This week's picks: Can the Falcons tame the Hurricanes?

Carmen Musick • Oct 17, 2019 at 4:30 PM

Each week, members of our sports staff at the Times News and Johnson City Press test their powers of prognostication with "this week's football picks."

In Kingsport, our team is at odds over the outcomes of seven games this week — three in high school, three in college and one NFL game. But before we break that down, here’s a look at the records for our panel members through eight weeks.


Doug Fritz (109-30) posted Week 7’s best record (17-2) to take sole possession of the lead in Kingsport. Jeff Birchfield, who had shared that lead a week ago, ran into some engine troubles and finished with a panel-low 14-5 mark to fall into a tie for third with Tanner Cook (16-3, 106-33). Sports director Joe Avento (16-3, 107-32) went 16-3 to pick up a few games and slide by Birchfield into second place. Though still bringing up the rear, Kevin Mays (16-3, 100-39) did cast the pick of the week in Week 7 when he predicted Union would beat Ridgeview. And, to boot, he didn’t miss the score by much. He predicted 31-28; the final was 32-26.

In Johnson City, where Jamie Combs tags in to pick the all Tennessee slate of high school games in Mays’ place, Birchfield (10-2, 81-25) is still holding onto the lead. He is getting some pressure, though, as Fritz posted a 12-0 mark to pull within one game. Combs (78-28), Cook (77-29) and Avento (76-30) each went 11-1 a week ago and currently sit in third through fifth places.


In Kingsport, where our crew tackles a slate of high school games in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia along with a few college games and the NFL Titans, our guys are on the same page with 13 games.

🏈 HIGH SCHOOL: All five panelists are picking Dobyns-Bennett over Morristown West, David Crockett over Tennessee High, Daniel Boone over Cocke County, Sullivan South over Sullivan East, Grainger over Sullivan Central, Happy Valley over Sullivan North, Gate City over Lee High, Union over Wise Central, J.I. Burton over Grundy, Ridgeview over John Battle and Castlewood over Lebanon.

🏈 COLLEGE: All five pickers on the Kingsport panel also predict: Alabama beats Tennessee and Tusculum beats UVa-Wise.


Four lone wolf picks bear mention.

🏈 TITAN POWER: Eastside faces Twin Springs in a Cumberland District matchup this week, and most of the crew is picking the Spartans for the win. Cook, however, is going solo and placing his faith in the Titans. Our panel: Eastside, 4-1.

🏈 HOKIES FOR THE WIN: This time, it’s Avento stepping out on his own and picking Virginia Tech to one up the Tar Heels. Our panel: North Carolina, 4-1

🏈 BUC UP: The Bucs travel to Chattanooga for a rare Thursday night contest and Birchfield believes they’ll leave with the win. Our panel: Chattanooga, 4-1.

🏈 TITANS, TAKE TWO: In the final lone wolf pick of the week, Mays is picking the unpredictable Tennessee Titans to beat the Chargers in Nashville. Our panel: Chargers, 4-1.


🏈 FALCON FEVER: The Morristown East vs. Volunteer matchup has our team divided, but Mays and Cook are flying with the Falcons to survive the Hurricanes. Our panel: Morristown East, 3-2.

🏈 RANGERS FOR THE WIN: Rye Cove and Unaka has the team at odds as well with Birchfield and Cook opting to stand their Tennessee ground with Unaka. Our panel: Rye Cove, 3-2.

🏈 A CAVALIER DECISION: In the college ranks, our team is split on Duke at Virginia with Fritz and Birchfield dancing with the Blue Devils. Our panel: Virginia, 3-2.

Check out this week’s football picks every week in the Thursday papers ~ both Kingsport Times News and Johnson City Press ~ and share your thoughts about them in social media where you can find us @tnsportslive. Be sure to give us a follow for all the latest sports coverage throughout the year, and join us every Sports Live Friday Night for scoring updates, game coverage, photo galleries and more.