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Weekly Whatup, 10/6
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There’s a faction of baseball fans that can be categorized as pessimistic, and from pessimism usually stems ignorance.

            I’ve been reminded of these types of fans during the start of the Major League Baseball playoffs with a sarcastic mantra these faithless folks always have at the tip of their tongue: “Remember when he used to play for us… I’m sure glad we got rid of him.”

            Living and dying with the Braves my entire life, it really has been amazing this postseason to see how many former Braves were on one of the final eight teams standing come October.

            Some examples? I’ll feed you baby birds: Rafael Furcal, Greg Maddux, Mark DeRosa (even though former Herald sports writer Alex Pellegrino still claims he never wore the blue-and-red), Jason Marquis, Henry Blanco, Mark Kotsay, Paul Byrd, Mark Teixeira, Jermaine Dye, Dewayne Wise and Willy Aybar, among others.

            It may feel like salt in the wound for some true Tomahawkers to watch so many former favorites play for contenders – but it’s all relative. Almost every ballplayer out there is a former member of someone else’s club. Watching that former utility player shine in the playoffs today is only magnified because your team is sitting at home. For every Jermaine Dye there’s a Randall Simon.

            What’s the point of this opening statement? To divert your attention from my devastating record in picking the winners of the Divisional Series.

            Baseball picks 0-4 plus football picks 4-1 equals 45-37 for the season.

            P.S. — Phillies knock out Dodgers in Six; Sox beat Rays in Seven.

Showdown Saturday

            If Ohio State was National Championship Part I, Oklahoma-Texas will be Part II.

            The Red River Shootout will be a much better game than the aforementioned Part I. Oklahoma and Texas both knew this game was looming on the schedule, yet both took care of business this past weekend on the road in Big XII play. That, to me, is impressive.

            Oklahoma will be the favorite and rightly so. The Sooners’ offense is very impressive and I’m not sure the Texas defense will last for 60 minutes. The intangible: a noon kickoff – OU doesn’t have all day to sit around and think about it. Sooners pull away late: 38-27.

            If that game wasn’t enough, Oklahoma State is at Missouri in prime time. The Cowboys may be a team feeling a bit overlooked coming into this one. Problem is, Missouri likely feels the same way. Tigers win a shootout: 48-41.

            In the SEC, LSU is at Florida in a game that gives the Gators a chance to right the ship. Too bad that ship’s in a swamp: Bengals win easily, 28-13.

            Finally, the SoCon doesn’t have a single marquis game worth looking into. Elon-Citadel may have held some interest, but App State stole the Bulldogs’ bayonets this past Saturday and sliced them up pretty handily.

            Thus Elon — I’m going to have to give them credit one day — will go to Charleston and improve to 4-0 in conference. I’d pick the other three games, but that’d just be selfishly inflating my record, so I won’t do it.


Our prep friends

            Our area high school football teams were thrown into a colander at the start the season. The pretenders are starting to fall through the holes and the contenders have found a way to hang on.

            Statesboro has taken care of business in starting 6-0 and are in sole position of first place in 2-AAAA. But while the Blue Devils are a virtual lock to make the playoffs, they still have two extremely tough road trips left, a home date with defending region champ Ware County and a Senior Night contest with Brunswick. That’s certainly a gauntlet — we’ll see if SHS can survive.

            In Region 3-AA, Screven County is coming along full-steam ahead. The Gamecocks have now won four straight and are in third place by a game over three other teams.

            Screven can’t celebrate yet, though. In this brutal league, SCHS travels to Swainsboro this week, has East Laurens the week after, then rival Southeast Bulloch and current undefeated Jefferson County to close out the season. Good luck.

            As for the Yellow Jackets in Brooklet, they need to win out to have any shot at the postseason.

            In the wacky world of 3-A, Claxton and Portal meet this week in Division A to continue and try to sort out who will get one of those final four spots for the Week 10 play-in game. In Division B, Jenkins County is in good position after upsetting Treutlen while Metter is struggling at 0-2 in region play.

            At Gator Alley, Bulloch Academy starts region play against Robert Toombs this Friday. In a five-team league, the Gators need to win 3 of 4 to secure one of four playoff spots.