wrong about them all last year.
Is it because I have so much trouble rooting for teams that are dominant year in and year out? (I always breath a sigh of relief, for example, when the New York Yankees are eliminated.)
Or am I just not very good at evaluating teams? (I was also wrong about Wheaton Warrenville South; I thought they'd be undefeated going into this week's contest against Naperville Central. Oh, well.)
(For the record, one of my readers, Ed Crotty, picked the Caravan by two touchdowns. Not bad.)
This week will be the first time in 2013 that I won't see a new team play. In fact, I'll see four teams for the second time: Naperville Central at Wheaton Warrenville South on Friday and Mount Carmel at Loyola on Saturday.
(Everyone will be talking up Glenbard West (4-1) at Oak Park River Forest (5-0). Don't listen to them; my Friday game will be better.)
Here's how I would rank the 22 teams I've seen so far this year. (Each team's individual rank after its name is in the
following order: Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times and MaxPreps. You can click on each of those links to see their entire rankings.)
1. Naperville Central (5-0); Trib No. 9, Sun-Times No. 5, MaxPreps No. 5.
Redhawks notched their third shutout in a row, this time over Aurora West (1-4). It has now been 14 quarters since an opponent has scored a touchdown on them. But this week begins a four-game stretch that will determine whether or not Central is for real: at Wheaton Warrenville South (4-1), Glenbard North (4-1), at Wheaton North (4-1) and Naperville North (2-3).
2. Mount Carmel (5-0); Trib No. 1, Sun-Times No. 1, MaxPreps No. 1.
Last week I said, "If they can beat St. Rita on Friday I'll be a believer." I'm getting closer.
If Naperville Central should happen to lose on Friday night and the Caravan beats Loyola on Saturday, I'll have to make Carmel my No. 1 team just like everyone else.
3. Wheaton Warrenville South (4-1); Tribune No. 12, Sun-Times No. 21, MaxPreps No. 8.
The Tigers were upset by Naperville North on Friday. Was it a fluke? Was South looking ahead to this week's game against Naperville Central? Are the Huskies better than their record would indicate? Or is it just really, really hard to go undefeated in the DVC? Friday night's game against the Redhawks should tell us a lot.
4. Loyola (5-0); Trib No. 2, Sun-Times No. 2, MaxPreps No. 7.
Can the Ramblers knock off Mount Carmel at home this Saturday? You won't want to miss this classic Catholic League Blue showdown of these two undefeated teams.
5. Benet (5-0); Trib No. 6, Sun-Times No. 8, MaxPreps No. 6.
Redwings rolled over Marian Catholic (2-3) on Friday and should improve to 6-0 this week against St. Viator (3-2). Then come matchups at Nazareth (3-2), at Marist (3-2) and home against Joliet Catholic (5-0). Brutal.
6. Lake Zurich (5-0); Trib No. 4, Sun-Times No. 3, MaxPreps No. 2.
The Bears defeated previously unbeaten Lake Forest (4-1) on Friday and host Antioch (2-3) this week. Will Lake Zurich be undefeated when they travel to Stevenson (3-2) in Week Nine?
7. Notre Dame (5-0); The Trib has the Dons "on the verge" of being ranked, MaxPreps No. 20.
The Niles squad beat St. Viator this week and now begin a challenging run at Nazareth, home against Marist and on the road at Joliet Catholic. Sound familiar?
8. Wheaton North (4-1); Trib No. 16, Sun-Times No. 14, MaxPreps No. 12.
The Falcons beat Lake Park (1-4) on Friday and face Glenbard East (2-3) this week. After traveling to Aurora West the following week North hosts Naperville Central and Glenbard North in the last two weeks of the regular season.
9. St. Rita (4-1); Trib No. 11, Sun-Times No. 16, MaxPreps No. 15.
Mount Carmel kept one of my favorite quarterbacks, Tommy Mister, out of the end zone on Friday night. Can the Mustangs get back on track this week at Providence (3-2)?
10. Marist (3-2); Trib "On the verge," MaxPreps No. 27.
The RedHawks fell to Joliet Catholic just like everyone else has this year. Marist should improve to 4-2 this week, however, as they host Carmel (1-4).
P. S. Whatever happened to the Corsairs anyway?
11. Providence (3-2); Sun-Times No. 22, MaxPreps No. 30.
The Celtics shut out Gordon Tech (2-3) on Friday but now have to host a St. Rita team that has a chip on its shoulder. If you're a fan of the Catholic League you have two excellent games to see this weekend.
12. Neuqua Valley (4-1) Trib "On the verge," Sun-Times No. 18, MaxPreps No. 23.
The Wildcats defeated East Aurora (0-5) and host Metea Valley (3-2) this week. Neuqua has to avoid looking ahead to its Week Seven showdown against archrival Waubonsie Valley (4-1).
13. Warren (4-1); MaxPreps No. 22.
The Blue Devils beat Libertyville (2-3) on Friday but host Stevenson (3-2) this week in what could be one of the best matchups of Week Six.
14. De La Salle (4-1); MaxPreps No. 110.
The Meteors beat St. Joseph (1-3) and travel to St. Laurence (3-2) this week. Will De La Salle be 5-1 when they host Loyola in Week Seven?
15. Niles West (5-0); MaxPreps No. 98.
Are the Wolves the most underrated team in the state of Illinois? West should continue its winning ways this weekend when they travel to Waukegan (2-3).
By the way, when was the last time a Niles West team began a season 6-0?
16. Phillips (3-2); MaxPreps No. 205.
My dark horse for 4A defeated Harlan (2-2) and has a good test this weekend when it hosts King (3-2).
17. St. Patrick (2-3); MaxPreps No. 64.
The Shamrocks edged Bloomington (3-2) but travel to Joliet Catholic this week. Yikes!
18. Crete-Monee (4-1); Trib No. 18, Sun-Times No. 23, MaxPreps No. 32.
The Warriors beat up on winless Rich East (0-5) and will be at Kankakee (3-2) this weekend.
19. Niles North (2-3); MaxPreps No. 320.
The Vikings kept their playoff hopes alive by defeating Maine West (1-4) and should get back to .500 against Maine East (2-3) this week.
20. Bartlett (1-4); MaxPreps No. 273.
The Hawks fell to Waubonsie Valley but face West Chicago (0-5) this weekend.
1. IC Catholic Prep (3-2); MaxPreps No. 128.
The Knights lost to Marian Central (3-1) and now have to play powerhouse Montini (5-0) on the road. Things won't get any easier the following week against Aurora Christian (5-0). Cover your eyes!
2. Aurora Central Catholic (3-2); MaxPreps No. 224.
The Chargers were upset by St. Edward (3-2) but should get back on track against Walther Lutheran (1-4) this week.