Monday, September 23, 2013

Last week I had Wheaton Warrenville...

...South at the top of my rankings because I thought that any team that could beat Glenbard West, Maine South and Wheaton North in its first three outings deserved to be No. 1. This week I'm back to ranking Naperville Central No. 1 because they are the best team I've seen so far.

(Again, rather than post the rankings from each news service like I used to, I just put each team's individual rank after their name in the following order: Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times and MaxPreps. You can click on each of those links to see their entire rankings.)

I'll be out of town this week but if I were here I'd see Mount Carmel (4-0) at St.Rita (4-0) on Friday night and Hinsdale Central (3-1) at Glenbard West (3-1) on Saturday.

I've been to eleven games and seen 22 different teams so far. Here's how I would rank them:

1. Naperville Central (4-0); Trib No. 12, Sun-Times No. 14, MaxPreps No. 8.

The Redhawks, who shut out their last two opponents, have only allowed one touchdown in the last ten quarters. Couple that stingy defense with the potent offense led by quarterback Jake Kolbe (above) and I still say they could play with anyone in the state. Their next big test is against Wheaton South in Week Six. Both teams should be undefeated for that meeting; and I'll be there.

2. Wheaton Warrenville South (4-0); Tribune No. 6, Sun-Times No. 5, MaxPreps No. 4.

Assuming the Tigers get past Naperville North (1-3) this week, the winner of the game against Naperville Central should be my No. 1 team.

3. St. Rita (4-0); Trib No. 7, Sun-Times No. 10, MaxPreps No. 9.

I'm going to go out on a limb and rank the Mustangs No. 3. If they beat Mount Carmel this weekend as I expect then I'll look smart; otherwise I won't. But can Carmel stop dual-threat quarterback Tommy Mister? (He and Kolbe are the two best QBs I've seen this year.)

4. Loyola (4-0); Trib No. 2, Sun-Times No. 3, MaxPreps No. 7.

The Ramblers have beaten two high-quality opponents in O'Fallon (3-1) and Providence (2-2). If they defeat Brother Rice (1-3) this weekend, as they should, they will be undefeated when they host Mount Carmel on October 5.

5. Benet (4-0); Trib No. 9, Sun-Times No. 16, MaxPreps No. 5.

The Redwings impressed me on Friday night; they dominated Crete-Monee in every area. Why aren't these guys getting more press? Is it bias against the East Suburban Catholic Conference? Because running back Brad Sznajder is the quickest I've seen this year and John Duvic may very well be the best placekicker I've ever seen.

6. Mount Carmel (4-0); Trib No. 1, Sun-Times No. 1, MaxPreps No. 1.

I got myself into a lot of trouble underestimating the Caravan last year. But they struggled this week against a 1-3 Brother Rice team. If they can beat St. Rita on Friday I'll be a believer.

7. Lake Zurich (4-0); Trib No. 4, Sun-Times No. 2, MaxPreps No. 2.

The Bears notched another shutout this weekend, against Mundelein (1-3). This week will be a good test against undefeated Lake Forest (4-0).

8. Marist (3-1); Trib No. 16, Sun-Times No. 15, MaxPreps No. 16.

The RedHawks only beat St. Patrick (1-3) by eight points. This week they face Mike Ivlow and the Joliet Catholic (4-0) juggernaut. (That's scary just to write.)

9. Notre Dame (4-0); The Trib has the Dons "on the verge" of being ranked, MaxPreps No. 33.

The Niles squad has to get past St. Viator (3-1) this week before they begin their brutal run of Nazareth, Marist and Joliet Catholic.

10. Wheaton North (3-1); Trib No. 17, Sun-Times No. 11, MaxPreps No. 13.

The Falcons got back on track against Naperville North (1-3) and should improve to 4-1 against Lake Park (1-3) this week. Next big test will be against Naperville Central in Week Eight.

11. Providence (2-2); Trib No. , Sun-Times No. 22, MaxPreps No. 30.

My cousin's husband told me before the season that the Celtics had some huge linemen and he wasn't kidding. Also, running back Dominic Lagone is a beast -- 235 yards on 37 carries against Loyola! The New Lenox squad should improve to 3-2 this week against Gordon Tech (2-2).

12. Neuqua Valley (3-1) Sun-Times No. 24, MaxPreps No. 15.

The Wildcats handed St. Charles East (3-1) their first loss of the season. Next comes East Aurora (0-4).

13. Warren (3-1); MaxPreps No. 35.

The Blue Devils shut out winless Zion-Benton (0-4) on Friday. They'd better not look ahead to Stevenson when they host Libertyville (2-2) this week.

14. De La Salle (3-1); MaxPreps No. 101.

The Meteors beat St. Ignatius (1-3) and should do the same against St. Joseph (1-3).

15. Niles West (4-0); MaxPreps No. 127.

The Wolves remain undefeated, beating Glenbrook North (1-3). I'll say they improve to 5-0 this week against Evanston (2-2).

16. Phillips (2-2); MaxPreps No. 224.

The Wildcats beat Julian (2-2) and should defeat Harlan (2-2).

17. St. Patrick (1-3); MaxPreps No. 65.

The Shamrocks played well against Marist. Bloomington (3-1) should be another good test this week.

18. Crete-Monee (3-1); Trib No. 20, Sun-Times No. 25, MaxPreps No. 28.

I'm sorry, but the Warriors just couldn't do anything right against Benet. I hate to be snarky, but how on earth did they even get ranked in the first place? (Pssst: Laquon Treadwell and Jerry Verde are gone and they're not coming back.) Crete should get back on track this week against Rich East (0-4).

19. Niles North (1-3); MaxPreps No. 327.

The Vikings got beat by undefeated Glenbrook South (4-0) this weekend and now travel to Maine West (2-2) in a pick 'em game. (I'll pick the home team Warriors.)

20. Bartlett (1-3); MaxPreps No. 280.

The Hawks lost to Metea Valley (2-2) and now face Waubonsie Valley (3-1). If they lose this week they'll have to run the table to make the playoffs. (Not likely.)

Smaller schools:

1. IC Catholic Prep (3-1); MaxPreps No. 112.

The Knights beat St. Edward (2-2) and now face a good test in Marian Central (3-1) this week.

2. Aurora Central Catholic (3-1); MaxPreps No. 209.

The Chargers beat Chicago Christian (2-2) and should improve to 4-1 against St. Edward (2-2).

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