The Birdie wants bowl season to come to Westmoreland County

Thursday, October 8, 2020 | 3:01 PM

Last week: 8-4 (66.7 %)

Season: 34-19 (64.1 %)

The Birdie sympathizes with the WPIAL football steering committee, which met this week to tackle the unenviable task of patchworking together a postseason during covid-19 times.

“I wouldn’t want to be the guys who have to decide how this mess is going to play out,” Birdie said. “You’re going to have several teams with seven games and a bunch more with four or five — maybe less. Those go-to Gardner Points of yours will be obsolete and you’ll be stuck. This is what I call fantasy football.

“So, what’s Plan B entail?”

With a number of teams shutting down because of covid concerns, games have been postponed or canceled, and the WPIAL has said it will call them “no contests” instead of forfeits.

“That’s nice and all, but when the playoffs come home to roost, it’s not going to add up,” Birdie said.

The Birdie has been hard at work — that’s a hot one — drawing up his own postseason format to propose to the WPIAL.

Here’s the plan he has come up with, which he refers to as “fried gold”:

“OK, hear me out. Some of you won’t like this concept. My biggest fans, from the team mom who told me I couldn’t pick a booger, to the coach who requested I line my bird cage with my column, will think I’m crazy. What else is new?

“Some of you might tell me to shut up or call me a clown, but I don’t want to debate,” he said. “My idea for the playoffs is … drum roll, please … no playoffs.”

Needle slides off the record.

“My plan is like the way college football used to be,” he added. “You have a committee who ranks the teams. In this case, they’ll make seedings. I’m talking bowl games here, folks. With sponsors. To be bowl eligible, a team must have at least three wins. Those teams get seeded, then paired against other like seeds from other conferences. The No. 3s play other 3s, the 4s the 4s, and so on.

“The 1s and 2s, though, will play in the ‘championship’ bowl for the classification title. That way we still have champs. Winner goes to states.”

He chirps on.

“This way, each three-win team gets an extra game — or games if they win the final. If they don’t want to play an extra game, they don’t have to. Picture it: Mt. Pleasant vs. Derry in the Fox’s Pizza Bowl, Franklin Regional vs. Penn Hills in the Excela Health Bowl, Greensburg Salem vs. Laurel Highlands in the Sheetz MTO Bowl. And let’s settle Class A with Jeannette vs. Clairton in the TribLive Class A Birdie Bowl.

“We can’t sit here and think traditional playoffs are going to go off without a hitch. Is it a perfect idea? No. But this year already has an asterisk branded into its thigh. My idea is not bull, err, bowl.”

With his allotted column space just about exhausted, the Birdie shifts to Week 5:


Hempfield (1-3, 1-3) at Baldwin (1-1, 0-1) — Norwin took it to Baldwin last week, especially through the air. The Birdie thinks Hempfield will have a tougher time doing so. Baldwin, 21-15

North Allegheny (3-0, 2-0) at Norwin (1-3, 1-3) — The Birdie found out recently that the seven goats don’t count toward the 250 number at Norwin home games. North Allegheny will eat up the turf like the furry animals. North Allegheny, 41-14

Franklin Regional (3-1, 1-1) at Woodland Hills (3-1, 1-1) — Franklin Regional has looked more like its defensive self in recent weeks, but the Panthers will have trouble slowing the Wolverines’ running attack. Woodland Hills, 28-14

Latrobe (1-2, 0-1) at Connellsville (0-4, 0-2) — Remember that passing clinic Latrobe put on against Upper St. Clair? Look for the Wildcats to sling it around again. Latrobe, 35-25

• Ringgold (1-3, 0-3) at Belle Vernon (3-1, 3-1) — Belle Vernon’s defense will force the Rams to punt — a lot. Belle Vernon, 30-3

• Armstrong (2-2, 2-2) at Greensburg Salem (1-3, 1-3) — Look for the River Hawks to take advantage of Golden Lions’ turnovers. Armstrong, 27-14

• Derry (1-3, 1-2) at Valley (1-2, 1-2) — Derry will move the football, but Valley will get it into the end zone more. Valley, 23-14

• Mt. Pleasant (3-1, 3-0) at Brownsville (0-4, 0-3) — Look for Mt. Pleasant to control the line of scrimmage and run for big chunks of yardage. Mt. Pleasant 26-6

Southmoreland (2-2, 1-2) at Yough (1-3, 0-3) — For some reason, this one intrigues the Birdie. He thinks it could be the closest game of the night in 3A. Southmoreland, 21-20

Ligonier Valley (2-1, 1-1) at Serra Catholic (3-0, 1-0) — Serra is behind in games played, but the Eagles still have a potent offense. Serra, 35-13

Greensburg CC (1-3, 1-3) at Riverview (0-4, 0-4) — GCC has disappointed the Birdie some, but he thinks the Centurions have something left in the tank. GCC, 18-8

Jeannette (3-1, 3-1) at Springdale (4-0, 4-0) — A trap game for the Jayhawks? Maybe. But the Birdie thinks the Jeannette defense will be too much for the Dynamos, who haven’t seen an offense like this. Jeannette, 27-7


• Penn-Trafford (3-1, 2-0) at Gateway (2-0, 1-0) — These teams have more in common than the Warriors’ coach, who, in case you haven’t heard, teaches at Gateway. They also have playmakers. The Gators will make one more play than P-T in a rare but exciting Sunday night game. Gateway, 28-27

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