Birdie hears it from his readers

| Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

The Birdie has taken plenty of heat for his “struggles.”

A less-than-stellar season has even the most beloved fans of the small-game sultan questioning his prognosticating skills.

The football guru went 11-1 last Friday and was crowned Chicken Dance champion at a wedding on Saturday.

But that seems like little consolation to some spoiled readers, who still doubt his skills.

Here are some excerpts from emails, tweets and phone messages:

• “Your getting too old for this, Birdie. Time to retire to your cabin in the woods.”

• “Hey Birdie, your picks need auto correct.”

• “Expert? More like professional guesser.”

• “Are you from Burrell?”

• “My 3-year-old knew Valley was going to win.”

• “A weatherman is right more times than you.”

The Birdie admits he was a little off on his preseason predictions. For instance, he had Valley going 2-7 and missing the playoffs. Valley is 6-2 and postseason-bound.

“Unlike my golf matches with the part-timers, I don't get breakfast balls or mulligans,” the Birdie said. “I make my picks and stay with them. Some teams rise above the expected, which is what makes football so great. If I got every game right, life would be boring.”

He also was off on marks for Deer Lakes, Ford City and Kittanning.

“Even I, being so great and revered, make miscalculations,” he said. “I know how coaches feel. You spend hours watching game film, researching the net and sniffing around practices, yet nothing is guaranteed. Sometimes, you're left scratching your head.”

Still, the Birdie is ready to pick playoff games. He appreciates readers taking him so seriously, and loves their feedback.

“If it wasn't for you fine fans, I'd be in a pet store somewhere singing Nicki Manaj for peanuts,” he said. “Your feedback makes my day.”

Hoping the WPIAL tiebreaker system doesn't have to be used, because he stills doesn't get it, The Birdie offers Week 9 picks:

Seneca Valley (7-1, 5-1) at Fox Chapel (1-7, 1-5)

The Foxes want a win to close the season, but Seneca Valley is gearing up for the playoffs.

Seneca Valley, 28-7.

Kiski Area (3-5, 3-4) at Latrobe (2-6, 1-6)

Kiski Area needs this to close the season on an upbeat note.

Kiski Area, 24-14

Plum (0-8) at Pine-Rich. (3-5)

Plum's rough season in the new Quad A has to end.

Pine-Richland, 27-13

Knoch (6-2, 5-2) at Highlands (4-4, 3-4)

Underrated when it comes to local matchups, Highlands' defense will slow the Knights down ... some.

Knoch, 24-14

Apollo-Ridge (5-3, 5-2) at West Shamokin (2-6, 2-5)

Apollo-Ridge needs an exclamation point to cap a strong first season back in Class A.

Apollo-Ridge, 28-10

Deer Lakes (3-5, 2-5) at Burrell (7-1, 6-1)

Burrell's Cole Train is set to pull into the playoff station.

Burrell, 27-12

Valley (6-2, 5-2) at Ford City (3-5, 2-5)

Valley will be known as the team that baffled the Birdie in 2012.

Valley, 19-13

Shady Side Academy (4-3, 4-2) at Kittanning (4-4, 4-3)

Two similar teams battling for playoff position. Defense wins.

Kittanning, 20-14

Summit Academy (2-5, 1-5) at Freeport (6-2, 6-1)

Freeport caps a solid regular season with a home victory.

Freeport, 26-14

Riverview (2-6, 2-5) at Springdale (5-3, 5-2)

The Lower Valley's finest bowl game goes to the Dynamos.

Springdale, 31-15

Leechburg (1-7, 1-6) at North Catholic (6-2, 6-1)

Schedule not kind to the Blue Devils, throwing in the Trojans in the finale.

North Catholic, 35-8

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