But if I were to go to a game on Friday, this would be the one. While Carmel is fighting for its postseason life, Rice has the opportunity to show the world that its narrow Week Three 16-13 victory over Loyola at home was no fluke.
If the Caravan comes up short tomorrow night, they will be 2-4 and staring into the abyss. But Weeks Seven and Eight bring Leo and Hales Franciscan, two teams over which Carmel should be expected to prevail. They would then, at 4-4, have to host a Loyola team -- that has had the Caravan's number in recent years -- to make the playoffs. Sound like a lot of pressure on Coach Frank Lenti's squad? Nah.
(As someone noted recently, how would you like to be the unfortunate 8-1 or 9-0 team that draws a 5-4 Mount Carmel in the first round of the 7A playoffs? Yikes!)
The Crusaders, meanwhile, are in no less a precarious spot. If Rice should happen to stumble against Mount Carmel, they would drop to 4-2 before having to play Indiana's Brebeuf Jesuit (4-2 and currently ranked No. 31 in the Hoosier State by MaxPreps), Providence on the road and St. Rita at home in Week Nine. Again, sound like pressure? You bet.
So this contest is kind of a must-win for both schools. And only one can emerge victorious. Which will it be? Let's have another look at what they've both done so far this year. First Brother Rice (home team in CAPS):
BROTHER RICE (MI) 40, Brother Rice 34
BROTHER RICE 27, Marist 20
BROTHER RICE 16, Loyola 13
Brother Rice 35, ST. FRANCIS 29
BROTHER RICE 34, St. Laurence 7
And now the squad from 64th and Dante:
St. Joseph's Prep (PA) 28, MOUNT CARMEL 27 (Toyota Park)
Mount Carmel 43, MORGAN PARK 6
PROVIDENCE 33, Mount Carmel 14
ST. RITA 23, Mount Carmel 21
MOUNT CARMEL 49, De La Salle 7
As you can see, Carmel lost two really close games. I was at both of them and can attest that they could easily be 4-1.
This classic South Side Catholic League rivalry has been going on for much longer than I've been alive. (You can be sure there will be plenty of fathers, grandfathers and even one or two great-grandfathers from parishes like St. John Fisher, St. Christina and St. Cajetan in attendance tomorrow night.) But here are the results from the last ten years:
2013: MOUNT CARMEL 28, Brother Rice 20
2012: Mount Carmel 56, BROTHER RICE 7
MOUNT CARMEL 30, Brother Rice 9
2011: MOUNT CARMEL 35, Brother Rice 24
MOUNT CARMEL 39, Brother Rice 6
2010: MOUNT CARMEL 42, Brother Rice 7
2009: Mount Carmel 31, BROTHER RICE 21
2008: MOUNT CARMEL 35, Brother Rice 10
2007: Mount Carmel 28, BROTHER RICE 15
2006: MOUNT CARMEL 31, Brother Rice 0
2005: Mount Carmel 24, BROTHER RICE 0
2004: Brother Rice 10, MOUNT CARMEL 7
Whoa. As you can see, the Crusaders haven't beaten the Caravan in ten years, when today's seniors were about seven years old. Will tomorrow night be any different? I'm afraid not. Look for Carmel to improve to .500. And circle October 24 on your calendar; that's the night Coach John Holecek's Ramblers will travel back down to Gately to try to make it four in a row over the South Siders.