in Predictions

Putting It On The Line: With almost half of Heart of Texas high school football teams playing district contests, third-ranked Texas tries to stay in the NCAA college football national title conversation & the Cowboys visit Arizona

With the third-ranked Texas Longhorns moving into the forefront of the NCAA college football national title conversation, THE SPORTS BUZZ Gridiron Gurus pick’ems panel selects a slate of 18 Texas college football games along with 20 high school games from across the Heart of Texas, while NFL football moves into Week 3 with the Dallas Cowboys (2-0) visiting the Arizona Cardinals (0-2) while the Houston Texans visit a second straight AFC South rival with a road game at the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1).

This season, THE SPORTS BUZZ Gridiron Gurus pick’ems panel welcomes newcomer Ed Rieser, owner of the Corner Drug Café and Screen Door Inn in Clifton, while Jeff Boutwell, a Recreation Business Line Manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Toney Rogers, an assistant band director and entertainment promoter, Don Nicholas, Field Representative for U.S. Congressman Roger Williams (TX-25), and The Sports Buzz’ Brett Voss return from last year.

New to the pick’ems panel this season, Rieser was born and raised just west of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania in Beaver Falls, and proudly claims to be an avid Pittsburgh Steelers, Pirate and Penguin fan. A graduate of St Edward’s University (BA) and Oklahoma City University (MBA), Rieser retired from the U.S. Department of Treasury with 33 years of government service.

Owner of the Brooks Building in Clifton along with his wife Phyllis and daughter Nikkolina, they own and operate the Corner Drug Café and Screen Door Inn. Rieser also serves as a member of the Cranfills Gap Independent School District School Board, a member of the Cranfills Gap Chamber of Commerce, the President of the Board of Trustees of the Bosque Museum, and member of the Clifton Economic Development Corporation board of trustees.

Back for a second season, Boutwell is a longtime “resident” of Laguna Park and an unapologetic Aggie. Born and raised in Cameron, Boutwell played on Cameron’s 3A State Football Championship team before graduating in the Class of 86 at Texas A&M where he was a member of Company S-2 of the Corps of Cadets. Boutwell also played Aggie football as a member of the famous 12th Man Kickoff Team from 1984-86 as a part of two Southwest Conference Championship teams, playing in the 1986 Cotton Bowl against Auburn and Bo Jackson, as well as the 1987 Cotton Bowl against Ohio State with Chris Carter and Chris Spielman.

Boutwell has worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers since 1986 where he started his career as a Park Ranger at Lake Whitney, and he has also served overseas supporting the U.S. Army in Iraq in 2007 and 2009 and again in Afghanistan in 2011. During the Texas high school football season, Boutwell works as a crew chief in the Waco Chapter of the Texas Association of Sports Official, so he will not be selecting high school games due to a conflict of interest.

Rogers, owner at Daddy T Entertainment and entertainment agent at Netex Productions, returns to the pick’ems panel for this third season and currently serves as the Meridian High School assistant band director. He has also served as an announcer for various high school to professional sporting events for several years, such as being the Voice of Crawford Lady Pirate Softball and announcing for UBU Bodybuilding Expos, while serving as Marketing Director for the Waco Tornado indoor football team and Marketing Director for North Texas Falcons Pro Football Team.

In addition to being involved in the entertainment industry for more than 40 years as a professional musician and a booking agent, Rogers has also been involved in several community organizations such as Clifton Park Board President, Legacy Park Board, Entertainment Director for Fallfest, CISD Advisory Board and a member of Lions Club.

Entering his fourth season on the THE SPORTS BUZZ Gridiron Gurus pick’ems panel, Nicholas grew up in North Dakota in the north central part of the state about 20 miles from the Canadian border, attended high school in a small town of about 175 people, played football, ran track and was very active in FFA before graduating in a class of 14.

With bachelor’s degree in Ag Econ and Communications from North Dakota State and a MBA in Human Resources from the University of Mary in Bismarck, ND, Nicholas joined the U.S. Army National Guard in 1971 and was activated to the Army in 1978, where he served through 2003. After working as a government contractor, Nicholas worked as the district director for Texas State Rep. Ralph Sheffield from Temple before being hired by Congressman Williams in 2014.

Last but certainly not least, Nicholas loves hunting, other outdoor activities, rodeo and North Dakota State football.

As the long-time veteran of pick’em panels, Voss established THE SPORTS BUZZ website in 2019 delivering award-winning sports coverage with daily posts in the Heart of Texas focusing on Class 3A, 2A and 1A high school athletics while including insights into college and professional sports. With over 40 years of experience as a professional newspaper sports writer and columnist that includes a stint at the Dallas Morning News, Voss’ numerous awards include the Texas Press Association’s prestigious Fred Hartman Award for Excellence in Sports Writing presented the best sports writer in Texas in 2017.

At 11 years old, Voss knew exactly what he wanted to be when he grew up. When Roger “The Dodger” Staubach arrived and finally led his beloved Cowboys to their first Super Bowl championship in 1971, a family friend sent Brett a copy of the Dallas Morning News covering the Cowboy Super Bowl win. While reading Bob St John’s account of the game, Brett thought to himself, “Someone actually gets paid to do this as a job?”

Join us every Thursday throughout the 2023 football season as THE SPORTS BUZZ Gridiron Gurus pick their winners for a select group of the week’s high school games, your favorite college teams from the NCAA Div. I, Div. II and Div. III, as well as the state’s two NFL teams, the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans.

Be sure to make your picks as well!

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