Let's run down the field of the Ontario Dominion Tankard. Here's my picks from highest to lowest.
The Ontario Dominion Tankard starts Monday in Barrie.
Glenn Howard, Coldwater (defending champion)
I know, I know, I am going out on a limb here picking the seven-time champions, but someone has to stick their neck out.
Saying that, who knows. All it takes is one game, one break and the Howard Four is sitting at home.
Craig Savill was honoured as the male athletes of the year in the annual Ottawa Sports Awards. So he has that going for him.
John Epping, Toronto Donalda
He's ninth on the World Curling Tour money list with $28,400 and seventh on the WCT Order of Merit. Scott Howard (Glenn's son) is second on this team, which should be an interesting storyline if both Epping and Howard make it to the final. Epping used to play for Howard's vice Wayne Middaugh.
Epping beat Howard twice at the 2012 Sun Life Financial Players' Championship in Summerside, P.E.I. last April.
Joe Frans, Bradford
Joe is such as solid curler. He's curling with Dale Matchett's crew: Ryan Werenich (son of the legendary Ed Werenich), Jeff Gorda and Shawn Kaufman. Like Howard, this team is based out of Bradford, so they too can enjoy the home cooking.
They're my dark horse pick to make the final.
You know how sometimes when oddsmakers puts the all of the longshots together and says rest of the field? I feel like that with the rest of the Ontario Tankard. They are all similar in that they are all have experience and given a couple of breaks and a good week, I think any of the following teams could make a run to the playoffs.
Rob Rumfeldt, Guelph
Another team that has experience. Rumfeldt went to 96' Brier with Bob Ingram's out-of-nowhere team. Playing in three Slams this year will help.
Wayne Tuck, Brant
I always get this guy mixed up with Jake Higgs.
Jake Higgs, Harriston
I always get this guy mixed up with Wayne Tuck.
Bryan Cochrane, Ottawa City View
The 2003 provincial champ has been around forever. Probably politically incorrect of me to say it, but I when I hear Flo Rida sing that song, I think of Bryan.
Pat Ferris, Grimsby
Two-time provincial junior champ
Dayne Deruelle, Brampton
Is this the year he makes a run to playoffs? Can't call him an unknown anymore as this his second straight trip to provincials and third overall. Former third for Ferris and a former Brock Badger.
Darryl Prebble, Toronto Royal Canadian
Curled with the Peter Corner rink last year that got to final. Has probably the best curling name in the field if it wasn't for Tuck.
Howard Rajala, Ottawa Rideau
Seems like this guy has been around forever. Probably because the Pride of Kanata has been around forever.
Action starts Monday in Barrie. The final is scheduled for February 10.