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Football bragging rights

Youngest of 'Pigskin Pundits' continues to show elders how it is done

Miller tackles success, grows lead to four games over Haskell, Waltz, Brower — guests hold strong
By Staff | Oct 17, 2020

Those young whippersnappers and millennials. Apparently one cannot trust them to respect their elders.

Zack Miller, still in his 20s, continues to hold a solid lead over his 30-something and, wait for it, 60-something colleagues with another strong week of predicting the winners of professional football games.

It is Week 6 of the National Football League regular season and Miller has built a four-game lead over the competition — and eight-game cushion over the weekly guests.

Most of the "Pigskin Pundits" found moderate success in Week 5 — again, except one.

That group and their guest will be back at the prediction game in Week 6 in the 22nd annual version of the "Pigskin Pundits."

After 17 weeks of the regular season — if the NFL can successfully navigate the seemingly never-ending waters churned by COVID-19 — will one from the media company's group or guest have bragging rights?

As usual, the Courier Publications/VillageSoup "Pigskin Pundits" include Reade Brower, owner; Ken Waltz, sports director; Haskell, associate sports director; and Zack Miller, sports reporter.

The way it works is each week through the Super Bowl, a guest, along with the VillageSoup group, make predictions on the outcome of games. The outcomes are based on wins and loses, not a point spread.

In Week 5, Miller finished 10-4, Haskell and Waltz 9-5 and Brower 7-7. Guest Ryan Jackson of Warren ended 10-4.

The Week 6 guest is Richie Oliver of Jefferson.

After five weeks, Miller has compiled an overall record of 52-24-1 (.684 winning percentage), while Brower, Waltz and Haskell are 48-28-1 (.632). The guests are 44-32-1 (.579).

For the guests, in Week 1, Dave MacNeill of Warren finished 8-8; Week 2, Howard Fogg Jr. of Monmouth 13-3; Week 3, Rusty Worcester of Cushing 7-8-1; Week 4, Emily Cole of Waldoboro, 6-9; and Week 5, Ryan Jackson of Warren, 10-4.

For the Courier Publications/VillageSoup crew, Miller and Waltz have the best weekly records at 14-2 in Week 2, while, for the guests, Fogg has the best weekly mark at 13-3 in Week 2.

Waltz has been the regular-season winner the last two years, but others have risen to the top in the postseason.

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.

The picks appear each week online.

After 17 weeks of regular-season play, 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 Courier Publications' newspapers or one of the organization's websites.

For the past two years, the guest winner has been Brad King of Camden, who has clearly proven the “king” of the guest pickers. Last year, he went 12-3-1 in Week 1 to earn the right to pick against Brower, Waltz, Haskell and Miller in the playoffs, while two years ago, King went 11-4 in Week 12 to earn the honors.

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

The sixth week of the 2020-21 schedule includes:

Sunday, Oct. 18

Houston at Tennessee

Cincinnati at Indianapolis

Atlanta at Minnesota

Denver at New England

Washington at N.Y. Giants

Baltimore at Philadelphia

Cleveland at Pittsburgh

Chicago at Carolina

Detroit at Jacksonville

N.Y. Jets at Miami

Green Bay at Tampa Bay

Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco

Monday, Oct. 19

Kansas City at Buffalo

Arizona at Dallas

The following are the Week 6 picks of the Courier Publications/VillageSoup crew and guest:

Brower — Tennessee, Indianapolis, Minnesota, New England, N.Y. Giants, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Carolina, Jacksonville, Miami, Green Bay, Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City and Dallas.

Waltz — Tennessee, Indianapolis, Minnesota, New England, N.Y. Giants, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Carolina, Detroit, Miami, Green Bay, Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City and Arizona.

Haskell — Tennessee, Indianapolis, Minnesota, New England, Washington, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Carolina, Jacksonville, Miami, Green Bay, Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City and Arizona.

Miller — Tennessee, Indianapolis, Minnesota, New England, Washington, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Detroit, Miami, Green Bay, Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City and Arizona.

Oliver — Tennessee, Indianapolis, Minnesota, New England, N.Y. Giants, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Jacksonville, Miami, Green Bay, Los Angeles, Kansas City and Arizona.

History lesson

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 54, with Haskell’s prediction of 33-23 the closest to the 31-20 final score.

Guest participants in 2019-20 were: Week 1, Brad King of Rockland, 12-3-1; in Week 2, Michele Scheffler of Jefferson, 8-8; in Week 3, Howard Fogg of Monmouth, 11-5; in Week 4, Ethan Butler of Appleton, 7-8; in Week 5, Scott Case of Belfast, 7-8; in Week 6, Emily Cole of Waldoboro, 9-5; in Week 7, Casey Holmes of Dixmont, 11-3; in Week 8, Jacob Light of Warren, 10-5; in Week 9, Chad Blake of Rockland, 6-8; Week 10, Brad Strong of Rockland, 4-9; Week 11, Otis Kneeland of Stockton Springs, 10-4; Week 12, Chris Hart of Rockport, 10-4; Week 13, Sandy Cameron of Belfast, 11-5; Week 14, Dagney Ernest of Thomaston, 10-6; Week 15, Lynsey Carr of Augusta, 11-5; Week 16, Connor Kneeland of Stockton Springs, 12-4; and Week 17, Laura MacDonald, 10-6.

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' sports staff can be reached by email at sports@villagesoup.com or by phone at 594-4401.

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