November 7, 2011
Editor’s Note: Brandon Brigman, a sports writer for the Daily Post, writes a blog every Monday called “The Blitz.”
The playoff brackets have been released, and if you're like me two things stand out. The first is a Gwinnett vs. Gwinnett matchup in the first round. The second is a possible Gwinnett vs. South Georgia matchup in the second round. I hate it that half of Gwinnett's teams will be knocked out in the first round. I think if the bracket was set up differently, Gwinnett could have six or seven teams make it to the second round. But the rotation of regions has it set up with Gwinnett facing Gwinnett teams, which will make for some intense first-round games. I'm not going to predict a state champ, but I do think Grayson and North Gwinnett have the best teams in the county this year. I think Brookwood has a good draw to repeat as state champs and despite some injuries and me jumping off their bandwagon, Norcross has enough talent to make a deep playoff run. So with that said, here's 10 reason why Gwinnett will end up with a state champion in the Georgia Dome on Dec. 10.
• Gwinnett competition preps you for playoffs If you're playing the qualify of competition in Gwinnett week in and week out, it's going to get you ready for a deep playoff run. The teams that survive the firs round have a good shot to go deep.
• North Gwinnett will beat a South Georgia school The Bulldogs have been one of the county's most successful programs the last six years. The only problem is a South Georgia school has eliminated the Bulldogs four of the last five years. North has one of the best defenses in the state and that will get them over the South Georgia hump.
• Grayson is too good not to go deep The Rams have reached the semifinals twice in the last three years. Grayson has too good of a defense and team to not make a deep playoff run.
• Stephenson University will go down early A lot of people predicted Stephenson, which is loaded with Division I commits, to make a deep playoff run at the beginning of the year. The Jaguars always have the most talent, but the shortest playoff run. That will continue this year.
• You have to play some defense to win state It doesn't matter how good of an offense you have during the playoffs. If you can't play defense in the postseason, then you don't have a shot to win.
• Cobb always falls A Cobb County team hasn't won a state title in almost 45 years. So Hillgrove, Walton, and McEachern will go down and open the door for a Gwinnett team to get through.
• A No. 1 seed always goes down early A No. 1 seed always seems to lose in the first round. It happened last year when Mill Creek defeated Etowah. A No. 1 will lose again on Friday (hopefully, it's not a Gwinnett team) and that will help in the later rounds.
• Did you think I would leave out Buford? The Wolves don't play in Class AAAAA, but have one of the state's best teams regardless of classification. The Wolves have won the last four Class AA state championship and are poised to win a fifth. What this team does over the next five games will dictate its greatness in state history.
• Don't believe the Region 1 hype If you like to read message boards, the fans from Region 1-AAAAA will tell you they are the best and if they lose they have some conspiracy theory. The region has some of the state's best programs and one played for the state title last year. Gwinnett teams usually fare pretty well against Region 1 when it really matters.
• Odds are in Gwinnett's favor Since 2000, a Gwinnett County team has played for the Class AAAAA state title every year, but twice. Gwinnett has won five titles in that time.
So when it's all said and done, these scenarios will play out and put a Gwinnett team or two in the state finals again. What's your prediction for the state playoffs?
GAC misses playoffs Greater Atlanta Christian had a very good regular seasons and I think is a playoff worthy team. However, the Spartans' regions has playoff play-in games in Game 10. It's pretty simple, you win and you're in. GAC, and 8-2 team, lost and missed the playoffs. It doesn't make sense for a team with two regions loss to be out over a team with three regions loss. But that's what happened to GAC because of that game.
A look back At the beginning of the season I made regular season predictions for each Gwinnett County team. Lets just say I was way off this year. Below are the records and region predictions I made. Region 8-AAAAA 1. Brookwood (9-1) Broncos went 7-3 and are the No. 3 seed. 2. Grayson (8-2) Rams went 10-0 and captured region title. 3. Parkview (6-4) Panthers lost last four games to finish 4-6 and missed playoffs. 4. Central Gwinnett (7-3) Black Knights lost 6 of last 7 and missed playoffs with 4-6 record. Three of those losses were by eight points or less. 5. South Gwinnett (5-5) Youth and injuries ravaged South early on. Comets finished 3-7, which included win over playoff bound Archer. 6. Dacula (5-5) Falcons' only region loss was to champ Grayson. Dacula went 7-3 and is region's No. 2 seed. 7. Shiloh (3-7) Generals finished 2-8 with wins over South and Berkmar. 8. Archer (2-8) The biggest surprise of the year. The Tigers went 5-5 and reached state playoffs. 9. Berkmar (2-8) Patriots' only victory was over winless Meadowcreek.
Region 7-AAAAA 1. North Gwinnett (7-3) I thought the Bulldogs would struggle in non-region games. Instead they went 9-1 and won the region title again. 2. Norcross (9-1) Blue Devils finished 8-2 and region's No. 3 seed. 3. Mill Creek (8-2) Hawks never rebounded from region opening loss to Mountain View. Mill Creek went 5-5 and missed playoffs. 4. Collins Hill (5-5) One of the few teams I was dead on in predicting. Eagles went 5-5 and is the region's No. 5 seed. 5. Peachtree Ridge (5-5) Lions went 8-2 and captured the region's No. 2 seed. 6. Duluth (6-4) Wildcats could never get back on track after triple overtime loss to Alpharetta, the No. 1 seed from Region 6-AAAAA. 7. Mountain View (2-8) Bears started region play strong with win over Mill Creek, but could never stay in the playoff picture with 3-7 record. 8. Meadowcreek (0-10) Mustangs went winless for the third straight year, but did show signs of improvement.
Region 6-AA Buford (10-0) Pretty easy season to predict. Wolves went 10-0 and are on path to win another state title. GAC (9-1) Spartans finished 8-2, but missed playoffs.
Region 5-A Wesleyan (9-1) Wolves went 7-3 and missed playoffs.
Non-region Hebron (7-3) Lions finished 4-6 and one of those wins included a forfeit.
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