SaberCats vs. Blaze on March 24th, 2012. Credit to the San Jose SaberCats on Facebook.
The San Jose SaberCats can move to 7-2 on the season and take sole possession of the West Division with a victory over the Utah Blaze on Friday.
The San Jose SaberCats are in a great position, sitting at 6-2 on the season, one game away from the half-way point on the season. It just so happens that game is against the Utah Blaze, who are also 6-2, with a narrow victory over the SaberCats earlier in the year.
They're tied atop the Western Division, though if the official Coaches Poll is anything to by, San Jose should be favored in this matchup. The SaberCats received nine first-place votes after they bested the Arizona Rattlers 77-70 in Week 9. The Chicago Rush and Philadelphia Soul rounded out the top three, with four first-place votes for Philly and three for Chicago.
But back to the Blaze, who are fourth in the Coaches Poll with one first-place vote. The first meeting was a great game, and it was also on the road. The SaberCats struggled mightily on the road last season, which kept them out of the AFL Playoffs for the first time in a very long time. But they've won five of their last six games, three of which were on the road.
Utah may have been able to take advantage of the fact that the SaberCats haven't been great on the road, but that appears to be behind them now. Getting a win in this game would be huge for morale - given the fact that the SaberCats collapsed in a huge way about this time last season. They lost seven-straight games after starting 5-2 in 2011.
San Jose may be at the top of the coaches poll, but they're definitely hurting on offense, with wide receiver Ben Nelson and fullback Tommy Taggart going down with injuries. They'll both miss four games. They've got 27 touchdowns between them this season. It will be interesting to really see the SaberCats in action without Nelson, who has been a favorite target.
The game is set for 7:30 p.m. at the HP Pavilion and will be on Comcast SportsNet and KNBR 1050.