Pick ‘Em likes Hawks, Hogs, and Aggies



“Hey, Mr. Math Guy!”

I knew this was coming.

“Yes, Dr. Pick ‘Em?”

What is 12 out of 13?

“If you divide it, you get 0.923,” I said, stalling the inevitable.

“So that’s like, what, 92.3 percent?” he said through a wide grin.


“Would picking Pleasant Grove to win by 15, and they win by 18 also be pretty good?”


“And picking Arkansas to edge past Ole Miss …”

“Yep,” I interjected.

“And picking Florida to lose 38-0, and they go down 42-7 and the coach gets canned?”

“Yeah, Pick’ ‘Em, you were amazing. You got this week’s picks?”

A sweet smile spread across his face as he wadded up a piece of paper and bounced it off my forehead.

High School

Texas High (5-3, 3-1) at Hallsville (1-7, 1-3): A win this week, and another over Pine Tree next week will send coach Gerry Stanford’s Tigers into the playoffs as the No. 2 seed out of 5A-16 DII. That’s probably going to happen, but first things first. Texas High 45, Hallsville 7.

Princeton (4-4, 3-0) at Liberty-Eylau (3-5, 2-1): Princeton knocked off the two Paris teams the last two weeks to climb into first place. L-E is aiming to grab a share of first. Leopards look like a team getting ready for the playoffs. L-E 28, Princeton 24.

Arkansas High (5-4, 3-3) at El Dorado (8-1, 5-1): Razorbacks in a four-way tie for third. El Dorado has a lock on second place and a shot at first in 6A-West. Nobody gives Barry Norton’s team a chance, but the Razorbacks have shown progress every week of the season and have a better defense than people think. YUGE upset. Arkansas High 24, El Dorado 21.

Pleasant Grove (8-0, 3-0) at Spring Hill (5-3, 0-3): A win assures PG a district title, the best regular season in school history and a No. 1 playoff seed. Panther fans will point out they have lost three 4A-7 DII district games by a net six points, and last week they were a failed two-point try from pushing Gilmer into overtime. Spring Hill has veterans at running back and wideout and can move the ball. On the other hand, PG has the No. 1 offense and No. 1 defense in the district and is perhaps the most focused team in East Texas. Pleasant Grove 45, Spring Hill 31.


No. 5 Oklahoma (7-4, 4-1) at No. 11 Oklahoma State (7-1, 4-1): Game of the week. Neither team has any glaring weaknesses, but Oklahoma’s defense has been slow starting. Look for the Cowboys to get off to a fast start. Still, Dr. Pick ‘Em’s No. 1 rule in late-season big games is to go with the team with the better quarterback. Baker Mayfield is a modern-day Joe Montana. Oklahoma 51, Oklahoma State 48.

No. 18 Central Florida (7-0, 4-0) at SMU (6-2, 3-1): Second-best game of the week has an American Conference title on the line. Both teams are already bowl-eligible, but UCF is looking for a New Year’s Day gig. Knights bring a balanced offense and a stingy defense. SMU QB Ben Hicks has been on a roll the past four weeks. Florida AD checking out both coaches. Should be a rockin’ and rollin’ Saturday night at Ford. UCF 38, SMU 35.

Texas (4-4, 3-2) at TCU (7-1, 4-1): Horned Frogs laid an egg on the road against Iowa State last week to ruin a perfect season. Texas is a work in progress and, to become bowl-eligible, needs two more wins. Those will come later. TCU 28, Texas 14.

No. 14 Auburn (6-2, 4-1) at Texas A&M (5-3, 3-2): Another great game. Auburn has more talent. Auburn has a dominant running game. Auburn has a better defense. Las Vegas says Tigers by two touchdowns. Everything says, Auburn. Auburn. Auburn. Dr. Pick ‘Em says, 12th Man. Aggies, 34-31.

South Carolina (6-2, 4-2) at Arkansas (3-5, 1-4): Last week, Dr. Pick ‘Em picked the Hogs in a mild upset. Can they do it two weeks in a row? Here’s the long answer: No. S. Carolina 31, Arkansas 17

No. 2 Alabama (8-0, 5-0) at No. 19 LSU. (6-2, 3-1): What a storyline: LSU’s magical season continues with an upset over the hated Saban. Not gonna happen. Bama 42. LSU 14.

Tampa Bay (2-5) at New Orleans (5-2): Saints on a five-game win streak, Bucs on a four-game skid. Trends aren’t predictions, but these trends will continue. New Orleans 28, Tampa Bay 14.

Indianapolis (2-6) at Houston (3-4): Beat-up Texans have plenty of firepower to roll past the struggling Colts. Houston 24, Indianapolis 14.

Kansas City (6-2) at Dallas (4-3): Even without Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys don’t have the horses to keep up with Chiefs, who bring in the most potent offense in the NFL. Dallas has some talent at running back, but for the next six weeks, the burden falls on Dak Prescott, and defensive coordinators will be ready. Kansas City 36, Dallas 21.




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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.