Jamie Baker survived the first week of the Pigskin Picks bloodied but undeterred.
Baker showed up for work on Friday with not one but two large band aids on his noggin. Seems he had not one but two accidents earlier in the day, the first when he stood up and head-butted a shelf at his house, the other when he bonked the roof of his car while running his daughter to school.
We thought the big guy might need some concussion protocol but it turns out he was thinking pretty clearly last week, especially when he did his Pigskin Picks. Co-picker Dave Hanneman also hit most of his predictions right on the head, so to speak, as both of our pigskin prognosticators posted impressive opening night 17-3 records.
Baker was using his head for more than a battering ram when he was shooting photos of the Upper Sandusky Icebreaker Invitational cross country meet. Baker astutely noticed that Mount Gilead had a huge number of runners on its boys cross country team. He concluded that meant fewer numbers out for football at the Morrow County school, and it’s one reason he’s picking Upper Sandusky to beat the Indians Friday night.
That’s one game he and Hanneman disagree on the week. The other is going at Pandora-Gilboa where Hanneman is taking the Rockets and Baker predicts Tiffin Calvert to get the W in that matchup.
Hanneman’s Picks
(LAST WEEK: 17-3)
Findlay over HARRISON — Just call me Homer …. “D’oh.” Trojans aren’t the team they were a year ago, but I don’t know if Harrison is 48 points better than they were a year ago.
Ada over ARLINGTON — Big test for Arlington’s young secondary against Seth Conley, Chase Sumner and that potent Ada passing attack.
Colonel Crawford over CAREY — Crawford coming off an 8-3 playoff season. Both are 1-0. Should be a good matchup.
HOPEWELL-LOUDON over Elmwood — I give the Chieftains the edge if they “Stickley” to their game plan.
RIVERDALE over Hardin Northern — Falcons can start 2-0 for the second straight year, and build some really strong momentum.
GIBSONBURG over Lakota — Bears impressive win over Elmwood should carry over to this week as well.
Leipsic over COLUMBUS GROVE — Vikings are 0-2 against Grove, but looking to alter that trend, since they re-instituted this Route 65 rivalry two years ago.
Liberty-Benton over ARCHBOLD — With Austin May at the controls, I expected L-B to be able to put points on the board. What I take away from the Eagles’ 49-0 shutout of a solid Wynford program is that I may have underestimated their defense.
Marion Local over PATRICK HENRY — The kind of team Patrick Henry had last year (13-1) is the kind of team nine-time state champion Marion Local, which beat the Patriots 36-7 in the state semifinals, has every year.
McComb over WAYNE TRACE — Some thought the Panthers would be rebuilding. Looks like they just reloaded instead.
Mohawk over BUCKEYE CENTRAL — Mohawks improve to 2-0 heading into next week’s showdown at Colonel Crawford.
OTSEGO over North Baltimore — Big turn-around for the Otsego Knights last season. And it looks like that upswing will continue.
ARCADIA over Ridgemont — Upset Special! Ridgedale ended a 26-game losing streak with a 12-7 win over Ridgemont last Friday. Redskins can end an 18-game skid by knocking off the Gophers this week. Coincidence? I think not.
St. Marys Memorial over OTTAWA-GLANDORF — Titans cost St. Marys an outright WBL championship last season. The Roughriders will be on a mission Friday when they face an O-G team hit by some key injuries.
PANDORA-GILBOA over Tiffin Calvert — P-G started the 2016 season 0-3, and lost two other games where the Rockets had a lead either in the final minute of regulation or in overtime. Beating a good Tiffin Calvert team would be a huge motivational and psychological boost for a P-G program looking to get over the win-some, lose-some hump.
VANLUE over Toledo Horizon Science — Not sure how banged up the Wildcats are. If they can put 11 healthy bodies on the field, it won’t matter.
FOSTORIA over Toledo Scott — The way Skyler Garcia is winging it around the field, this could be a blowout.
MOUNT GILEAD over Upper Sandusky — Don’t know much about Mount Gilead, so I flipped a coin … seriously.
Upper Scioto Valley over CORY-RAWSON — Going with the Rams, but this could be a toss-up.
BLUFFTON over Van Buren — Two teams who like to run the football. Pirates might have a few more weapons in the backfield, though.
Baker’s Picks
(LAST WEEK: 17-3)
Findlay over HARRISON — Trojans have to button it up a bit on defense, and weather a long bus ride, but this is certainly a winnable game.
Ada over ARLINGTON — Arlington’s Logan Speyer was the difference maker in this match up last year, but he’s at Miami now.
Colonel Crawford over CAREY — The Blue Devils better find a little offense or it’s going to be a tough road through the N10.
HOPEWELL-LOUDON over Elmwood — Even without Zach Kreais, the Chieftains roll in this one.
RIVERDALE over Hardin Northern — I’d imagine the young Polar Bears got a little confidence after last week’s win. Things get a bit tougher for them this week as the Falcons fly to 2-0.
GIBSONBURG over Lakota — Winner of this backyard rivalry gets a shovel beginning this year. Thinking the Golden Bears take the shovel and bury the Raiders in this one.
Leipsic over COLUMBUS GROVE — Leipsic gets a leg up in the three-way battle of Putnam County’s small-school football teams.
Liberty-Benton over ARCHBOLD — Last week’s beatdown of Wynford by the Eagles makes me a believer.
Marion Local over PATRICK HENRY — Hard to believe Patrick Henry is going to start the season 0-2, but they are facing Marion Local though this week.
McComb over WAYNE TRACE — Wayne Trace ripped Paulding to open its season. McComb ain’t Paulding.
Mohawk over BUCKEYE CENTRAL — Mohawk shot down the Polar Bears of Margaretta. This week they go Buck hunting.
OTSEGO over North Baltimore — Tigers gave the Knights everything they could handle last season. Expect the same this week.
ARCADIA over Ridgemont — Ridgedale broke a long losing streak last week against Ridgemont. It’s the Redskins’ turn this week.
St. Marys Memorial over OTTAWA-GLANDORF — Who’d a thought one of these teams would be 0-2 heading into Week 3. It’ll be the Titans.
Tiffin Calvert over PANDORA-GILBOA — Taking Calvert here in a game that might be closer than some people think.
VANLUE over Toledo Horizon Science — The Wildcats will show Horizon the fastest path to the end zone at Hinkle Field is a straight line. And they’ll show them again and again.
FOSTORIA over Toledo Scott — A couple of breathers for the Redmen before opening up play in the NBC.
Upper Sandusky over MOUNT GILEAD — Rammies roll on the road.
Upper Scioto Valley over CORY-RAWSON — Both teams lost by similar scores in Week 1 but USV won last year’s meeting by 3 TDs.
BLUFFTON over Van Buren — Black Knights did nothing on offense last week against Carey. Bluffton has a few more weapons at its disposal.