DC are the reigning Division 1 champions. This will be a good litmus test for both Philadelphia and DC to see where they stand after the offseason. Prediction: DC

2) New York Sharks (D2) @ Richmond Black Widows (D3)
Though Richmond is a Division 3 squad and New York is expected to be a contender in the D2 ranks, this game could be closer than expected. Black Widows owner Sarah Schkeeper hosts her former team with whom she became a bona fide baller. She wants this one. Prediction: NY

3) NY Knockout (D3) @ Maine Mayhem (D3)
Tough call! The Knockout are 3-0 against Maine all time. But last season, while NY was downsized to play in the W8FL, the Mayhem experienced a groundswell and became the IWFL Affiliate Bowl champions. I’ll take the champ in this one. Prediction: Maine

4) Connecticut Hawks (D3) @ New England NightMare (D3)
The state of Connecticut has a rich, though fragmented history in women’s football and this matchup puts it in the spotlight. The NightMare has been one of the most stable of the Connecticut teams operating continuously since 2010. The Hawks of are the latest incarnation of a line of teams including the CT Wreckers and Northeastern Nitro. The NightMare were runners up for the USWFL title last season. Prediction: New England

5) Keystone Assault (D3) @ Baltimore Nighthawks (D2)
The Assault combined forces with the Baltimore Burn last season in an unprecedented effort to keep both teams in the game. Keystone returns to the WFA while the Burn head to the USWFL. As fate would have it, in their first game back under their own banner, Keystone will square off against the premier team in Baltimore, the Nighthawks. Prediction: Baltimore

6) Columbus Comets (D2) @ Pittsburgh Passion (D1)
What is there to say? Columbus is pretty tough but this is Pittsburgh at home. Prediction: Pittsburgh

7) Toledo Reign (D3) @ Cleveland Fusion (D1)
I hope in the future matchups between D1 and D3 teams can be avoided. It will be better for everyone. Prediction: Cleveland

8) Detroit Dark Angels (D2) @ Flint City Riveters (D3)
I am hoping Flint will win a couple in their sophomore season, but it won’t be this game. Prediction: Detroit

9) Chicago Force (D1) @ West Michigan Mayhem (D2)
This game marks Chicago QB Sami Grisafe’s return to the gridiron, in what may be Linda Bache’s final season as team owner. It will be an emotional game for the Force. It wouldn’t be a big surprise to see the Mayhem put up a good fight at home. Prediction: Chicago

10) Atlanta Phoenix (D1) @ Derby City Dynamite (D3)
Another D1/D3 matchup, but two squads that like to hit hard. It likely won’t be close, but it still should be a good one to watch from the stands. Prediction: Atlanta

11) South Carolina Smash (D3) @ North Florida Pumas (D2)
Two teams in their inaugural seasons! Welcome and good luck. Seeing as the Smash are South Carolina’s first ever women’s football team, I will be rooting for them. But seeing as the Pumas probably have a few experienced players and a deeper roster… Prediction: North Florida

12) Carolina Phoenix (D2) @ Hampton Roads Lady Gators (D3)
Welcome, Lady Gators! The first-season Gators square off against a perennial playoff contender formerly in the IWFL. Prediction: Carolina

13) Huntsville Tigers (D3) @ Music City Mizfits (D3)
The Tigers have been knocking around since 2009 before coming to the WFA in 2016. The Mizfits are relatively new, but are the 2016 LAFL champs. This could be a really close and exciting game! Who knows? I hope it is. As it is Week 1, I will defer to championship pedigree. Prediction: Music City

14) Tennessee Train (D3) @ Cincinnati Sizzle (D3)
Cincinnati return to the WFA as reigning champs of the USWFL. Tennessee return following a down year in the IWFL losing to the likes of the Knoxville Lightning and the Detroit Pride. It was a far cry from their memorable 2014 season when they went 5-3, defeating the Sizzle in the along the way. Prediction: Cincinnati

15) Jacksonville Dixie Blues (D2) @ Tampa Bay Inferno (D2)
One of the classic matchups of the Sunshine state. Tampa Bay has had the upper hand the last few years. Prediction: Tampa Bay.

16) Orlando Anarchy (D3) @ Daytona Waverunners (D3)
This will be the first time the Anarchy competes on the playing field since the tragic Pulse nightclub shooting that injured player Paula Blanco and claimed the life of coach Cory Connell. It will certainly be an emotion-filled night. While the Waverunners defeated Orlando three times last season, this could be a thrilling game. It is certainly one to watch! Prediction: Daytona

17) Minnesota Machine (D3) @ Kansas City Titans (D1)
The Machine return after taking a season to reorganize. The Titans adjust to life after Katie Sowers, who has groomed her own replacement, a promising young quarterback Brooke Liebsch. It is indeed exciting times for both teams. Prediction: Kansas City

18) St. Louis Slam (D2) @ Indy Crash (D2)
This kicks off a whole season of great D2 matchups. This one could also be a preview to a title match. The reigning D2 champions St. Louis will be tested this season, and that test begins now. The Crash impressed in 2016 with a season-opening upset of the Cleveland Fusion. Can they upset a champion this time? Prediction: St. Louis

19) Minnesota Vixen (D1) @ Madison Blaze (D2)
A classic matchup comes to the WFA. Last season, Minnesota had the upper hand. The season previous it was the Madison. The Vixen has momentum as a 2016 IWFL title contender, and have made a power move into WFA’s top tier. Prediction: Minnesota

20) Austin Outlaws (D3) @ Dallas Elite (D1) (WATCH LIVE)
The back-to-back to D1 title contenders Dallas will face Austin who look to bounce back from one of their worst seasons ever. Prediction: Dallas

21) Arlington Impact (D1) @ Houston Power (D3)
The Power charges forward despite competition for players from an excessive number Houston area teams, not only in traditional full-kit but non-traditional teams as well. They meet the Arlington Impact, who have never lost to the Power. Prediction: Arlington

22) Acadiana Zydeco (D3) @ Arkansas Wildcats (D3)
In case you didn’t know, this matchup is a WFA CLASSIC. I am stoked that Arkansas has returned after not fielding a team in 2016. I am certain the Zydeco are pleased to face a team that pushes them to their limits. From 2013-2015, the Zydeco and the Wildcats split regular season games every season. Arkansas holds the head-to-head lead 4-3 having won 2012’s lone matchup with the Zydeco. I just never knew who was going to win. Messed up my predictions all the time. Possibly this time too. Prediction: Acadiana

23) Seattle Majestics (D1) @ S. Oregon Lady Renegades (D3)
The Lady ‘Gades had a good inaugural season last year winning a couple of games. They have a great shot at trending upward this season, but it won’t start with this game. Seattle has expanded their roster as the aim to regain their dominance in the region. Prediction: Seattle

24) Tacoma Trauma (D2) @ Portland Fighting Shockwave (D1)
Tacoma had a turnaround season in 2015. 2016 was a step or two backwards. Portland is currently the team to beat in the Great Northwest. Prediction: Portland

25) Utah Blitz (D3) @ Ventura Wolfpack (D3)
This could be a fun, close game. It could go either way. Prediction: Utah

26) Santa Fe Dukes (D3) @ Rocky Mountain Thunderkatz (D3)
We hear this a lot from the prognosticators: “Don’t know a lot about these teams…” That is the case for me here. The Dukes, in their third season, are the only surviving team of the women’s New Mexico Adult Football League. It’s good to be a survivor. All I know about the Thunderkatz is that they hung tough against the Vixen and Stampede in the IWFL last year. Prediction: Rocky Mountain

27) Central Cal War Angels (D1) @ Sin City Trojans (D2)
Like last season, the Trojans are a contender in the D2 American Conference. But it will Central Cal all day. Prediction: Central Cal

28) San Diego Surge (D1) @ Pacific Warriors (D1) (WATCH REPLAY)
This is an interesting matchup. The Surge return after a season away. But do they return as strong as they were two years ago? Is this a changed team? Meanwhile, the Warriors have been just that, fighting and scrapping against the Central Cal War Angels for dominance in the region. The Surge lose games so infrequently it is very difficult to pick against them. Prediction: San Diego But I would not be surprised if the Warriors take advantage of the situation and hand San Diego a rare regular season loss. And if they do, it’s gonna be a wild season down California way.

29) Inland Empire Ravens (D3) @ Kern County Crusaders (D3)
As I understand it, the Crusaders are being launched by former Bakersfield Bombers (IWFL). The Ravens are a rebranding of the West Coast Lightning. I am not a big fan of the rebrand. I liked the Steelersesque design elements of the WCL, and they were just a couple of letters away from becoming the electrifying L.A. Lightning (when the men’s semipro hoops team of the same name should ever cease to be). Rebranded or not, the Ravens, I expect, have more zap. Prediction: Inland Empire