Birdie nests on odds, experience
By The Birdie
Published: Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
The Birdie is all for picking upsets. He's famous — sometimes infamous — for going out on a limb.
But the A-K's foreshadower of football fortunes wants his readers to know that upset-calling is a science.
Sure, there's a go-with-your-gut aspect to it, but the Birdie never should be branded with the “homer” label.
He'll never pick a local team just to pick a local team.
“My picks are unbiased and fact-driven; I'm not about politics or public relations,” said the mustard-yellow madcap, still dazed in a euphoric state of playoff madness. “When we get down to a couple of teams left in the WPIAL brackets, I can't just drop my game plan, ignore the facts and throw local teams a bone. I take my job seriously.”
Birdie expects Highlands and Apollo-Ridge to make strong showings Friday night in the quarterfinals, but he's hard-pressed to conjure a pair of full-fledged stunners.
Thomas Jefferson and Sto-Rox are 10-0 for a reason.
He thinks Highlands and Apollo-Ridge have upset potential, but he's also realistic and believes in playing the odds.
“Let's face it, Highlands' defense can growl like Cujo on certain weeks, and Apollo-Ridge's offense can go pop-pop-sparkles like Zambelli Fireworks,” he said. “But Thomas Jefferson has ruled the WPIAL playoffs with presidential power, and Sto-Rox has been around the block a few times.
“This is a clear case of big-game experience getting the upper hand.”
The Birdie didn't hazard a guess that Yough would shock Kittanning last week.
Then again, he never quite knew this Kittanning team.
“They got away from me early,” he said. “Every so often, a team comes along that baffles even the best of us prognosticators. Kittanning fit that billing. I pick them to lose, they win (and win and win). I pick them to win, they lose. It was a match made of misery.”
Now, his WPIAL quarterfinal breakdown:
Highlands (7-3) vs. Thomas Jefferson (10-0)
As the Birdie has stated, Highlands' defense can be a bear.
It has 56 sacks and 11 interceptions this season. But Thomas Jefferson's rushing attack has plowed its way to 47 rushing touchdowns.
“Thomas Jefferson is on two-dollar bills, which are rare,” Birdie said.
“A Jaguars' loss in the playoffs is rarer.”
Thomas Jefferson, 31-20
Apollo-Ridge (8-2) vs. Sto-Rox (10-0)
There are plenty of similarities here.
Both teams are called the Vikings, both have scored 40 or more points seven times and both have dual-threat quarterbacks.
If there ever was a team that the Birdie would pick in a shootout, it's Apollo-Ridge, but Sto-Rox has a tendency to wear down its opponents.
“Plus, Sto-Rox has been in the championship game two years in a row,” Birdie said. “Remember, experience is like a good credit score. It keeps you in good standing.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Deer Lakes hires former NFL lineman
- Norwin names longtime assistant Brozeski football coach
- Norwin hires Brozeski; Charleroi coach resigns
- New WPIAL hall of famer Yannessa cherises the process
- Jenkins stepping down at Charleroi