"What is it with this wild, whacky, whimsical, wooly and wicked weather?"
"Only six alliterations?" I replied to Dr. Pick'Em. "You must be feeling efficiently efficacious today."
"Sort of," he said. "I went 6-2 last week, but it would have been better if storms had not forced three games to be called off. I was on a rollllll!"
"So that puts you at 62.5% for the year," I said with a hopefully helpful tone. "That's as good as Hootens.com."
To my utter surprise, a charcoal cumulus cloud charged across his face. He flung a laundry ticket on the table. On it were scribbled this week's predictions.
Texas High Tigers (3-0) at Tyler Legacy Red Raiders (0-3)
The Tigers are averaging more than 50 points a game after sweeping through three tough opponents. They're ranked No. 6 in class 5A, and Pick'Em says that seems too low. Now they move up two size classification notches because it is OK for Texas High to schedule larger, out-of-town schools, but not OK for smaller, in-town schools to schedule Texas High. The Class 6A Red Raiders are averaging nine points a game. Texas High is favored by 25, and that also seems too low. Texas High 54, Tyler Legacy 14.
Arkansas High Razorbacks (3-0) vs. Hootens.com Nobodies (0-0)
No, no, Dr. Pick'Em has not lost touch with sanity because that would imply he was ever in contact with it. Yes, yes, the Razorbacks have the week off before opening conference play next week at home against Magnolia. They've outscored opponents 132-21. Pick'Em was flabbergasted to notice that Hootens.com elevated the Hogs to No. 19, behind 17 two-win Class 5A teams. Maybe not playing at all will earn the Hogs some love. Arkansas High 132, Hootens 0.
Frisco Memorial Warriors (0-3) at Pleasant Grove Hawks (3-0)
After knocking off three high-quality opponents, the Hawks are locked in at No. 3 in Class 4A-II, behind Carthage and Silsbee. This week, they move up two size classifications. They were favored by 19 last week against Midland Christian and won by 19, but to a man the Hawks thought they should have played better. That's bad news for Memorial, which has only scored two touchdowns in three games and comes in a 43-point underdog. The good news? PG coach Josh Gibson doesn't believe in running up the score. Pleasant Grove 49, Frisco Memorial 0.
Liberty-Eylau Leopards (0-2) at Atlanta Rabbits (2-1)
Expected to be a contender in one of Texas' toughest 4A-II districts, L-E has yet to get untracked. Atlanta, from 3A-II, is two size classes down and may be what the Leopards need. The Rabbs, led by quarterback Peyton Harrison, have emerged as one of the better teams in northeast Texas. It's always hard to win in Atlanta. Atlanta 28, L-E 14.
Hooks Hornets (2-1) at Hawkins Hawks (1-2)
After playing well against three salty opponents, the Hornets drop down a notch and take on Class 2A-I Hawks, who have yielded 101 points in three contests. If Hooks isn't looking ahead to the district opener against Paul Pewitt next week, it should have no problem with Hawkins. Hooks 34, Hawkins 8.
Redwater Dragons (1-2) at New Diana Eagles (3-0)
Led by RB/DB/kick returner Marquez Jones, who never comes off the field, New Diana has quietly grown into a juggernaut. Redwater has played well so far, but the Dragons have an Eagle by the talon this week. New Diana 24, Redwater 21.
Harleton Wildcats (2-1) at Maud Cardinals (1-1)
The Wildcats come into town riding a two-game win streak, including a 32-0 pasting of White Oak last week. Maud has been up and down. Both teams play tough. This will be a dog fight. Harleton 28, Maud 26.
Woodlawn Bears (2-0) at Genoa Central Dragons (0-1)
Genoa Central will be a contender once it gets to the district, but Woodlawn is one of the better teams in 8-man football. The Bears can score points in buckets. This game will be tougher than many expect, and Pick'Em smells upset. Genoa Central 26, Woodlawn 24.
Wyoming Cowboys at No. 4 Texas
Could the Longhorns have an emotional letdown after knocking off 'Bama last week? Absolutely. Will it be enough to let the 28.5-point Cowboys pull off the upset? No way, but Wyoming and the points might be a good bet. Texas 45, Wyoming 17.
No. 14 LSU at Mississippi State
Bengal Tigers looked inept falling to Florida State 24-45 in Orlando last week. When all those cowbells start clanging, Starkville can be an inhospitable place to play. Ten-point MSU returns most of what was a competent SEC offense. Despite his love for all things Cajun, Dr. Pick'Em senses an upset. Mississippi State 32, LSU 28
No. 11 Tennessee at Florida
This rivalry has produced so many great games. This won't be one of them. Tennessee 34, Florida 10.
Colorado State at No. 18 Colorado
Deion Sanders' takeover of college football continues. Beneath all the flash, the Buffaloes are a well-prepared, hard-playing team. Here's the deal: Most weeks he will have the best quarterback on the field. Colorado 42, CSU 14
New York Jets at Dallas Cowboys
The only upside for Aaron Rodgers going down for the season? He won't have to face the Cowboys' front seven. Look for the Jets' elite defense to keep it close with a couple of interceptions of Dak Prescott who, well, does that a lot. Cowboys 21, Jets 3.
New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers (Monday night)
The Panthers have a rookie quarterback, Bryce Young. The Saints have a solid secondary. That's a bad matchup. Saints 32, Panthers 14.