FAB 50 Weekend Preview
The blog has been away for a couple of days, but nothing like playoff football to get back at it with vigor as the weekend approaches. Every state with a FAB 50 team save California and Florida are into postseason play, so the games for the nation's top 50-ranked programs should get progressively more competitive each week from here on out.
Game of the Week:
No. 18 Elder (11-1) vs. Colerain (11-1), Saturday, 8 pm ET
The two top teams in Cincinnati this year meet in a Division I regional final that should be a classic, with the winner a favorite to land a spot in the DI state title game down the road. Elder's lone loss this year was against FAB 50 No. 2 St. Thomas Aquinas at the Herbstreit Challenge, while Colerain was as high as No. 8 in the FAB 50 before being upset by Middletown the first week of October. The series is tied 4-4. The teams last met in '04, when Colerain won both meetings on the way to the state title.
No. 2 St Thomas Aquinas (9-0) at Miramar (8-1) -- If anybody in Broward County can hang with the Raiders, it could be one-loss Miramar, who has a slew of DI talent of its own. The Patriots are led by Elite 11 QB Eugene Smith and his deep receiving core that features West Virginia-bound Stedman Bailey as well as star junior Ivan McCartney. St. Thomas Aquinas dominated last year's meeting 38-6, but a year wiser and more experienced, Smith will hope to find holes against the Raiders' secondary and pull off the upset.
No. 40 Rockhurst (10-1) at Blue Springs South (9-2)* -- This is a rematch of the nationally televised season-opener for both teams that quickly turned into a laugher, as Rockhurst pounded BSS on Labor Day weekend. South was able to regroup a few weeks later and have now reeled off eight straight wins behind Missouri-bound senior QB Blaine Dalton, including a 42-15 rout of Blue Springs four weeks back, the lone team to beat Rockhurst. Of course the Rockhurst avenged that loss to Blue Springs last week with a 48-0 rout in the first round of the playoffs.
No. 11 St. Ignatius (11-1) at Strongsville (11-1)* -- Many in Ohio have the Wildcats ticketed all the way to the state finals after surviving Glenville last week, but Strongsville hopes to spring the upset in this Region I final. The Mustangs have won 11 straight since falling by one point to St. Edward in their season opener. Ignatius topped St. Edward twice this fall, 34-12 in the regular season finale and 37-0 in the first round of the playoffs. Ignatius won the last meeting between the schools, 48-21, in the opening round of the 2004 playoffs.
No. 2 St Thomas Aquinas (9-0) at Miramar (8-1)
No. 3 Lowndes (10-0) vs. Luella (7-3)*
No. 4 Gateway (11-0) vs. Penn Hills (8-3)*
No. 5 Long Beach Poly (9-0) at Jordan (7-2)
No. 7 Oscar Smith (11-0) vs. Bethel (8-3)*
No. 8 Lake Travis (10-0) Austin Johnson (6-4)*
No. 9 St Xavier (9-0) vs. Nelson County (4-6)*
No. 10 Camden County (10-0) vs. Creekside (7-3)*
No. 12 South Panola (11-0) vs. Provine (6-5)*
No. 13 Corona Centennial (9-0) at Norco (6-3)
No. 14 Phoebus (11-0) vs. Green Run (11-1)*
No. 15 Lakeland (9-0) at Kathleen (5-4)
No. 16 Skyline (10-0) vs. Federal Way (8-2)*
No. 17 North Shore (8-0) vs. Deer Park (8-1)*
No. 19 Maryville (11-0) at Knoxville West (5-6)*
No. 20 Don Bosco Prep (8-1) vs. Paul VI (6-2)*
No. 21 Permian (10-0) vs. El Dorado (6-4)*
No. 22 Stone Bridge (11-0) vs. Mount Vernon (9-2)*
No. 23 Dorman (11-0) vs. Wando (3-8)*
No. 24 North Penn (10-0) vs. Abington (9-2)*
No. 25 Good Counsel (10-0) vs. Bishop McNamara (5-5)*
No. 26 De La Salle (8-1) at California (6-3)
No. 27 Plant (8-1) at Robinson (2-7)
No. 29 Prattville (9-1) vs. Opelika (8-2)*
No. 30 Abilene (10-0) vs. Mansfield (6-4)*
No. 31 Byrnes (10-1) vs. Spartanburg (5-6)*
No. 32 John T Curtis (9-1) vs. Ferriday (5-5)*
No. 35 Madison County (8-0) vs. Wakulla (5-3)
No. 36 Oceanside (9-0) at Ramona (8-1)
No. 37 St Bonaventure (8-1) vs. San Marcos (3-6)
No. 38 South Pointe (11-0) vs. West Florence (7-4)*
No. 39 Allen (9-1) vs. South Grand Prairie (7-3)*
No. 40 Rockhurst (10-1) at Blue Springs South (9-2)*
No. 41 Peoria Centennial (10-0) vs. Kofa (5-5)*
No. 42 Cretin-Derham Hall (12-0) at Blaine (10-1)*
No. 43 Union (9-1) vs. Page (6-4)*
No. 44 Northside (9-1) vs. Union Grove (7-2)*
No. 45 Independence (10-0) vs. West Mecklenburg (5-6)*
No. 46 Center Grove (11-1) at Castle (10-2)*
No. 47 Notre Dame (9-0) vs. Bishop Amat (7-2)
No. 48 Jenks (9-1) vs. Enid (7-3)*
No. 49 Bellevue (10-0) vs. Lindbergh (8-2)*
No. 50 Newnan (10-0) Savannah Johnson (5-5)*
No. 1 Trinity (10-0) vs. Flower Mound Marcus (5-5)*
No. 11 St Ignatius (11-1) at Strongsville (11-1)*
No. 18 Elder (11-1) vs. Colerain (11-1)*
No. 28 Arrowhead (12-0) vs. Stevens Point (10-2)*
No. 33 Maine South (11-0) at Barrington (9-2)*
No. 6 Armwood (10-0) Next: 4A Playoffs Rd.1
No. 34 Glenville (11-1) - season complete
* - indicates playoff game
• Scary news from Jacksonville, where star Ribault High junior WR Javon Bell was shot in the thigh on Sunday, News 4 Jacksonville is reporting. Bell was a Class 2A all-state selection in '07 as a sophomore, catching 32 passes for 903 yards and 10 TDs, and was enjoying a similarly outstanding season this fall. The 5-11, 170 pounder also starred at the Florida Nike Camp this past April. He should be able to return to the gridiron as a senior next fall.
• Ever wonder what college football coaches look for in an offensive line recruit? It's more than just finding huge kids or guys that can bench press a lot of weight. Eric Sondheimer of The L.A Times talked to three prominent college offensive line coaches to see what is most important to them.
• University of Miami QB Jacory Harris attended his alma mater, Miami Northwestern's game over the weekend. Harris not only saw his team win but watched junior QB Teddy Bridgewater break his single-game school passing record with 404 yards in the Bulls' 50-22 victory over Hialeah, reports The Miami Herald.
• There isn't a more intense rivalry in Orange County (Calif.) than when Fountain Valley and Edison meet up in the the Battle of the Bell. This year, the Chargers were playing for more than just the bell, they were playing for teammate Luke Gane who had to sit out the entire season after being diagnosed with aplastic anemia, writes Dan Albano of The Orange County Register.
• Art Kabelowsky of The Milwaukee Jounal-Sentinel writes that it's no mystery why certain teams are state contenders in Wisconsin every year -- coaching is the key to yearly success.