It’s football season.
That fact became official Sunday with the release of our annual football preview issue, “Kickoff 2014.”
The annual labor of love the Marietta Daily Journal sports department produces takes us the entire year to plan and execute, and still it always comes down to the final days and hours to make sure everything is exactly the way we want it before it goes to the press.
We are proud of the expanded 100-page issue this year, and we hope you are, too.
And, if somehow you missed it, you can still get a copy at the MDJ offices on Fairground St. starting today.
However, “Kickoff 2014,” was just the opening salvo.
Once again this year we will provide our readers with Cobb Football Friday. After a one-year experiment with trying to split it into a pair of preview issues on Thursday and Friday, we are returning to the single eight-page preview section that will be included in each Friday’s paper.
As always the issue will offer features, player profiles and game previews, along with stats, standings rankings, our top-10 Cobb Football Friday Power Poll and the Otters Lucky 7.
The Lucky 7 will once again feature picks from yours truly, along with last year’s VIP picker champion Dr. Stan Dysart from Pinnacle Orthopaedics, Fox 5 sports anchor Ken Rodriguez and Eric Zeier, the former Marietta High School and University of Georgia quarterback legend.
However, you, our readers, have a chance to get into the game, too. On the new cobbfootballfriday.com, which will go live today, you will have the opportunity to get into the 2014 Cobb UPickem Contest.
Again this year, thanks to Superior Plumbing and owner Jay Cunningham, one lucky player will take home an iPad each week for picking the games better than everyone else. However, there have been some changes made to the game that will really make picking the high school game winners a premium.
Each week will have a possible point total of 40. Games will be weighted. The Cobb Football Friday Game of the Week will generally be worth more points than the others, but the point totals for the high school games will fluctuate from two to four points apiece. College and professional games, with a few exceptions, will all be worth one point apiece.
After 14 weeks — 12 during the regular season and the first two in the playoffs — we can’t wait to see who will supplant Marti and Keith Queen, the 2013 winners, as the overall UPickem champions. That is unless the Queen’s return to their football bunker and come out victorious again.
Once you have made your picks for Week 1, check out the rest of the redesigned website. Our live, real-time scoreboard, sponsored by Peachtree Orthopedic, should prove to be more user friendly and easier to find the score of your favorite team.
There are more links to stories on the site, so readers can keep up with all the latest news. You will be able to check out the newest edition of the Cobb Football Friday webcast where K-Rod and I break down all the games each week. And it will also be a one-stop shop for the county stat leaders, photo galleries from all the games, and the current Cobb Football Friday Twitter feed.
Speaking of Twitter, now would be a good time to go there and follow Cobb Football Friday @Cobbfballfri. By following us you will be able to keep up with all the scores from around the county with our live, real-time score updates that we tweet out each Friday night thanks to Williamson Brothers Bar-B-Q.
Saturday’s Marietta Daily Journal will again offer high school football as its own section, and Sunday, just when you thought there wasn’t any more to report, we will have the Cobb Football Friday Weekend Wrap-up page where we highlight the weekend’s best performances, select the Cobb Football Friday Player of the Week, and offer all the stats from Friday’s games and look ahead to the next week’s schedule.
If it sounds like a lot of high school football, it is. There aren’t many papers in the country that offer the amount of coverage we do for the prep gridiron, but none of it would be possible without the hard-working sports staff and our title sponsors – Superior Plumbing, Pinnacle Orthopaedics, Ed Voyles Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, and our newest addition to the Cobb Football Friday family, Zaxby’s.
So, let’s get ready for Week 1.
It’s football season. Let’s go.