There’s been a bit of a delay, but the News-Telegraph has finally determined the winner of the year’s final Beat the Pros contest.

Randy Larsen of Atlantic rose above all other entrants in the 12-game Bowl Game Challenge to beat the panel and net $50 for the year.

Larsen was 9-3, missing just the Clemson vs. Ohio State, Oregon vs. Wisconsin and Texas vs. Utah games. As he matched the Pros’ panel, he nets the final $50 prize of the year.

It took until the last contest, but sports editor Brian Rathjen finally showed his worth by tying for top honors for the week, at 9-3. Jeff Bullock and Cynthia Smith also went 9-3. Rathjen was one of just two Pros panelists who picked Clemson to win the Fiesta Bowl, while he also was among rare company in picking Outback Bowl winner Minnesota.

On the other hip, Mike Ruddy was the lone panelist to pick Texas as the Alamo Bowl winner over Utah.

It was four games – Clemson over Ohio State, Texas over Utah, Oregon over Wisconsin and Minnesota over Auburn – that gave the final participants the most problems, much like the NT panel.

For those who have been following along, News-Telegraph publisher Jeff Lundquist was the master panelist, going 140-52. Coming in second was Austin Heinen, Advocate Journal sports writer, with a 138-54 record. Third place was staff writer Jenn Nichols with a 134-58 record. Then on order, it was advertising director Mike Ruddy and circulation clerk Cynthia Smith, production manager Jeff Bullock, financial manager Katie Holaday and circulation manager Deb Baker, and sports editor Brian Rathjen.

Thanks everyone for playing this year. See you again next fall for Beat the Pros.