The Birdie cashing in on his Westmoreland County pigskin picking reputation

Wednesday, August 25, 2021 | 4:03 PM

Name. Image. Likeness.

They all appeal to the Birdie, in case you haven’t noticed.

So does cash money, and the area’s high school football expert wants to be paid.

“If the colleges can do it, so can I,” Birdie said, pulling on his new hoodie that bears a personalized logo he painted on it with a Sharpie he swiped from the supply drawer at Cabin Hill Drive. “You people have been profiting off my picks for years, and it’s time for me to get mine. I may work undercover, but I still work.”

He looks in a full-size mirror and flexes. Full Heisman pose. His right Croc drops to the floor.

The NCAA is allowing athletes to profit off of the use of their name, image or likeness (NIL). Once the Birdie got wind of this seismic and game-changing endeavor, he wanted a piece of the action.

He was going to hire an agent but could not cover the cost. Ergo …

“So, let’s say you’re using my name on social media,” he said. “Ya know, the Birdie is the greatest and most handsome prognosticator this side of Hanna’s Tahn. Cha-ching. That’s me, so I get some coin.

“Or, you’re telling someone how my picks were spot on that week. Cha-ching. More dough for the crow. You get the idea. Money talks when I squawk.”

An editor reminds him that not all readers — “most” is the word he used — don’t exactly root for the Birdie to be right every week.

“What if someone uses your name in a derogatory way?” the editor asks.

Birdie shakes his head, lets his sunglasses slide down the bridge of his nose and pulls down his face mask slightly.

“Like that is going to happen.”

Week Zero beckons, so here are the Birdie’s season-opening predictions.

Greensburg Salem at Hempfield: The opener the Birdie looks forward to most, Greensburg rivals should stage a tight contest because they are such similar teams. Experience up front, athletic quarterbacks and skill. A turnover will prove costly. Hempfield, 20-17

Penn-Trafford at Norwin: Setting the tone early with big plays and posting up on the line of scrimmage, Penn-Trafford will take care of the rival Knights. Penn-Trafford, 28-14

Derry at Latrobe: All that pent-up frustration from no Steelers night practice at Memorial Stadium will show as Latrobe takes it out on the Trojans. The Wildcats will run wild. Latrobe, 30-10

Plum at Franklin Regional:Playmakers are what fuels Plum, and Franklin Regional has the defense to contain some of them but not all of them. Plum, 19-14

Burrell at Mt. Pleasant: Look for a lot of scoring, but Mt. Pleasant’s defense will have the final say in this opener.Mt. Pleasant, 35-25

Albert Gallatin at Yough: Yough opens against an independent, but the Colonials are not exactly Notre Dame. The Cougars will rev up the running game against a program that continues to rebuild. Yough, 21-12

Jeannette at East Allegheny: East Allegheny will take advantage of a Jeannette team that will need time to jell. East Allegheny, 36-7

Greensburg C.C. at Upper St. Clair: The most bizarre game the Birdie has ever had to pick almost made him pass. But this isn’t Family Feud, so he’s playing. USC is down some, and GCC has talent, but depth will make the difference. USC, 28-14

Ligonier Valley at Indiana: Ligonier Valley is going to beat some good teams this year in 2A. It will open with a win against a 4A team. Ligonier Valley, 27-20

McGuffey at Southmoreland: A playoff rematch from a couple years ago, McGuffey will get a better game from the Scotties, but the Highlanders have a powerful offensive attack. McGuffey, 32-20

Monessen at Washington: Low numbers are plaguing Monessen, and the lack of depth will prove detrimental as the Greyhounds face a speedy Wash High team on the road. Washington, 30-6

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