Thursday, November 15, 2018

Drew Skipper maintains lead in local College Football Pick 'Em Contest

The 11th weekend of the 2018 college football season wrapped up on Saturday, and we also wrapped up another weekend in our local ESPN College Football Pick ‘Em Contest.

This week, after Saturday’s final game came to a close, Drew Skipper found himself in sole possession of the No. 1 spot in the local standings for the third week in a row. Brett Loftin and John Johnston were tied for second place.

Ricky Taylor, Jeremy Matheny and I were all tied for fourth place. Justin Mixon was in the No. 7 spot, and Travis Presley was in eighth place.

Vanessa Sales and Darrel Burch were tied for ninth place. Clint Hyde and Casey Grant were tied for the No. 11 place in the standings.

With that said, if you didn’t do so hot, don’t sweat it. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. We’ve got three more weeks to go, and the standings will no doubt change during the next several weeks as we make the final push toward the end of the season.

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By my count, we’ve got 11 games this weekend featuring SEC teams, but only three are head-to-head conference games. For what it’s worth, here are my picks in those games. I like Alabama over The Citadel (duh), Kentucky over Middle Tennessee, Mississippi State over Arkansas, Florida over Idaho, Missouri over Tennessee, George over UMass, Auburn over Liberty University, Texas A&M over UAB, South Carolina over Chattanooga, Vanderbilt over Ole Miss and LSU over Rice.

Last week: 6-1, Overall: 75-16

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Hillcrest High School blasted a decent Sipsey Valley team Friday night in Evergreen in the opening round of the state playoffs, and the Jags are likely to have their hands full Friday night when they travel to Montgomery to play Alabama Christian Academy in the second round.

Alabama Christian is “sneaky good” and should not be taken lightly. They entered last Friday night’s first-round game against Lincoln with a 3-7 overall record and barely made the playoffs as the No. 4 seed in their region. None of that kept them from upsetting Lincoln, a No. 1-seed, on the road, 18-14.

On paper, Lincoln should have won that game, but Alabama Christian pulled it out. Was Lincoln overrated? Is Alabama Christian a strong team that just happened to play a really tough regular season schedule? The answers are up for debate, but one thing is for sure: Hillcrest better give 100-percent Friday night or they run the risk of getting upset like Lincoln.

Also tomorrow (Friday) night, Andalusia will play No. 10-ranked Headland in Andalusia, and I hope that Andalusia can pull it out. Presuming that Hillcrest and Andalusia both win on Friday night, they will play in the third round on Nov. 23. That should give Hillcrest a big advantage as they look to return to the state championship game again this season.

Andalusia and Hillcrest are both in 4A Region 1, and Andalusia entered the playoffs as the region’s No. 3 seed. Hillcrest whipped Andalusia, 41-10, in Evergreen during their regular season game on Sept. 21, and I think that both teams have improved since that first game. It’s hard to beat a good team twice, but I would give Hillcrest the edge in the rematch.

In the end, it’ll all shake out in the wash, and it will all be moot if Hillcrest doesn’t take care of business tomorrow night in Montgomery. I look for it to be a good game, and I also look for Hillcrest to punch their ticket for the third round. Anything less will be a huge disappointment.

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