Editor's note: ESPN will release the ESPN RISE FAB 50 national football rankings to start each week of the regular season. The rankings combine three previously independent polls and are compiled by a panel of voters, including Doug Huff (Wheeling, W.Va.), Jon Mahoney (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Sheldon Shealer (Myersville, Md.), Brian Stumpf (Torrance, Calif.) and Mark Tennis (Stockton, Calif.). Kynon Codrington, Christopher Lawlor, Mike Loveday, Bob Masajo and Paul Muyskens also contributed to the poll. For the regional rankings, click here. Check out the complete Week 15 breakdown.
St. Thomas Aquinas High School (Fort Lauderdale,Fla.) is regarded as having one of the nation's top all-time all-around athletic programs, but the Raiders have never been No. 1 in the nation in football before.
Head coach George Smith and company can change that over the next two weeks. St. Thomas Aquinas is the new No. 1 in this week's ESPN RISE FAB 50 following its 56-14 romp past South Fork Friday in the Class 4A state playoffs combined with previous No. 1 Trinity (Euless, Texas) being upset by Allen, 34-21, in the Class 5A Division I playoffs.
In addition to St. Thomas Aquinas moving up to No. 1, the voters on the FAB 50 panel moved up Long Beach Poly of California from No. 4 to No. 2 and jumped up Allen of Texas from No. 19 all the way to No. 3.
It was an extremely close vote between the No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6 teams with just three points separating Lake Travis of Texas, Camden County of Georgia and Oscar Smith of Virginia. Camden County was previously No. 9 and received its boost after knocking off previously unbeaten Newnan, 27-7, in the Class AAAAA state semifinals in Georgia.
This week's rankings also are highlighted by the appearance of nine newly-ranked squads. Several of those teams – such as Tesoro of Las Flores, Calif., and Pine Forest of Pensacola, Fla. – are unbeaten teams that will be facing higher-ranked FAB 50 teams in key playoff games this weekend.
Results as of Dec. 6.
Also Receiving Votes: Destrehan (La.) 13-0, Grant (Sacramento, Calif.) 12-0, Longview (Texas) 12-2, Lowndes (Valdosta, Ga.) 12-1 (Season complete); Oakton (Vienna, Va.) 13-1 (Season complete), River Hill (Clarksville, Md.) 14-0 (Season complete, Rockford (Rockford, Mich.) 13-1 (Season complete), Timpview (Provo, Utah) 14-0 (Season complete), Valley (West Des Moines, Iowa) 14-0 (Season complete), Wilson (West Lawn, Pa.) 14-1.
Dropped Out: : Previous No. 16 Maryville (Maryville, Tenn.); No. 18 North Penn (Lansdale, Pa.); No. 28 Madison County (Madison, Fla.); No. 31 Newnan (Newnan, Ga.); No. 35 Independence (Charlotte, N.C.); No. 40 Jenks (Jenks, Okla.); No. 41 Lowndes (Valdosta, Ga.); No. 46 Pearland (Pearland, Texas); No. 50 Wilson (West Lawn, Pa.).
*Ties in points are broken according to which team was ranked higher by a majority of panelists. Asterisk by win-loss record indicates season is complete.