October 16, 2011

Ohio is a confusing twister of interplay games

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Dallas Jackson is the Senior Analyst for RivalsHigh. Email him your question, comment or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.

Interplay games can often prove to be one of the best gauges of where teams belong in national rankings.

It is the stuff that transitive property arguments are made of.

But try to figure out Ohio - a state which often produces a Top Ten team in the RivalsHigh 100.

No. 38 Cincinnati (Ohio) St. Xavier's 17-10 win over No. 45 Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward Saturday afternoon - and on the heels of No. 6 Cincinnati (Ohio) Moeller losing to unranked Indianapolis (Ind.) Cathedral on Friday - interplay in the Buckeye State could prove to be more confusing than comforting.

Moeller already holds a 27-24 win over St. Xavier on the season and is scheduled to face St. Edward next week. Should St. Edward (a former Top 25 team) triumph, it would be tough to argue which of the state's current top three teams (Moeller, St. X, St Edward) is the state's best.

The answer may lie elsewhere.

The team that may benefit the most from all of this interplay is the one that is currently the least involved - Mentor (Ohio) High.

At No. 39 in the RivalsHigh 100, and now at 8-0, it is one of the highest-scoring teams in the Ohio Division I bracket, averaging more than 44 points per game following its 45-7 victory over Medina on Friday.

Mentor, which doesn't figure to be tested in its final two regular-season games, already has proved itself. It has a two-touchdown win over Cleveland (Ohio) St. Ignatius, a team that will be joining the RivalsHigh 100 this week, and an impressive 24-point victory over current-No. 90 Solon (Ohio) High.

But if you think Mentor can escape Ohio's triumvirate of talent, think again.

Mentor could see St. Edward in the first round of the always tough Ohio postseason. If Mentor is able to advance out of its region it would likely run into current-No. 92 Pickerington (Ohio) Central, a team that has lost to both Moeller and St. X as well, in the state semifinals. A victory there would potentially set itself the school up for a showdown against, you guessed it, St. X or Moeller.

In theory, such a run would help settle all this. But what may be best for Ohio is if a team off the radar makes a magical run to the title.

Toledo (Ohio) Whitmer is the best hope for that.

At 8-0 and an average margin of victory of 47-8, it is flying under the national rankings radar.

It is also staying completely out of the interplay mess.

And that may be the safest place to be right now.

MORE: Analysis: No. 6 Moeller plays its way out of national title talk




 

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