Sunday, October 20, 2013

Glenbard North joins my rankings...

...after Week Eight while Niles North and Bartlett both exit after becoming ineligible for the postseason. I've now seen 26 different teams in 16 games.

My Game of the Week will be selected from one of the following:

Lake Zurich (8-0) at Stevenson (6-2);
Loyola (8-0) at St. Rita (7-1); or
Glenbard North (7-1) at Wheaton North (7-1)

In the meantime, here are the 24 teams I've seen that are still playoff-eligible. (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. Loyola (8-0); Trib No. 1, Sun-Times No. 1, MaxPreps No. 3.

The Ramblers remain on top after beating Lake Forest Academy (3-5). This week brings the big finale at St. Rita (7-1).

2. Glenbard North (7-1); Trib No. 7, Sun-Times No. 7, MaxPreps No. 8.

Running back Justin Jackson put on quite a show Friday night as he rushed for 349 yards and scored three touchdowns in only three quarters against a strong Wheaton Warrenville South (6-2) defense. This week's match-up against Wheaton North (7-1) could be every bit as good as last year's when the Panthers edged the Falcons, 17-15.

3. Bolingbrook (8-0); Trib No. 6, Sun-Times No. 6, MaxPreps No. 14.

The Brook beat rival Lincoln-Way East (6-2) and have to get past Sandburg (5-3) to finish undefeated. Could I have ranked the Raiders No. 2 or even No. 1? Absolutely.

4. Homewood-Flossmoor (7-1); Trib No. 8, Sun-Times No. 8, MaxPreps No. 17.

The Vikings defeated Lockport (2-6) and should beat Stagg (4-4) this week. If so, H-F could be in for a rematch with Bolingbrook.

5. Mount Carmel (7-1); Trib No. 2, Sun-Times No. 2, MaxPreps No. 5.

The Caravan shut out Providence (4-4) without star running back Matt Domer. Carmel should cruise past Leo (7-1) this week and enter the postseason at 8-1.

6. Wheaton North (7-1); Trib No. 12, Sun-Times No. 11, MaxPreps No. 9.

The Falcons handled Naperville Central (5-3) with ease and now host Glenbard North (7-1). The contest will determine the winner of the DuPage Valley Conference.

7. Lake Zurich (8-0); Trib No. 3, Sun-Times No. 3, MaxPreps No. 6.

The Bears eliminated Libertyville (3-5) from the postseason and now travel to Stevenson (6-2) in what should be a good test (and harbinger) for both teams.

8. St. Rita (7-1); Trib No. 9, Sun-Times No. 9, MaxPreps No. 10.

The Mustangs struggled to get past Brother Rice (3-5). Will home-field advantage be enough to upset Loyola (8-0) this week? Quarterback Tommy Mister will have to be at the top of his game.

9. Neuqua Valley (7-1) Trib No. 11, Sun-Times No. 12, MaxPreps No. 33.

The Wildcats beat West Chicago (0-8) and now face Bartlett (3-5). I have Neuqua ranked higher than Naperville Central, who defeated them in a head-to-head contest. And that begs the question: Are rankings supposed to be for the whole season or just a snapshot?

10. Warren (6-2); MaxPreps No. 39.

The Blue Devils defeated Mundelein (1-7) and now travel to Lake Forest (6-2). If you're in the neighborhood, this should be a good game.

11. Marist (5-3); Sun-Times 21, MaxPreps No. 18.

The RedHawks redeemed their loss to Notre Dame (6-2) in Week Seven by upsetting Benet (6-2). Marist should defeat Moline (1-7) this week and enter the playoffs at a respectable 6-3.

12. Wheaton Warrenville South (6-2); Tribune No. 16, Sun-Times No. 14, MaxPreps No. 7.

The Tigers were a completely different team without running back Isaiah Campos. Wheaton South should bounce back against Glenbard East (2-6) this week but will need to be at full strength for the playoffs.

13. Naperville Central (5-3); Sun-Times No. 17, MaxPreps No. 22.

The Redhawks dropped their third game in a row, to Wheaton North (7-1). If Central can regroup against crosstown rival Naperville North (5-3) they can also enter the postseason at a respectable 6-3.

14. Benet (6-2); Trib No. 17, Sun-Times No. 22, MaxPreps No. 27.

The Redwings are another team that needs to turn things around before the playoffs. That could be hard to do against Joliet Catholic (7-1), though, even at home. Look for Benet to finish the regular season at 6-3.

15. Notre Dame (6-2); MaxPreps No. 25.

The Dons are still another school that badly needs a win this week. Fortunately, the Niles squad faces Carmel (1-7). Phew!

16. Providence (4-4); Sun-Times No. 22, MaxPreps No. 29.

The Celtics fell to Mount Carmel (7-1) and now have to defeat Brother Rice (3-5) for a playoff bid. I'll say Providence makes it and is a dangerous 5-4 team in the first round.

17. Fenwick (7-1); MaxPreps No. 35.

The Friars had no trouble with De La Salle (5-3) and should have even less with St. Laurence (4-4). At 8-1, Fenwick should draw a good seed for the playoffs.

18. St. Patrick (5-3); MaxPreps No. 53.

The Shamrocks barely got past Carmel (1-7) and now travel to St. Viator (5-3). This should be a good test for both squads.

19. De La Salle (5-3); MaxPreps No. 89.

The Meteors were shut out for the second week in a row, this time at the hands of Fenwick (7-1). De La Salle now travels to Bishop McNamara (5-3) for a game that will leave the winner at 6-3 and the loser at 5-4; that could mean a much different first-round opponent.

20. Niles West (6-2); MaxPreps No. 125.

The Wolves lost their second game in a row, to New Trier (4-4). Can they salvage a 7-2 season against Glenbrook South (6-2) on the road? I'll say no.

21. Phillips (5-3); MaxPreps No. 204.

The Wildcats appear to have finished their regular season by beating Westinghouse (0-7). Do some CPS teams only play eight games?

22. Crete-Monee (7-1); Trib No. 19, Sun-Times No. 22, MaxPreps No. 46.

The Warriors beat Rich South (1-7) but now have to travel to undefeated Rich Central (8-0). That could be a heck of a game!

Smaller schools:

1. IC Catholic Prep (5-3); MaxPreps No. 68.

The Knights beat Walther Lutheran (2-6) and should improve to 6-3 against Chicago Christian (2-6) this week.

2. Aurora Central Catholic (6-2); MaxPreps No. 135.

The Chargers upset Marmion (6-2) but now have to host Montini (8-0). Oh, well; 6-3 is a good finish.

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