Tuesday, October 30, 2012
WGAM / Telegraph Football Poll - 10/29
On Saturday night Keene showed that their loss to Manchester West the week before was a fluke, as the beat Bishop Guertin 20-7. As a result, there should be no question about who the top 5 teams in the state are - it's Exeter, Pinkerton, Bedford, Winnacunnet and Keene.
With that being said, here is a look at how the votes shook out in this week's poll. As always, I will then reveal my ballot along the reasoning behind my picks.
WGAM The Game / Nashua Telegraph Football Poll - 10/29/12
1. Exeter (6)
2. Pinkerton (3)
7. Nashua South
9. Bishop Guertin
(First place votes)
Other receiving votes: Trinity (5), Goffstown (1)
8. Bishop Guertin
9. Nashua South
Why I voted that way:
1. Exeter - they have been #1 on my ballot for the past couple of weeks, and since they blew out Nashua North last weekend there's no reason for them to drop.
2. Pinkerton - Astros hold strong in the #2 spot after crushing Central 42-0 on Saturday afternoon. Is there really any doubt at the point that the D-I title game is going to be Exeter vs. Pinkerton? C'mon now people, let's not kid ourselves here. I realize that this Friday night's game between the Astros and Nashua South will decide the #2 seed in the D-I playoffs. But I think we all know who the better team is. South needed a miraculous last second TD to beat Central, whereas Pinkerton just beat Central 42-0. South lost 20-3 to a Concord team who isn't ranked and isn't going to the playoffs, whereas Pinkerton beat Concord 42-21. Exeter and Pinkerton are simply on another level compared to the rest of D-I, bottom line.
3. Bedford - the Bulldogs were #3 last week and they won so no reason to drop them. In their last 2 games they only barely beat non-playoff contenders Dover and Spaulding. Still, while they are not dominating teams they are doing what it takes to win. And the fact is they haven't lost since we back in week 2. Bedford has won 6 games in a row - the longest winning streak in D-II.
4. Winnacunnet - they were #4 last week on my ballot and they won last week so that's where they stay. I've said it before and I'll say it again - the Warriors are still unbeaten with Coach Auffant on the sidelines and they're unbeaten with running back Ben Franzoso healthy. If he is able to get back to 100% and if Winnacunnet and Exeter both run the table and win titles you would have to rank Winnacunnet as the #1 team in the state in the end-of-season poll since they beat Exeter back in week 4. Franzoso is scheduled to return to the lineup this week from a groin injury that kept him out of the lineup for the past 2 weeks. They take on BG on Friday night and they can clinch the #1 seed in the D-II playoffs with a win. If they lose then Bedford will be the #1 seed (there's no way Bedford loses this weekend to Merrimack). Also, if BG beats Winnacunnet on Friday night we could have a 3 way tie for the #2 seed with BG, Keene and Winnacunnet all finishing 6-2 (if Keene beats Timberlane like they should).
5. Keene - the West game was a bad loss for Keene, no question. You have to account for that loss in the rankings, and for that reason the Blackbirds can't be any higher than the #5 spot right now. But at the same time these guys also beat both Winnacunnet and BG by 2 touchdowns. Those 2 wins are more impressive than Souhegan, South or any of the other teams in the poll. And while you have to penalize Keene for their loss to West you can't penalize them too much because we all know that the Blackbirds were looking past the Blue Knights so they could spend 2 weeks getting ready for BG. Let's not sugar coat it, it is what it is. Not only that, but other than their fluke loss to West, the only other game Keene has lost all year was by 1 point, when they fell to Bedford a few weeks ago (and they would have likely won that game too if not for a missed extra point).
6. Souhegan - the Sabers deserve to be this high on the list. They have won 8 games in a row and they are undefeated with head coach Mike Beliveau on the sideline. They have a quality win over Central, they beat Milford by 2 scores and they also beat Portsmouth back in week 2. Not only that, but out of all the teams in the NHIAA Souhegan is the team that has the best chance at having 2 of their players playing Division I college football next season. Lineman Jake Kennedy has already committed to UNH, and Tyler Ford has a shot at playing D-I as a punter.
7. Plymouth - Plymouth deserves this spot. They finished the regular season with a perfect 9-0 record, winning every game by 2 touchdowns or more. Their toughest competition in D-IV is Trinity and Windham and they easily beat both of those teams. Some might even argue that the Bobcats deserve to be #6, since Milford and Portsmouth are pretty similar in terms of talent to Trinity and Windham and Souhegan only beat Milford and Portsmouth by a combined 14 points whereas Plymouth beat Trinity and Windham by a combined 39 points. However I have Souhegan ranked higher because overall they have played a much tougher schedule, especially their non-league games vs. Winnacunnet and Central.
8. Bishop Guertin - tough choice here for the #8 spot. It's between BG and South. Both teams have identical 6-3 records so far and there's a good chance that both will end the regular season at 6-4 since they are both playing higher ranked teams this weekend (BG is at Winnacunnet and South hosts Pinkerton). So let's see here. Neither BG nor South has beaten a ranked team. South's best win was over Central, who has been ranked for most of the season. BG's best win was a 27-7 win over Dover (I believe we all know by now how I feel about Dover!). To me, beating Dover by 20 is just as impressive as beating Central by 7 (if not more). Not only that, but even though they lost to Pinkerton back in week 1, BG actually out-gained the Astros in total yardage (and that was without CJ Boykin in the lineup who is healthy now). I'm going to go out on a limb and say South doesn't gain more yardage than Pinkerton on Friday night. Not only that, but while they have lost 3 games all 3 of Guertin's losses have been to teams currently ranked in the top 5 (Bedford, Pinkerton and Keene). South meanwhile has 3 losses but only 1 of them has come against a ranked teams (Exeter). The Purple Panthers' other 2 losses have come against un-ranked teams (Concord and Lowell High). Not only has South lost to a pair of un-ranked teams but they didn't even come close to winning either game (lost 20-3 to Concord and 39-12 to Lowell who isn't even one of the top 35 teams in Mass).
9. Nashua South - see Bishop Guertin
10. Trinity - the Pioneers appear on my ballot fr the first time all season. Central got blown out and Dover lost, so they're both out. Portsmouth? They just lost to Milford on Friday night and are playing without 2 of their best play makers with Jack Mackey and Donovan Phanor both injured. Milford? They just lost to Goffstown 2 weeks ago. Goffstown? They got absolutely destroyed by Portsmouth a few weeks ago. Plus this past weekend they lost to a struggling Hollis-Brookline team. The choice here has to be Trinity. While Central, Dover, Portsmouth, Goffstown and Milford have all been losing games Trinity has been winning them. The Pioneers have won 6 games in a row. Not only that but they have won those 6 games by an average of 43.5 points - that's over 6 touchdowns! And it's not like they're bating up on the bottom of the barrel teams here, since Trinity actually played the 2 lowest seeded teams in the division (Kingswood and John Stark) during the first 2 weeks of the season. Instead The Pioneers have been beating up on good teams. Hanover and St. Thomas just played each other to determine the #4 seed in the D-IV playoffs. Well guess what, Trinity beat Hanover 55-8 and they beat St. Thomas 38-0. That's the same score that Plymouth (my #7 ranked team) beat St. Thomas by. Additionally, last weekend in a game to decide the #2 seed in the D-IV playoffs Trinity crushed a good Windham team 42-7.