There’s an old saying in newspapers: "Never take a bite out of somebody else’s pork chop sandwich. You don’t know where they got the pickles."
Trust me. Truer words were never spoken.
With that said, welcome to week whatever of the Pembroke Mafia Football League, a fairly regular exercise in which 10 PMFL members attempt to pick the winners of football games before those games are played.
That’s right, that’s right, that’s right. We’re the only weekly mafia column in the world that actually sets out to pick winners of games before they’re played.
I know, right? It’s amazing nobody else thought of this first.
But before we get started on this week’s games, here’s some news you can use.
Local TV stations use that line all the time, even when you can’t use their news. They also use the world "would" a lot. "He would go on to score," etc. Cut it out. It’s annoying to regular people.
And here’s that news: We’re going to hold a steel cage wrestling/wrassling tournament that will apparently involve various members of the PMFL, some of whom might be in costumes, like Zorro. I do not know why and have to go find a steel cage to hold it in, but B.J. Clark insists on it.
He was mad we didn’t do it last week (instead, the PMFL let readers know Richmond Hill might be fixing to annex us up one side and down the other, then build subdivisions with vinyl siding that doesn’t look like vinyl), and we can’t have B.J. mad.
B.J., as loyal readers know, is the supreme allied commander of the PMFL. A retired Navy chief admiral petty officer, he and his fellow Navy retiree admiral petty officer Ernie Mitchell pretty much run this outfit from the Pembroke American Legion Tea Room.
That’s where they’re known to wear fancy hats while they swig lemon grog, eat butter cookies and reminisce on the good old days when men were men and women had beehive hairdos and listened to Bobby Sherman records. Those days, of course, are long gone. It takes all the fun out of being in the Navy, but that’s freedom for you.
Still, the only reason we have such freedoms is because of veterans who make it possible for English teachers to teach non-veterans to read.
So this Veterans Day, which is observed Friday and falls on Saturday, all you non-veterans go thank B.J. or Ernie. Tell them Jeff sent you. Maybe I’ll get a tip.
Now for the standings, better known as who’s in first and who isn’t in first.
The one in first would be Bryan County News Assistant Editor Ted "The 10-foot-tall Teddy Roosevelt" O’Neil, a Michigan State grad and a fine journalist despite his Roosevelt moustache. He’s got 36 misses so far.
In second is Anna "Gobs of Jobs for the Mob" Chafin, CEO of the Development Authority of Bryan County. She has 38 misses so far this year.
In third is our friendly leader B.J., who keeps score and last year did a better job at figuring out ways to make us think he was in first. He has 42 misses to date.
District 1 County Commissioner and King of the North Noah "Brotato Chip" Covington is fourth with 44 misses so far.
Ernie "The Left-Handed Iguana" is fifth with 45 misses, Mark "If I get a car I’m naming it Brad" Rogerson is sixth with 47 misses; Mike "Hark, an Aardvark has Disembarked" Clark is seventh with 48 misses; and good old Bryan County Schools Assistant Superintendent "Doomsday Trey," Robertson is next with 52 misses and is in eighth. He’s tied with Pembroke Downtown Development Authority Director Alex "Your Redeployed Humanoid" Floyd .
Yours truly is last and least. I have 121-2/3 misses.
In fairness to me, I ran and finished the Savannah Rock and Roll Marathon on Saturday (that’s right, started and finished the same day) and so I get a mulligan for the rest of the year.
Besides, if you think reading all this is tiring, try writing it.
Now for this week’s games.
Savannah State vs. North Carolina A&T: Mike, Noah and I take Savannah State, the rest take North Carolina A&T.
For what it’s worth, Savannah State could beat Georgia Southern this year. That and Georgia’s 9-0 start are all the proof outside of regular University of South Carolina football I need that the football gods hate me.
Washington vs. Stanford: Everybody takes the Huskies but me and my buddy Noah, the bearded Buddha himself.
Florida vs. South Carolina: It’s unanimous. All say the Gamecocks win. So why do I think they won’t? Years of conditioning, that’s why.
Florida State vs. Clemson: Ernie, the ever faithful Florida State fan, hangs with the lobster looters from Tallahassee. Everybody else except me takes the only school I detest more than Georgia and Ohio State. I’m neutral and hoping Clemson gets busted for something worse than whatever it is Free Shoes University usually gets in hot water for.
Iowa vs. Wisconsin: Ernie and Noah go with the Hawkeyes. The rest of us happy cadgers pick the Badgers.
Michigan State vs. Ohio State: As B.J. put it, while paraphrasing the great Lewis Grizzard, this game is "two mules after the same turnip." Yep. Everybody but Ted is picking Ohio State. Oh, and I’m abstaining. I can’t pick against Spartans coach Mark Dantonio, who played defensive back at South Carolina and is one of the few to make the trip from the South to up north.
Most of the time, it’s the other way around and then we all sit in traffic wondering why everybody’s always running 20 minutes late. Hint: We’re running out of room down here.
Notre Dame vs. Miami: Ted, Trey, Alex, Anna and Noah take the Irish. Us anti-establishment hippies go with the Hurricanes.
Duke vs. Army: First, Duke’s is B.J.’s favorite brand of mayonnaise. It’s also my favorite brand, and here’s why, according to the internet. Back in 1917 during World War I, a Ms. Eugenia Duke of Greenville, South Carolina (my home state and the greatest state in the world) started putting her homemade mayonnaise on soldiers sandwiches. One thing led to another, and now Duke’s, which like me is from the Upstate, is the South’s greatest mayonnaise.
As for Duke, everybody picks them to beat Army except for me, Mike and Mark.
Virginia Tech vs. Georgia Tech: I remain faithful to the triple option. Everyone else is worried about their place in the standings.
Georgia vs. Auburn: Me and B.J. take War Beagle to win. The rest select Georgia, which might be for real this season. Do I really think so? Kinda.
Nebraska vs. Minnesota: Ted, Ernie and Mike take the Huskers, the rest go with the Gophers. Heh. Gophers. And Ginger Gophers at that. Hah.
Wake Forest vs. Syracuse: Mike, Ernie, Noah and yours truly go with Wake. Everybody else takes Dino Babers and company. Now, Babers can coach. He’ll have Syracuse competing at a high level sooner rather than later. Besides, anybody who beats Clemson has my gratitude. But Wake wins.
Kansas vs. Texas: Longhorns.
Arkansas vs. LSU: Ernie and Ted pick the Hawgs. Us normal people go with the Bayou Bobcats.
Slippery Rock vs. Kutztown: True story, I got a Slippery Rock sweatshirt for Christmas one year because my dad, also known as the world’s greatest father and veteran, always thought that was a cool sounding school and would make a good beer. He’s also into the Williams College Purple Cows. Anyway, Trey, Alex, Anna, B.J. and Ted select Kutztown. The rest of us roll with the Slippery Rock.
P.S. Dear Russ Carpenter’s mom. Sorry about that last column. Signed, Jeff.