Katie Sowers, who will become the first woman to coach in a Super Bowl on Sunday, has nothing on Eagle publisher Crystal Dupre.
Crystal, the lone woman on The Eagle’s 24-mammal Prognosticator Panel this season, won her second title in convincing fashion. She grabbed the lead in early October, and no one could catch her. Not the so-called experts, which included SportsTalk host Chip Howard, the eight-time Prog Panel champion who finished 16 picks behind, nor 14 members of the clergy who proved worthy competitors but lacked Crystal’s divine touch.
She knows football, and if Joe Moorhead had sought her advice, he still might be still be Mississippi State’s football coach.
Dupre, a Mississippi State grad, thought Keytaon Thompson should have gotten more snaps at quarterback for the Bulldogs. Instead, the supposedly offensive-minded Moorhead opted for Penn State transfer Tommy Stevens and true freshman Garrett Shrader. The Bulldogs averaged 400.1 yards per game to rank just 70th in the country for a second straight year, and Mississippi State fired Moorhead.
Luckily, no one gets fired from Prog. They’re just on the firing line for three months with nowhere to hide from family and friends.
My season of humiliation is nearly done, said Sam Hill of North Bryan New Birth Baptist Church. Sam finished tied for 21st but remained a good sport through the ups and downs.
Sam finished just ahead of poor Mr. Tuggles, our canine panelist who had his worst season, and Central Church’s Chris Osborne. With his sub-.500 record, Chris showed he probably didn’t have time to be picking games as he made the transition to his new post with Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary.
Overall, though, this season’s group of clergy members proved to be one of the best crop of guest pickers in Prog Panel history. Grace Bible Church’s Buck Anderson finished alone in second place just two picks behind Crystal. The three wise men — Church of the Nazarene’s Lonnie Green, Bryan First Baptist’s Jim Heiligman and Living Hope Baptist’s Alan Pittman — tied for fifth, and Beautiful Savior Lutheran’s Caleb Schoeneck placed eighth to give the men of God five spots on the top row.
Eagle editor Darren Benson finished alone in third and the Houston Chronicle’s Brent Zwerneman, a two-time champ, placed fourth.
Christ United Methodist’s Jerry House also had a noteworthy finish with the best closing record at 15-5 to avoid falling to the bottom row.
The panel ends the season with its Super Bowl picks, a group predictions leaning heavily in favor of the Kansas City Chiefs over the San Francisco 49ers.
SUPER BOWL LIV PICKS
• Chiefs 41-34: Because I have to pick somebody since the Saints aren’t in it this year. The Chiefs are playing really well, and quarterback Patrick Mahomes is in the zone. The 49ers will put up a good fight but no cigar for them this year. — Crystal Dupre, Eagle publisher
• Chiefs 30-27: C’mon. It’s been 50 years. Go Chiefs! — Buck Anderson, Grace Bible Church
• Chiefs 35-24: Chiefs. Chiefs. Chiefs. Chiefs. Chiefs. Andy Reid in 2020. — Darren Benson, Eagle editor
• Chiefs 38-33: Mahomes of the Big 12 puts a sliver of East Texas on the map. — Brent Zwerneman, Houston Chronicle
• Chiefs 28-20: Their 50-year drought will make them hungrier than the 49ers. Mahomes has been quite a story so far in his short yet storied NFL career. Winning the Super Bowl will provide the cherry on the milk shake for him. The score is reflective of the amount of points scored by both teams throughout the 2019 season. And 28-20 was what the football elves told me to predict. — Lonnie Green, Church of the Nazarene
• Chiefs 24-17: Chiefs defense will bottle up running game. Mahomes will have better offensive performance than 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. — Jim Heiligman, Bryan First Baptist Church
• Chiefs 31-17: Mahomes is going to show that Whitehouse Wildcat Pride and take down the 49ers. He graduated from my alma mater. I also played football for Whitehouse, albeit, 2.5 decades before him. Thankfully he is a lot better than we were back in the day. In my four years of high school, our varsity team only won one or two games total! — Alan Pittman, Living Hope Baptist
• 49ers 42-36: I love my wife and she was born in San Francisco. She grew up watching the 49ers play at Candlestick Park and — not that I need an excuse but — when she says, ‘Hey, let’s sit on the couch and watch a football game,’ who am I to say, ‘No, thank you?’ And if we are pulling for the same team, it might even be enjoyable to watch it together ... or if things go south, I guess misery loves company. — Caleb Schoeneck, Beautiful Savior Lutheran
• Chiefs 35-28: The Heartland trumps the West Coast every day. — Randy Bard, Bethel Lutheran
• Chiefs 31-24: While the 49ers have had a magical season, I feel this year it has to be the Chiefs. Of course, what I am anticipating the most about the Super Bowl this year is that it is the pregame for the Fighting Texas Aggies to take the field for their big moment in 2020. — Preston Greenwaldt, A&M United Methodist Church
• Chiefs 35-21: Mahomes is going to take over the game and become one of the next great quarterbacks in the league. — Zach Hester, Caldwell Country Chevrolet general manager
• Chiefs 35-23: K.C. is too fun to watch not to win. — Brian McMaster, St. Mary’s Catholic Center
• 49ers 34-31: Jimmy G with the surprise MVP performance and Kyle Shanahan atones for 28-3. — Billy Liucci, TexAgs co-owner
• Chiefs 34-24: Mahomes is the X factor. He will find a way to win and become the first Big 12 quarterback to win a Super Bowl, joining Drew Brees and Nick Foles as the only QBs from Texas to win the big game. Go Chiefs! — Troy Allen, College Station First Baptist
• Chiefs 35-34: Reid atones for losing the 1971 national Punt, Pass and Kick competition. — Robert Premeaux Jr., Eagle sports editor
• Chiefs 45-21: Mahomes will break Super Bowl records in yards and completions. — Jerry House, Christ United Methodist Church
• Chiefs 31-24: I’m taking Lenny Dawson and the Dallas Texans over John Brodie and the 49ers. A late interception by Willie Lanier will seal the game. Chip Howard, SportsTalk host
• Chiefs 34-28: Mahomes gets the MVP, but the postgame ceremony is ruined by the appearance of Aaron Rodgers and the ridiculous State Farm agent. — Rob Clark, Eagle managing editor
• Chiefs 40-31: A great day for Mahomes and Reid, a painful day for Lamar Jackson and John Harbaugh. — Robert Cessna, Eagle executive sports editor
• Chiefs 39-35 — Rick Mitchell, Calvary Baptist Church
• Chiefs 31-30: In Super Bowl I in 1967, I lost a school-yard bet when I picked the Chiefs. Risking same outcome 53 years later but without $1 wagered! — Ted Foote, Bryan First Presbyterian Church
• Chiefs 28-24: My season of humiliation is nearly done. Mahomes is Destiny’s Child 2020, and mere mortals can’t disengage, deactivate or disrupt destiny. Sam Hill, North Bryan New Birth Baptist Church
• 49ers 28-27: 49ers assistant Kris Kocurek promised if they win he’d take me duck hunting when he comes home to Caldwell. And I get to keep the ducks. — Mr. Tuggles, dog