Thursday, October 16, 2014

This weekend, you need...

...look no further than the Catholic League Blue for your two Games of the Week.

Tomorrow, Brother Rice (5-2) will be at Providence (6-1) and on Saturday St. Rita (6-1) travels to Loyola (6-1). I don't know which one I will attend just yet (in case you haven't noticed, I'm trying to cut back), but both should be great.

The Ramblers are the only team in the conference I have yet to see. Incredibly, I've been to three Mount Carmel (3-4) games this year. (And seen them lose each time!) Oh, well, I guess that's what happens when you move south of Madison Street. If the Caravan can win its last two games, against Hales Franciscan (5-2) this weekend and Loyola next -- a big "if" -- then all five Catholic League Blue programs will advance to the postseason.

Now, as I've mentioned before, I can't remember a year with such parity in the state's arguably best conference. Any one of these teams can beat anyone else -- and that goes double for this weekend.

First, let's have a look at tomorrow night's game.

The Crusaders of Brother Rice are 5-2 and ranked No. 9 in MaxPreps, No. 11 in the Sun-Times and No. 20 in the Tribune. Their two losses came to a pair of out-of-state teams, Brother Rice of Detroit (7-0 and ranked No. 1 in the state of Michigan by MaxPreps!) and Brebeuf Jesuit of Indianapolis (5-3 and ranked No. 34 in Indiana by MaxPreps.) But Rice beat three winning teams: Marist (4-3), Loyola (6-1) and St. Francis (5-2). (More on those Spartans later.)

Here's the full 2014 schedule with 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
Brother Rice 26, MOUNT CARMEL 17 
BREBEUF JESUIT (IN) 34, Brother Rice 28

As for Providence, well, I still think they're the best team I've seen this year. The Celtics are ranked No. 3 in MaxPreps, No. 7 in the Trib and No. 10 in the Sun-Times. At 6-1, they only dropped a last-second heart-breaker on a field goal to Loyola in Week Six. Other than that, the New Lenox squad has beaten four winning teams: Joliet Catholic (5-2), Marmion (5-2), St. Rita (6-1) and Bishop McNamara (4-3). If they can get past Brother Rice tomorrow night then only Lake Forest Academy (3-4) will stand in the way of an 8-1 finish and a high seed in Class 7A. (And an ultimate show-down with Cary-Grove (7-0) in Champaign?) 

Here's another look at their season to date:

Providence 21, JOLIET CATHOLIC 10
PROVIDENCE 56, Minooka 13
PROVIDENCE 33, Mount Carmel 14
PROVIDENCE 37, Marmion 7
Providence 41, ST. RITA 27
LOYOLA 10, Providence 7
PROVIDENCE 56, Bishop McNamara 13

Before I get into who's going to win this contest, I thought I'd mention how silly it is, according to my buddy Kevin, to take note of what any two teams did against each other in years past when today's players were in grade school. I beg to differ. If I were a gambling man, which I am not, I'd want to know the history of any particular match-up. (Is there a pattern here? Does one coach have the other's number? Is one team just plain cursed?)

So here are the last ten years' worth of games between these two Catholic League competitors:

2013: PROVIDENCE 28, Brother Rice 22
2012: Providence 42, BROTHER RICE 21
2011: Brother Rice 38, PROVIDENCE 31
2010: BROTHER RICE 26, Providence 18
2009: PROVIDENCE 23, Brother Rice 21
2008: BROTHER RICE 27, Providence 10
2007: Brother Rice 10, PROVIDENCE 9
2006: Providence 20, BROTHER RICE 13
2005: Brother Rice 34, PROVIDENCE 10
2004: Brother Rice 20, PROVIDENCE 19

I don't know about you, but I don't see any pattern here at all. Admittedly, Brother Rice has won six out of the last ten meetings, and the visiting team has also won six of the last ten times. Does that mean that the visiting Crusaders are going to win tomorrow night? I don't think so. If you'll notice, Providence, and the home team, has won three of the last five. So I don't find this to be of much help.

Once again, Providence is the best team I've seen this year and I've seen both. (How on earth did the Ramblers hold these guys to one touchdown?) The Celtics should emerge victorious tomorrow night. If I'm there I'll be live-tweeting the contest @BoringOldWhtGuy. If not, I'll be sneaking a peek myself every now and then on Twitter.

The forecast for game time is sixty degrees and clear. Perfect. Enjoy the game!

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