It was the perfect ending to the 2013 season, at least as far as Jamie Baker was concerned.
Heading into Week 10 of the 2013 season, pigskin prognosticators Baker and Dave Hanneman were dead even in their annual Pigskin Picks competition. Through nine weeks and 153 games, they had identical 126-27 records.
There was a lot on the line that cool November night.
The Pigskin Picks title obviously.
Bragging rights for sure.
Most importantly, possession of the Norm Nutman Trophy that goes to the winner of the annual competition .
There would be no ties, not with our gridiron gurus disagreeing on the outcome of three games that night. As it turned out, it wasn’t even close. Baker not only correctly predicted the winning team in those three games, he posted a perfect 18-0 record.
Baker finished with a 144-27 total, his second straight Pigskin Picks title and his third in five years of going head-to-head with Hanneman.
Hanneman, the grizzled veteran of the staff who started making Pigskin Picks with Dave Egbert in 1985, ended with a 141-30 record. He enters his 30th year as a fearless football forecaster vowing to regain the crown, as long as the wheels on his walker don’t fall off and the batteries in his hearing aid last.
Hanneman, who led Baker by five games four weeks into the 2013 season, is hoping to get off to another quick start. He and Baker are split on three games this week. Hanneman is taking Findlay, Toledo Scott and Lakota in Week 1, while Baker begins defense of his title by going with Anthony Wayne, Fostoria and Arcadia, respectively, in those games.
- Findlay over ANTHONY WAYNE — Trojans need to get 2014 off on the right foot.
- Bluffton over CORY-RAWSON — Pirates have won nine of the last 10 games in this rivalry. I sense a trend.
- GIBSONBURG over Elmwood — Bears beat the Royals last year, and a bunch of those Bears are back.
- TOLEDO SCOTT over Fostoria — Derek Kidwell and some talented young players will start turning it around at Fostoria. But I don’t know if it will happen on the road in the season opener.
- TIFFIN CALVERT over Hopewell-Loudon — Calvert ended 2013 on a five-game winning streak, and made the playoffs.
- Lakota over ARCADIA — Home field won’t make up for the 38-point difference that was last year’s final score.
- Leipsic over SPENCERVILLE — I think Andy Mangas is going to enjoy coaching some of those earth movers at Leipsic.
- WYNFORD over Liberty-Benton — Toss-up. Lot of news faces in the L-B lineup, and it may take a game or two under the Friday night lights for it all to come together.
- MARION PLEASANT over Mohawk — Mohawk finished the 2013 season strong. But the Warriors’ 0-4 start included a 58-12 loss — at home — to Pleasant.
- North Baltimore over HOLGATE — North Baltimore is bigger and better than the team that doubled-up Holgate 42-21 in last year’s “Tussle of the Tigers.”
- Ottawa-Glandorf over OAK HARBOR — The only teams Oak Harbor lost to last season made the playoffs. This season could start out the same way.
- COLUMBUS GROVE over Pandora-Gilboa — Rockets and Bulldogs are 4-4 in their last eight Route 12 battles. Grove returns a bit more experience at the skilled positions, and will have the Clymer Stadium home field edge.
- Patrick Henry over EDGERTON — Joe Kirkendall helped PH win a lot of games as a player and an assistant. Now he gets his first as the Patriots’ head coach.
- Ridgemont over VANLUE — Slide continues for the ‘Lue, which has lost 29 straight since beating Ridgemont 20-19 to open the 2011 season.
- Riverdale over CARDINGTON LINCOLN — I’m banking on a big senior class to get Riverdale off to a good start.
- HARDIN NORTHERN over St. Wendelin — Just a hunch. Depth can be a factor in August games, and the Polar Bears have almost a 2-to-1 edge in players.
- CAREY over Upper Sandusky — The Rams hung 40 points on Carey in last year’s opener. With 10 defensive starters back, I don’t think the Blue Devils will let that happen again.
- ADA over Upper Scioto Valley — Even with a freshman QB, I think the Bulldogs are going to roll in the renewal of this Hardin County rivalry.
- Van Buren over OTTAWA HILLS — If this game is anything like last year’s 70-7 thumping, the mercy rule will come into play.
- ARLINGTON over East Cleveland Shaw — Shaw averaged over 38 points a game last season. It allowed over 38 points a game, too.
- McCOMB over Lancaster Fisher Catholic — Fisher Catholic went 4-6 last season, but beat only two teams that won more than one game.
- ANTHONY WAYNE over Findlay — Not sure what to expect from the Trojans this fall but I know even less about the Generals.
- Bluffton over Cory-Rawson — Lack of numbers is going to hurt the Hornets particularly on muggy August nights.
- Gibsonburg over ELMWOOD — Royals young again this season but look for Cooper’s crew to show improvement week to week.
- Fostoria Senior over TOLEDO SCOTT — Just a hunch, but I think Kidwell era part II begins with three wins.
- TIFFIN CALVERT over Hopewell-Loudon — Might be the best game of the night but the Senecas will have a bit too much speed for the Chieftains.
- ARCADIA over Lakota — A Baker at quarterback? You bet I’m picking the Redskins.
- Leipsic over SPENCERVILLE — Coach Andy Mangas knows how to coach linemen and he’s got some good ones at Leipsic this fall.
- WYNFORD over Liberty-Benton — We’ll see what the Eagles have in Week 1.
- MARION PLEASANT over Mohawk — With just four seniors on the roster there will be some growing pains for the Warriors this season.
- North Baltimore over HOLGATE — This year’s Battle of the Tigers goes to the Tigers.
- Ottawa-Glandorf over OAK HARBOR — New week one opponent for the Titans same results — an O-G win.
- COLUMBUS GROVE over Pandora-Gilboa — Taking Grove in the Route 12 rivalry. But in this game, you just never know.
- Patrick Henry over EDGERTON — Just can’t see the Patriots losing to Edgerton.
- Ridgemont over VANLUE — Ridgemont makes it back-to-back wins in the series.
- Riverdale over CARDINGTON LINCOLN — Teams might be mirror images of one another. Falcons get win one on the road.
- HARDIN NORTHERN over St. Wendelin — Computer points on the line in this one after neither school played an OHSAA schedule last season. The Polar Bears start 1-0.
- CAREY over Upper Sandusky — Blue Devils return a bunch of seniors. Rams graduated a bunch. Math adds up to a Carey win.
- ADA over Upper Scioto Valley — Bulldogs have dominated this series with local bragging rights at stake.
- Van Buren over OTTAWA HILLS — This one won’t be pretty.
- ARLINGTON over East Cleveland Shaw — Goliath coming to play David. The rock in the Red Devils’ sling is Austin Rettig.
- McCOMB over Lancaster Fisher Catholic — Long trip from Lancaster to play this Saturday night special. Panthers will make it a long night on the field too.
HOME TEAM IN CAPS.