It always is wonderful to finish on top, but in a week when everyone stinks, perhaps it is best to be the least smelly.

Aromatherapy aside, Reade Brower took sole possession of first place in Week 10 of the “Pigskin Pundits” with, wait for it, an impressive 8-5-1 record in the National Football League game picks.

So, if Brower finished first with eight wins, five losses and a tie, the rest of the field must have been, well, putrid. Yes, the rest of the prognosticators were a little smelly belly, some less than others.

Garrett French

Overall, Week 10 was not a pretty picture.

The good news, we suppose, is after 150 games, the status quo remains.

The 10th week of the “Pigskin Pundits” saw Brower finish 8-5-1, Mark Haskell 7-6-1, Ken Waltz 6-7-1 and Zack Miller 5-8-1. Guest Kristin Falla of Tenants Harbor finished 7-6-1.

Thus, through 10 weeks, Brower is 98-51-1 (.658 winning percentage); Haskell, 97-52-1 (.651); Waltz, 93-56-1 (.624); and Miller, 90-59-1 (.604). The guests also are 90-59-1 (.604).

The numbers show Brower holds one- , five- and eight-game advantages over those in the field.

The Week 11 guest is Garrett French of Warren.

Thus far, Brower has experienced the most productive week among the “Pigskin Pundits” at 13-2 in Week 8, while Scott Cournoyer of Swanville has been the best guest picker at 12-4 in Week 3.

The guests’ records this fall include: Howard Fogg Jr., Monmouth, 8-8 in Week 1; Troy Smith, Waldoboro, 11-5 in Week 2; Scott Cournoyer, Swanville, 12-4 in Week 3; Bradley Strong, Rockland, 10-6 in Week 4; Mike Curtis, Thomaston, 10-6 in Week 5; Jason Karam, Warren, 10-4 in Week 6; and Meagan Miller, Warren, 8-5 in Week 7; David Page, Winslow, 10-5 in Week 8; Mike Fuller, Islesboro, 4-10 in Week 9; and Kristin Falla, Tenants Harbor, 7-6-1.

Reade Brower

The “Pigskin Pundits” of Courier Publications/VillageSoup are in their 23rd consecutive year as they make weekly game selections, with a guest each week.

Each year during the pro football season, Waltz (sports director), Haskell (associate sports director), Zack Miller (community editor, former sports reporter), Brower (company owner) and a weekly guest go head-to-head to pick the winners (no scores or points spreads involved) of that week’s slate of games.

Readers/fans are invited to test their football wits against the “pros.”

Those interested in being a weekly guest can email Haskell at mhaskell@courierpublicationsllc.com.

For decades, the weekly picks were featured in Courier Publications’ newspapers The Courier-Gazette, Camden Herald and The Republican Journal. Now, those picks are made exclusively on the organization’s websites — knox.villagesoup.com and waldo.villagesoup.com — and appear most Thursdays.

For nearly a quarter century, the media foursome and guests have returned for the harder-than-it-looks weekly guessing games.

Ken Waltz

After 18 weeks, with the regular season extended to 17 weeks and one bye week, the guest with the best weekly record will return to pick against Waltz, Haskell, Miller and Brower for the playoffs and Super Bowl. The guest with the best weekly record also will receive a year’s subscription to one of the Courier Publications/VillageSoup newspapers or one of the organization’s websites.

The NFL’s Week 11 schedule includes:

Thursday, Nov. 18

New England at Atlanta

Sunday, Nov. 21

Indianapolis at Buffalo

Baltimore at Chicago

Detroit at Cleveland

Houston at Tennessee

Green Bay at Minnesota

Miami at New York Jets

New Orleans at Philadelphia

Washington at Carolina

San Francisco at Jacksonville

Mark Haskell

Cincinnati at Las Vegas

Dallas at Kansas City

Arizona at Seattle

Pittsburgh at Los Angeles Chargers

Monday, Nov. 22

New York Giants at Tampa Bay

The following are the Week 11 picks of the Courier Publications/VillageSoup “Pigskin Pundits” and guest:

Brower — New England, Buffalo, Baltimore, Cleveland, Tennessee, Minnesota, Miami, Philadelphia, Carolina, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Seattle, Los Angeles Chargers and Tampa Bay.

Waltz — New England, Buffalo, Baltimore, Cleveland, Tennessee, Green Bay, Miami, Philadelphia, Carolina, San Francisco, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Arizona, Los Angeles Chargers and Tampa Bay.

Haskell — New England, Buffalo, Baltimore, Cleveland, Tennessee, Minnesota, Miami, Philadelphia, Carolina, San Francisco, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Seattle, Los Angeles Chargers and Tampa Bay.

Zack Miller

Zack Miller — New England, Buffalo, Baltimore, Cleveland, Tennessee, Minnesota, Miami, Philadelphia, Carolina, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Dallas, Arizona, Los Angeles Chargers and Tampa Bay.

French — New England, Buffalo, Baltimore, Cleveland, Tennessee, Green Bay, Miami, Philadelphia, Carolina, San Francisco, Cincinnati, Dallas, Arizona, Los Angeles Chargers and Tampa Bay.

History lesson

Last year’s top guest picker was Howard Fogg Jr. of Monmouth. He earned a 13-3 record in Week 2 to earn the distinction. As the defending guest champion, he returns as the Week 1 guest in 2021.

After 17 weeks of the 2020-21 regular season, Brower finished 166-89-1 (.651 winning percentage), Waltz, 164-91-1 (.643); Haskell, 163-92-1 (.639); and Miller, 160-95-1 (.627). The guests finished 159-56-1 (.624).

Ultimately, after 256 gridiron clashes from September to January, that included one tie, Brower prevailed by two games over Waltz, three over Haskell and six over Miller, as well seven over the guests.

In the postseason, Haskell proved the top picker with a 10-3 record, while Waltz and Fogg finished 9-4; Miller, 8-5; and Brower, 6-7. Waltz, Miller and Fogg correctly picked the Buccaneers to win Super Bowl LV.

For the media crew, Miller and Waltz finished tied with the best weekly records at 14-2 in Week 2, while, for the guests, Fogg earned the best weekly mark at 13-3 in Week 2, thus will pick against the media members in the playoffs.

In 2019-20, Waltz finished 165-90-1 (.647 winning percentage), Brower, 159-96-1 (.624); Haskell, 158-97-1 (.620); Miller, 155-100-1 (.608); and guests, 158-97-1 (.620).

Among the ‘Pigskin Pundits,’ Brower had the best weekly records at 14-1 in Week 8 and 13-2-1 in Week 1, while Brad King finished 12-3-1 in Week 1 for the best mark among the guests.

In the playoffs, Miller went 9-2, Waltz and Haskell 7-4, Brower 5-6 and King 3-8. Miller, Waltz, Haskell and Brower correctly picked the Kansas City Chiefs to beat the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV, with Haskell’s prediction of 33-23 the closest to the 31-20 final score.

In 2018-19, Waltz was the “top dog” in the regular season as he finished 161-93-2 (.634 winning percentage), thanks to a 16-0 final week, while Miller was second at 157-97-2 (.618), Haskell third at 151-103-2 (.594) and Brower fourth at 142-112-2 (.559). The guests finished 148-106-2 (.583).

Overall, Waltz finished 167-98-2, Miller 162-103-2, Haskell 158-107-2, Brower 150-115-2 and guests 159-110-2.

Brad King of Rockland, who went 11-4 in Week 12 and earned the right to pick against Waltz, Haskell, Miller and Brower in the playoffs.

In the postseason, Brower finished 8-3, Haskell and King 7-4, Waltz 6-5 and Miller 5-6. All five correctly picked the Patriots to defeat the Rams in Super Bowl LIII.

Courier Publications/VillageSoup sports staff can be reached by email at sports@villagesoup.com.