We’re in the home stretch of the 2021 Pigskin Picks competition, and it appears to be a two-man race between Jerome Murphy and me for the championship — but don’t count out Greyson Steele just yet.

Ryan Weiss and Dan Basso are bringing up the rear, which is nice. Weiss has pretty much waved the white surrender flag, and Basso just keeps falling further behind.

At this point, I’m riding the strength of my 24-10 record against the spread. Jerome and I are tied with identical 107-31 records, followed by Greyson with a 105-33 mark, Ryan with a 103-35 record, and Dan at 101-37.

Ryan, with his six previous picks titles, actually manages to sound incredulous that he’s not in first place in the competition, which he and Jerome have historically dominated.

A couple of weeks ago, Dan managed to work a Seinfeld reference into his picks column while simultaneously complaining about my spread record. Really, Dan? Comparing me to one of the most universally-reviled TV characters of all time? Well, I suppose it’s good to know where you stand in the grand scheme of things.

Compare away. I’ll continue to make my picks and maybe get a win this year.

And by the way, Seinfeld isn’t funny. It never was.

D3 semifinals

St. Joseph vs. DeWitt

I know next to nothing about the Bears, except they are 8-4. DeWitt comes into the Division 3 semifinals ranked No. 1 in D3 at 11-1. Give me the Panthers.

Mason vs. Detroit MLK

In the other D3 semifinal, Mason sits at 10-2 after topping Birmingham Brother Rice last week 20-17. The Crusaders have posted a 11-1 mark and are coming off a 28-7 victory over Allen Park. This one could be close, but MLK pulls it out.

D4 semifinal

Freeland vs. Chelsea

The Falcons are riding a seven-game win streak into their playoff jaunt against undefeated Chelsea. The Bulldogs should win this contest.

D5 semifinals

Frankenmuth

vs. GRCC

Talk about a clash of heavyweights. The Eagles are 13-0 and the Cougars are 12-0. Unfortunately, someone has to lose this one, and it could be one of those games that are talked about for years. I’m taking the Cougars. A few of my friends who went to Catholic Central probably wouldn’t ever speak to me again if I picked against them.

Portland

vs. Marine City

Portland is 11-2 following its playoff win over Kalamazoo United last week. The Mariners are undefeated at 12-0 after outlasting Corunna. I’m a little underwhelmed by Marine City’s performance against the Cavs, especially considering they were at home. I grew up less than 5 miles from Portland, but didn’t attend school there. Call it home cooking if you like, but Portland wins this one.

D6 Semifinal

Standish-Sterling

vs. Lansing Catholic

Sorry, Standish-Sterling, Lansing Catholic is one of the best teams in the state, with their only loss coming to Pewamo-Wesphalia in a strange 12-7 game. Give me Lansing Catholic all day.

D7 Semifinal

Pewamo-Westphalia vs. Traverse City St. Francis

The Pirates are fresh off wins over Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker (20-0) and New Lothrop (53-21). It’s not often you see the Hornets get dominated in that manner. Pewamo-Westphalia is 12-0 and no joke. St. Francis is also unbeaten at 13-0. The Gladiators, who lost in last year’s D7 final to New Lothrop, will give the Pirates some trouble with their strange offense. I’m taking St. Francis, but this is could go either way.

8-Player Division 1 Final

Lenawee Christian vs. Suttons Bay

I watched the Cougars dismantle Morrice in the playoffs last year. That made an impression. This is another clash of undefeated teams that either team could win. I’m taking Lenawee Christian because I’ve seen them in person, and they can play with anyone.

8-Player Division 2 Final

Colon vs. Powers North Central

The Magi (what a cool mascot) topped Morrice two weeks ago in a great game, and then outlasted Au Gres-Sims last week.

Unfortunately for them, North Central is undefeated. Give me the Jets.

No. 8 Michigan (-14.5)

at Maryland

The Wolverines must feel pretty good about themselves after pulling out a tough road win at Penn State last week. The Terps represent a speed bump in the road before the season finale against the Buckeyes. If the Spartans can blow out Maryland, there is no reason to expect Michigan won’t. That game will be in Ann Arbor and I will be in the press box covering it. I’m hesitant to say Michigan will cover with this spread, but that’s what I’m doing. Turtle soup. Bring on the Bucks.

No. 7 MSU

at No. 5 Ohio State (-19.5)

This point spread is surprising and seems to be a little disrespectful toward the Spartans. They’ve had a fantastic year by their standards. As good as everyone in the country knows the Buckeyes are, you can’t overlook MSU in this game. It is a home game for OSU, but the Spartans don’t like being disrespected. Michigan fans know that first hand. One thing to keep an eye on is MSU’s weak pass defense, which can and will be exploited by OSU. Look for the Buckeyes to win this game, but not cover the spread.

Lions at Browns (-9.5)

Another tricky point spread in this one. I don’t care. Cleveland covers. How bad is it when your fan base says “At least we didn’t lose” after a tie? Look for the Lions to find new and even more humiliating ways to embarrass themselves yet again.

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