By Tommy Keeler Jr. -- firstname.lastname@example.org
As I'm sure you've noticed there's a new face in the forecast this week. Charles Pannunzio is filling in, while we continue our search for a sports editor. Pannunzio is the Northern Virginia Daily's assistant managing editor and helps keep our copy clean.
Pannunzio is an avid Capitals fan and also loves minor league baseball. He is also a big Redskins fan, so I'm hoping to gain a few games there. Of course, I'm guaranteed to give some games back myself as my favorite team, the Cowboys, do their usual December dive.
Some of you may remember Pannunzio from before, he was in the forecast in 2000 and 2001 and did a respectable job. Winning this year's pick's may not be as easy as I thought.
We also have new staff writer Brian Eller on board. Eller just started this week, and I'm sure he's going to add to the competition level. He's from Baltimore and grew up across the street from Camden Yards. Obviously, he's a huge Orioles' fan, but lucky for him we're not predicting baseball games.
Eller is also a Denver Broncos fan. Although like most Broncos fans he is not overly optimistic about his team these days. I'm surprised he even admitted to being a fan.
Eller is also a graduate of Penn State. Something tells me things could get a little tense in the office the week my beloved Ohio State Buckeyes play the Nittany Lions with a Big Ten title potentially at stake.
Here are this week's picks:
Strasburg at Skyline
Back-to-back Group AA teams for the Rams -- it's going to be a tough start to the season for the young squad.
Skyline 28, Strasburg 20
Park View at Millbrook
Park View proved last week that this year's squad is much improved from last season. The Pioneers will keep it close.
Park View 27, Millbrook 24
Musselman at Sherando
The Applemen start the season off with defending Group AA Division 4 state champion Broad Run and then Sherando. What were they thinking?
Sherando 34, Musselman 10
James Wood at Washington
This game will be closer than last year's 31-0 thumping, but the Colonels will start the season off with a win.
James Wood 20, Washington 0
Clarke County at Hedgesville
It's the battle of the Eagles. Clarke County is coming off an impressive win over Berkeley Springs.
Clarke County 35, Hedgesville 14
Warren County at Freedom
The Wildcats will start off 2-0 in what could be the beginning of a great year for the program.
Warren County 27, Freedom 12
Handley at Harrisonburg
There are high expectations for the Judges this season. A win over the Blue Streaks may increase those expectations.
Handley 30, Harrisonburg 21
Central at Manassas Park
The Falcons will start the season off on a positive note.
Central 14, Manassas Park 13
Wilson Memorial at Stonewall Jackson
This is no longer a Shenandoah District matchup, but the Generals will still be fired up to start their season.
Stonewall Jackson 20, Wilson Memorial 14
Virginia Tech vs. Alabama at Atlanta
The Hokies' running back situation may be murky, but their defense will make up for it.
Virginia Tech 7, Alabama 6
Georgia at Oklahoma State
Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno are gone, and it will show against the high-scoring Cowboys.
Oklahoma State 45, Georgia 21