Vinnie Iyer of the Sporting News is the early leader in this column's sixth annual NFL weekly Panel o' Experts. Iyer went 12-4 in Week 1, one game better than a gang of four in second place.
Reached at his palatial estate in North Carolina -- I like to picture Vinnie living well -- Iyer said, "It only gets a lot harder from here, boys."
The Panel o' Experts collects the weekly NFL game picks of a select group of nationally recognized typists and chatterers, as well as those of various beings both sentient and non. These include the Accuscore game-simulation computer, porn star Adriana Sage, me, my kids and you, also known as the drooling mob -- the drooling reportedly ticking upward whenever I mention porn star Adriana Sage -- as represented by the users' picks at Yahoo Sports.
New to the Panel this year is Curt Siffert, proprietor of Beatpaths, a Web site that does something with math and charts that I've spent a good seven minutes trying to figure out over the last three years, without success. But it looks cool.
Siffert has warned his readers that the Beatpaths picks, which are based on what has happened so far this season, will be sort of ridiculous in the early going.
Former two-time champion Sean Salisbury, the last man to win the Panel outright, is gone from it. The 2004 and 2005 pick king no longer works for ESPN, and if he's making weekly picks at his new gig at Opensports.com, I haven't found them.
Not that I've looked that hard. That's what I meant by "nationally recognized" a few paragraphs ago. I meant: Published online, and easy for me to find.
Cris Carter is also gone. He's moved from Yahoo Sports to ESPN, but does not appear on ESPN's still-very-2002-looking Experts page. I'm keeping Sage in the standings for now even though I can't find her Week 1 picks on her football site, EroticModelPicks, which I'd call R-rated because it carries ads for X-rated sites. But I think she's picking games this year. An e-mail to Sage and her webmaster had not been returned at posting time.
The defending co-champs are Mark Schlereth of ESPN and Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, who correctly picked 171 of 256 games last year, a .668 percentage. The other champs have been Ron Jaworski of ESPN in 2003 and a tie between Charles Robinson of Yahoo and Mike Golic of ESPN in 2006.
All champions are entitled to dinner at my house, home cooking not implied. Here are the standings through Week 1:
|Name||W-L||Pct.||1.||Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News||12-4||.750|
|2.||Eric Allen, ESPN||11-5||.688|
|2.||Jarrett Bell, USA Today||11-5||.688|
|2.||Chris Mortensen, ESPN||11-5||.688|
|6.||Ron Jaworski, ESPN||10-5||.667|
|7.||Buster, Boy Prognosticator||10-6||.625|
|7.||Mark Schlereth, ESPN||10-6||.625|
|7.||Jeff Zillgitt, USA Today||10-6||.625|
|10.||Merril Hoge, ESPN||9-7||.563|
|10.||King Kaufman, Salon||9-7||.563|
|10.||Charles Robinson, Yahoo||9-7||.563|
|10.||Michael Silver, Yahoo||9-7||.563|
|15.||Mike Golic, ESPN||8-7||.533|
|16.||Daisy, Coin Flip for Kids||8-8||.500|
|16.||Peter King, Sports Illustrated||8-8||.500|
|16.||Curt Siffert, Beatpaths||8-8||.500|
|16.||Larry Weisman, USA Today||8-8||.500|
|20?.||Adriana Sage, EroticModelPicks||?-?||.TBD|