Wednesday, October 16, 2013

FNL Football Poll - Week 7

Here are this week's statewide football team rankings, as voted on by the members of ESPN NH's Friday Nights and Nashua Telegraph sports dept.

Not much changed in this week's poll as opposed to last week. The only change among the top 9 teams is that this week Concord is now #2 and Bedford is #2 (last week they were tied for #1) and BG is #4 and Pinkerton is #5 (last week they were tied for #4). Concord's big comeback, overtime win over Pinkerton is the likely reason for the Crimson Tide moving slightly up and the Astros moving slightly down. All of the other teams in the top 9 won last week.

The only other change this week is Central replacing Spaulding as the #10 team. The simple explanation here is likely that Central won last week (beat West 33-6) while Spaulding lost (to BG 38-26). Without any further ado, here is this week's poll:

1. Concord (6-0)
2. Bedford (6-0)
3. South (6-0)
4. BG (5-1)
5. Pinkerton (4-2)
6. Plymouth (6-0)
7. Exeter (4-2)
8. Keene (4-2)
9. Trinity (5-1)
10. Central (4-2)

Others Receiving Votes: Portsmouth (3) Winnacunnet (1) Spaulding (1)

Here's what my ballot looked like:
1. Bedford
2. Concord
3. Nashua South
4. Bishop Guertin
5. Pinkerton
6. Plymouth
7. Exeter
8. Keene
9. Trinity
10. Portsmouth

Here's why I voted that way...

1. Bedford - They're #1 on my ballot for the 6th straight week. They're undefeated, every win has been a blowout except for the Pinkerton game. We've been hyping up their game on Friday night vs. Concord for weeks. Well it's finally here, so now we'll really get to see who's better. It will be the best offense in the state (Concord) against the best defense in the state (Bedford). Let the best team win!

2. Concord - impressive win for the Crimson last Friday night over Pinkerton. Not only did the comeback to beat a very good Astros team in OT, but they did it without star sophomore RB Leo Sudieh. Sudieh is expected to return from his suspension this week. That's good, cause they'll need him.

3. Nashua South - South can definitely make a case for the #1 spot. I suppose the only reason some are ranking them lower than Concord and Bedford is because they only beat Nashua North (1-5) by one score. But then again, the Purple Panthers did beat Exeter by 3 scores, whereas Concord and Bedford only beat Pinkerton by 1 score (yes, I consider Exeter and Pinkerton to be a tossup). Well, we will get a better read on how good South (as well as BG, Concord and Bedford) are this Friday night.

4. Bishop Guertin - ok, so BG was flying under the radar early on, especially with their loss to Winnacunnet to open the season. Then standout linebacker John Miller rejoined the team, has been a force on defense and Guertin hasn't lost since. Then last week the Cardinals got the electrifying speedster CJ Boykin back in the lineup, and he returned 2 kickoffs for touchdowns vs. Spaulding. When this team has everyone playing they're as good as anyone in the state, no question about it. However in that aforementioned Spaulding game they lost 2 other starters to injury. Junior RB/DB Kelvin Rivera was carted off the field and taken to a hospital, and senior QB Tommy Hurley got knocked out of the game as well and did not return. The health of these 2 guys will be key for BG moving forward, especially in this Friday night's game vs. South.

5. Pinkerton - the 2 losses for Pinkerton came at the hands of the 2 best teams in the state. One of them was in overtime and the other was a 2 point road loss back in week 1. The Astros are a solid #5 team, and if they can stay healthy don't be surprised if they're the last team standing when it's all said and done.

6. Plymouth - Unfortunately we'll never know how the Bobcats would do against the big boys in Division I. But based on seeing these teams play on a weekly basis I would say they'd hold their own just fine.

7. Exeter - the Blue Hawks got back to their winning ways by beating Alvirne last week following back to back losses. Jay Inzenga and Ryan Kelly were once again effective running the ball in Coach Ball's straight T offense. Big game this weekend for Exeter against Spaulding - could be a playoff preview. You have the top 2 teams playing against each other in 3 of the 4 conferences in D-I this weekend. Plus you also have Portsmouth vs. Plymouth and Monadnock vs. Milford in D-II - it's a big weekend for NH football!

8. Keene - this week the NHIAA announced some changes to the playoff format with the new 3 division alignment (see What they didn't fix was the fact that a team can be one one of the top 7 teams in their division but somehow not be one of the 8 teams to make the post-season. If things continue like this Keene will miss the playoffs (since only 2 teams in their conference can make it) but they are the 7th best team in D-I. This must be fixed!

9. Trinity - speaking of a loaded division, how about the Division II South? You have Trinity, Milford and Windham. Trinity has already beaten Milford and Portsmouth but still has games ahead with St. Thomas and Windham.

10. Portsmouth - the opening week loss to Trinity now seems like ages ago. Now they have star QB/DB Donovan Phanor (and lineman Pat Glynn) healthy and are primed for another playoff run. How much better have they gotten? We'll find out this Saturday when the Clippers take on Plymouth in yet another big game being played this weekend.

Week 7 FNL Coverage:
#2 Bedford @ #1 Concord (Peter's Kia Game of the Week)
#4 BG @ #3 South
#5 Pinkerton @ West
#7 Exeter @ Spaulding
#8 Keene @ Dover
Londonderry @ #10 Central
Timberlane @ Winnacunnet
Merrimack @ Salem
North @ Alvirne
Monadnock @ Milford

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