“You can’t park here.”
As I approached the church for the funeral of a family member, that is what I heard from one of the men in charge of the parking lot.
My incredulous look and open mouth must have conveyed a silent, “Why not?”
“You picked Kansas,” he said.
Walking toward the sanctuary with my wife, it suddenly hit me:
“Oh my God, he’s talking about the Fearless Forecasters.”
That’s right, in making preparations to travel out of town for a funeral, I had forgotten to enter my predictions for the season-ending bowl games in The Roanoke Times college football contest.
Back in 2007, if one of the members of the panel failed to submit predictions, the computer provided default picks by automatically selecting the home team.
That’s how I “picked” the Kansas Jayhawks to defeat the Virginia Tech Hokies in the 2008 Orange Bowl.
And I was the only one of 16 Fearless Forecasters to do so.
Even though Kansas proved me “right” with a 24-21 win, the whole episode left a bad aftertaste.
So I retired from the Fearless Forecasters on the spot.
That is, until now.
At the behest of my sports editor, I’m back.
Apologies if I pick against your favorite school.
Just do me one favor, though.
Please let me park in your lot anyway.
SALEM 24, Franklin County 7. Salem’s Shawn Collins had 120 receiving yards on three receptions last week, all for TDs.
WILLIAM FLEMING 37, Rockbridge County 34. Fleming looks for back-to-back wins for the first time since beating Rockbridge and Patrick Henry in 2014.
LORD BOTETOURT 20, Blacksburg 17. For the second time in two years against Blacksburg, the Cavaliers are dealing with a hobbled Hunter Rice.
HIDDEN VALLEY 24, William Byrd 21. Byrd owns a four-game win streak over Hidden Valley while not scoring fewer than 35 points.
NORTHSIDE 27, Cave Spring 13. Northside is working on a seven-game win streak against Cave Spring, dating back to a 10-7 win by the Knights in 2007.
BROOKVILLE 26, Patrick Henry 20. Brookville returns to Roanoke for the second year in a row after last year’s 52-0 win over PH.
PULASKI COUNTY 28, Bassett 7. The Cougars averaged 58 points per game in two wins over Bassett in 2015 and 2016.
CHRISTIANSBURG 35, Giles 28. A win by the Blue Demons would equal their most in the previous four seasons.
RIVERHEADS 21, Glenvar 14. Riverheads has a 93-8 regular-season record and four Class 1 state titles in the last 10-plus years.
ROANOKE CATHOLIC 65, Charles City 6. Catholic scored 72 points last week. Saturday, the Celtics play a team that gave up 67 in its opener.
NORTH CROSS 57, Fishburne Military 6. The Raiders already have scored 14 TDs in two games. Now they get a team they waxed 51-2 in 2018.
CARROLL COUNTY 21, Grayson County 20. These two teams were 1-0 last year when they played each other. One of them will be 0-2 after Friday.
GEORGE WYTHE 27, Fort Chiswell 23. Wythe’s Brayden Thompson and Jude Reigelsperger combined for seven catches, 293 yards and three TDs last week.
LIBERTY 14, Fort Defiance 13. Is it true that teams improve the most between the first and second games? After a 28-0 loss last week, Liberty hopes so.
MAGNA VISTA 34, Dan River 20. Dan River has only beaten Magna Vista four times in 21 meetings, not counting a forfeit victory in 2013.
JEFFERSON FOREST 48, Staunton River 12. Jefferson Forest opens the head coaching tenure of Paul White after having an open date last week.
ALLEGHANY 34, Bath County 12. After a two-year absence, the neighborhood rivalry resumes with Alleghany looking to break a 14-game losing streak.
PATRICK COUNTY 26, Floyd County 25. Patrick gained 350 yards — all on the ground — last week against Carroll County, led by Dae’Shawn Penn’s Timesland-best 265.
MADISON COUNTY 20, James River 13. Madison was a dynasty during the 38-year coaching run of Eddie Dean, but the Mountaineers’ last winning season was in 2010.
GALAX 48, Martinsville 7. This series began in 1930, but the Maroon Tide and Bulldogs haven’t played each other since 1951.
AUBURN 37, Craig County 6. Neither team has scored yet. Craig was idle last week while Auburn was shut out by Narrows.
CHILHOWIE 26, J.I. Burton 24. Chilhowie has won its last 23 football games against teams not named Riverheads.
STAUNTON 40, Covington 28. The school formerly known as the Robert E. Lee Fighting Leeman plays its first game as the Staunton Storm.
RURAL RETREAT 28, Eastern Montgomery 22. After giving up 53 points last week to Holston, the Mustangs get a shot at another Hogoheegee District team.
NARROWS 41, Northwood 7. Narrows replaced Bland County at the last minute with Northwood, which brings a 10-game losing streak to Harry Ragsdale Field.
BUFFALO GAP 26, Parry McCluer 20. Ty Ruley, who ran for 110 yards last week against Parry McCluer, has transferred to PM from Rockbridge County and is awaiting a VHSL eligibility ruling.
Last week: 15-11 .577
Overall: 15-11 .577