By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editoremail@example.com
Scott Leeds doesn't want me to give him too hard of a time. So I won't. I'll write a normal, straight forward profile without teasing, insulting or mocking him.
Sure I won't. That's like promising that George and I won't be ridiculously self-indulgent in our columns. If we did that, what the hell would we write about? Real news? What fun is that? I've always said you can't make fun of someone else if you can't make fun of yourself.
Honestly, if I couldn't make fun of our guest picker, who could I make fun of? George? Can't do that; we're still trying to talk him down from the ledge following the Griz playoff loss.
As far as I'm concerned, football season is over. It ended last week with the Griz and Cat losing. The one team I cheer for to win and the one team I mercilessly root for to lose are both done. What's the point of watching?
But football isn't done for Scotty. Not while his beloved Carroll College Saints are still pushing for a second straight NAIA national championship.
Don't kid yourself, Scott didn't just jump on the bandwagon last year. The kid has bled Carroll purple and gold since his playing days for the Saints in the early 1990s.
During his playing days as a wide receiver for Carroll, Scott earned all-conference honors, while even holding the school record for most receiving yards in a game with 204. Unfortunately, current All-American wide receiver Mark Gallik broke the record last season.
"Imagine that," he said sarcastically. "I expected it to get broken. Look at their offense. It's full-throwing offense and with the talent they have, it was only a matter of time."
The last thing you want to get Scott started on is the Carroll offense. Like any true fan he can talk for hours on the subject. He gives it endless praise.
"I love their offense," he said. "Their quarterback Tyler Emmert is the premiere player in the Frontier Conference. I think he could play in the Big Sky. He's a smart player, who never seems to lose his poise. It also helps that his offensive coordinator, Nick Howlett, puts him in good situations to have success."
It sounds a little much, but Leeds would know. He has coached receivers the last three seasons for the Montana State University-Northern football team and got an up close view of the Carroll offensive juggernaut.
"Carroll is a very well coached team," he said. "They just don't make mistakes to hurt themselves. They're fundamentally sound and the players have that confidence that they know they're good."
How good is the real question? Good enough to win on Saturday? Good enough to repeat? Good enough to knock off the Cats or the Griz?
"I would love to see Montana or Montana State play Carroll," he said. "Carroll probably wouldn't win, but I think people would be surprised how good the game would be."
So it's pretty safe to assume that Scott is picking Carroll on Saturday against St. Francis. But how about some more predictions?
"No way," he said. "I don't want to jinx them. I'm worried that I'm jinxing them right now."
If the Saints play half as well as they have in the past few weeks, not even the Sports Illustrated cover jinx could stop them.
Besides Carroll College, Scotty also lives and dies by the Dallas Cowboys. His basement is a shrine to football, but in particular, America's team.
"I've been a Cowboys fan all my life," he said. "Bill Bates was my favorite player. He might have been the most talented guy, but he worked his tail off to become better. We kind of have the same personality."
After taking much abuse the past few seasons, Scott is bathing himself in the Cowboys' success this season. He's even starting to like head coach Bill Parcells.
"I wasn't a big fan of Parcells before. In fact, I hated him when he was with the Giants," Leeds said.
"I love him; he's the best coach in football," he said. "Nobody thought Dallas would be any good this year and they are because of him."
On to Scott's picks. It's pretty safe to assume that he went with Carroll and Dallas to win.
"I know I'll be the only one picking Dallas over Philadelphia," he said defiantly, as if he's going out on a big limb, picking a team that's 8-4 over a team that's 9-3.
In his other picks, Scott went with Sioux Falls in the other NAIA semifinal, setting up a rematch of last season's semifinals.
He also picked Georgia over LSU in the SEC championship and Western Illinois to upset Colgate. In pro games, he picked Miami to win in the frigid weather in New England.
When I tried to tease Scott about his picks, the ultra-competitor that he is, he wanted to bet on who would do better this week.
"You want to put some money on it," he said. "I read it every week. You're not doing so hot. How'd you do against (Pat) Foster? And I believe Ferg's (George) mom beat you, too."
Yep, that's one argument I can't win.
This isn't the last week of armchair quarterbacks, but it is the last week of the regular season. We will go on sabbatical until we have a special postseason college bowl edition. We may even add a few extra pickers just for kicks and so I don't finish last that week.
The standings heated up with George and Wells tied for the overall lead, while Harvey and Barry are battling it out for third and fourth. I'm just trying not to finish last. And believe me, I will resort to cheating if need be not to finish in the cellar.
To quote former Chicago Cub and Arizona Diamondback first baseman Mark Grace, "if you ain't cheatin', you ain't trying."
I've never been big into praying for athletic success, but this really isn't athletics, so a quick prayer to God not to let George finish in first place, because I don't think any of us, including God himself, are prepared to deal with the ramifications.