Wednesday, October 23, 2013

My friends who go to Las Vegas...

...tell me that the secret to winning at the casinos is to find the "hot table."

Is there really such a thing? I don't think so; otherwise my friends would make money there instead of always losing "breaking even." ("I paid for my trip.")

But the term is useful, I think, to describe my method for choosing this week's Game of the Week. As readers of this blog know, I like to attend the Best Game Between the Best Teams. But how do you decide when you have a lineup like this?

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

Simple; just look for the hot table.

What does that mean in this context? Well, Lake Zurich is undefeated, of course, and Stevenson hasn't lost a game since Week Two. What's more, the Patriots defeated Lake Forest (6-2) last week, 20-6. But the Bears haven't beaten a winning team since Week Five when they bested, yep, Lake Forest, 21-10. Is this the hot table? I'm not sure.

(Stevenson is the only one of the six schools that I haven't seen this year. But, at 7-2 or 6-3, they will definitely be one of my teams to watch in Round One of the playoffs.)

What about Loyola and St. Rita? Again, the Ramblers are undefeated, but haven't had a "big" victory since Week Six, when they beat Mount Carmel (7-1) at home. And, last week, Loyola defeated Lake Forest Academy (3-5) without five starters, including quarterback Jack Penn. That doesn't sound like a hot team to me.

And Rita? They just got past Brother Rice (3-5) last week, 38-35. More important, before the game I saw some tweets about quarterback Tommy Mister not playing. He did, of course, but it makes me wonder: Is he at 100 percent? Because if not, the Mustangs don't have a chance.

So that leaves Glenbard North at Wheaton North. I was at the game last year in which the Panthers won, 17-15, on a thrilling last-second field goal by Hector Ortiz. That was for the DuPage Valley Conference title; so will this Friday night's game. GBN went on to play Mount Carmel in the 8A final in Champaign. Are they headed to the championship again?

Glenbard North, as you can see below, hasn't lost a game since Week One (home team in CAPS). In the last couple of weeks the Panthers have defeated two really good teams, Naperville Central and Wheaton Warrenville South. And Justin Jackson, as I'm sure you know, has been putting up some really good numbers.

BATAVIA 29, Glenbard North 26
GLENBARD NORTH 35, Carmel 14
GLENBARD NORTH 37, Naperville North 28
GLENBARD NORTH 41, Lake Park 12
Glenbard North 40, GLENBARD EAST 0
GLENBARD NORTH 34, Aurora West 13
Glenbard North 40, NAPERVILLE CENTRAL 34
GLENBARD NORTH 37, Wheaton Warrenville South 21

The Falcons, for their part, haven't lost a game since Week Three and are coming off a big win over Naperville Central. Quarterback Clayton Thorson had a great game and is really starting to hit his stride. Finally, both he and Jackson have committed to Northwestern next year. So this could be the last chance you get to see them play against each other (until the NFL). (By the way, how did NU coach Pat Fitzgerald land both of these guys? Good job!)

Here's a rundown on the Falcons' season so far:

WHEATON NORTH 42, Cary-Grove 18
Wheaton North 40, GENEVA 27
WHEATON NORTH 31, Naperville North 13
Wheaton North 42, LAKE PARK 17
WHEATON NORTH 52, Glenbard East 7
Wheaton North 48, AURORA WEST 7
WHEATON NORTH 31, Naperville Central 17

So how have the two schools performed against each other in recent years? (I have to admit I was surprised at how much GBN has dominated Wheaton North.)

2012: GLENBARD NORTH 17, Wheaton North 15
2011: WHEATON NORTH 27, Glenbard North 17
2010: GLENBARD NORTH 17, Wheaton North 14
2009: Glenbard North 32, WHEATON NORTH 0
2008: GLENBARD NORTH 35, Wheaton North 14
2007: Glenbard North 36, WHEATON NORTH 13
2006: GLENBARD NORTH 29, Wheaton North 26
2005: Glenbard North 30, WHEATON NORTH 14
2004: GLENBARD NORTH 43, Wheaton North 7

But the bottom line is this: Two excellent teams are facing off against each other with the conference title at stake. GBN has arguably the best running back in the state; North has arguably the best quarterback. And both teams are on a roll. Sounds like the hot table to me!

P. S. As always, I'll be live tweeting the game @BoringOldWhtGuy.

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