The hot button topic last week around the state in high school football was the first release of the RPI rankings in all classes.
Those numbers will ultimately determine not only who each of the four wild-card entries will be from each region (seeded No. 5-8) but also where each district champion will be seeded (No. 1-4).
The system itself was tweaked this year as not only a team’s opponents final record and results will weigh heavily on your RPI number but even your opponents’ opponents.
Confused? Don’t feel bad. Most of us are. The bottom line is that no matter where the numbers were last week, which turned a few heads as certain teams were lower than they probably should’ve been and vice versa, the situation is as fluid as it gets as those numbers will fluctuate quite a bit as the final three weekends of high school football are played.
The one ranking that clearly caught my eye was Region 4 in Class 6A. Even though the Central Rockets have put together a 6-2 record against an extremely tough schedule, it was 7-0 Naples that occupied the top spot and even a Naples Barron Collier team in second.
Perhaps Naples being on top since the Eagles haven’t lost is one thing (even though their difficulty of schedule doesn’t come close to Central) but Barron Collier? I looked it up. The Cougars are not only 5-2 but their five wins are over Boyd Anderson, Edison, Immokalee, Cypress Lake and Golden Gate. Huh???
Of course like I just stated, we’ll just give this time over the course of the next few weeks for everything to sort itself out and see where all the dominoes fall on Nov. 3 when the final postseason pairings are announced.
THIS WEEK’S TOP 20
1. St. Thomas Aquinas; 2. Plantation American Heritage; 3. Northwestern; 4. South Dade; 5. Central; 6. Chaminade-Madonna; 7. Palmetto; 8. Dillard; 9. University School; 10. Western; 11. Booker T. Washington; 12. Deerfield Beach; 13. Cardinal Gibbons; 14. Gulliver Prep.; 15. Douglas; 16. Calvary Christian; 17. Edison; 18. Carol City; 19. Plantation; 20. Champagnat.
Knocking on the door: Columbus, Monarch, Miramar, North Miami Beach, Miami High, McArthur, Killian, Ft. Lauderdale, Blanche Ely, Westminster Academy.
THIS WEEK’S TOP GAMES
▪ No. 16 Calvary Christian (8-0) at No. 14 Gulliver Prep. (7-0), Friday, 4: This battle of undefeated teams should be a good one. Both coaches, Kirk Hoza at Calvary and Earl Sims at GP have put together nice seasons and each team figures to be big players in the upcoming 3A and 4A playoffs, respectively. It looks like Gulliver has played a slightly more challenging schedule than the Eagles so that, combined with the home field has me going with the Raiders. BD’s Pick: Gulliver 27-24.
▪ No. 18 Carol City (3-5) at No. 4 South Dade (7-0), Friday, 7:30, Harris Field: Thanks to easily the toughest schedule in the state, the Chiefs looked like an absolute beaten down, tired team last week in an upset loss to Edison. And it gets no easier as now it’s a trip to Homestead to take on an unbeaten Bucs team. South Dade may be unbeaten but, other than a win over Columbus which doesn’t look quite as impressive now given the Explorers’ struggles, the Bucs haven’t played that challenging of a schedule. They’ll be challenged on Friday as the Chiefs, as beaten up as they are, will still bring their A game and give the Bucs everything they can handle. BD’s Pick: South Dade 20-16.
▪ No. 12 Deerfield Beach (5-2) at No. 1 St. Thomas Aquinas (6-0), Friday, 7: It has been a choppy up-and-down kind of year for Deerfield while the No. 1 nationally ranked Raiders (USA Today) have pretty much been cruising each week having not even been in a close game yet. Even though the Bucks might challenge for awhile, I really don’t look for that to change this week as St. Thomas is just too deep at every position on the depth chart and will flex that muscle again . BD’s Pick: Aquinas 38-17.
REST OF THE TOP 20
▪ 2. Plantation American Heritage (6-1) vs. Clearwater American Collegiate Academy (2-4), Friday, 7: Whatever the Patriots feel like winning by. BD’s Pick: Heritage 45-13.
▪ 3. Northwestern (5-2) vs. Key West (5-2), Friday, 7:30, Traz Powell: Conchs are having a nice season but haven’t seen anything close in the way of an opponent as they’re about to see now. Bulls wrap up the district. BD’s Pick: NW 44-12.
▪ 5. Central (6-2) vs. South Miami (2-4), Thursday, 3:30, Tropical Park: The Rockets have already wrapped up their district title and will simply have things in cruise control against the outmanned Cobras. BD’s Pick: Central 45-8.
▪ 6. Chaminade-Madonna (6-1) at Vero Beach (7-0), Friday, 7: A good tough road test for the Lions as Vero is one of the top 8A teams in the state. But the Indians haven’t seen an opponent as nearly as good as this one. BD’s Pick: Chaminade 33-21.
▪ 7. Palmetto (6-1) vs. Miami High (5-2), Thursday, 7, Southridge HS: Stingarees having a nice season under first year coach Corey Smith and Panthers, with a big showdown against South Dade on deck, might struggle keeping focused on this week’s opponent. BD’s Pick: Palmetto 27-20.
▪ 8. Dillard (8-0) vs. Columbus (4-3), Friday, 7: Even though Columbus turned in a clunker against U. School last week and is struggling, this is still by far the stiffest test yet for a Dillard team that has only one quality win (Miramar) this season. BD’s Pick: Dillard 23-20.
▪ 9. University School (6-1) at Clearwater Central Catholic (5-3), Friday, 7: A good solid road test for University. After an 0-2 start, CCC has won five of its last six but Sharks should be able to take care of their business. BD’s Pick: University 35-16.
▪ 10. Western (6-1): Idle.
▪ 11. Booker T. Washington (6-2) vs. North Miami Beach (5-2), Friday, 7:30, Curtis Park: BTW had to play a game on Monday night (crushing American 41-0) meaning two games in five days while Jeff Bertani has Chargers playing well this season. Thus this one might be a little closer than everyone thinks. BD’s Pick: BTW 30-20.
▪ 13. Cardinal Gibbons (5-2) at Coral Springs Charter (4-3), Thursday, 7, Coral Glades HS: Chiefs are pushing to get one of the top two seeds and a first round bye in Region 4-4A playoffs and need to keep it going. BD’s Pick: Gibbons 35-16.
▪ 15. Douglas (6-0) at Nova (0-7), Friday, 7: Winless Nova having an awful season and Eagles a historically great season which will keep moving along. BD’s Pick: Douglas 48-6.
▪ 17. Edison (4-3) at Miami Christian (4-3), Thursday, 4: Huge season-defining win for Edison last week but Red Raiders will need to stay focused and take care of business here. BD’s Pick: Edison 33-14.
19. Plantation (6-1): Idle.
20. Champagnat (5-2) at Delray Beach American Heritage (5-2), Friday, 7: Lions back in the top 20 and will be challenged here with a tough road game. BD’s Pick: Champagnat 24-20.
▪ Thursday: Miami-Dade: Hialeah Gardens vs. Mourning (Ives Estates), 7: HG 40-8; Southwest vs. Jackson (Curtis Park), 7: Jackson 26-13; Homestead vs. Hialeah (Milander), 7: Hialeah 48-7; Varela vs. Coral Park (Tropical), 7: CP 20-14; Belen Jesuit vs. Norland (Traz), 7: Norland 23-21; Broward: Piper at Cypress Bay, 7: CB 37-6; Hallandale at Flanagan, 7: Flanagan 19-17; McArthur at Cooper City, 7: McArthur 31-16; Coral Glades at Coral Springs, 7: Springs 24-21.
▪ Friday: Miami-Dade: Sunset at Reagan, 3:30: Reagan 19-13; Westland Hialeah at Goleman, 3:30: Goleman 48-0; Northwest Christian at Palmer Trinity, 4: PT 33-12; Palm Glades Prep. at Coral Shores, 7: Coral Shores 13-12; Mater Academy at Doral Academy, 7: Doral 51-7; Westminster Christian at St. Brendan, 7: STB 20-17; LaSalle at WPB Kings Academy, 7: Kings 33-16; Ransom-Everglades at Delray Village Academy, 7: RE 28-12; Everglades Prep. at Florida Christian, 7:30: FC 32-16; North Miami vs. Miami Beach (Flamingo), 7: NM 34-8; Miramar vs. American (Milander), 7:30: Miramar 34-3; Hialeah-Miami Lakes vs. Krop (Ives Estates), 7:30: Krop 38-12; Miami Springs vs. Killian (Tropical), 7:30: Killian 41-8; Southridge at Monsignor Pace, 7:30: Pace 14-13; Broward: NPB Benjamin at North Broward Prep., 7: Benjamin 34-20; Somerset Silver Palms at Pine Crest, 7: Silver Palms 28-20; Stranahan vs. West Broward (Flanagan HS), 7: Stranahan 41-6; Hollywood Hills at Archbishop McCarthy, 7: Hills 12-10; Coconut Creek at Blanche Ely, 7: Creek 21-20; Boyd Anderson vs. Taravella (Coral Springs), 7: Taravella 30-13; Northeast at South Plantation, 7: SP 39-8; Everglades at South Broward, 7: South Broward 35-12; Pines Charter at WPB Berean Christian, 7: PC 30-14.
▪ Last week: 42-6 (overall); 16-2 (top 20).
▪ Season: 288-62 (overall); 108-15 (top 20).