I will first post what the actual Power Poll rankings are this week, as voted on by members of WGAM, the Union leader and WMUR. Then I will post how I rank the teams, along with my reasoning for why I have each team ranked where I do.
Actual Power Poll:
1. Bishop Guertin
3. Nashua North
7. Man. Central
Now, Here's how I currently have the teams ranked. And let me preface this by saying that this weekend I saw Salem vs. Central, Pinkerton vs. North, and BG vs. Exeter. I also saw Plymouth and Portsmouth last week, and Winnacunnet twice in the past month.
1. Bishop Guertin...Most teams, even the really good ones have at least some games when they slip up. Not this team. Week in and week out they dominate. I will say this though, I saw them play Exeter and Alvirne in the last 2 weeks. For a team that is so good, they sure do commit a lot of penalties.
2. Nashua North...I had North and Central in the 2 and 3 spots last week. North beat Central 26-19 yesterday in the D-I semi-finals. That makes this a pretty easy choice. I like them to beat Salem, but it should be a heck of a football game.
3. Manchester Central...Yes, I know they lost this weekend and Salem won. But Salem beat a non-ranked Pinkerton team, who was playing without Mazzola and Guinto at less than 100%. Central lost to the 2nd best team in the state, and they only lost by one score. Not to mention the Little Green defeated the Blue Devils 45-7 just 10 days ago with both squads at full strength. If you ask me, the D-I title game was played yesterday at Stellos Stadium.
4. Salem...See Central above
5. Winnacunnet...The turnover battle was crucial in the Exeter game. The Blue Hawks turned it over 5 time, the Warriors had just once. In the last 9 months, the two seacoast rivals have squared off in the first round of the playoffs in both basketball and football, with Winnacunnet winning both.
6. Souhegan...Fans got their wish, and were able to see Souhegan play Portsmouth, with both teams at full strength. Portsmouth gave them a good fight, but the Sabres showed once again why they are one of the state's top teams. Now if only we could see them play Plymouth.
7. Plymouth...I'm not surprised that they beat Laconia, won Division IV and keep the streak alive. I am surprised that they won by such a wide margin of 38-0. Congrats to the Bobcats for continuing to make history. Will they now move up to Division III? We'll see, but I've got a feeling the division realignment moves will continue after the season ends this weekend.
8. Exeter...They only lost to Winnacunnet by 1 score, why are they 3 spots lower than them? I saw the Blue Hawks play every one of their games this season. The first 8 games they played like a top 5 team. The last two games they just did not look very good. They had way too many turnovers and missed tackles yesterday. They gave up a 90 yard kickoff return yesterday, and a 90 yard kickoff return for a TD that was called back against BG. That's why they're ranked where they are. That being said, this is a very good football team that had a good year. I'm confident they would beat any team in the state not ranked in my top 7.
9. Portsmouth...They were neck and neck with Souhegan for 3 quarters. Another good season fo the Clippers. And they play a very exciting brand of football. I didn't think they'd be as good as last year after losing Fransoso and Hogan. But Nate Jones played very well all year long. He's best QB in the state who didn't start a varsity game before this year. Of course it doesn't hurt when you have the state's best WR to throw to.
10. Trinity...Ok, I know I'll get flack for this one. But I actually agree with Thaler here. A team that finishes the season below .500 shouldn't be in the top 10. And I know Trinity is D-V, but they not only went 12-0 for the season, but dominated its opponents more than any team not named BG. They can run the ball, and they can stop the run. And they can do both of those things better than the vast majority of the state's teams. Bow and Bishop Brady are both good football teams, and they made both squads look silly over the last 3 weeks.
On the cusp: Pinkerton and Londonderry