THE BLITZ: Do rankings mean anything right now?

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Note: Brandon Brigman, a sports writer for the Daily Post, writes a blog every Monday called "The Blitz." It is available online at www.gwinnettdailypost.com.

Everybody loves rankings.

At the end of the year we have lists of the top movies and songs of the year. SportsCenter shows a top 10 list of the best plays every day.

In college football we have the preseason top 25 that draws interest nearly a month before the season kicks off.

There's even a weekly top 10 for high school football rankings. The rankings are a good gauge for the top teams in the state. But I wonder how accurate they really are, especially this early in the season?

I saw M.L. King, the No. 9 team in Class AAAAA, beat South Gwinnett last week. The Lions have some talented players, but they looked like a No. 3 or No. 4 seed, at best, in Region 8 football. Certainly not the No. 9 team in the state.

No. 3 McEachern beat No. 1 Lowndes on its home turf last week. That's the same McEachern team that North Gwinnett lost to in the final 10 seconds in Week 1. North is the No. 10 team in the state, but just beat St. Augustine (Fla.) 35-17. That's the same St. Augustine team that's ranked No. 3 in Class 6A in Florida.

Buford is the No. 1 team in Class AA and just beat No. 2 Carver-Columbus 35-7. That's quite a discrepancy between arguably the two top teams in Class AA.

Daily Post staff writer David Friedlander votes in the Associated Press poll and does a very detailed job of placing his votes in all five classifications. Obviously, he doesn't follow Class AAA and AAAA as much as he does Class AAAAA, AA and A, which feature Gwinnett teams, but David certainly tries to rank the state's top teams.

Rankings are fun for fans and bragging rights, but I'm not sure how legit that are, especially this early in the season.

Besides the only rankings that matter are the ones at the end of the season.

Hawks off to 2-0 start

I think Mill Creek has a very good team, maybe even a region championship caliber team, but I'm not ready to make that prediction after the first two games.

Hawks fans shouldn't be too excited over the 2-0 start. Mill Creek beat a Dacula squad that has the worst defense in the county and a Alpharetta squad that eighth-grade GFL teams could beat. Baring any kind of forfeits, Mill Creek should win its next two games. We'll see what level the program has reached in the final stretch of the season.

Give Maloof the ball

Tanner Maloof only has three carries on the season, but the Norcross fullback has made the carries meaningful.

Maloof has scored TDs on all three carries this season. He's had TDs of 2, 5 and 44 yards in two games this season.

Business approach for Shiloh

First-year Shiloh head coach Brian Montgomery isn't only putting his mark on the program on the field. Montgomery is having his players from ninth-grade through 12th-grade take a business like approach on game day.

"On game day they always have to wear a shirt and tie. They have to take it as a business," Montgomery said. "I don't know about yourself, but usually when you're in a shirt and tie you're not going to get in any trouble. You're going to be on your best behavior. You don't even want to get your clothes dirty."

Baby steps

Meadowcreek lost again last week, but the Mustangs did something they rarely did last season -- they scored. The Mustangs picked up a safety and then had a touchdown in the 31-8 loss to Berkmar. I know it seems minor, but maybe the Mustangs are beginning to head in the right direction.

A look back at trivia

So last week's trivia question no one got correct. The question was who had the county's longest field goal? The answer was Duluth's Rusty Curry, who had a 67-yard field goal against Norcross in 1999. It's also the state record for the longest field goal.

Duluth's head coach that year was Kenny Reese, who is now an assistant at Parkview. I ran into Reese before the Norcross-Parkview game on Friday and asked him about Rusty's field goal.

"It was probably the ugliest kick he had all year," Reese joked.

Duluth opened the game with a defensive stop against Duluth, but the punter booted the ball further than expected. When the Wildcats couldn't do anything offensively, the Wildcats elected to use a free kick. Curry was allowed to kick the ball off a tee, but didn't hit it solid and the ball wobbled in for a field goal.

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NGHS09 3 years, 11 months ago

North Gwinnett is ranked # 7, but i agree with everything you're saying. I like reading your articles because you use simple logic. Something some people have no clue about. I also see that Norcross got in this week @ #10. I hope they remember what their ranking and 7-0 start got them last year (38-0 loss to NG) :). Mil Creek is good, but let them and the Ridge come to Tom Robinson Memorial Stadium later this season. Both have never won there. Also NG gets a bye week to fix all the problems in the secondary this week...UH OH :0!! Here we come boys, time to let the BIG DAWG eat!


ACC12_SEC13Booster 3 years, 11 months ago

Brandon: The M.L. King Lions were ranked #9 in AAAAA because of all of the talented players returning from last year's Region 2AAAAA title-winning team, some key additions that they made over the summer. In particular, returning QB Jonquel Dawson passed for over 3,000 yards and 41 touchdowns last year and WR Blake Tibbs is one of the most highly-regarded prospects at receiver in the nation, either being on the verge of committing to or having already committed to UGA. The Lions are also highly-ranked because of their outstanding offensive prowess, advancing to the finals of eight 7-on-7 passing league tournaments over the summer, winning six of them. If anything, it was the rebuilding South Gwinnett Comets that might have had something to do with the Lions not looking as impressive as many onlookers expected them to look in holding the explosive Lions' offense to only 33 points, the same Lions offense that lost 44-41 to a much more experienced Comets team in Snellville last year.


ACC12_SEC13Booster 3 years, 11 months ago

Preseason and early-season rankings don't really mean much on the field, but seem to be more of a way to promote the game to the public early in the season.

Brookwood's #1 preseason ranking helped promote interest in the Corky Kell Classic and other teams' high rankings help promote interest in these early-season showcase games because as you stated, the public loves rankings as spectators of the sport will come out of the woodwork to debate with other teams' fans why their highly-talented team should be ranked so high.


ACC12_SEC13Booster 3 years, 11 months ago

I agree that with a relatively easy early schedule, Mill Creek has a chance to pile up some early wins and should be 4-0 heading into their early-season 7AAAAA showdown with Norcross at home on September 23 in a game that should be a really good gauge of where the Hawks program is. How the Hawks play against Norcross, a team that they've never beaten in their existence in 7AAAAA, will show where the program is likely headed, whether they will contend for the 7AAAAA title for the first time, whether they are a playoff entrant or whether they will revert back to their middle-of-the-road nature of recent seasons. MC has a chance to be at least 5-1 after the Meadowcreek game on October 7 and get off to the best start that they've ever had in their history. From there the schedule gets more difficult with CH, NG, PR and Duluth in their last four regular season games which will make a potential good start even more critical to the Hawks' fortunes.


ACC12_SEC13Booster 3 years, 11 months ago

Right now there looks like there could be six good teams contending for only four playoff spots in the always tough Region 7-AAAAA. If Mill Creek can build off of last year's postseason success, with success in the regular season and region play, they may have an opportunity to move up within the region and even contend for the region title in a 7-AAAAA that looks like it could be a bit more wide open than in recent years with a North Gwinnett program that has lost some depth with the opening of Lanier, a Collins Hill program that had heavy losses due to graduation, a P'tree Ridge program with a new head coach and a Duluth program that looks to be on the rise after years and years of a tortured existence in Class AAAAA football obvilion. To win 7-AAAAA for the first time, the Hawks will have to beat P'tree Ridge again like they did last season and have better success against the other three perennial contenders in the region in Collins Hill, whom the Hawks have only beaten once in their history (1-4 overall record) in a three overtime barnburner in their only other playoff year of 2007 and Norcross (0-5) and North Gwinnett (0-5), two perennial contenders in Region 7-AAAAA whom the Hawks have never beaten which, despite last year's postseason success, still seems to be a pretty tall order at this point.


ACC12_SEC13Booster 3 years, 11 months ago

"Give Tanner Maloof the ball"

Despite taking alot of heat for being the Coach's son, Tanner Maloof is a gifted athlete who as a running back can explode really quick through those holes that his offensive line opens up for him. Tanner also comes from some pretty good athletic stock in the Maloof clan, so his underrated athletic prowess comes naturally.


ACC12_SEC13Booster 3 years, 11 months ago

"Business approach for Shiloh"

A business approach is pretty much the only approach that new Head Coach Brian Montgomery can take in attempting to rebuild a long-dormant Shiloh program, especially seeing as though Shiloh is right now pretty much at a great competitive disadvantage in 8-AAAAA with more established and contending programs like Defending AAAAA State Champion Brookwood and perennial AAAAA state title contender Grayson when it comes to money, resources and community support, three things a program MUST have if it is to contend for a playoff spot in the always brutal 8-AAAAA, though this year with South Gwinnett taking a step back due to heavy graduation losses, Dacula adapting to a new system under a new head coach and a still very-competitive Parkview that is not as dominant as it once was due to demographic changes in its district, the opportunity is there for a team to move up in the 8-AAAAA pecking order, but Shiloh looks to be way behind Central Gwinnett and even Berkmar, which are two teams that look to be in farther ahead rebuilding wise and in better position to take advantage of that opportunity.


ACC12_SEC13Booster 3 years, 11 months ago

"Baby Steps"

I give the Meadowcreek community alot of credit for hanging in there and continuing to show an unbelievable amount of heart and courage and compete in the face of what is a simply astonishing competitive disadvantage week-in and week-out in hypercompetitive Gwinnett County AAAAA football.
Just like last year, the best remote chances for Meadowcreek to get a seemingly improbable win are on this coming Friday against an another very woeful team in Wheeler and in Game 9 against a very young Mountain View program, outside of those games there is no chance, not even a remote chance, that Meadowcreek will get a win against the other six teams in the super-rugged 7-AAAAA, all six of which (PR, NG, MC, Duluth, Norcross & CH) look to be playoff contenders at this point in the year as the Mustangs don't even seem to have enough to be able to sneak up and catch a contending team asleep at the wheel on any given week. The almost completely improverished transient socioeconomic demographics of the Meadowcreek district almost guarantee that the Mustangs will never be able to compete at the AAAAA level in ultracompetitive regions like 7-AAAAA and 8-AAAAA where some football booster club endowments alone can reach close to two-million dollars. A couple of years ago there was alot of talk about discontinuing the Meadowcreek football program, but I am glad that they didn't as, despite the legendarily and historically horriffic losing record, the Mustangs have sent dozens of players to college on football scholarships. Despite being severely handicapped on the field when compared to almost every other program in Gwinnett County, the Mustangs still use football as a way to emphasize the importance of postsecondary education to kids who otherwise may not get the opportunity to continue their educations after high school if it weren't for football and that is what is the most important in the grand scheme of things.


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