Big Sydney has no trouble saying 'I'm sorry'

November 13, 1998

"Syd, you're a sorry sight," came the greeting when I drove the forklift into the office to pick up my check.

What? My normally immaculate appearance in question?

Quickly, to the men's room for a checkup.

Do my socks match? Close enough. Gut-overhang? Twenty-two degrees, normal. Nose and ear hair - any split ends? No. Breath? Yep, still breathing. B.O.? Well within the range of acceptability in most cultures.

No problemo, hygiene-wise. Then I gazed into my baby blues. I WAS a sorry sight.

As the football season reaches its climax, the pressure gets to me, just as it does to the players, coaches and fans.

While the strain can lead to fumbles, interceptions and blown coverages on the field, it can also lead to sloppy reportage on the part of pigskin prognosticators, even one with the track record and big-game savvy as moi.


So let's set the record straight.

a.) First, apologies to the state of Minnesota, which I shortchanged in last week's column by referring to it as the Land of a Thousand Lakes.

Actually, the home of Bertha's Kitty Boutique and the original Washington Senators is known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes - which turns out also to be a misnomer. The exact number of lakes in the Gopher State is unknown. Estimates range as high as 20,000, but there is some dispute about how large a pool of water must be before it is considered a "lake."

Red McCombs' hot tub, therefore, might not qualify, but the quarterbacks-only whirlpool in the Vikings' training room should make the cut.

Alas, we'll never know. Unfortunately, one of the side effects of Jesse "The Body" Ventura's election as guv of Minn. is likely to include the laying-off of Sven Troonqvist, the bureaucrat in charge of counting Minnesota's lakes.

b.) Apologies to the cast, crew and creative team behind "Coach," which I called the 1,319th greatest TV show in history. Hey, anything with Jerry Van Dyke in it has to crack the top 1,175, at least. What I meant to say that it was the second-greatest sitcom set in Minnesota that had Georgia Engel in the supporting cast.

c.) Apologies to the talk-show host at MSNBC who was described as "that geeky, curly-haired guy with glasses" in this space last week. He has straight hair.

d.) Apologies to the Mercersburg Academy Blue Storm, whose victory over St. James was not forecast here last week because I forgot to include it.

e.) Apologies to me for leaving out that Mercersburg-St. James prediction, because it cost me an .800 winning percentage for the week.

f.) Apologies to the University of Maryland football team for your loss. And your other six losses.

g.) Apologies to the West Virginia University Marching Band, which happened to be sitting downwind last Saturday night when the state policeman said "Mace-stro, if you please."

h.) Apologies to anyone who will miss those soon-to-be-cancelled beer commercials which were attributed to "Dick" - except for the ones that featured swimsuit model Rebecca Romijn.

i.) Apologies to anyone who paid to see "The Waterboy." On second thought, you got what you deserved.

On with the predictions (last week: 19-5, 792; season: 192-57, .771):


Tonight's games

Cambridge-South Dorchester 26, Brunswick 14 (Md. Class 1A quarterfinals) - They Cambridged, they saw, they conquered.

Central Dauphin 21, Chambersburg 10 (Pa. Class AAAA District 3 semifinals) - C.D. reaches maturity; Trojans cash in.

Muhlenberg 27, Greencastle 20 (Pa. Class AAA District 3 semifinals) - I hear Mule-n-berg has quite a kicking game.

Saturday's games

Middletown 20, Fairmont Heights 7 (Md. Class 2A quarterfinals) - For Knights to reach the heights, they have to beat the Heights.

Huntington 28, Martinsburg 23 (W.Va. Class AAA first round) - Bulldogs need some breaks to stay in the playoff hunt.

Musselman 30, Spring Valley 13 (W.Va. Class AAA first round) - Valley won't spring any surprises on the Applemen.


Indiana (Pa.) 39, Shippensburg 21 - Big Red gives Ship. the Indiana jones.

Maryland 20, Duke 13 - I think the fans in Durham, and College Park, would rather be watching basketball.

Frostburg State 24, Methodist 20 - But I hear Frostburg gets dissed by Method Man on the new Wu-Tang Clan CD.

Penn State 41, Northwestern 10 - Northwesten gets blown away like a nor'easter.

Notre Dame 42, Navy 17 - Irish making a run for the Rose.

Shepherd 35, West Liberty 15 - No butts about it, Rams are headed for national playoffs.

West Virginia 51, Rutgers 21 - Rutgers Hauer is one of my favorite actors.


Redskins 19, Eagles 16 - Can they give tickets away to this one?.

Ravens 21, Chargers 17 - Chargers have overextended their credit limit.

Oilers 31, Steelers 26 - The Steelers will never lose to the Oilers again, assuming Tennessee changes its nickname next year.

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