Welcome to the first installment of the by now surely famous second-or-third-or-fourth annual Bryan County News football-forecasting, pigskin-picking gridiron-guessing contest, which is also known as an exercise in futility for a certain Bryan County News staff writer.
And yes, we’re changing things up a tad this year. We could change it again, too, if this week doesn’t go well.
But for now, this is how we roll.
B.J. Clark, who hung in there all year last season as permanent guest picker, is back and will be in charge of things. B.J.’s a retired Chief Petty Officer, so he’s used to telling people what to do.
Also with us are Pembroke American Legion Post 164 adjutant Ernie Mitchell, also retired military; county commissioner Noah Covington; Mike Clark, a parts sales rep for Yancey; and Pinewood Christian Academy junior Mark Rogerson.
All are hard core football fans. All will probably stomp me into a statistical mudhole before this is over.
Each week, we six will pick a dozen or more games and at the end of the season one of us will be the champion, probably not me.
We’ll also open this up to anyone who wants to get in on the act. All you have to do is go to our Facebook page and list your picks for this weeks’ games prior to the first game of the weekend - which as we all know begins on Thursday nights during college football season in the South.
Those who fare better than our best picker - we're playing best ball format - for that week will be listed in this space in next week’s Bryan County News. We’ll also come up with some sort of prize at the end of the year for the picker who has the best record. I mean a real prize, too, not your name in the paper.
And if nobody picks against us, we’ll just figure folks are scared they’ll look bad.
Now, for this week’s games. Just list the below games and your picks as winners to be in the hunt. Get your picks in by 5 p.m. Thursday on our Facebook page. If you don’t do Facebook, email your picks to B.J. Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Texas A&M South Carolina
Everybody on the BCN team picks the Gamecocks. Even me, and I nickname all my fantasy teams "Chicken Curse."
Penn State at UCF
There was a time in the not-too-distant-past when nobody in their right mind would pick the Knights over the Nittany Lions. Not anymore. Everyone on our team is picking Central Florida, well, everyone except me.
Ohio State at Navy
B.J. picks Navy. I think somebody might’ve dropped an anchor on his head at some point. Everyone else is picking the Buckeyes, including me. I think they’ll probably score more than the 55 Ohio license plates I saw on 144 in Richmond Hill today.
Appalachian State at Michigan
Once upon a time back in 2007, the Mountaineers pulled quite an upset. Nobody on our team thinks they’ll do it this year.
Georgia Southern at NC State
This one has us divided right down the middle. B.J. and Mark and yours truly are going with the Iggles. The rest are siding with the Wolfpack.
West Virginia at Alabama
Everybody picked WVU. I’m kidding. Nobody picked WVU. Everybody picked ‘Bama, even B.J. See pick below.
Arkansas at Auburn
We all picked WAR EAGLE. I do that all caps thing because that’s how B.J. put it. WAR EAGLE, in all caps. He’s a big Auburn fan like I’m a Gamecock fan. Born and raised that way.
Clemson at Georgia
It’s unanimous, almost. Everybody but me is picking the Bullpups to handle Dabo Swinney and the Lady Tigers. I’m picking them both to lose. Can I do that? If not, I’ll go with Clemson. And then go take a shower.
Savannah State at MTSU
How did this one get in here? The only way Savannah State wins is if the Blue Raiders get lost on the way to the airport and have to forfeit. And they’re playing at home, so that’s out. Oh, and remember cannon-legged RHHS kicker Canon Rooker? He’s kicking for MTSU. I’m not sure Savannah State even has a kicker. We all go with MTSU.
Stephen F. Austin at Kan. State
It’s unanimous. K-State wins. Now watch SFA pull the upset.
Southern Miss at Miss. State
Years ago this would’ve been a heck of a game, but Southern Miss has sort of fallen on hard times. Or so I think. Mississippi State, on the other hand, is where former Richmond Hill High School standout Nick Fitzgerald is now playing feetball. It’s also the SEC versus whatever conference Southern Miss is in. Everyone but Mark and Ernie are going with the SEC. Mark and Ernie are just being stubborn.
FSU at Oklahoma State.
It’s Free Shoes University, aka Free Seafood University, aka Fisher Steals Underwear, aka the reigning national champs at Oklahoma State. Everybody but me and Noah Covington are picking the Noles. B.J. hopes we are right because of what FSU did to WAREAGLE last year. We are, B.J.
Wisconsin at LSU
If this game was anywhere else in the galaxy other than Baton Rouge, I’d pick the Badgers. It’s in Baton Rouge. Everybody in our crew except Ernie is going with them Bayou Bengals.
Washington at Hawaii
Mike is taking Hawaii. The rest of us experts think the Huskies are going to win. Even in Hawaii. The real question is why is Hawaii spelled with two i's and not 'yah', like Haweyeah?
Troy at UAB
B.J. and Mark say UAB wins. Rest of us think it’s going to be Troy. My reasoning is UAB calls itself the Blazers, but the school’s mascot is a cheesy looking dragon that reminds me of that old Diseny movie "Pete's Dragon."
That alone should make you forfeit.
Jeff Whitten is the staff writer for the Bryan County News. He hates football.