Prep Rally | Follow these surefire tips to pick football winners

October 18, 2013 

I've been getting a lot of questions about the predictions of Friday's football games.

Who picks? How do we pick? When do we pick?

You wanted it, you got it.

Here are my surefire rules when it comes to predicting who will win a high school football game.

1. Go alphabetical. Mix it up a bit. If you go by the first letter of the name of each school one week, go by the first letter of each team's mascot the next.

2. Always pick the coach who conducts the

quickest post-practice meeting with his players. These are the guys who make it possible for me to get all my work done so I can make it home in time to catch "Seinfeld" reruns. Figured I owe them something.

3. Always pick the favorite and then cover the game from the underdog's sideline. That way, if an upset occurs, you can hear the coaches talking to you without actually talking to you. Example: "Coach, our local paper thought we'd get our butts kicked tonight. Sure shut them up, huh?" Always entertaining. Always.

4. Journalists should never have a rooting interest. But if you find yourself pulling for one team over another, pick against it to help "motivate" the players. I've been told time and time again something I wrote in the paper was all a team needed to get fired up. I guess just wanting to win wasn't motivation enough.

5. When it comes to picking a score, go outside and write down the first two license plates you see. Just stay away from vanity plates. I once picked "Hanover 25, Littlestown DadsToy."

6. Never pick a shutout. Zeroes don't look good in print or online: They look like the letter O. No one likes the letter O. As my favorite journalism teacher once told me, "If you can't be correct, be stylish."

7. Be creative with your math. 35-14? 28-7? 63-21? Boring. Stay away from scores divisible by seven and throw some safeties and shanked point-afters into the mix. Some of my favorites: 29-8, 9-5 and 18-16.

8. Never reply to an email asking you for "the spread" of a high school football game.

9. If you're stuck, pick a random name out of the White Pages and get a score from them. People love being part of the magic.

10. Break all the rules. Just check inside for what I picked for tonight's Manatee-St. Petersburg game.

John Lembo, sports writer, can be reached at 941-745-7057. Follow him on Twitter @JohnLembo1878.

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