Bran Strickland: There’s more to this than the flip of a coin
by Bran Strickland
bstrickland@annistonstar.com
Sep 13, 2012 | 4787 views |  0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Oxford's Jarrius Orr stiff arms Clay-Chalkville's Jonathan Daniel. The Yellow Jackets host Gadsden City this week. (Photo by Stephen Gross/The Anniston Star)
Oxford's Jarrius Orr stiff arms Clay-Chalkville's Jonathan Daniel. The Yellow Jackets host Gadsden City this week. (Photo by Stephen Gross/The Anniston Star)
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My television isn’t flat. My pants aren’t skinny. And most of my shoes don’t even have laces.

If you take from that that I’m poor, unhip and lazy, good guesses, but wrong. I’m just simple. Probably sometimes to a fault.

The frilly things in life don’t really appeal to me that much anymore, and there are far fewer shades of gray in my black-and-white world.

In my latest reading — no, not “Fifty Shades of Grey” — even I had to take offense with one person’s oversimplification of life.

Of Grantland and Esquire fame, Chuck Klosterman’s collection of essays do more than just hit the nail on the head on a range of subjects. He attacks them with a pneumatic nail gun. From country music to MTV’s “The Real World,” the man pens the truth.

But with math, he’s standing in a desert trying to catch the boat.

Basically, it’s his assertion that complex odds are trash, and everything in life comes down to a 50-50 chance. Either something will happen or it won’t.

True, but, but … no.

Prior to kickoff in the season opener, did Savannah State, an eventual 84-0 loser to Oklahoma State, really have the same chance at the coin flip of beating the Cowboys? Of course not. If it were true, then you’d hear about the economy hitting Vegas oddsmakers just as hard as everyone else.

But then again, by in large, the American public can be suckers for a good pitch by a used-car salesman.

All that being said, I pick mostly winners and losers. So, in that I guess I’m going 50-50.

Those scores I put on things, don’t put too much weight in them. And please, for the love of Pop Warner, don’t use them to set gambling lines.

It’s happened before. True story.

But maybe Klosterman is right. There is a certain degree of logic to it. If I didn’t pick you, don’t get mad, adopt Chuck as unofficial mascot.

Me or him, you’ve got a 50-50 chance.

* * *
Oxford at Gadsden City: With the way the cards were dealt to the Yellow Jackets, it’s hard not to look ahead. A top-heavy start to the season has Oxford with its two hardest region games right off the bat.

This is as far from ideal as things could get, especially considering the inexperience at many key positions. But write this down (or just keep this newspaper clipping for a few months), even if the Jackets get to the playoffs as low as a No. 3 seed, they’ll be a terror for somebody to compete against in the first two rounds of the playoffs. That youth will learn and grow, and I saw first-hand last week that youth is immensely talented … Gadsden City 21, Oxford 17.

Woodland at Fultondale: It’s the last game on the Beat Bran list, but if you don’t have any loyalities and just want to see a good football game, this would be my pick. Classic, classic matchup … Woodland 21, Fultondale 20 (OT).

Alexandria at Hokes Bluff: Told y’all last week not to panic. And by y’all, I mean Valley Cub fans. Hokes Bluff fans, well, the time to panic would be now. … Alexandria 35, Hokes Bluff 7.

Lincoln at Anniston: I really didn’t think Leeds was that good. Not No. 1 team in the state good. And they may not be. Lincoln’s win in its rivalry game with Munford is hard to figure with emotion playing such a large role in the victory. I think Anniston is solid. The performance from both teams could really paint the picture of the rest of the season … Anniston 28, Lincoln 21.

Jacksonville at Cherokee County: A 3-0 start by Jacksonville? Man, that wouldn’t have been something I would have thought. Should there be some growing pains associated with a new coach? Maybe not … Jacksonville 20, Cherokee County 15.

Glencoe at Piedmont: For the third time, I’m not picking again Piedmont until it losses. But this one will be close. … Piedmont 28, Glencoe 27.

Pleasant Valley at Vincent: Huge win by Pleasant Valley last week, and a huge loss by previously ranked Vincent. A road game against a ticked-off Vincent bunch might just be too much for an up-and-coming Raider squad. … Vincent 14, Pleasant Valley 7.

Saks at Susan Moore: Don’t know anything about Susan Moore, but I do know the Bulldogs (I think they’re Bulldogs) with be out-athleted. … Saks 32, Susan Moore 21.

Victory Christian at Wellborn: There is no limit to the number of points Wellborn could score here … Wellborn 60, Victory Christian 14.

Cleburne County at Munford: Too many factors are stacked against Munford — the hangover from losing to rival Lincoln and Cleburne County looking to avenge last season’s ugly loss … Cleburne County 24, Munford 7.

Jacksonville Christian at Donoho: Another solid effort being put together by the Falcons. This one will be another deep notch in their belt … Donoho 42, Jacsksonville Christian 14.

Ohatchee at Ranburne: Two games decided by a total of two points for Ranburne. This one should be decided by two touchdowns. … Ranburne 21, Ohatchee 7.

White Plains at Weaver: White Plains is on the rise, but Weaver is out to right its ship. Final score aside, I think both teams grow from this game … Weaver 28, White Plains 17.

Elmore County at Clay Central: Elmore County is better than Dallas County, but the it won’t change the fact that Clay Central wins another one … Clay Central 42, Elmore County 21.

As for the rest of them …

Handley 42, Childersburg 6; Randolph County 28, LaFayette 17; Spring Garden 35, Valley Head 7; John Carroll 28, Talladega 21; Winterboro 25, TC Central 20; Wadley 24, Fayetteville 14.

* * *
The Star’s prognosticator of all things pigskin had five incorrect choices (“Bad, Bran!”) in his weekly picks column last week (Ranburne, Hokes Bluff, Weaver, Munford and Verbena) so there were lots (“Bad, Bran!”) of Bran Beaters this week. Best of the best was Robin Wood of Piedmont with only two misses — Weaver over Glencoe and Vincent over Wellborn. Jessica Brimer of Oxford also had only two misses (Ranburne over Pleasant Valley and Weaver over Glencoe). Wood won the tie-breaker by correctly picking the winner of the tie-breaker game.

Another 28 entrants were also Bran Beaters (“Bad, Bran!”). Those with three incorrect picks were Kathy Bryant, Will Ginn, Roger Harris, Casey Lowery, Bailey McCormick, Ashley Stinson, Dexter Thomas and Randall Williams. Those missing four games were Dennis Acker, Larry Brimer, James Burgess, Jeff Burns, Jerrell Burns, Bethany Daniel, Josh Droxler, Jerry Forrest, Jason Head, Rob Jennings, Jerry Nance, Mike Naugher, Freddie Norton, Douglas A. O’Dell, Jason W. Rainwater, Brent Ray, Konnor Renfroe, Byron Stinson, Jimmy Wynn and Ken Yancy.
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