September 22, 2013

RH100 primer: Powering the poll

The states of Texas, Florida, California, Ohio and Georgia are generally accepted as the top tier for high school football.

Through the fifth week of high school football games across the country, those states have again proved to be the best of the best. When the RivalsHigh100 is released Monday, that quintet will have 57 of the ranked teams.

Texas sets an all-time high. The Lone Star state will have 18 teams inside the national poll -- breaking a tie of 16 it shared with Florida.

Florida will have 13, California 11, Ohio nine and Georgia six.

The depth of quality teams within those five states -- combined with a relative lack of elite teams from non-power states -- has made the 2013 RivalsHigh100 the most concentrated with teams from traditional states. The majority of the next 50 teams that would be nationally ranked also come from those same states.

It is a unique and noticeable trend.

Georgia lost Hampton (Ga.) Lovejoy from the RivalsHigh100 rankings this weekend despite a victory. From there, it has the largest cluster of teams that could prove worthy of national rankings as the season plays out.

The Peach State has Buford (Ga.) High, Carrollton (Ga.) High, Coffee (Ga.) High, Gainesville (Ga.) High, Hampton (Ga.) Lovejoy, Hoschton (Ga.) Mill Creek, Powder Springs (Ga.) Hillgrove, Suwanee (Ga.) Peachtree Ridge, Tucker (Ga.) High, Valdosta (Ga.) High and Warner Robins (Ga.) Northside just on the outside.

California didn't have a team drop from the rankings this weekend, and it added another as Mission Hills (Calif.) Alemany defeated ranked Corona (Calif.) Centennial.

Alemany will be immediately tested by a team that is just outside of the rankings in Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure -- which already fell in a close contest to Centennial.

Other programs that could crack the rankings include Elk Grove (Calif.) High, Elk Grove (Calif.) Pleasant Grove, Fresno (Calif.) Edison, Granite Bay (Calif.) High, Oceanside (Calif.) High and Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame.

Ohio has six teams on the fringe that could eventually play into the RivalsHigh100.

Akron (Ohio) St. Vincent-St. Mary, Centerville (Ohio) High, Cincinnati (Ohio) La Salle, Hilliard (Ohio) Davidson, Pickerington (Ohio) North and Toledo (Ohio) Central Catholic are being discussed the most from the Buckeye State, but as playoffs play out there are teams in the 200 to 225 range that can earn a RivalsHigh100 position.

Florida is next on the list with five teams that may move into the range of ranked teams.

Naples (Fla.) High, Niceville (Fla.) High, Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage, Seffner (Fla.) Armwood and Tallahassee (Fla.) Lincoln have games on the remaining schedule -- and prior to the playoffs -- that could justify upward movement.

Texas would have had the most on this list as well had it not received some benefit of the doubt as six of its record-setting 18 teams all were ranked from No. 80 to No. 100, leaving just four teams to be discussed for inclusion.

Converse (Texas) Judson and Denton (Texas) Ryan have games against nationally ranked teams before the playoffs start, while Manvel (Texas) High and Pearland (Texas) High will likely have to wait until later in the year to prove to be more than just hollow records moving up the state rankings.

DeSOTO DESTROYS ANOTHER

Through four games, there have been few teams as impressive as the DeSoto Eagles. This week, the team takes over the No. 2 spot in the RivalsHigh100, jumping Allen (Texas) High for the top spot in the state.

The four quality wins to start the season lead all teams.

DeSoto has beaten Arlington (Texas) Martin, Tulsa (Okla.) Union, Euless (Texas) Trinity and Cedar Hill (Texas) High by a combined 192-82, and the majority of those points allowed came after the game was decided.

In consecutive weeks, the DeSoto defense has stood tall as the team was out to a 54-14 halftime lead against Trinity before it allowed three touchdowns in the second half. Friday against Cedar Hill, it was up 47-7 before it allowed the final 13 meaningless points in the fourth quarter.

Led by Desmon White at quarterback, the program looks like it could be the first from Texas to claim a RivalsHigh100 national championship.

The three-year starter has 967 passing yards and 466 on the ground in four weeks with nine touchdown passes and zero interceptions. Against Cedar Hill, White was 14-of-16 for 226 yards and a score and added 122 yards on the ground with two more touchdowns.

The rest of the Class 5A-District 7 schedule is likely not to be as tough as the first four games as far as a physical challenge, but historically DeSoto has lost focus on defense and slipped up.

For all intents and purposes, the rankings movement is nothing more than a symbolic switch. The playoff projections have DeSoto playing Allen in the Class 5A Division I semifinals, which may be a national championship game.

TURNOVER IN THE TOP 50

There will be four teams entering the top 25 this week, and all will be at the back end.

Lamar (Texas) High moves up to No. 22 from No. 29; Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei moves to No. 23 from No. 34; Bellevue (Wash.) High inches up to No. 24 from No. 28; and Paramus (N.J.) Catholic breaks in at No. 25 from No. 30.

The four teams that were replaced were previously ranked No. 9 Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas, which lost to Miramar (Fla.) High; No. 19 River Ridge (La.) John Curtis, which won in state but fell the week before in convincing fashion to Aquinas; No. 21 Chicago (Ill.) Mount Carmel, which had an uninspiring 28-20 victory over a Chicago (Ill.) Brother Rice program that already had a 55-14 loss on its schedule; and No. 24 Jenks (Okla.) High, as it downed Owasso, 27-21, but the overall evaluations of Oklahoma have been coming in lower than expected and it affected the ranking of the top team in the state.

The greatest gainers this week were Vista Murrieta (Calif.) High, Coppell (Texas) High and Greenwood (Ind.) Center Grove, which moved from Nos. 69, 67 and 77, respectively into the top 50.

Miramar (Fla.) High used its 22-20 victory over St. Thomas Aquinas to become the highest-ranked newcomer to the poll, checking in at No. 39. Longview (Texas) High re-entered the rankings at No. 48 in a week marked with a lot of movement in Texas.

LOSING STEAM

There is a lot of respect given to quality losses in the RivalsHigh100 because there is a fundamental belief in rewarding teams willing to play nationally relevant opponents versus scheduling cupcakes and building a better record.

That said, there is a pack of teams that is in danger of being pulled out of the rankings.

Nashville (Tenn.) Ensworth, Louisville (Ky.) Trinity, Indianapolis (Ind.) Carmel and Indianapolis (Ind.) Lawrence Central are intertwined with wins and losses within the group, and they are ranked Nos. 96, 97, 98 and 99, respectively. The ball became a little unraveled this week when Lawrence Central was punished by Center Grove, 42-10.

Likewise, Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco, Baltimore (Md.) Gilman, Euless (Texas) Trinity, Tulsa (Okla.) Union and Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic are hanging tough at the bottom of the rankings despite none of the five boasting a winning record.

How long each can rely on reputation while close losses pile up is to be determined, but as local play opens the belief is that those multiple losses will be negated as stockpiling wins will start against local competition.

ON THE FRINGE

As the season settles in, the amount of teams from non-power states receiving consideration fluctuates, but this season has proved to be markedly different. Many states are lacking the firepower to push their top teams into the RivalsHigh100.

Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, New England, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and West Virginia have produced RivalsHigh100 teams in recent years, but none has a team inside the top 150.

Several other states are jockeying to gain additional teams but are clogged with the aforementioned programs from power states.

Alabama is represented by two teams and lost its third -- Opelika (Ala.) High -- to the fringe of the rankings despite a win this week.

The No. 3 team in Arizona -- Tucson (Ariz.) Salpointe Catholic -- has started the season shredding its opposition 190-21 in four games but has not been able to move into the rankings.

Arkansas saw its top two teams leave the rankings this week when North Little Rock (Ark.) High and Bentonville (Ark.) High suffered out-of-state losses. Each will have to play its way back into the RivalsHigh100.

Michigan is represented by Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech and Birmingham (Mich.) Brother Rice. It could gain Lowell (Mich.) High or Novi (Mich.) Catholic Central in the coming weeks.

North Carolina is down to one team in Charlotte (N.C.) Mallard Creek, but Laurinburg (N.C.) Scotland County may push into the poll later if it remains undefeated.

A major re-rank of South Carolina cost the Palmetto State two teams. York (S.C.) High dropped from the RivalsHigh100 despite a nearly 70-point victory, and the fallout claimed Gaffney (S.C.) High, which lost to York a week ago.

The No. 3 team in the state remained Goose Creek (S.C.) High, but another convincing win by Irmo (S.C.) Dutch Fork moved that program into the No. 4 slot; the two will play next week. Spartanburg (S.C.) High pushed into No. 5 -- ahead of York and Gaffney -- as it bettered Roebuck (S.C.) Dorman -- which was the No. 5 team entering the week. The loss will push Dorman back in the rankings carousel as it gets set to battle Gaffney. York fell back to No. 6 and has challenges against Rock Hill (S.C.) Northwestern and Rock Hill (S.C.) South Pointe to end October. Gaffney was the biggest loser of the re-rank when it moved back to No. 7 in the state, but it has Dorman, Duncan (S.C.) Byrnes and Spartanburg on the schedule before the playoffs.



FEATURED PRODUCT


 

Rivals.com is your source for: College Football | Football Recruiting | College Basketball | Basketball Recruiting | College Baseball | High School | College Merchandise
Site-specific editorial/photos Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved. This website is an officially and independently operated source of news and information not affiliated with any school or team.
About | Advertise with Us | Contact | Privacy Policy | About our Ads | Terms of Service | Copyright/IP policy | Yahoo! Sports - NBC Sports Network

Statistical information 2007 STATS LLC All Rights Reserved.