Thursday, December 1, 2016

Many ask 'What is a Billiken?' as local college football contest continues

 St. Louis University's mascot, the Billiken.
The 13th weekend of our local ESPN College Football Pick ‘Em Contest closed out on Saturday night, and the local standings went through another reshuffling as a result of those games.

I barely held on to first place for the ninth week in a row, finishing just two points ahead of Drew Skipper, who remained in second place for the second straight week. Steve Stacey, who is just three points out of first place, remained in third place for the second week in a row.

Robert Bozeman remained in fourth place for the third straight week, and Ricky Taylor held on to the No. 5 spot for the second week in a row. Travis Presley went from seventh place to sixth place, and Hunter Norris went from the No. 10 spot to the No. 7 spot in the local standings.

Justin Chandler jumped back into the Top 10 this week, finishing the week in eighth place. Nick Watson and Rod Sims were tied for the No. 9 spot. Last week, Watson was in ninth place, and Sims was tied for fifth with Taylor. Eric Talbot dropped from seventh place to the No. 11 spot.

As hard as it is to believe, this weekend’s slate of games will mark the final weekend of the local contest, and the suspense is beginning to mount. Will I be able to hold on to the No. 1 spot or will I be replaced on the final weekend by one of the other front runners? Only time will tell, but whatever happens, the contest has been a lot of good-natured fun and has added a lot to the season.

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While all eyes were on the Iron Bowl last week, some sports fans may have missed the fact that Alabama and Auburn’s men’s basketball teams both got off to a good start to their seasons, albeit far from home. As of Monday morning, Auburn was 4-1 overall with their only loss coming against No. 17-ranked Purdue in the Cancun Challenge tournament in Cancun, Mexico. Auburn’s wins have come against North Florida, Georgia State, Eastern Kentucky and Texas Tech.

As of Monday morning, Alabama was 3-2 overall thanks to their recent win over the St. Louis Billikens in the Las Vegas Main Event Tournament in Las Vegas. Alabama’s other two wins this season were against Coastal Carolina and Ball State, and their two losses were against a strong Dayton team and Valparaiso.

There seems to be a renewed energy at Alabama and Auburn when it comes to men’s basketball, and many fans are hoping to see their favorite team make it into the NCAA tournament in March. Both teams have a long row to hoe before then, which is good for fans because that means we’ve got a lot of good games to look forward to.

Which of the two teams is the best won’t be decided until they meet for the first time this season on Jan. 21 in Auburn. That game will be televised on ESPN2. They’ll play a regular season rematch on Feb. 4 when Auburn travels to Tuscaloosa to face the Tide on their home court.

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