class. But, before I get into how I would rank the 22 teams I've seen this year according to class, let's take a look at the last three weeks of the regular season.
On Friday I'll be at Bolingbrook (6-0) at Homewood-Flossmoor (6-0) and on Saturday Providence (3-3) at Fenwick (6-0). (Look for posts tomorrow and Friday for my pre-game "analysis.")
So that leaves two more weeks.
On Friday, October 18, there are a number of good games from which to choose:
Fenwick (6-0) at De La Salle (5-1),
Wheaton Warrenville South (5-1) at Glenbard North (5-1),
Naperville Central (5-1) at Wheaton North (5-1),
Benet (6-0) at Marist (4-2),
Stevenson (4-2) at Lake Forest (5-1),
Notre Dame (5-1) at Joliet Catholic (5-1),
Lincoln-Way East (5-1) at Bolingbrook (6-0) and
Kaneland (6-0) at Sycamore (6-0).
To which one am I leaning right now? This may come as a bit of a surprise, but Kaneland at Sycamore. Why? First of all, I love games between undefeated teams: there's so much at stake. One team will go home with its first loss of the season while the other remains unbeaten. Also, I had a great experience last year at the Morris - Kaneland game in Maple Park. Sure, it was about an hour and a half from my house (Sycamore is even farther) but both teams entered the contest 8-0. And it was a great game. Finally, this could be my best chance to see either of these schools play. Once we get into the postseason in November, I try to see one game on Friday night, one on Saturday afternoon and one on Saturday night. Given the logistics of a large metropolitan area like Chicago, geography becomes a factor in my choice of games.
On Saturday, October 19, Montini (6-0) plays at Aurora Christian (5-1).
Montini is, of course, Montini and requires no introduction. (Kind of like the Mount Carmel of 5A, only better.) But Aurora Christian was 14-1 last year en route to its second 3A title in a row. Its only loss? To Montini, 31-27, in Week Eight. What's more, in a tweet from Kane County Preps: "Marmion coach Dan Thorpe says Aurora Christian QB Austin Bray has strongest arm he's seen in his 33 years of coaching." Wow. Could the Eagles possibly knock off the mighty Broncos?
(And besides, I haven't been out to Aurora Christian and I'd like to see it.)
On Friday, October 25:
Lake Zurich (6-0) is at Stevenson (4-2),
Joliet Catholic (5-1) at Benet Academy (6-0),
Glenbard North (5-1) at Wheaton North (5-1) and
Loyola (6-0) at St. Rita (5-1).
Where will I be? I think that Loyola - St. Rita game. (I'm drawn to it like a moth to a flame!) I just have to see Mustang quarterback Tommy Mister, above, one last time before the playoffs. He's the most exciting QB I've seen all year. That, and the fact that it will be an old-school, hard-fought Catholic League showdown that could go either way. Can Rita spoil the Ramblers perfect season and deny them an outright CCL Blue championship?
Finally, there's Saturday, October 26. And the best game (the only game) I can find is York (3-3) at Glenbard West (5-1). The best reason to attend this game would be another chance to sit out at lovely Duchon Field in Glen Ellyn. Otherwise, it will probably be a blow-out. And I hate blow-outs.
It might actually be a good day for me to take off altogether and get at that job jar my wife keeps waving in front of my face. Lord knows I won't get to any of it once the playoffs start.
So, without any further ado, here's how I would rank the 22 teams I've seen so far this year according to class:
1. Loyola (6-0)
2. Naperville Central (5-1)
3. Notre Dame (5-1)
4. Marist (4-2)
5. Neuqua Valley (5-1)
6. Warren (4-2)
7. Niles West (6-0)
8. Bartlett (2-4)
1. Wheaton Warrenville South (5-1)
2. Mount Carmel (5-1)
3. Benet (6-0)
4. Lake Zurich (6-0)
5. St. Rita (5-1)
6. Wheaton North (5-1)
7. Niles North (3-3)
1. Providence (3-3)
2. De La Salle (5-1)
3. St. Patrick (3-3)
4. Crete-Monee (5-1)
1. Phillips (3-3)
1. IC Prep (3-3)
2. Aurora Central (4-2)