One thing we have learned from monitoring message boards and answering a flurry of email each week during football season is that every fan has an opinion about just who is the best team.
So this weekend, we asked for yours. Rank our Top 10 from 1-10, we said. And you responded.
In little more than 24 hours, nearly 250 submitted usable submissions, up from 178 last year. With those submissions, we've totaled up the Second Annual RivalsHigh fans' preseason Top 10.
Before releasing ours next week, we'll release yours.
Assigning a 10, 9, 8, etc. points to your picks, we came up with your order.
Public Preseason Top 10
We asked for it and you gave it to us, the user-generated RivalsHigh 100 Preseason Top 10. Only one team in this public poll matches the official one that will be released starting Monday.
No. 1 Manatee (81) - 2018 points
No. 2 Skyline (21) - 1608 points
No. 3 Grayson (18) - 1588 points
No. 4 Trinity (51) - 1444 points
No. 5 B.T. Washington (9) - 1373 points
No. 6 Santa Margarita (22) - 1303 points
No. 7 Byrnes (0) - 1066 points
No. 8 Curtis (6) - 1064 points
No. 9 Good Counsel (6) - 1022 points
No. 10 Bellevue (24) - 924 points
Here are a few fun facts, too:
Not all 10 schools eligible received at least one first-place vote -- Duncan (S.C.) Byrnes did not.
No ballot copied our order. Not one. Amazing.
The schools that received the second-most, first-place votes (Louisville Trinity, 51) did not finish second overall.
The team that received the fewest first-place votes (Byrnes, 0) did not finish last.
The school that finished 10th (Bellevue) had the third-most first-place votes.
Last year's surprising No. 1 team (Louisville Trinity) showed its national stature by cracking the Top Five and getting the second-most first-place votes.
Seven people (or was it one person seven times?) listed Manatee as No. 1, but failed to fill out the other nine teams.
There were 13 ineligible ballots that listed Grayson in every spot.
This is hardly scientific, but it clearly shows how diverse the mindset is from a public perception perspective.
The good news? This year, more than any previous, will feature a number of out-of-state games between the top teams.
That means, the shakeout for the Top 10 will be determined where it should be -- on the field.
With that, your preseason rankings and a breakdown of the votes:
RivalsHigh 100: How the teams broke down
Bellevue (Wash.) High
First place votes: 24
Most common ranking: No. 10 - 57 times
Least common ranking: Nos. 2 and 3 - 3 times each
Breakdown: Overall, Bellevue was toward the bottom of the poll on the majority of the ballots totaling 154 votes between the the last three spots. Its 24 first-place votes were enough to keep the school from falling to the bottom of the overall ranking, which is where many felt it should be.
Bradenton (Fla.) Manatee
First place votes: 81
Most common ranking: No. 1 - 81 times
Least common ranking: No. 9 - 0 times
Breakdown: Entering the season believed to be best in the Sunshine State certainly got the attention of the public as Manatee was either in first, second, or third on 191 of the ballots cast. It only received 12 votes cumulative from seventh through last place, showing how its perception atop Florida gives a boost to its placement.
Dallas (Texas) Skyline
First place votes: 21
Most common ranking: Nos. 3 and 4 - 48 times
Least common ranking: Nos. 8, 9, and 10 - 9 times
Breakdown: Like Manatee before it, Skyline being the perceived top team from Texas - and only Texas team on the ballot - helped keep the team inside the early seedings in the public poll. The cluster from second through fourth was 28 second-place votes, 48 for both third and fourth, and then 30 for fifth.
Duncan (S.C.) Byrnes
First place votes: 0
Most common ranking: No. 9 - 48 times
Least common ranking: No. 1 - 0 times
Breakdown: In two years of the public poll, there has been a clear team that people did not think was the best in the land -- last year Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman only received one first-place vote -- and this season it is Byrnes. The Rebels were still respected enough to stay out of the cellar in the final tally as the school received 30 votes or more in four spots: fifth (33), sixth (30), eighth (42), ninth (48).
Loganville (Ga.) Grayson
First place votes: 18
Most common ranking: No. 2 - 45 times
Least common ranking: No. 9 - 3 times
Breakdown: Grayson was a frequent recipient of votes inside the Top Five with 45 votes at second place, 39 in third, and 34 in fourth. Oddly, it did not make it to double digits in either eighth or ninth place, but received more than 20 votes for last place.
Lousiville (Kent.) Trinity
First place votes: 51
Most common ranking: No. 1 - 51 times
Least common ranking: No. 2 - 9 times
Breakdown: The public perception certainly has changed on Louisville Trinity since last season. During this same exercise, the Shamrocks received more last-place votes than any other team and was in the last three spots more than the top seven combined. After winning a national title, the Shamrocks received a lot of first-place votes, but other opinion was spread out. It dropped from 41 votes last-place votes last season to 19 this year with an additional 70 ballots cast.
Miami (Fla.) Booker T. Washington
First place votes: 9
Most common ranking: Nos. 3 and 7 - 39 times
Least common ranking: No. 1 - 9 times
Breakdown: Booker T. Washington was pretty well spread out through the rankings with four places receiving more than 30 votes and another totaling 28. The usual placement was between Nos. 2-7, with low totals in the other four spots. With teams from non-power states, it was easy to slide this team into higher spots as it is the No. 2 team from Florida.
Olney (Md.) Good Counsel
First place votes: 6
Most common ranking: No. 9 - 40 times
Least common ranking: No. 1 - 6 times
Breakdown: The Atlantic East is always one of the weaker regions in public perception and Good Counsel was on the negative side of that. The team had more than 35 votes in each of the last four slots in the balloting: No. 7 (42), No. 8 (36), No. 9 (40), No. 10 (36). It was under 10 votes in three other spots, all in the top four.
Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) Santa Margarita
First place votes: 22
Most common ranking: No. 7 - 42 times
Least common ranking: No. 8 - 15 times
Breakdown: It is interesting that Santa Margarita piled up more than 40 votes at the No. 7 spot, but it had fewer than 20 votes on either side of that spot. The top team in California entering the season had more than 20 votes for the first four spots in the poll, including receiving the fourth-most first-place votes of any team with 22.
River Ridge (La.) John Curtis
First place votes: 6
Most common ranking: No. 8 and 10 - 39 times
Least common ranking: No. 1 - 6 times
Breakdown: Curtis was one of four teams that did not make it to the top line of very many ballots and sat toward the lower end of most of them. It received 37 votes for fifth place, which was just a few less than the total it had for the four spots ahead of it.