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This week's football picks sees three-way tie at the top

• Nov 1, 2018 at 4:30 PM

Each week, members of the sports staff at the Times News and Johnson City Press test their powers of prognostication with "this week's football picks" — predictions for high school and college games as well as the NFL’s Titans game on occasion.

For the first time in a long while, Tanner Cook (125-47) has company at the front of the pack. Douglas Fritz (125-47) and Joe Avento (125-47) each posted 13-4 records a week ago to pull even with the season-long front-runner. Much like his beloved Yankees coming off the hundred-win season and best-in-baseball-history 267 home runs only to see their bats go cold late, a late-season slump could spell trouble for the young Cook. He’ll have to figure out how to do what his Bronx Bombers couldn’t ~ win in the postseason.

Jeff Birchfield (122-50) and Kevin Mays (122-50) are also tied, three games behind the leaders.

If things are to change this week, Avento will be the one to gain — or lose — the most. Fritz and Cook picked exactly the same; Avento will gain or lose three games.

The panel is all in for David Crockett over Halls, Boone over Gibbs, Meigs County over a banged up Sullivan North, Grundy over Wise Central, Abingdon over Lee, Union over John Battle, Eastside over Castlewood and for J.I. Burton to beat Thomas Walker for the Cumberland District title. They’re also unanimous when it comes to ETSU over Mercer, Tennessee over Charlotte and Notre Dame College over UVa-Wise.

* They’re split 3-2 in the Chattanooga Central/Sullivan South game. Only Fritz and Cook are banking on the Rebels to advance to the second round of the TSSAA Class 4A playoffs. 

* They’re split 3-2 in the Virginia/Pittsburgh game with Avento and Mays picking Pitt.

* They’re split 4-1 in the Virginia Tech/Boston College game. Only Mays is betting against the Hokies this week.

* They’re split 4-1 in the Cowboys/Titans game with Avento taking the Titans to upset the Cowboys in Dallas.

Check out this week’s football picks every week in the Thursday paper and share your thoughts about them in social media where you can find us @tnsportslive.

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