Dr. Pick ‘Em returns

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Whuuummmp!

Plop!

Ka-thunk, Ka-thunk!

What the…? I’m a reasonably well-read fella, and I’d like to think that if there was a meteor, or a piece of space junk headed for my backyard, I’d have a clue.

I swung open the patio door and was immediately caught up in a vortex whipped up by a pair of dogs who, to my surprise, did not attack what looked like a very short man clad in an “I’m with Stupid” T-shirt and a hula skirt.

In the yard was a deep dent, where he apparently landed, and two smaller ones – bounces, I reckon.

After a few curious licks, the dogs, prone to lick any number of disgusting things, started to give this fetid pile a vigorous tongue bath and doing that wiggly-waggly, happy puppy thing. I grabbed a rake and gently probed.

Two, all-too-familiar, beady eyes glared up at me.

“Dr. P-P-Pick-Em,” I stuttered. “Where on earth have you been?”

“What makes you think I know?” he answered as he stood and tilted his head to one side. He gave his right ear a few smart smacks and dislodged from his left ear a set of Mardi Gras beads.

“Can I get you something,” I asked. “Maybe something to drink?”

“Oooh, I think there’s already been plenty of that going on,” he muttered as he staggered toward the house. “I’m going to my room.”

“No. Wait. You were gone so long we turned it into a …”

The overjoyed dogs bounded after him through the bedroom door, which slammed shut as I mumbled “… a study.”

A split second later a small slip of paper slid out from under the door.

This week’s picks:

High School

Arkansas High (4-4, 2-3) at Siloam Springs (2-6, 1-4): Hogs can clinch a playoff berth with a win. Dr. Pick ‘Em likes Arkansas High. It’s a team with some talent and a whole lot of grit. Razorbacks, 38-13.

Anna (6-1, 2-0) at Liberty-Eylau (2-5, 1-1): On paper, the Coyotes, winner of six straight and the front-runners in 4A-7, DI, look to be the better team. But this one won’t be played on paper. L-E has played a more formidable schedule. Look for the Leopards to begin their push toward the playoffs. L-E, 28-26.

Texas High (4-3, 2-1) at Greenville (5-2, 2-1): Key game between two teams tied for third in 5A-16, DII. Tigers have won last two. Greenville got off to a fast start before being brought to earth last week, 56-14, at the hands of unbeaten Marshall. Tigers should come out of this one with a firm grasp on a playoff berth. Texas High, 24-18.

Pleasant Grove (8-0, 2-0) at Pittsburg (5-2, 2-0): Somebody explain this: The Associated Press has Gilmer (who PG beat) ranked No. 7, and the Hawks are still not in the Top 10. Harrumph. This could be a trap game. Pittsburg has a wide receiver who will be playing on TV on Saturdays and a slick offense. PG still out to get a little respect. Pleasant Grove, No. 3 in Dave Campbell’s poll, is still working to get a little respect. PG 43, Pittsburg 28.

College

Texas Tech (4-3, 1-3) at Oklahoma (6-1, 3-1): Can Tech pull off the big upset? Let me ‘splain this to you: No. Even if they didn’t have this century’s version of Joe Montana in quarterback Baker Mayfield, the Sooners are deeper, more talented and still have a shot at the playoffs. Oklahoma 44, Tech 24.

Texas (3-4, 2-2) at Baylor (0-4, 0-7): Lose this one and the noise in the Teasip Nation will hit a crescendo. Not gonna happen. The wheels have come off at Baylor. Texas 28, Baylor 14

Oklahoma State (6-1, 3-1) at West Virginia (5-2, 3-1): This one figures to be a HECKuva game. Cowboys favored by six, but Dr. Pick ‘Em smells some home cookin’ in Morgantown. West Virginia 48, Oklahoma State 45, 2OT

Tulsa (2-6) at SMU (5-2) (Friday night): Ponies get the weekend off to a great start by getting bowl eligible. Tulsa giving up 603 yards per game. SMU won’t need that many. SMU 51, Tulsa 28

Arkansas (2-5, 0-4) at Ole Miss (3-4, 1-3): Neither of these teams is headed to a postseason game. Call this one the Ugly Bowl. Dr. Pick ‘Em still likes Bret Bielema as a person, just not as an SEC coach. Another upset: Arkansas 23, Ole Miss 21.

No. 2 Penn State (7-0, 4-0) at No. 6 Ohio State (6-1, 4-0): The game of the day? Nah, that one’s in Morgantown. Penn State dominated the fourth quarter a year ago. Bet the Buckeyes and their fans remember. The Horseshoe will be rocking. Ohio State 24, Penn State 18.

No. 3 Georgia (7-0, 4-0) vs. Florida (3-3, 3-2) in Jacksonville. Georgia has a slick quarterback and a veteran defense. Florida has neither. Ever tried eating Alligator? You can stick a fork in these Gators. Georgia 34, Florida 0.

Pro

Chicago Bears (3-4) New Orleans Saints (4-2): Bears have won two straight, Saints four. Something’s gotta give. Dr. Pick ‘Em says it won’t be the Saints’ young defense. Saints 34, Da Bears 21.

Houston (3-3) at Seattle (4-2): Injuries starting to mount for Texans. Seattle 21, Houston 17.

Dallas (3-3) at Washington (3-3): Loser will be hard pressed to make the playoffs, and either team will be stretched to do anything in the postseason. Both teams missing key parts (note to Jerry Jones: let half the best offensive line in football get away, and your quarterback and running back no longer look like future Hall of Famers). Cowboys have a little more steel in their backbones. Dallas 31, Washington 28.

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A veteran journalist and educator, Bill Owney is a 1980 graduate of the University of Florida. Writing awards include APME honors for investigative reporting, the Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Award for public service reporting and numerous awards for editorial, column and news writing. He served as publisher of the Atlanta Citizens Journal and Pittsburg Gazette when each paper won sweepstakes awards from the Texas Press and North and East Texas Press Associations. He spent 15 years as a public school teacher and is an adjunct professor of English at Texarkana College.