It was another tough week for the top two spots in our Daily Herald picking poll for Week 6. Jim Cushion and Miller both went just 6-4, while everybody crept closer to the top. Nobody hit the Penns Valley double-overtime win over Philipsburg-Osceola. There were three Lone Ranger picks and just one paid off. That was Christina Pryor picking Virginia Tech over Clemson. Jim Cushion had Iowa over Penn State, and Kerry Webster picked Seattle over the Steelers in the other two picks against the rest of the panel. Pryor took the prize for the week with an 8-2 mark, missing on the P-O/Valley game and the Moshannon Valley/Northern Bedford contest. Only Kerry Webster and Week 7 guest picker Doug Hoover hit the Northern win over Mo Valley. Webster, Kerry Naylor and Hoover all went 7-3
Overall, the last two weeks have turned this Fall’s Prognostication into a real battle, with just four games separating the top four pickers and another just six games back with half a season remaining. Cushion hung on to his lead at 47-13, followed closely by Miller (46-14), Webster (45-15), and Pryor (44-16). Naylor is 41-19 and the combined guests are 38-22. Thank you for the time and effort, Doug Hoover!
This week’s guest picker is another in our line of favorites, who we call on yearly to help us out. This week, our guest will be Rich DeLeo, area sports personality and Altoona Curve PA announcer. Good Luck Rich!
Philipsburg-Osceola at Tyrone: This was a real tough pick before last week, then P-O went and got itself beat in double overtime by Penns Valley, a team Tyrone defeated 10-3 in week three. The Rams (5-1) have shown very little offense, averaging just 11 points a game, but have been terrific on defense, giving up just five points per game. Bellwood-Antis stuck with the Eagles for most of the opening game, but was demolished by Mounties two weeks later. Tyrone had very little pass offense until sophomore Levi Reihart got going in Week Four, giving them another potent threat to go with a lights-out defense of their own plus the running game with Shayne Tate devastating everyone, needing just 13 yards to reach the 1,000 mark.
The picks; Miller Tyrone 20-7, Kerry Webster (a P-O grad) Philipsburg-Osceola 7-6, Kerry Naylor Tyrone 14-7, Christina Pryor Tyrone 24-0, Jim Cushion Tyrone 24-18, Rich DeLeo Tyrone 17-13.
Bellwood-Antis at Chestnut Ridge: Best chance in years for Ridge to finally beat Blue Devils for first time. This game is usually always close regardless of records coming in. Blue Devils have certainly taken advantage of opponents mistakes, but have committed way too many themselves. B-A had a passing attack for the first time last week, and will need to continue this week to take pressure off ground game. B-A defense has limited foes to few points, but given up lots of yards, making it tough on the offense. When B-A can play four quarters like they have been playing the second half, Bellwood-Antis will have their fate in their own hands. Will that happen this week?
The picks: Miller Bellwood-Antis 19-14, Kerry Webster Bellwood-Antis 14-12, Kerry Naylor Bellwood-Antis 18-15, Christina Pryor Bellwood-Antis 28-7, Jim Cushion Bellwood-Antis 18-7, Rich DeLeo Chestnut Ridge 22-20.
Mount Union at Penns Valley: Penns Valley has been awesome on defense, but only so-so on the other side of the ball. That hasn’t mattered against anyone, except their one loss to Tyrone (10-3) when the Eagles were even better on “D.” Mt. Union is young and has no depth at all with a small squad that will take their lumps this week.
The picks; Miller Penns Valley, Kerry Webster Penns Valley, Kerry Naylor Penns Valley, Christina Pryor Penns Valley, Jim Cushion Penns Valley, Rich DeLeo Penns Valley.
Clearfield at Indian Valley: Indian Valley (6-0) has been awfully offensive all year for famed coach Gawen Stoker. Clearfield had scored lots, but also given up loads of points. Hollidaysburg beat Clearfield 42-35 in a shootout, while the Tigers were edged 28-21 by Valley.
The picks: Miller Indian Valley, Kerry Webster Indian Valley, Kerry Naylor Indian Valley, Christina Pryor Indian Valley, Jim Cushion Indian Valley, Rich DeLeo Indian Valley.
Central at Bald Eagle Area: A pair of teams who would have much better record, if only they could hang onto the ball. Central (2-4) and Bald Eagle Area (0-6) both appear to have much more talent than records indicate. The winner of the turnover battle and what they do with the miscues will decide the game.
The picks: Miller Bald Eagle Area, Kerry Webster Central, Kerry Naylor Central, Christina Pryor Bald Eagle Area, Jim Cushion Bald Eagle Area, Rich DeLeo Central.
Juniata Valley at Glendale: Two teams battling Moshannon Valley and each other for the ICC Mountain Division title. Juniata Valley lost to Mo Valley in overtime, Glendale has them next week. Comparing scores reveals what could be a very close game. Both teams lost to Southern Huntingdon (Valley 21-7, Glendale 28-14) and Northern Bedford (Valley 20-6, Glendale 23-0) and both defeated Claysburg (Valley 37-12, Glendale 35-12).
The picks: Miller Juniata Valley, Kerry Webster Glendale, Kerry Naylor Juniata Valley, Christina Pryor Juniata Valley, Jim Cushion Juniata Valley, Rich DeLeo Juniata Valley.
Boston College at Notre Dame: A battle between two well-known Catholic schools, with a lot of football history. The ghosts of Rockne, Gipp and others haven’t helped the Fighting Irish in 2007, although Notre Dame did manage their first win of the year last week against UCLA. Boston College (6-0) doesn’t have Doug Flutie, but is flying high, ranked number seven in the AP top 25 and is undefeated. Boston College beat Georgia Tech 24-10, while Notre Dame lost 33-3 to Tech in their opener
The picks; Miller Boston College, Kerry Webster Boston College, Kerry Naylor Boston College, Christina Pryor Boston College, Jim Cushion Boston College, Rich DeLeo Boston College.
LSU at Kentucky: LSU (6-0), number one has been rolling through first half of schedule, with only last week’s 28-24 win over last year’s NCAA champs Florida by less than two TDs. Number eight Kentucky (5-1) lost to Number 11 South Carolina last week, while LSU downed South Carolina 28-16 three weeks ago.
The picks: Miller LSU, Kerry Webster LSU, Kerry Naylor LSU, Christina Pryor LSU, Jim Cushion LSU, Rich DeLeo LSU.
Navy at Pitt: Before we go any further, ALL pickers had their selections in before this game, which took place Wednesday night. Pitt (2-3, after a bye week) badly needs a win against Navy (3-2, also off last week). With the core of their Big East schedule yet to play, the Panthers need to get some confidence for their offense, that is relying on two true freshmen (QB Pat Bostick and RB LaSean McCoy). Coach Dave Wannstedt has challenged Bostick that anything less than 28 points, won’t be enough to better Navy’s triple-option offense that loves to control the ball and frustrate opponents. Navy has scored at least 24 points in every game so far.
The picks: Miller Navy 31-24, Kerry Webster Navy 24-12, Kerry Naylor Pitt 22-3, Christina Pryor Pitt 28-13, Jim Cushion Navy 23-20, Rich DeLeo Navy 24-18.
Wisconsin at Penn State: Wisconsin lost for the first time last week to Illinois 31-26, just a week after the Illini edged Penn State 27-20. Both games were at Illinois. The Badgers are hurting with starting running back P. J. Hill (pulled groin) slowed at best, and receivers Paul Hubbard (knee) and Luke Swan (torn hamstring) both definitely out. Tight end Travis Beckum need constant watch for Wisconsin with 41 catches already. Wisconsin is eighth in the Big 10 in defense and 57th in the nation, while Penn State is currently fifth in the nation in total defense. Only 5-6 in their last 11 Big 10 road games, the Badgers, like Nittany Lions, have had trouble on the road. Penn State needs solid games from defense, running game, shored up by Reggie Kinlaw and to avoid allowing mounting off-the-field problems to have any aftershocks on the field.
The picks: Miller Penn State 27-21, Kerry Webster Wisconsin 35-12, Kerry Naylor Penn State 21-13, Christina Pryor Penn State 16-10, Jim Cushion Penn State 16-12, Rich DeLeo Penn State 24-17.
Blackout: All Tyrone fans are asked to wear BLACK for Friday’s game against Philipsburg-Osceola, so the P-O team and fans will see a wall of black pulling for the Golden Eagles, whose colors are, of course, Orange and Black.