Here we go!
Xavier 34, Omro 17 - this is one of Xavier's new traditional rivalries, now that they have joined a new conference. For the uninitiated, Omro is one of several non-descript towns west of Oshkosh. It's hard to get much animosity going against a something that's non-descript. So the Hawks will simply have to settle for thrashing the unfamiliar on Rocky Bleier Night.
ACTUAL RESULT - XAVIER 51, OMRO 7 -- Rocky is proud of his Hawks; no doubt about it. Rumor has it that next time Omro shows up it will be Greta Van Sustern Day, in honor of a significantly more dubious famous alumnus of XHS.
Illinois College 27, Beloit 14 - My beloved, bedraggled Bucs hit the road for a tussle against the comically named Blueboys of Illinois College. The nickname stems from the Civil War, not from the propensity of IC students to get tangled up in cellophane. In any event, the feeble Bucs lose again, someplace in downstate Illinois. That seems to be a recurring theme for Wisconsin-based squads this year, unfortunately.
ACTUAL RESULT: IC 28, BELOIT 14. Guess the Blueboys made the extra point.
Wisconsin 24, Penn State 17 - The news reports today indicate that ancient Penn State coach Joe Paterno was involved in some sort of road rage incident recently. Give JoePa credit - guys his age usually only get angry by sitting on their porch and shouting "you punks get off my lawn" at passersby. I have no rational reason for picking the Badgers in this game. That's why they'll pull it off, likely late.
ACTUAL RESULT: PSU 38, BUCKY 7. The Badgers haven't been back to the Sun Bowl for a while; guess this will be the year.
Green Bay 31, Washington 21 - When I was growing up in Wisconsin in the 1970s, most kids I knew had a "second team" - that is, an NFL team you could root for besides the Packers, who were usually road kill with Chuck Foreman's tire treads affixed back in those days. My second team was always the Redskins, who were generally successful, and who were the sworn enemy of the evil Dallas Cowboys. Even today, decades on, I still have a soft spot in my heart for the Redskins; when the Packers play the Redskins I'm a bit torn about it. Don't get me wrong - the Packers will win this game. But the Redskins are still dangerous with Joe Gibbs at the helm, despite the odious Daniel Snyder in their owner's box. Favre throws at least 3 TDs.
ACTUAL RESULT - GREEN BAY 17, WASHINGTON 14 - Looks like Favre had a bad day but the Packers won anyway. That's actually an encouraging sign. I'm not clear whether or not the Redskins are a good team. In fact, I'm not sure the Packers are, either. But in the NFC, both are probably going to be in the playoffs, so this one was important. Now comes a bye week. Meanwhile, Adrian Peterson looks like the real deal. Will he be Eric Dickerson or Billy Sims? That's the question.
Bonus local picks:
Mounds View 41, Forest Lake 14 - Forest Lake tends to be an up and down team. This year, they're down. Should be no sweat for the Mustangs.
ACTUAL RESULT: MOUNDS VIEW 21, FOREST LAKE 14. Hey, it's a W.
Irondale 24, Fridley 14 - I've learned my lesson; no picking against the Knights as they continue their magical campaign against a good Fridley squad.
ACTUAL RESULT: IRONDALE 39, FRIDLEY 6. In a season of impressive victories, probably the most impressive yet. Fridley came into this game 5-1 and came out with the worst loss they've suffered in a while. The Knights have a legitimate shot of getting the top playoff seed in their section. And on merit, too.