This is a great week for football lovers.
There's high school football, college football, and now the NFL will join in starting Thursday.
We're talking about having access to football five days out of the week, people. What a time to be alive.
Last week was quite the spectacular week for this bald predictor. I only lost two games out of 48 (congratulations Coral Park).
I can't lie, I patted myself on the back a little after that one. But I have to put that away and move on to the next week of games. You're only as good as your last pick, right?
Looking at this week's slate of games, it's a "slow week" to the untrained eye. It's easy to get spoiled by big-time, national matchups like we had during the first two weeks of the season.
But it's weeks like this where teams really start to come together. This is also the time of year where execution becomes more paramount as teams now have a couple of weeks' worth of film to review and use to game plan.
I also hope that everyone has been paying attention to my PSA's regarding September being National Prostate Health Awareness month. All month long, I'll be sharing information pertaining to men's prostate health and encouraging everyone to support the cause by wearing blue. Please join me and #GoBlue this month.
Record last week: 46-2
Season record: 90-11 (.891 Correct Pick Percentage)
48 games picked this week with three games in the Bald Predictions Spotlight.
(3) Booker T. Washington Tornadoes (2-0) vs. Miami Jackson (0-1)
Saturday at Traz Powell Stadium, 7 p.m.
This is probably the most high-profile game of the weekend.
The national No. 2 (USA Today) team, Booker T. Washington rolls in as the prohibitive favorite – and rightfully so. The Tornadoes were efficient in their dismantling of Monsignor Pace this past week, but what strikes me about this squad is that I believe there's still another notch that they can reach – especially offensively.
As solid as Booker T.'s has been through the first three weeks (including preseason), I think there's still some continuity to be found and I know the coaching staff will unearth it in the coming weeks.
For Jackson, the dust has mostly settled. The Generals dealt with a media whirlwind since hiring Lakatriona Brunson as its head coach and Luther Campbell as it's associate head coach. But now, it's just football.
Jackson missed out on its game at Jacksonville Bolles last week due to inclement weather set to pass through the northern part of the state, so the Generals are chomping at the bit to play and finally hit someone other than themselves.
The matchup here has some intriguing parts.
Jackson's defense is an aggressive unit with more than its fair share of physical playmakers. And if I know anything about an "Uncle Luke"-coached defense, they're going to attack the quarterback and be as aggressive as possible – across the board.
With that, Booker T.'s massive offensive line will have to make sure it dots all I's and crosses all T's so that sophomore quarterback Daniel Richardson stays upright and isn't subjected to any big shots in the pocket.
Where the Tornadoes will separate themselves is when their own defense is on the field against a Jackson offense that's still looking for an identity. Booker T.'s defense has put the clamps on some impressive offenses early on and the Generals don't have that same kind of offensive firepower.
I expect a lot of emotion in this one because a lot of the players grew up together and want bragging rights, but Booker T. will prove too much for Jackson and manufacture another victory.
Bald Prediction = Booker T. wins 28-14
(4) Plantation American Heritage Patriots (2-0) vs. Northwestern Bulls (2-0)
Friday at Traz Powell Stadium, 7:30 p.m.
This has to be the game of the week. It's a Man-Size Matchup, so the Man-Size belt is on the line.
I had the chance to watch both of these teams play live so far this season and I came away knowing that there was a lot of potential in both programs, but they still had some small things to correct in order to reach their full potential.
Northwestern's defense is totally legit. I'd venture to say that, as a whole, it's one of the best units in the state. The Bulls defense has size up front, speed in the back, they can lock down and they can create points on their own.
On the flip side, I have to give American Heritage for pulling itself by its bootstraps after their preseason loss and started the regular season off with a couple of nice wins.
For me, this game will come down to something I saw in Northwestern's win over Columbus last week.
The Bulls were able to march up and down the field against Columbus, but once they got inside the red zone – things fizzled out. Northwestern got down inside the 15-yard line on four occasions in the first half and only came away with points on of those drives.
That's a for-sure recipe for disaster. You cannot get in scoring range and only connect 25 percent of the time. And that happened against a Columbus defense that has its bright spots, but is nowhere near as talented as the American Heritage defense.
I think Heritage will be able to do just enough offensively against the Bulls defense, but I think the true difference will be how Patriots linebacker Andrew Chatfield and company are able to slow down Chatarius "Tutu" Atwell and the Bulls offense.
Patriots win the Man-Size belt this week.
Bald Prediction = American Heritage wins 20-16
(6) Southridge Spartans (1-0) vs. (7) Columbus Explorers (1-1)
Friday at Tropical Park, 7:30 p.m.
On the surface, this is an awesome matchup between two teams that have developed a bit of a rivalry in recent years.
Columbus played valiantly last week before falling to Northwestern. I was impressed with the way the Explorers' front seven played defensively. They went toe-to-toe with a large Northwestern O-Line and made some nice plays throughout the night.
Southridge rides into this game after a blowout win over Dr. Krop. The high preseason expectations are still following the Spartans around as they enter a game that could either do a lot in cementing those lofty beliefs or show cracks in a team that still isn't quite ready.
I think it'll be the former.
We talk about the talent on the rosters of St. Thomas Aquinas, Miami Central, Booker T. Washington and American Heritage, but look at the Ridge's roster and there are easily 20-plus division caliber players.
The talent is definitely there – without any doubt. The outlier remains if the Spartans coaching staff will be able to fit all the pieces together to make a masterpiece. Also, the coaching staff has to show that it can put together a solid game plan as well as make in-game adjustments in big moments.
And this is a perfect test to see as Southridge coaching staff plays chess with Columbus' great coaching staff.
Ultimately, I think the talent level of the Spartans and Columbus' shaky quarterback situation will be the deciding factors in this game. Southridge has multiple receivers to attack the Explorers' great secondary (can't wait to see Trajan Bandy line up against Rodney Scott) and they have defensive stalwarts that will pressure Marcelo Rodriguez all night.
This could be part one of a two-part movie. Still, Southridge wins.
Bald Prediction = Southridge wins 32-17
(1) St. Thomas Aquinas vs. Plantation = St. Thomas Aquinas wins by 42
(2) Miami Central vs. Jacksonville First Coast = Central wins by 28
(5) Carol City vs. Lakeland (Fl.) = Lakeland wins by 7
(9) Deerfield Beach vs. Blanche Ely = Deerfield Beach wins by 37
(10) Boyd Anderson vs. Coconut Creek = Boyd Anderson wins by 21
(11) Coral Gables vs. Homestead = Coral Gables wins by 23
(13) Chaminade-Madonna vs. Cardinal Gibbons = Chaminade wins by 8
(14) Killian vs. Coral Reef = Killian wins by 16
(15) Belen Jesuit vs. Gulliver Prep = Belen wins by 6
(16) Dillard vs. Lakeland Lake Gibson = Lake Gibson wins by 3
(17) South Broward vs. Fort Lauderdale = South Broward wins by 4
(18) South Dade vs. Norland = South Dade wins 2
(19) Piper vs. Hollywood Hills = Piper wins by 22
(20) McArthur vs. Northeast = McArthur wins by 24
Barbara Goleman vs. A&T Mourning = Goleman wins by 27
Scheck Hillel vs. Pompano Highlands Christian = Hillel wins by 9
Varela vs. Coral Park = Varela wins by 17
South Miami vs. Sunset = Sunset wins by 7
North Miami Beach vs. Southwest = North Miami Beach wins by 12
Edison vs. Ferguson = Edison wins by 20
Miami Beach vs. Dr. Krop = Dr. Krop wins by 6
Somerset Academy Silver Palms vs. Pinecrest Prep = Somerset wins by 35
Keys Gate Charter vs. Westminster Christian = Keys Gate Charter wins by 13
Somerset Academy Pines vs. Belle Isles Cornerstone Charter = Cornerstone Charter wins by 7
Coral Glades vs. Archbishop McCarthy = Archbishop McCarthy wins by 14
Westminster Academy vs. Calvary Christian = Calvary Christian wins by 10
North Miami vs. Punta Gorda Charlotte (Fl.) = Charlotte wins 21
Coral Springs vs. Nova = Coral Springs wins by 16
Cypress Bay vs. West Broward = Cypress Bay wins by 5
North Broward Prep vs. Riviera Beach Inlet Grove = North Broward Prep wins by 30
University School vs. Boca Raton St. John Paul = U-School wins by 13
Monsignor Pace vs. Naples Gulf Coast = Gulf Coast wins by 11
Monarch vs. Miramar = Miramar wins by 28
Pines Charter vs. Coral Springs Charter = Pines Charter wins by 12
Key West vs. Pompano Beach = Key West wins by 21
South Plantation vs. Taravella = South Plantation wins by 8
Everglades Prep vs. Palmer Trinity = Everglades Prep wins by 17
LaSalle vs. Palm Beach Benjamin School = Benjamin wins by 20
Champagnat vs. Fort Pierce John Carroll Catholic = Champagnat wins by 14
International School of Broward vs. Live Oak Suwannee = Suwannee wins by 10
Ronald Reagan vs. Mater Academy = Mater Academy wins by 8
Miami Springs vs. Doral Academy = Doral Academy wins by 27
Pine Crest vs. Ransom Everglades = Pine Crest wins by 3
Florida Christian vs. Belle Glade Glades Day = Glades Day wins by 21
Hialeah vs. Hialeah-Miami Lakes = Hialeah wins by 2
Miami Palmetto vs. Braddock = Palmetto wins by 14
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