Sometimes, picking high school football games isn't all that hard.
Often times in the York-Adams League, there's a well-defined pecking order in each of the three divisions. With a few exceptions, it usually doesn't take a lot of thought to select each week's winners.
The 2014 season, however, looks to be different. There appear to be no clear favorites in any the championship races. In fact, each of the divisions appears relatively wide open.
That should making picking winners each week a lot more difficult. And it should make our annual Pigskin Pickers online contest a lot more fun.
Opening night on the prep gridiron will be Friday, Aug. 29. Starting that week and going through the rest of the 10-week regular season, our readers will have the opportunity to pick each and every game involving the York-Adams League teams.
At the end of the regular season, the champion Pigskin Picker will receive a $100 gift card, while the second-place finisher gets a $50 gift card and the third-place finisher receives a $25 gift card. There's also a $10 gift card given away each week to the best picker of the week. All ties will be broken by random computer selection.
Many of you are probably familiar with how the contest works. You will need to click the contest link and register, although if you've entered the contest before, you may already be registered. After that it's pretty basic. Just follow the instructions and pick each week's games. It's really pretty easy. Hey, if this 50-something, technology-impaired sports editor can do it, you can, too.
And that brings us to one of the other perks of the Pigskin Pickers contest. You can prove you're smarter that the so-called "experts" here the Dispatch. Our picks will be listed right along with yours. Then we'll let the standings determine who knows more about high school football. Our employees, of course, will not be eligible for any of the contest prizes.
Other prep football offerings: The Pigskin Pickers contest, however, is just one part of our high school football offerings here at the Dispatch.
John Walk will anchor our prep football coverage this season.
He'll offer a complete lookahead to the 2014 campaign. It starts this week with his Division I preview in Wednesday's print and online editions. That will be followed by a Division II preview on Thursday and a Division III preview on Friday.
John will have more coverage next week. On Tuesday, Aug. 26, he'll look at 10 York-Adams Players to Watch and on Wednesday, Aug. 27, he'll detail the 10 York-Adams Games to Watch. Finally, on Thursday, Aug. 28, he'll feature one of the opening-night games with a video and provide preview capsules on all of the Week 1 games. We'll also debut the 2014 York Dispatch Pigskin Pickers.
Each Thursday during the season, John will provide a feature story, video, game capsules, statistics and standings.
The Pigskin Pickers will also appear each Thursday.
Many Fridays, John will also cover a game and do a story for our website. Our photo department will also be taking loads of pictures. On opening night, John and a photographer will cover the Central York-West York rivalry.
Each Monday, John will also have a high school football column, looking back at the previous weekend action and looking ahead to the next weekend's big games.
Ryan Vandersloot, meanwhile, will once again man our high school scoreboard on Fridays and Saturdays at yorkdispatch.com, providing up-to-the-minute football scores, not to mention various other high school scores. You can also check out John and Ryan on Twitter at @yorksportsguy and @yaiaascores.com. Twitter updates are also available at @ydsports. Ryan also has a blog at yaiaascores.wordpress.com.
So there you have it. That's our football game plan for the 2014 high school football season. We hope you'll enjoy our coverage, both in print and online.
And don't forget to enter the Pigskin Pickers contest. This year's contest promises to be among the most exciting ever. With no overwhelming favorites, most weeks will likely feature a large number of "pick 'em" games.
One week you can be a genius and the next week you can be a dolt. Either way, it's OK. It's just adds a little competitive fun to the high school gridiron campaign.
Let the games begin.
Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.