The Birdie delves into tiebreakers before picking Westmoreland County games

November 12, 2018 GMT

Last week: 14-1 (.933)

Season: 95-23 (.805)

On the morning of a rare day off, the Birdie pushed around his scrambled eggs at breakfast, scraping his fork against Mrs. Birdie’s fancy plate, causing her to cringe.

He then used the fork to flip his pumpkin spiced pancakes and sent them spinning off the plate and onto the floor.

“Stop that or you’re cut off from Pittsburgh Dad and Hudl premium,” she said, pointing a spatula in his direction. “Why don’t you go play ultimate Frisbee with Franklin Regional or something so I can clean.”

The Birdie was fit to be tied: He decided to make like Albert Gallatin and get out of the kitchen.


“Can’t eat with all this anxiety,” he said. “It’s that time of year: tiebreaker season.”

The Birdie, who went a season-best 14-1 last week but can’t seem to win the Mega Millions jackpot, gets frustrated when he has to figure out which WPIAL teams make the playoffs. The old keyboard warrior was not exactly exemplary in math.

Usually Mrs. Birdie has to scrub the basement walls at this time every fall because her man draws playoff scenarios all over the plaster. Who thought breaking ties would be so complicated?

“Take breakfast,” Birdie said. “I had three pancakes and the old lady had three pancakes. To break the tie, I had a had a few hash browns, but then she did too. Then we both had bacon -- ‘Fair share,’ she always says -- and toast. The plus-minus evened out.”

The Birdie couldn’t win this round, so he figured he’d have to settle things at dinner.

“We all know she always wins the head-to-head tiebreaker,” he said. “And the only Gardner points I get is when I help her plant flowers.

“This is going to come down to a coin flip, I know it. Psst, honey ... can I borrow a quarter?”

A full slate of Week 9 games await the resident prep football expert and his full stomach. He hopes to leave out the calculators as the playoff picture clears.


Seneca Valley (6-3, 4-3) at Norwin (3-6, 2-5)

The Birdie thought Norwin was a playoff team, but he thinks the Knights fizzled out in Week 7. “What could have been,” he said. “Maybe next year when that line is better.” Seneca Valley, 34-14

Franklin Regional (6-2, 4-2) at Penn-Trafford (7-2, 5-1)

A mirror-image game, the Birdie said. “Dual-threat QBs, solid receivers and linebackers and excellent kickers. The edge goes to the P-T running game.” Penn-Trafford, 20-16

Belle Vernon (7-1, 5-1) at Ringgold (0-9, 0-6)


Belle Vernon is banged up but still churning out yards on the eve of the postseason. Belle Vernon, 34-7

Greensburg Salem (3-6, 3-3) at Indiana (3-6, 3-3)

The Birdie picked Greensburg Salem to win three games this season. He’ll be one off that mark. The Golden Lions will be playoff-bound. Greensburg Salem, 28-20

Burrell (2-7, 2-5) at Derry (8-1, 6-1)

Derry is hot again, and the Birdie expects the Trojans to stay that way heading into the playoffs. “Like I always say, if you don’t butter the toast right away, the butter won’t melt.” Derry, 41-6

Uniontown (0-9, 0-7) at Mt. Pleasant (1-8, 1-6)

While Mt. Pleasant won’t be in the playoffs, the Birdie thinks the Vikings have too much pride to finish last. Mt. Pleasant, 18-13

Yough (3-6, 3-4) at Elizabeth Forward (7-1, 6-1)

Yough has the talent to upset EF, but the Warriors have more depth and big-play ability. Elizabeth Forward, 40-27

Clairton (8-0, 5-0) at Jeannette (9-0, 5-0)

The Birdie wonders why this game seemed bigger when it was one-sided. He thinks Jeannette’s side will take control with its quickness. Jeannette, 30-22

Monessen (6-2, 5-1) at Avella (2-7, 1-5)

Monessen could use a better playoff tuneup than this one, but the Greyhounds still will be able to add some wrinkles. Monessen, 43-6

Greensburg Central Catholic (6-3) at Southmoreland (4-5)

The Birdie loves this matchup and thinks it will show what local football should be about. “Neither is going to the playoffs but they’ll be a crowd,” Birdie said. Southmoreland, 36-30

Hempfield (2-7) at Plum (2-7)

Hempfield saves its best for last and makes it two wins in a row. Hempfield, 26-7

Latrobe (3-6) at Highlands (2-7)

The Birdie calls Latrobe a “McFeely good story” because the Wildcats made the playoffs. Now, he thinks they can improve their seeding. Big plays will be on display, and the scoreboard operator will earn their money. Latrobe, 34-31


Ligonier Valley (9-0) vs. Shade (9-0)

Usually, shade is thrown at the Birdie, but this week it’s Shade throwing at Ligonier Valley. “That QB is really good,” Birdie said, “but he doesn’t have Tutino’s pizza rolls after school.” Ligonier Valley, 27-21