I said from the very beginning that I didn't want to do it.

But they made me.

I don't, after all, know much about football and I'm certainly not qualified to make predictions on weekly games, which is why I first refused to participate in Guessing the Gridiron.

I was told, however, that I would do fine. That there was no need to worry. I was assured that participating would involve no public humiliation.

They were wrong.

I am currently tied (with Joey Roberts) for last place. Wanda Pringle is sitting smugly at No. 1, with Rochelle Stidham behind her in the No. 2 spot.

This is serious.

Disturbed with the latest standings that were sent to me via e-mail a few days ago, I walked into the sports editor's office and said, “What am I doing wrong?”

He glanced up from his computer, and with a pen sticking out of his mouth, cackled, “Sara, you picked Iowa State to beat the University of Texas last week! What do you expect?”

Well, I don't know what I expected, but I didn't expect to be losing.

Then he leaned back in his chair, laughed a little louder and picked up the phone.

As I made my way back to my office, I heard him say, “Hey, can you believe Sara picked Iowa over Texas last week…”

He will pay for that.

In the meantime, I've got a serious problem I need to tackle. No pun intended.

I don't want to be in last place again next week, so I'm taking a hard look at how I choose my teams. I'm rethinking my gridiron strategy.

Until now, I've been going it alone, refusing to ask the males in my household for help. I'm tired of them bossing me around. Besides, I had developed a simple, yet brilliant strategy I felt certain would work.

You see, I guess the winners based on their location.

That's right. Whichever city I like best, gets picked. If it's near a beach, I go with it. I always pick teams from California and, just to be funny, I never choose the Cowboys. I always go with the local teams, although I once jokingly threatened to vote against Stephenville until my sons (who never think I'm funny) blew a gasket and threatened to move out.

They have no sense of humor.

However, they do have pity and are offering to help. They said if I take their advice, they'll gently guide me upward in the Gridiron standings. And that's what I'm after.

My goal is to knock off that know-it-all Wanda Pringle.

But I'll try to do it nicely, of course.

SARA VANDEN BERGE is Managing Editor of the Empire-Tribune. She can be reached at 254-968-2379, ext. 240.