Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Lakeland's case for No. 1 remains strong

I might have also titled this entry, The Return of the Blog ...

That's right. One year and one day after returning from my honeymoon, I am back in my bloggers' chair to at least make an honest effort to regularly discuss with you the National Prep Poll rankings and other topics in high school football and basketball. Hopefully, my schedule will allow this to become a regular feature again. But that is partially dependent on how many (and how good) emails FROM YOU I get to answer. So, shoot your questions, comments and concerns to prepnation@aol.com.

OK. Now for Lakeland and its ongoing status as our No. 1 ranked team in the National Prep Football Poll. First of all, I will say this. The irony isn't lost on me that last season I caught more than my share of grief from Dreadnaught supports for "having something against" their team, because we had them ranked No. 2 all season while USA Today had them at No. 1. Now, apparently some feel I have to much love for the 'Naughts. And USA Today's love for Lakeland -- well, let's just say that relationship must have ended badly. Oh well. Such is the business of high school rankings, I suppose.

Anyway, let me state the case for Lakeland staying in the No. 1 spot despite only defeating its last two opponents by a combined 7 points. Oh, by the way, those two opponents have a combined W/L record of 15-5. Not too shabby.

  • Unlike some other national polls, teams DO rise and fall WEEKLY on merit in our poll -- but merit includes their entire body of work, not just one week's work. So, obviously Lakeland didn't score a lot of points for struggling to beat two pretty good (but not nationally ranked) teams ... but this is the same team that also has beaten another national Top 10 team (Cincinnati St. Xavier) on the road, destroyed another 8-2 team this season by 39 points (Lake Gibson), has won 40 consecutive games, and has eight players on its roster committed to SEC colleges. Were all those player better as juniors than they are as seniors? Probably not. Some have battled injuries this season, however.
  • If your argument is that we are inconsistent in not dropping down Lakeland this week, I think you are wrong. For example, No. 12 Charlotte Indy has dropped a couple of notches recently after its close wins. But Charlotte Indy does not have any signature wins like at Cincy St. X and by 39 over Lake Gibson, therefore their margin for error is less when they struggle to win.

Looking at teams ranked No. 2-5 and their opportunities to finish No. 1:

Lakeland CAN be supplanted from its No. 1 spot, but some other team is going to have to take it from them.

No. 2 Oaks Christian -- On tape, probably nobody has looked better (in my opinion) this season. The Lions have nine players committed to BCS colleges, and it shows on the field. Running back Marc Tyler looks like a man against boys. But one win over a regionally ranked team (St. Bonaventure) and another over an above average but not elite Venice team will be about all this team has on its resume at the end of the year. They will need help to move up and might eventually move down.

No. 3 Southlake Carroll -- Appears to be dominating as in the past and might even be better on defense. But unlike Lakeland, turned down a chance to take its act on the road this season and play at the Herbstreit. Looks like they won't be able to face Top 10 ranked Lufkin in the 5A/II playoffs, but instead will get No. 22 Euless Trinity early on in the 5A/I bracket. Closest it has come to signature wins so far are routs over 6-3 Colleyville Heritage and Grapevine or against an extremely short-handed and no longer very elite Evangel Christian team. Could still move up, but will have to have some help.

No. 4 John Curtis -- Beat preseason No. 1 Hoover on its home field and looked great doing it. Outside of that, is playing a weak Class 2A schedule (same problem faced by Oaks Christian) but has been extremely dominant in doing so. Very little chance to move up from its current No. 4 spot. Could probably only move down.

No. 5 De La Salle -- The win over Mission Viejo was impressive but not as impressive as Lakeland's win in Cincy or even Oaks Christian's win over St. Bonaventure. Not to mention John Curtis' win at Hoover. DLS still has a chance to jump up, but we'll see which So Cal Power they end up playing in the California Bowl and how good they look in that game.

I have seen Oaks, SLC, Curtis and DLS all play on tape this season. Oaks was the most impressive of the four -- not just in terms of how badly they crushed their opponent but in how complete of a football team they are. So, given that Oaks and Curtis' schedule is basically a wash, they get the edge over Curtis' for being more impressive looking in action. With all that said, there is absolutely no lock that Oaks moves to No. 1 if Lakeland should lose. SLC and DLS could both still move up based on the opportunity that still sits before both of them in terms of chances to get impressive postseason wins over quality opposition.

So, there you have it. That is our case for having Lakeland at No. 1 on this day, November 7, 2006.

What happens from here? That's for the players and coaches to decide ... on the field.

OK. So first blog of 2006 finally under my belt. That wasn't too bad. I think I'll do this more often -- but ONLY if I hear from you and let me know what is on your mind. Some of you know I do a lot of posting on the national HS football board at TexasHSFootball.com. I will continue that, but with my limited time I would much rather dedicate my Q & A time to this blog. So, all of you TXHSF national posters -- please shoot me a note at prepnation@aol.com to keep the conversation going!

Till next time.



Anonymous said...

Have you seen tapes of Warren Central out of Indianapolis? If you have, what do you think about them? They are on their way to their 4th consecutive state championship in 5A. That's never been done in Indiana.

PrepNationSports said...

I certainly have seen Warren Central play several times on tape. They run the triple option offense with great efficiency and power. Running back Darren Evans was nearing the pace for a national record for TD runs in a season earlier this season. He still should end up with 60 or more scores, provided the Warriors make it to the 5A final again. And I think they will. Coach Steve Tutsie, who was WC's defensive coordinator for the last three state championships, has done a tremendous job keeping things going on Indy's East side.

Anonymous said...

Wuz up Jamie, Question #1 are as excited as most Euless Trinity and SLC fans about these two teams meeting the 2nd round of the Texas State Div I 5A playoffs?

I mean, Div I defending State Champs Euless Trinity who should be 10-0 at the time vs Two time defending Div II State Champs SLC who should also be 10-0 at that time meeting that early in the playoffs.

I mean, somebody is going home after the 2nd round of the playoffs and I was wondering if you have a prediction?

3rd question:
Euless Trinity is a big time
running team, with a big physical offensive line, do you think it would be a measruing stick for what DLS might do to SLC next year?
If SLC wins the Euless game, do you think it would help them prepare for DLS next year?

Keep up the good work

Texas Fan

Anonymous said...

My mistake both SLC and Euless Trinity should be 11-0 by the time they meet in the 2nd round.

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