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Big Sydney - Prognostication isn't always what it seems

September 29, 2000

Big Sydney - Prognostication isn't always what it seems



I have to make a confession.

So many people think that my job of predicting football games for The Herald-Mail is so tough. All the television watching, reclining sit-ups and remote control arm extension can be tough on a (not-so) lean, (play-acting) mean guessing machine.

The preseason workouts are extremely tough. I have to make sure my thumb and wrist are in optimum coin flipping-and-catching condition. I put my thumb through a brutal, two-a-day regiment - the Fonzie workout, using tapes of old Happy Days reruns (Heyyyyyy).

It's a tough job, but someone has to do it ... but it's getting a lot easier.

The world of prognostication has slipped into the easy chair with all the media resources at hand. There is television and good ol' fashioned newsprint. Radio can help too, especially if they are reading the newspaper. Then there is the Internet, which gives you every nuance of the game right down to Wade Phillips' first date. (I didn't research that until it came out on film ... it's called "Scary Movie.")

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Yep, it's made all this predicting as easy as eating a whole pork roast and little potatoes at one sitting. Well, it's easy for some of us.

But now I've a new edge when it comes to picking my games. Crystal balls, litmus paper and thumb wrestling have become obsolete.

The new fad in picking winners is listening.

Yeah, I've found out that all you have to do is listen to the various loudmouths and blowhards around football and they will tell you who will win.

But there is one rule of thumb when you use this method. Be ready and take notes. I'm going to let you in on a trade secret.

Listen who's doing all the talking and pick the other team.

It's been flawless so far.

Just last week, Keyshawn Johnson's gums got a great Florida suntan. His jaws were flapping so much, helicopter pilots were asking him to tone it down.

The Tampa Bay receiver made a target out of former teammate Wayne Cherbet and the Jets. As it turned out, talk was as cheap as Johnson's contribution to the game.

One catch and one yard while Cherbet made the game-winning touchdown catch.

Tampa Bay lost and Johnson's mouth was wired shut after the game.

Closer to home, the Baltimore Ravens told the world they arrived after coming back to beat Jacksonville three weeks ago. They were contenders for the AFC title and the Super Bowl or some nonsense like that.

They were nosier than the grumbling my stomach makes after my three-hour fasts between brunch-lunch and lunch-dinner. The Ravens got filled up with a seven-course dinner of their own words in Miami.

And then there are the Redskins, who shot their mouths off at the beginning of the season about how they are a shoo-in for the Super Bowl title. They ended up missing their targets and shot themselves in the foot instead.

Washington lost two of their first three games using bravado that doesn't make anyone scream "Bravo."

The Redskins were quiet last week after being lassoed by Dallas, an embarrassment in itself considering the Cowboys lost to the San Francisco 24 1/2ers (they're only half the team they used to be).

It paid off too, because the Giants were doing all the bragging about their "Thunder and Lightning" attack. That ended up being nothing more than a mild storm front moving through and the Redskins were able to get back to .500, for now.

So, who's going to be the pick of this week.

Terrell Owens did enough talking for two weeks and I think I hear Al Davis clearing his throat.

I'm all ears, guys.

On with the predictions. Last week 18-9 (.667); season 67-35 (.657).

HIGH SCHOOLS


Lower Dauphin 20, Waynesboro 16: Falcons lower the boom on Indians.

Berkeley Springs 30, Petersburg 12: Petersburg came all the way up from Fla. for this game?

Fort Hill 37, Musselman 17: Gravity is at work on the Applemen.

Hedgesville 34, Phelps 16: This time, Eagles win the flagfest.

Jefferson 23, Greenbrier East 17: Two in a row for Cougars.

Keyser 27, Martinsburg 15: Tornado blows through, leaving 'Dogs out in cold.

Northern 51, James Buchanan 8: Polar Bears put the freeze on Rockets.

Greencastle 44, Shippensburg 9: Greyhounds will wish they hadn't gotten off the bus.

Saturday

Bishop McDevitt 38, Chambersburg 13: Bishop to end zone 5. Checkmate!

Mercersburg Academy 42, Lawrenceville 22: Is Lawrenceville next to Welkton?

Francis Scott Key 26, Smithsburg 8: Oh say can you see who's 4-0?

COLLEGES


Shepherd 41, Concord 17: Rams ready for run through WVIAC.

Purdue 49, Penn State 13: PSU is just plain P.U. now.

Texas Christian 38, Navy 10: Great horny toads! Oh wait, wrong team ...

Frostburg State 34, Chowan 16: Bobcats will be Chowan down.

Shippensburg 41, Lock Haven 6: This one is a lock for Red Raiders.

PROS


Baltimore 38, Cleveland 17: It would be a work of Art if Modell showed up in Cleveland.

Jacksonville 41, Pittsburgh 13: Jags lose big one week, win big the next.

Tampa Bay 31, Washington 10: Without a flashlight, Redskins get torched.

Philadelphia 27, Atlanta 24: Birds of a feather flock together. That doesn't apply here.

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