Before the 2010 football season began this weekend, I boldly made my predictions on where teams would finish in the City League, Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League and Central Plains League.
I went through each team's schedule, with co-worker Chris Elliott, and predicted how each team would fare each week.
I felt good about my selections. Until I started to think about it. I changed a couple predictions, but I tried to stay with my gut.
See, I detest making predictions. Absolutely abhor it. If I could boot one part of my job, that would be it.
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The reason is simple: I don't like being wrong.
It doesn't bother me so much when people jump on me for picking their opponent to win. That's the nature of the job — when making predictions, you make 50 percent of the fans happy and the other half thinks you're an idiot.
When I make picks I don't think to myself which team I like more. It's not based on coaching preferences. It also has nothing to do with the concession stand of one school versus the other.
I heard from some of our readers after I wrote in a preview in early August that I was picking Heights to beat Bishop Carroll in the season opener.
A reader, bcvarsityfootball, wrote on the blog on Aug. 11, "So BC has 15 returning starters, the league's best defense a year ago and a 28-0 BC shutout over Heights last year and you are picking Heights by four. Based on that information, I would take that bet."
But I wasn't wrong. And if I had been, that would have been OK.
Those types of discussions are the reason that predictions are a good thing. It gets people talking. Rankings are the same way.
Still, when I go back through the results each Monday, there's nothing worse than seeing where I was wrong.
And I know, this first week, it wasn't as good as I'd like. It never is. That first week you're basing your picks on what you've heard, on how many starters are back.
And then the games are played. That's when the truth comes out.
I went 17-4 (81 percent) this week. The games I missed were Rockhurst (Mo.) beating Hutchinson in overtime, Buhler spanking Rose Hill, Salina Central handling Derby and West beating South.
I've been fairly consistent the past two sea sons, as I've hovered around .850 winning percentage.
That's not bad.
Will it be that good this year? Sure. If all the teams I pick win.
Resorting to trickery — Heights coach Rick Wheeler wasn't thrilled with the halfback pass the Falcons used against Bishop Carroll. Dreamius Smith hit Daniel Deshazer for a 31-yard score.
"I hate that kind of stuff," he said. "But you have to do that when there are 11 guys in the box. Everyone knows what we are going to do."
Carroll coach Alan Schuckman tried a free kick with 12 seconds to go in the first half. It's not trickery, but it's rare, and it can only happen after a fair catch.
Carroll fair caught a punt at Heights' 40, setting Eagles' kicker Matt Straka up for a 50-yard free kick.
"Well, I thought we had a chance," Schuckman said"... It just came up a little short. Like a lot of things. We were just trying to get some points on the board."
Putting up big numbers —Plenty of players across the state put up impressive numbers on the first Friday of the football season.
Northern Heights quarterback DJ Bronson had the best numbers. He was 29 of 39 passing for 475 yards.
Remington's Caleb Cherryholmes had 336 passing yards, while McPherson's Tyler Matthews had 296 passing yards.
One of the top rushing nights in the area belonged to Garden Plain's Joey Capul, who finished with 184. Collegiate's Raymond Taylor had 178 rushing yards, Rose Hill's LaQua Mayes 162. Trinity Academy's Morgan Burns ran for 236 yards in Thursday's win over Douglass.
Next week's can't-miss games — The opening night of the season was packed with excellent matchups.
Not so much this week.
The only City League game pitting two teams with winning records is East vs. West at Heights.
Hutchinson plays at Derby, and while both teams are 0-1, it's one of those rivalries that makes this a can't-miss game.
Rose Hill plays host to Collegiate, giving the Spartans their first taste of the tough teams it will face in the Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail, their new league.