Autumn begins...

Soon we will all know. You can really only do so much speculating and guessing, folks. Eventually you just have to go out there and see what happens. So we wait for Sunday.

Me? I can't wait so I'm heading to the lake to think about camp-fires and pike and the sasquatch that lives down the steep hill that likes to kill in the dead of night. That should keep my mind off the Pack until kickoff, dontcha think?

Truth be told, this is an annual trip, and like Coach McCarthy in the pre-season, I've been planning and thinking about the 'Start of the Autumnal Wonderland' for some time now. My tackle box is sitting beside me with all my best pike baits at the ready. My pick-it-up truck is gassed up and the cooler is stocked with all sorts of goodies.

We're trying a new lake this year, said to harbor some unusually monstrous pike, so being a good planner, I've procured a paper lake map to study, marked it up with scratches and highlighted weedbeds and areas marked "Fish Here at Sunrise!" and "Holy Smokes - Looks Promising!" This is not unlike the pre-seasoned games and practices of the NFL. Yes, the southern shoreline may look promising, folks, but have I casted it yet? Have I see the weeds up close to get a real sense of them? Have I moved from the paper map unto the actual water and felt the wind on my old beard-whiskers? No, my dear readers, I have not. I will not, until tomorrow when the fog lifts.

So what do we really know about The Green and Gold as Sunday approaches? You see where this is going...

But get a load of this: There's nothing wrong with optimism, and often the guy who catches the big one is the guy who has done his homework, so don't take that the wrong way.

I think the offense will put up some points and the defense will probably look a bit less super-human, and after the game we'll be able to shuffle through our notes and figure out where we really stand now that the campfire is roaring.

And I stand by my earlier 11-5 prediction, but as my regular readers know, I almost always pick the Packers on the week-by-week basis (almost?). This does not change today.

Give me the first win of the season, folks, Chicago - 17, Green Bay - 27.
Huzzah Huzzah Huzzah!

Until next time, then.

PS - I'm making Ike come with me on this annual MPU retreat, so you'll have to re-read this column a few times until next week! We need someone to get up early and start the coffee!