After a dubious 7-5 performance last week on the Football Forecast, I'd at least like to explain my thinking before this week's disaster hits. The first weekend of the college season left me wishing we just stuck with high school football hereabouts. Now the Panthers enter the fray and I'm completely lost.
But, the show must go on and so, here goes my reasoning.
SW EDGECOMBE at HUNT — There's no doubt this is a tough pick either way but I'm going with the home team which has already been tested once. The 3-A Warriors beat a decent 4-A team in Holly Springs last week and the 2-A Cougars haven't seen anyone who can stay within five touchdowns of them. Hunt 22, SW Edgecombe 15
BEDDINGFIELD at FIKE — The Golden Demons have had two weeks to ponder the 48-0 thrashing they suffered at the hands of Hunt while the Bruins are thinking about their first loss at Southern Nash last Friday. Fike is rested but the Demons are very young and the Bruins are explosive enough to be problematic for a team trying to find its footing. Beddingfield 30, Fike 12
PRINCETON at NORTH JOHNSTON — Princeton is off to a 3-0 start under veteran head coach Russell Williamson, a Rock Ridge High School graduate, but old habits die hard. North Johnston head coach Tom Nelson, who played football at Hunt when Williamson was an assistant there, has been there for three of the Panthers' five straight defeats of the Bulldogs. North Johnston 40, Princeton 26
EASTERN WAYNE at GREENE CENTRAL — Winless Eastern Wayne was picked to finish ahead of unbeaten Charles B. Aycock in the 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference but I don't see that happening now. Greene Central is also 0-3 but that's by a combined 12 points. The Rams get in the win column this Friday. Greene Central 27, Eastern Wayne 16
SOUTHERN NASH at ROANOKE RAPIDS — The Firebirds have won all three games in the comfort of home but they've also done it without some key performers. Even if offensive starters Trendell Lynch and Phillip Dobbins don't play this week, Roanoke Rapids' 2-1 record doesn't impress me. Southern Nash 23, Roanoke Rapids 16
C.B. AYCOCK at GOLDSBORO — The Golden Falcons have surprised me a little with their 3-0 start. I don't have much insight into this particular Goldsboro team but the Cougars, now in the 1-A Carolina Conference (gosh, remember when Goldsboro was a 4-A Eastern Conference power?) are usually tough. Aycock barely beat Greene Central last week. I think CBA comes back to earth Friday. Goldsboro 28, C.B. Aycock 24
NORTH CAROLINA at CONNECTICUT — If this were women's basketball, I might take UConn. Heck, if this were men's basketball, I might take UConn. Even if Skip Holtz were still coaching the Huskies, I'd consider UConn. But none of that is happening. North Carolina 41, Connecticut 14
STANFORD at WAKE FOREST — You know, the Demon Deacons really let me down losing to Baylor (the Duke of Texas) last week so why should I believe they can beat the Duke of the West this week? Wake might better wait for the real Duke to show up. Oh wait, that won't happen until the last game of the season. Stanford 28, Wake Forest 24
DUKE at ARMY — The Blue Devils are just going to have to show me they can win some games before I pick them to win on the road against a team that handily won its opener. Army 31, Duke 21
MURRAY STATE at N.C. STATE — Come on, State. Murray State? Really? Really? OK, the Racers did win 66-10 in their opener last week ... but it was against Kentucky Wesleyan, which is not an FCS school, it's a Division II school. N.C. State 45, Murray State 10
EAST CAROLINA at WEST VIRGINIA — The Pirates got a lot of mileage out of beating the Mountaineers last season. This time, ECU isn't going to sneak up on West Virginia, which is no longer a Top 5 team, or even a Top 25 team. The Pirates can be pretty good this season and, even though this is a non-conference game, they will have to win it to show they're for real. East Carolina 24, West Virginia 21
EAGLES at PANTHERS — It would be easy to take Philadelphia, which had a lot of momentum at the end of last season. Especially since the Panthers didn't win a preseason game and had a lot of injuries to deal with throughout training camp. But many of those injured players are ready and this is the real season and the Panthers are at home and the Eagles won't have Michael Vick for two more weeks. Panthers 31, Eagles 24