Monday, October 8, 2012
WGAM / Telegraph Power Poll Week 7 - My Ballot Revealed!
It seems like everyone is in a consensus on the order of the state's top 5 teams - Winnacunnet, Exeter, Pinkerton, Bedford, Keene). Those were my top 5 teams last week and they all won this past weekend, so they all stay where they're at. So in this article I'm basically just going to talk about my reasoning for the order I ranked Central, South and Concord. Oh yeah, and I will once again explain my rationale for putting Dover on my ballot!
WGAM The Game/Nashua Telegraph Power Poll for 10-8-12
1. Winnacunnet (7)
2. Exeter (1)
3. Pinkerton (1)
6. Bishop Guertin
8. Nashua South
9. Manchester Central
(first place votes)
Others receiving votes: Milford (5), Plymouth (4), Dover (1)
Now, here's what my ballot looked like...
6. Bishop Guertin
7. Manchester Central
9. Nashua South
Now, here's some reasoning behind my ballot...
Why did I rank Central, Concord and South in the order I did?
So here's the deal. Central beat Concord but lost to South. Concord beat South but lost to Central. And South beat Central but lost to Concord. They're all 1-1 against each other. None of these 3 teams has beaten Exeter or Pinkerton, and none of them have lost to any of the D-I teams ranked below them (Salem, Memorial, North). If one of these teams were to beat Exeter or Pinkerton then they would definitely rise up the rankings above the other 2, and likewise if one of them were to lose to a team like Salem, Memorial or North then they would definitely fall in the rankings below the other 2. But of course that hasn't happened yet. So what does this all mean? First off, it means that Central, Concord and South all belong in the top 10. It is also means that there is very little separating these 3 teams and that one any given day any of them could beat the other.
So why did I rank them in the order that I did? Well, based on everything I just wrote in the above paragraph the only fair way to rank these teams at this time is by point differential in their head-to-head match-ups with each other. Central beat Concord by 14 and lost to South by 7, they're +7. Concord beat South by 17 and lost to Central by 14, so they're +3. And South beat Central by 7 and lost to Concord by 17, so they're -10. So that is why I put Central followed by Concord followed by South on my ballot this week. One other thing to note - Concord's last touchdown in their loss to Central was scored against Central's second string defense. So when both teams had their starters in it was actually Central 35 Concord 14, rather than Central 35 Concord 21. So if you take that TD away from Concord then that would bring their point differential from +3 to -4. But that is STILL more than South at -10. So either way you slice it, it's still Central then Concord, then South.
Why do I once again have Dover in my top 10 even though they're 1-5?
Don't just look at won-loss records here, people! Look beyond that, look at strength of schedule! Nobody in the entire state has played a tougher schedule so far than Dover has. They've played #1 Winnacunnet, #2 Exeter, #5 Keene and #6 Bishop Guertin. Oh yeah, and they've played King Phillip High, the #11 team in Massachusetts. King Phillip would be a top 4 team if they were in NH. So yeah Dover has 5 losses, but look at the BRUTAL schedule they have played! Let's see here, who else are voters putting on their ballots ahead of Dover. Plymouth? Portsmouth? Souhegan? Milford? Give any of these teams Dover's schedule and they would be 1-5 too, guaranteed. And likewise, if Dover was given Plymouth's schedule they would be undefeated right now too.
If I were to vote for 11 teams, the #11 spot on my ballot would go to Souhegan. They are the best team in D-III. They beat Portsmouth 18-13 in week 2. Plus, Milford and Portsmouth are both getting decimated by injuries. Because of the softer schedule and injuries there's no way I would vote for Milford or Portsmouth right now.
The Sabers had been on my ballot for the past couple weeks but got knocked out with South creeping back into the top 10 with their win on Friday night vs. Central. So why didn't I keep Souhegan on my ballot and take out Dover, especially considering Souhegan won last weekend and Dover lost? Once again it's all about strength of schedule, baby! Dover played Keene (at Keene), whereas Souhegan played Pembroke, there's a BIG difference in terms of strength of schedule between Keene and Pembroke! Not only that, but Dover made a 2 hour bus ride to Keene and only lost to the #5 ranked Blackbirds by 1 point. Dover lost to Keene by 1 and they took #1 ranked Winnacunnet to double-overtime the week before that. If not for a couple of missed extra points the Green Wave would be sitting pretty right now with wins over both Keene and Winnacunnet and would be a consensus top 5 team. Based on that, my question is how are these guys NOT a top 10 team? And oh by the way, the only common opponent Dover and Souhegan have is Winnacunnet. Dover took Winnacunnet to double-OT, while Souhegan lost to the Warriors 41-7! Because of that Souhegan is out of the discussion at this time.
As for Plymouth, they can definitely make a good case to be the #10 team. However they haven't played one ranked team all year. Yes, I know that Trinity was in the top 10 early on in the season, but I never voted for them and have not considered them a top 10 team all year. How would Plymouth do against the big boys like Keene and Winnacunnet? There's no way of knowing that. We have no idea if Plymouth can play with the big boys or not. However, we have DIRECT EVIDENCE that says Dover CAN play with the big boys. They took Winnacunnet to double-OT and they only lost by 1 to Keene. That's direct evidence they can play with the big boys, which is more than Plymouth has.
I rest my case.
A couple other quick notes...
There's 3 games this weekend where teams ranked on my ballot are playing against each other. You have Exeter vs. South, Bedford vs. Dover and Keene vs. Winnacunnet. Later in the week I'll be previewing all 3 of these games, plus some of the other big games around the state.
Lastly, my article from a couple weeks ago on the Phillips Exeter vs. Choate Rosemary prep school football game has gotten more page views than any other football game story the NH Notebook has done all year. As a result we have added 3 more prep games to our schedule of games to cover. They are:
Lawrence Academy @ Governor's Academy - October 13 @ 1:30
Cushing @ Phillips Andover - October 13 @ 5:00
Hyde School @ New Hampton - October 27 @ 4:00
Players to watch out for in these prep games are Andrew Crane (Amherst, NH) and Chris Garrison (Goffstown, NH) for Lawrence, Brad Tiernan (Exeter, NH) for Cushing, Steven Dwight (Manchester, NH) for Hyde, Matt Dean (Gilford, NH) for New Hampton and Tate Jozokos (Wolfeboro, NH) for Governor's.