RAY ELEY RECORDS FIRST IN LAST WEEK ON FOOTBALL CONTEST
November 11, 2008 11:00 pm

By Chad Robert Snyder

Pilot staff writer

After a season chock full of anomalies, razor thin margins of victory and a slew of unexpected winners, we didn't think anything could have surprised us here at the Pilot.

We were wrong.

There was still one outcome missing from the cornucopia of 2008 football contest results.

We hadn't had a perfect score.

Now we do.

The highly skilled predictor this time around, Ray Eley of Brookings.

Eley, a longtime football contest aficionado, picked all 20 winners correctly.

To further confound reason, second place in week 10 was his wife, Mae, who had only one incorrect selection, Pittsburgh.

"I told her to pick the Steelers," Eley said.

As a lifelong Colts fan, Eley said his own pick was based on reason, and not on any bias he might have.

"You don't pick with your heart when you want to win," he said. "And they were due."

Maybe he should have told his wife that. Ray and Mae will have been married 58 years on the 24th on this month, only slightly longer than Ray's Colt fandom.

But as he said, they weren't really the Colts until 1953.

Eley credits his success to an incredibly deliberate and analytical process of picking the tough games.

"I have a scientific way of selecting," he said. "I go to the library and read articles, then I flip a coin; if it's heads I go with the favorite, if it's tails I pick the underdog."

Seems like a good philosophy. It this case it paid off with a $50 bill.

When asked how it feels to be the unquestioned football authority this week, Eley was thoughtful for a moment, then answered.

"It feels wonderful," he said. "You wouldn't believe the amount of work and study that goes into it."

For all those lamenting the end of the season, just keep in mind another chance at victory and the cash prize is only nine months away.

Maybe it's time to find yourself a lucky coin.