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‘Big Cat Classic’ hasn’t lived up to name

The name of Friday night’s annual gridiron duel between Corydon and North Harrison may have the word ‘classic’ in it, but it’s hardly lived up to that description the past decade.
Sure, it’s fun to sit back and try to put a spin on the game to make it sound like both teams are always evenly matched, that records can be thrown out the window, or that either club could come away with a win.
But let’s be honest: Over the past 10 years, the average margin of victory has been 28.7 points. The losing team has averaged just 9.2 points.
The one exception was the 1995 season, when Corydon won the regular season matchup, 32-26, only to be clipped by North in the sectional, 22-8.
Over the past five years (which includes six games due a sectional meeting in 1999), the loser of the game has scored exactly two touchdowns. As in, less than three and more than one.
The winner has averaged 43.4 points.
That’s hardly stuff for Instant Classic status on ESPN.
If you want to predict a winner for the game, look at the records. The team with more wins coming in is the one that typically winds up with the traveling trophy when the clock hits 00:00.
That’s probably going to be the case Friday at Corydon Central.
The Panthers are riding a three-game win streak, their offense is clicking, and the defense is simply outstanding.
On the other side of the pigskin, North Harrison’s offense thinks Christmas is in October: the Cougars have turned the ball over seven times in the past two games.
They’ve shown that they can move the ball, even scoring against Brownstown’s first-teamers a couple of weeks ago and burning Clarksville once last Friday.
If North Harrison wants to have any glimmer of hope in Friday’s tilt, it can’t continue to put the ball on the ground, or throw into the hands of players on the opposing team.
— The baseball playoffs began yesterday, so it’s time for my annual kiss-of-death predictions.
In the National League, the Dodgers should feel lucky to still be playing. That luck will run out against St. Louis, which will win in three. Atlanta, minus names like Maddux, Glavine, Millwood, Lopez and Sheffield, will still find a way to put their jinx on the Astros from Houston. I predict the Braves in five, with the Braves edging St. Louis to advance to the World Series.
In the American League, I like Boston sweeping Anaheim in the short series, and then see the Yankees working over Minnesota in four games. The crystal ball, which I admit is cracked, shows Boston finally dumping New York, setting up a Boston-Atlanta World Series.
Atlanta then stuns the world by winning their second championship.
If you are betting based on my predictions, you should know that every single one of my first round picks last year was wrong.
— The Braves (a.k.a. my favorite MLB team) weren’t predicted to do much of anything this season. Admittingly, I even lost some hope after the ‘Four Aces’ (Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz and Steve Avery) were slowly reduced to just one (Smoltz), and Marcus Giles suffered an early-season injury.
Manager Bobby Cox had other thoughts as he worked his magic for the 13th-straight year, winning another division championship.
The Braves’ post-season run will hinge on their young pitchers and on the health of star third baseman Chipper Jones (right hand injury).
If he’s out, we’ll have to see what other aces Cox has up his sleeve.

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