Leader Tanner Cook (103-36), who had his worst week of the season last week, is holding on to a two-game lead over high school beat writer Douglas Fritz (101-38) as we head into the final two weeks of regular season action in Northeast Tennessee. Cook’s 11-7 mark a week ago was the panel low ~ allowing everyone to gain ground. Jeff Birchfield (100-39) registered last week’s best finish at 14-4 and sits in third place, three games behind the leader. Kevin Mays went 13-5 to catch Joe Avento in the overall standings. They’re tied with 98-41 marks overall.
In high school action, the panel is in sync on nine games this week with unanimous nods to Dobyns-Bennett over Morristown West, Tennessee High over Cherokee, Elizabethton over Sullivan South, Union County over Sullivan Central, Sullivan North over Sullivan East, J.I. Burton over Castlewood and Chilhowie over Eastside. They’re also riding the Tide into college action, with everyone picking Alabama to beat Tennessee. Tennessee’s NFL team doesn’t fare any better with our panel this week; the Chargers are a unanimous pick over the Titans.
Here’s where they differ:
* They’re split 3-2 on the big Musket Bowl showdown in Jonesborough. Fritz and Birchfield expect Daniel Boone to retire another musket; Cook, Avento and Mays are banking on the Pioneers.
* They’re split 4-1 in the John Battle/Gate City game. Cook is betting on the Blue Devils.
* They’re split 4-1 in the Ridgeview/Abingdon game. Only Avento is going against the Wolfpack.
* They’re split 4-1 in the Lee/Wise Central game. Birchfield is banking on the Warriors.
* They’re split 4-1 in the ETSU/Wofford game. Most of our team is on board with the Bucs; Fritz is the outlier, choosing Wofford in a close one.
* They’re split 3-2 on the Virginia/Duke game. Fritz and Birchfield say Duke; Cook, Avento and Mays take the Cavs.
* They’re split 3-2 on the other Cavs as well ~ the UVa Wise Cavaliers, that is. Birchfield, Mays and Cook look for UVa-Wise to beat Charleston.
Check out this week’s football picks every week in the Thursday paper and share your thoughts about them in social media where you can find us @tnsportslive.