It was a week in which everybody was blinded by local loyalty. Everybody on the Herald Panel went with Pitt and Penn State, even though recent history should have taught us differently. UConn had beaten the Pittsburgh Panthers three of the past four years, plus Pitt is struggling with its quarterbacks. There hasn’t been a Joe Paterno-coached team defeat Michigan in the last nine tries. Just the same, as a group we all bought into the PA schools and as a result, the best score by anybody was an 8-2 for Jim Cushion, who did get everything else right. Coming on the heels of a perfect 10-0 mark last week, Cushion, a newcomer on the panel this year, takes over sole possession of first place in the overall race with a 35-5 mark after four weeks. Pryor, Webster and Miller all carded a 7-3 week. Pryor and Miller both missed on the Georgia overtime win over Alabama, while Webster missed the Northern Bedford win over Glendale. After missing just three picks in three weeks, Miller falls out of a tie for first with Cushion with three goofs this week. Miller holds down the second spot with a 34-6 mark, with Webster and Pryor third at 32-8. Kerry Naylor (30-10 overall) and this week’s guest picker Eleanor Feltenberger both went 5-5. Overall the combined guests are 26-14. Thank you Eleanor Feltenberger!
This week the guest picker is Paul “Bud” Wertz. Bud is a B-A grad and former Blue Devil running back, who helps out in the B-A pressbox at home Bellwood-Antis football games. Good luck Bud!
Lewistown at Tyrone: Lewistown remains winless for the second straight year, after breaking a long streak with a 5-5 mark in 2005, that was the first Panther team in 30 years to post a non-losing record. Lewistown has a potent passing attack, but little else, including a porous defense. Eagles will have Johnny Franco back as a starter, after finally starting his season with a few plays last week. The psychological plus alone with Franco in the line-up, along with the job the Sha(y)nes (Shayne Tate and Shane Emigh) have been doing, plus the emergence last week of sophomore quarterback Levi Reihart, spell a lot of trouble for all Eagle opponents. With Franco up to full speed, Tyrone should scare everybody down the road.
The picks: Miller Tyrone 47-7, Kerry Webster Tyrone 28-14, Kerry Naylor Tyrone 35-7, Christina Pryor Tyrone 34-0, Jim Cushion Tyrone 37-8, Bud Wertz Tyrone 40-10.
Bellwood-Antis at Southern Huntingdon: Blue Devils have had the Rockets number since 1979, the last time Southern Huntingdon beat B-A, a total of 17 straight wins for Bellwood-Antis, including the only two defeats to blemish the Rockets 2006 season, once in the regular season and once more in the District 6-A semifinals. Southern is undefeated once again, and the game is at Orbisonia. Rockets are one of just two teams B-A plays in their own classification. Southern has won with a lot of defense and just enough offense in 2007. Blue Devils seem to be peeking after a lose-one-win-one season-opening stretch.
The picks: Miller Bellwood-Antis 25-14, Kerry Webster Bellwood-Antis 28-6, Kerry Naylor Bellwood-Antis 22-18, Christina Pryor Bellwood-Antis 28-14, Jim Cushion Bellwood-Antis 22-20, Bud Wertz Bellwood-Antis 23-12.
Punxsutawney at Huntingdon: Punxsy has not done well since moving into the MAFC and is winless again thus far. Huntingdon has lost three of their first four and needs this one to get back on track. Early schedule (Tyrone, Indian Valley, Bellefonte in weeks, two, three, four) has not been kind to the Bearcats, but with the exceptions of Hollidaysburg (next week) and Philipsburg-Osceola (Nov. 2) the rest of the way seems a lot easier to navigate, beginning with this week.
The picks: Miller Huntingdon, Kerry Webster Punxsutawney, Kerry Naylor Huntingdon, Christina Pryor Punxsutawney, Jim Cushion Punxsutawney, Bud Wertz Huntingdon.
Juniata Valley at Moshannon Valley: Tyrone grad Murray Fetzer and his coaching staff, which includes Tyrone’s Tom Miller and the McNelis twins, has turned the corner at Moshannon Valley (3-1) with their only loss by a single point (7-6) to undefeated Southern Huntingdon. Juniata Valley (2-2) has hit a few speed bumps after returning most of a squad that reached the district championship game last year. Juniata Valley beat Mount Union 35-6 and Claysburg-Kimmel 37-12. Mo Valley beat Mount Union 33-6 and Claysburg 47-14.
The picks: Miller Moshannon Valley, Kerry Webster Moshannon Valley, Kerry Naylor Juniata Valley, Christina Pryor Moshannon Valley, Jim Cushion Moshannon Valley, Bud Wertz Moshannon Valley.
Penns Valley at Chestnut Ridge: Ridge (3-1) has three straight wins after opening loss to Bellefonte. Penns Valley regrouped with 24-7 win over Lewistown after dropping first loss of season (10-3) to undefeated Tyrone. Ram defense has given up just 17 points in four games. Chestnut Ridge has outscored opponents 79-13 during win streak.
The picks: Miller Penns Valley, Kerry Webster Penns Valley, Kerry Naylor Chestnut Ridge, Christina Pryor Chestnut Ridge, Jim Cushion Penns Valley, Bud Wertz Penns Valley.
Bishop Guilfoyle at Penn Cambria: BG (2-2) opened a lot of eyes in week four with a solid 14-3 win over Forest Hills for their second straight win after an 0-2 start in the Laurel Highlands Conference. Penn Cambria has been a bit of a surprise with a 1-3 start, after posting big offensive numbers the past two years, including a 9-2 season a year ago.
The picks: Miller Bishop Guilfoyle, Kerry Webster Penn Cambria, Kerry Naylor Bishop Guilfoyle, Christina Pryor Bishop Guilfoyle, Jim Cushion Penn Cambria, Bud Wertz Bishop Guilfoyle.
Auburn at Florida: Florida (4-0 and ranked # 3) defeated Mississippi 30-24, just a week after “Old Miss” upset Auburn (2-2) 19-14. Seminoles have been lighting it up, averaging 49 points per game. Auburn broke out of a two-game losing streak in week four by hammering New Mexico State 55-20, after averaging 20 points per game through first three games.
The picks: Miller Florida, Kerry Webster Florida, Kerry Naylor Florida, Christina Pryor Florida, Jim Cushion Florida, Bud Wertz Florida.
Pitt at Virginia: Inept offense, particularly at quarterback has cost Pitt dearly. LaSean McCoy can’t be expected to handle all the offensive load, especially when there is no pass threat. Pat Bostick may be the Panthers’ best shot at QB, but neither Kevan Smith, nor true freshman Bostick is ready for big-time college football at this point. Virginia (3-1) is on a roll winning three straight after dropping their opener at Wyoming
The picks: Miller Virginia 28-22, Kerry Webster Virginia 35-21, Kerry Naylor Virginia, Christina Pryor Virginia 37-10, Jim Cushion Virginia 29-15, Bud Wertz Pitt 24-20.
Penn State at Illinois: The biggest question on Monday was what would the Nittany Lions do after the usual (nine times in a row now and running) loss to Michigan. Once again what really hurt was the opportunities were there, but no one was able to step up and grab the ring. Illinois (3-1) will not roll over, but the PSU defense, which did perform to their usual high standard, despite being kept on the field far too much, by the Penn State offense, should keep the Nits in the game and the offense must pick it up and start over again.
The picks: Miller Penn State 26-16, Kerry Webster Penn State 31-12, Kerry Naylor Penn State 17-14, Christina Pryor Penn State 31-28, Jim Cushion Penn State 18-7, Bud Wertz Penn State 28-14.
Steelers at Arizona: Steelers proved they can do it against high quality competition against 49ers, and the defense was again outstanding. Roethlisberger has been picking his spots and finding open receivers (read – four TD passes to his tight ends and still counting) and Fast Willie Parker has three straight 100-yard rushing efforts. This is the first time Steelers go against former Steeler coaches Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm. Whisenhunt is Arizona’s head coach and Grimm is on his staff, after both were among those considered for Steelers head coach position before Mike Tomlin was hired.
The picks: Miller Steelers 29-14, Kerry Webster Steelers 38-35, Kerry Naylor Steelers 27-20, Christina Pryor Steelers 31-10, Jim Cushion Steelers 30-17, Bud Wertz Steelers 35-20.