Wild Bill’s Sport’s Roundup!

Bill Turner
Bill Turner

It’s time to put the pigskin on the tee.

High school football practices across the Roanoke Valley opened in full stride this week with all ‘Big-11’ squads looking for banner seasons in 2013. There will certainly be a learning curve with new VHSL classifications, and it may be a case of “who’s on first?” until most fans (and even some coaches) figure out the ramifications of whom they’re playing, why some teams aren’t on the schedule, who’ll be going where come playoff time and what are the pluses and minuses of the new setup. We may all think we’re ready for a Laurel and Hardy skit by early December.

I would go into trying to explain the entire new system, but why get everyone (including myself) confused any further. Main thing to watch? Your favorite team and its ten scheduled games while you support your school each week. Most of all have fun as the start of the season brings out shorts and tank tops and the end of the season will bring out the parkas and blankets.

For those of you who have been asking, I’ll once again have my Ouija Board tuned up to provide the cutting edge predictions for every “Big-11” game. I’m trying to get The Chief to go for some result-oriented bonus plan, where if I get all the outcomes correct in any week he’ll send me to some exotic getaway. Don’t hold your breath; a perfect prediction slate or me sending pictures from Hawaii both seem unlikely.

Oh, well…. stay tuned. Kickoffs begin August 30th.

Staying with football, I was hoping to be on the cutting edge by bringing you faithful readers the latest betting line and how the smart money was falling out on the VA Tech -Alabama season opener. No way better, I thought, then to call a couple of Las Vegas sports bookies this week.

My first call was to a Las Vegas Boulevard location where some guy identified himself (after I pressed for his nickname) as “Harry the Weasel.” When I identified myself as “Wild Bill from Roanoke,” Harry wanted to know if that was Roanoke, Virginia, like in VA Tech? After an affirmative on the geography, he told me that I didn’t want to know the line, but stop to say hi the next time I was in Vegas. Hmmmm.

The second call was similarly fruitless. A fellow known only as “Big Tuna” quickly informed me that they only offered walk-up service for sports betting. Sounds more like an ice cream stand.

In other, more logical local sports, the Salem Red Sox have returned home this week and have games Thursday through Saturday at Salem Memorial Stadium versus Winston-Salem. The Carolina League heads into the final four weeks of the regular season, and Salem needs a big push to make the postseason playoffs. Games times are 7:05 Thurs./Fri. and 6:05 Sat. with Elvis Night, Clunker Car Giveaway and Will Middlebrooks Bobblehead Giveaway on those three nights, respectively.

Finally, I’ve been asked to predict the weather for the upcoming football season. My main source, The Old Farmer’s Almanac, notes several periods of rainy days in September.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac, founded in 1792 by Robert B. Thomas is great for weather forecasts, astronomy, sports and planting. The weather secret formula is kept in a black box in Dublin, New Hampshire. And, the original reason a hole was located in the upper left-hand corner of a genuine OFA? So you could hang it in an outhouse. See, you always learn something when you read this column.

Eureka ! I just hooked up with “Harry The Weasel” again and his outfit, for professional courtesy, leaked the early Hokie-Crimson Tide line. Bama favored by 22. That ain’t no reason to be doing the Hokey Pokey.

Until next time, I’m returning to check the latest forecast. When I get through, I will look for your comments at: info@newsroanoke.com

– Bill Turner