Analyzing the Gridiron Challenge: Regular-season title on the line
I have to admit: A few weeks ago, I thought Matt Goul was going to run away with our Gridiron Challenge staff title.
Even when Tom Sixeas closed in to within a point or two, I thought Matt's lead was insurmountable.
But suddenly here we are, entering Week 10, and it all comes down to one game: The cat fight between William Penn and Central York.
Matt takes the Bearcats, and a win would give him the regular-season Gridiron Challenge staff crown. Tom takes the Panthers, and a win would give him a share of the title with Matt. Their other picks are identical.
Next in the pecking order will be Lyzz Jones and Steve Navaroli, who will finish in a tie for third. Their Week 10 picks are also identical. (They fall on the side of the Panthers and also happen to be the only two to predict Eastern York will beat York Suburban, so they have a chance to gain ground if the Golden Knights win.)
Brandon Stoneburg made a handful of swing picks, but not enough to catch Lyzz and Steve. Same goes for Mike Rubin: Even if he picked perfectly, he could gain a max of only six points on Brandon and would finish a point behind in last place.
So that's our order of finish for the regular season: Matt, either tied with Tom or two points ahead of him, followed by Lyzz and Steve tied for third, then Brandon in fifth, then Mike.
Week 9 recap: I mentioned to a colleague that when three of our staffers picked identically for the entire slate, I viewed those winners as the "consensus" picks. Any other predictions -- no matter how close the game might seem -- were outliers, in my mind.
That argument held a quite a lot of water last week, when Matt, Lyzz and Tom each went a perfect 14-0. If my memory serves me, I believe that's a total of five perfect prediction weeks across the season, which is impressive to say the least.
Mike had made contrarian picks in five matchups, and he lost each of them in a dismal 8-6 week. Steve went 12-2, a mark that included what he claimed after publication to be a typo. Brandon rounded out the group with a solid 13-1 week, dropping only the Central York matchup, which you can't fault him for too much since he's staying loyal to his alma mater.
Speaking of which, did you see Brandon's rendition of West York's alma mater, which he sang to pay off a friendly wager he lost in Week 1 to Evening Sun news reporter and West York alumnus Mark Walters? As a fellow Bulldog alum, this was one of my favorite things that week.
Thanks for sticking around through the Gridiron Challenge, folks. It's been fun. We have more fun and games in the works for the District 3 tournament, so stay tuned next week for that big announcement. Hope you'll keep playing along!
Don't forget, though: This is the last week for the Gridiron Challenge. Enter your predictions before kickoff for a shot at the weekly GTPA T-shirt. Plus, we'll be announcing our season-long winner, who'll take home a Fandango gift card.
Need help with your picks? Check out our Week 10 preview capsules. And watch GameTimePA 717 for a breakdown of the toughest matchups of the week.