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Doing my renegotiation through the media

September 01, 2006|by BIG SYDNEY

I hate to sound ungrateful, but well, sometimes a guy is given no choice, right?

It's as if I haven't given the last 36 years to this newspaper, gracing its pages with the finest pigskin predictions on the East Coast. The brains behind this operation have left me hanging into the final year of my contract.

I don't make silly demands, other than the whole anonymity thing oh, and the coupons for Ryan's, Super Buffet and Shoney's. Sydney cannot live on stadium fries alone.

All you need to do is check the records to see the silliness in their reluctance to bring me back. Three straight seasons with more than 200 correct picks, a streak that unceremoniously ended last year when I made a mere 199 correct predictions.

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I'd blame last season on Martinsburg losing in the first round of the playoffs last season, but there also was that 'What was he thinking?' pick of South Hagerstown over South Carroll early last year. (For the record, I still blame that one on the Herald-Mail hacks. Just because my 'C's sometimes look like 'H's, and I only wrote down 'South C.' But we must learn from our mistakes, I suppose).

Now, it seems 'the man' (read: the editor) has informed me that I'm no longer to pick Frederick County games, significantly diminishing the number of games I will predict, thereby significantly reducing my chances at topping the 200-win plateau again. That was one of my contract incentives: 200 wins equals an AYCE weekend at the Tysons Corner food court (on the sports department's tab, thank you very much).

But put aside the win totals and simply look at the winning percentages: Consistently over .700, often over .750, sometimes pushing .800.

Not enough I suppose at least for those paying my "salary." But I know the fans still love me. Here are some samples of some of my fan mail:

"Sydney, you big-boned son-of-a-gun. Thanks for the tip on the Super Bowl. One of these days the Redskins will bring another one of those Lombardi trophies home. Signed Daniel S., Ashburn"

"You call yourself an expert? Don't you know the real experts never pick our team? Signed Ralph F., College Park"

"Sydney, thanks for the bulletin board material. I'm sending you a T-shirt. Signed Dan C., Hagerstown (North)"

To my fans, buckle your seat belts. You're in for a thrill ride this season. You know what happens when guys are playing for a new contract.

And as for the Herald-Mail hacks, all negotiations are off until after the season unless you want to take that mandatory health club membership out of the contract equation. Then we'll talk.

On with the predictions. Last season: 199-75 (.726).

HIGH SCHOOLS

Berkeley Springs 33, Hedgesville 23: I pick the Indians without reservation.

Jefferson 19, Sherando 7: You can spell Jefferson without a 'D,' but the Cougars sure have plenty of it.

Martinsburg 34, Rockbridge County 13: If Martinsburg were scissors, Rockbridge would crush them.

Musselman 19, Loudoun County 14: Musselman wins in a pose-down.

Cumberland Valley 41, Chambersburg 15: If I had my druthers, I'd pick Carruthers but I can't here.

Susquehanna Township 27, Waynesboro 12: Waynesboro fails to take off without McKenzie.

Greencastle-Antrim 23, James Buchanan 13: Greencastle ... Blue Devils. I never understood that one.

Saturday

Mercersburg Academy 28, Archbishop Spalding 17: The Archbishop can't put MAPL kings in check.

COLLEGES

Maryland 42, William & Mary 13: William & Mary? I didn't know the guy from Black Eyed Peas played football.

West Virginia 38, Marshall 10: No Marshall plan will be enough to beat the Mountaineers.

Penn State 35, Akron 6: Don't make me get on my soap box to explain this pick.

Shepherd 17, Shippensburg 13: Tough to go against the Rams.

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