A new football season brings a new year of the Mesabi Daily News Pigskin Pick ‘ems contest. Now in its 11th year, the Pick ‘ems panel sees five new prognosticators join the fray as they chase 2018 champion and Eveleth golf pro John Rinne, who came out on top last season.
New this year are: Giants Ridge Director of Golf John Kendall, Gilbert Police Officer Chelsea Trucano, Mesabi Range assistant football coach Montana Coates, Virginia and Mesabi Range athletic trainer Brad Kern and Mountain Iron City Administrator Craig Wainio. As always, they’ll be joined by MDN sports editor Jim Romsaas and MDN sports writer Ben Romsaas.
“It looks like we’ll have some great competition in year 11 of the Pick ‘ems!” Editor Romsaas said. “Welcome to everyone!”
“I can’t wait to see John Rinne bringing up the rear come January,” Romsaas finished while kicking off the trash talking for the year.
Several panelists have Rinne in their sights immediately, but Kendall hopes he can just keep it close for the time being.
“I am excited to be in this year’s MDN Pick ‘ems challenge but quickly realized this could go bad if I stink. My goals for the season are simply to stay within 10 games of Rinne and not finish last.”
Rinne himself says he hopes to lay off on the trash talking for the time being citing the numerous benefits it would bring to not upset fellow panelists.
“I don’t wanna give Kendall a hard time because I’d still like to golf and ski at Giants Ridge,” Rinne said. “I drive through Gilbert a lot so I’d rather that Chelsea isn’t mad at me and Craig and his boys all golf at my course so I don’t want them leaving for another course.
“I still might wanna play some football so I don’t want Montana cutting me and then when I get a concussion trying out, I’d like Brad to fix me up.”
That, of course, led to Rinne still giving some grief to the MDN staff.
“That leaves the two paper boys and they are way too easy of targets to rip on because I whupped them last year.”
Rinne might need to watch out for Blue Devil and Norse trainer Kern as many years of working closely with athletes have seemingly set him up for success on the panel.
“I’ve been doing nothing but living a life of sports to prepare myself for this specific contest,” Kern said. “Fair warning to last year’s champion John Rinne and to everyone else competing, I’m coming for that top spot!”
Kern believes that winning is his destiny, especially after a possibly prophetic dream he had after getting the call to join this season’s panel.
“After finding out I would be involved in the weekly Pick ‘ems, I had a dream. The dream was almost exactly like Josh Hamilton’s before his home run derby contest in ‘08. But my dream was not hitting home run after home run. No; my dream was making correct picks after correct picks on football games. You’ve all been warned.”
Each week will feature five NFL games as well as five NCAA games. The picker with the best overall record by the end of the season will take home the Pick ‘ems crown and the bragging rights that go along with having the best prediction skills.
This week, the Patriots and Eagles were the only consensus picks on the pro side with Ole Miss being the lone unanimous pick in the college ranks.
Right off the bat, some pickers are gong out on a limb. An early lead can be their payoff if they win, but falling behind after the first week can spell doom if they made the wrong choice.
Time will tell if these moves will pay off. Can Rinne retain his crown? Or will one of the newbies take over in their freshman year? It’s time to find out!