Bran Strickland: Enjoy those upsets, in moderation
by Bran Strickland
bstrickland@annistonstar.com
Sep 20, 2012 | 4036 views |  0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
At left, Anniston's Zondrick Foster gains yardage last week against Lincoln. At right, Alexandria's Justice Owens makes a long touchdown run against Cherokee County in Week 2. When these two teams run into each other Friday night, there’s no telling what’ll happen.  (Photos by Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star.)
At left, Anniston's Zondrick Foster gains yardage last week against Lincoln. At right, Alexandria's Justice Owens makes a long touchdown run against Cherokee County in Week 2. When these two teams run into each other Friday night, there’s no telling what’ll happen. (Photos by Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star.)
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Actual conversation in the gym the other day. Names have been omitted not to protect anybody, but because I don’t know them. But they were young kids, so, I’d have cut them some slack.

Two kids were having a rather loud conversation, which is OK. They’re kids — it’s kind of their thing. And it’s kind of my thing to tune people out.

Then somebody used the word, “Hitler.”

My ears perked up. One of these 9-year-olds had to be affiliated with one political party, and he’d taken this whole “Call the other side a Nazi” thing to an entirely new level. I didn’t turn around, but I was ready for a good, lively debate on economics or Obamacare.

“You don’t even know who Hitler is,” the other lashed back.

“Yeah, I do.”

“No, you don’t.”

(This volleyed back and forth several times.)

“He was a famous general.”

“Whatever. He was not famous. He basically started World War II.”

“Oh,” sheepishly retreating from his once immovable state. “When was World War II, anyway?”

“Like 1992.”

Still staring into my locker, I tried to choke back the laughter, but to no avail, “I think you’re a little off.”

“I meant 1892,” he said.

Still chuckling, I said, “Try somewhere in the middle of those two and you’ll be a lot closer. But props on knowing who Hitler was.”

And through this everyday example from the mouths of babes, we have the picks contest in a nutshell: Go with what you know, but don’t overextend yourself.

Oxford, Anniston, Fultondale. By and large, those were the three who doomed the picking public. But not everybody.

I felt strongly about my upset special of unranked Woodland taking down 2A’s top team, but I seriously doubted anyone else — outside of Randolph County — would share my strong feelings. That’s why I graded from the bottom up, drawing a red line through Fultondale time after time.

But when the ballot started with a circled Woodland, things were most always crazy. They’d end up missing five or six and with the most outlandish of upsets. Childersburg over Handley (Real score: 48-18), Talladega toppling John Carroll (23-6) and Susan Moore beating Saks (28-6).

With everything in life, please enjoy in moderation.

By the way, nobody beat me. That’s the first time since, like, 1992.

. . .
Fultondale at Wellborn: As soon as I saw the score from Fultondale’s opener with Ohatchee, I knew this would be Jeff Smith’s signature win. I didn’t however realize Fultondale played Woodland first.

Fultondale is talented and was unfocused. Happens all the time. And either one of two things are about to happen: 1. Fultondale wasn’t that good to begin with, but just given too much credit for having an Alabama commitment on the roster; 2. Fultondale was that good, got beat and now are really, really mad. … Fultondale 31, Wellborn 30.

Anniston at Alexandria: These first two picks will make or break most ballots. We try to put a toss-up in the first spot, making it more difficult to correctly pick the winner and a score for tiebreaking purposes. This one is truly a toss up … Alexandria 28, Anniston 22.

Cherokee County at Cleburne County: I have absolutely no idea. Neither team is anywhere close to what I thought they would be. This one is also truly a toss up … Cleburne County 21, Cherokee County 14.

Piedmont at Cleveland: The ASWA came around to my way of thinking. This one I’m sure about … Piedmont 53, Cleveland 7.

Susan Moore at Weaver: I am not sure about this one for a number of reasons. Mainly because of what both teams showed last week … Weaver 24, Susan Moore 21.

Victory Christian at Pleasant Valley: After seeing Victory Christian in person, bless their heart. They may have one of the smallest offensive tackles in the AHSAA, and for lining up and doing this for 10 games, they’ve got my admiration, too. But they don’t have my pick … Pleasant Valley 40, Victory Christian 6.

Huntsville at Oxford: Got the call on Tuesday the game had been moved to Oxford. We weren’t trying to trick anybody on the ballot. Surely, though nobody would have thought home field counted for that much … Oxford 42, Huntsville 14.

Ashville at Saks: I’m making this pick solely on the assumption that Saks will play both halves on Friday night like the Wildcats played the second half last week. If the Wildcats don’t, they’ll get beat by two touchdowns or more. If they do, they’ve got a chance. They will not be about to out-athlete this bunch … Saks 21, Ashville 14.

White Plains at Glencoe: Remember what I said about Fultondale being mad? Well, Glencoe wasn’t as highly thought of, but there will be a great deal of refocus there … Glencoe 28, White Plains 7.

Ohatchee at Woodland: What will they do after a big upset? Don’t ever worry about a Larry Strain-coached team losing focus … Woodland 48, Ohatchee 10.

Clay Central at Holtville: There’s really no question about Clay Central’s outcomes until the early October meeting with Handley … Clay Central 50, Holtville 14.

Woodville at Donoho: The Falcons’ real test, however, is much sooner. Next week against Collinsville … Donoho 41, Woodville 8.

Munford at Jacksonville: Now, Jacksonville on the other hand … Last week started the meat of Jacksonville’s schedule, and it passed the first test. They keep getting harder from here on out. The Golden Eagles have more wins right now than I would have thought, and while I feel uneasy about this one, I’ll stick with the undefeateds … Jacksonville 35, Munford 34.

For the rest of the slate:

Wadley 35, TC Central 17; Cedar Bluff 42, Jacksonville Christian 7; Spring Garden 42, Coosa Christian 28; Randolph County 35, Reeltown 34 (OT); Vincent 28, Ranburne 14; Lincoln 35, Hokes Bluff 0; Handley 52, Dallas County 6.
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