This is the first week in the last 10 that I am not burning the midnight oil studying up on local, college and pro football teams to make educated decisions for my Pigskin Pick’ems, although my final record suggested I should have spent even more time studying.

As my first fall here in Mount Vernon, this season was my first time joining the Pigskin Pick’ems crew. Going in I had all these lofty goals, eyeing myself with a crown or some other memento to show off to prove my football knowledge. It only took a couple of weeks for me to realize I was in a bit over my head.

Sure, I had a decent grasp on college and professional games. I tried to select games for us to pick that, on paper, suggested there would be some varied choices among our pickers. Whether it was ranked teams playing each other, or a confusing Steelers/Browns matchup, I tried to select games that were not an obvious choice.

When it came to college and professional games, I think we were all on a pretty even footing. A majority of our pickers watch and read their fair share of commentary and predictions for weekend games during the week. Throughout the 10 weeks, I feel like most of us managed to come out pretty equal in those ranks.

The high school games were where I believe the season of picking was won or lost. This year’s winner, Todd Cline (76-20-1), had a knack for knowing which teams would be ringing the victory bell every Friday night. Part of that may be because he writes the previews each week for area high school teams, but maybe that’s just me looking for an excuse as to why I struggled.

If you look at the top of the standings at the end of the year with Todd, Fred Main (70-26-1) and Geoff Cowles (69-27-1), they have been around for a lot of Knox County football and for both Fred and Geoff, they were on the sidelines watching those games play out year after year. Moving to the lower part of the standings, or as I would like to call it, the “less experienced crew,” Josh (66-30-1), myself (61-35-1) and Joshua (59-37-1) have not had as much time covering all of the area teams, and that could suggest our lack of picking knowledge.

I will admit, I tried to install a new strategy into my picks about halfway through the 10 weeks. Since I saw my name falling down the leaderboard, I knew I needed to make up ground. Any games that I could see going either way, particularly at the professional or college ranks, I would pick the upset, hoping for a game to go my way and I could make up ground on a lot of the other pickers. Sometimes, my strategy worked flawlessly, but other times it made me tumble farther down the standings, but that was to be expected.

Wherever I finished in the standings (although I am stoked to not have finished in the cellar), it was 10 weeks of fun. Whether our picks provided you with a laugh, or gave you a little extra fire to work harder in practice, it was all for fun and we hoped you enjoyed it as well.


Erick Starkey: 740-397-5333 or and on Twitter, @MVNStarkey




Rules: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don’t attack other commenters personally and keep your language decent. If a comment violates our comments standards, click the “X” in the upper right corner of the comment box to report abuse. To post comments, you must be a Facebook member.