Cotey: Top 25 football rankings (get your rants ready)



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Mon. September 2, 2013 | John C. Cotey | Email

Cotey: Top 25 football rankings (get your rants ready)

The results from Friday night, the upsets mostly, truly tested the merits of a poll. One unranked team and two in the 20s upset teams that were in the top 10. Fans of those teams (Sunlake, Countryside and Newsome) probably expect that their squads will be ranked ahead of the ones they just beat. But is that how it works? With such a wide disparity in the team's rankings from the week before, is that really possible? If Virginia Tech had beaten Alabama, for example, would the Hokies have been ranked No. 1? Would they have even been ahead of the Tide? So, how far do you have to drop Lakewood (3), Tampa Bay Tech (7) and Pasco (10) to rank their conquerers ahead of them? Too darn far, in most cases, despite how bad those three teams looked Friday. And they all looked bad. But hey, someone has to try and figure all this out, right?

1. Plant (0-0-1)
Last week: No. 1, Tied Sandy Creek 27-27.
Cotey says: Dear, fans ...It is now safe to start filing back onto the Plant bandwagon. One week after getting blown out at Raymond James Stadium by defending Class 5A state champion Tallahassee Godby, the Panthers reminded everyone just how good the coaching staff is at fixing things quickly, even in a short week against the No. 5 team in the country (according to MaxPreps) when most people thought they would get worked over again.

2. Largo (1-0)
Last week: beat Northeast 46-0
Cotey says: Largo beat Northeast for the fifth straight time dating to 1999, but faces what we suspect will be a stiffer challenge on Friday in East Lake. Then again, we said that last year, too, and it was a 40-10 Packer win. 

3. Armwood (1-0)
Last week: No. 4, beat Durant.
Cotey says: Defense. A strong running game. A developing quarterback. A rout on opening night. Yep, not too much has changed out in Seffner for the Hawks, who once again look like one of Tampa Bay's top two or three teams.

4. Jefferson (1-0)
Last week: No. 5, beat Alonso 41-14.
Cotey says: If there are any questions about Jefferson, they involve the defense, though some may have been answered in last week's thrashing of then-No. 11 Alonso. Offensively, we're not sure there's anyone better in Tampa Bay.

5. Clearwater Central Catholic (1-0)
Last week: No. 6, beat Naples Lely 48-10
Cotey says: Two different quarterbacks threw touchdown passes, four different running backs scored touchdowns and seven different defensive players had sacks. Yeah, they are as deep as we've been saying.

6. East Lake (1-0)
Last week:
No. 8, beat Palm Harbor University 49-0.
Cotey says: Pete who? I kid, I kid. But East Lake's quarterbacks completed 7 of 9 passes for 155 yards, which will be easier to do week to week if the running game keeps churning out 250 yards a game.     

7. Sickles (1-0)
Last week: No. 10, beat Robinson 35-14.
Cotey says: For all the talk about Sickles offense behind running back Ray Ray McCloud, it's the Gryphons defense that emboldens our belief that this team might do special things this year. Let's see the Gryphons against an offensive line that isn't brand new.

8. Lakewood (0-1)
Last week: No. 3, lost to Countryside 15-13
Cotey says: Okay, now listen up. I'm not making excuses for the Spartans. They were ill-prepared and outcoached and they perpetually underachieve, but writing them off at this point and dropping them any further is a little premature, even if their running game and offensive line looked utterly average against Countryside. However, dismissing the spring debacle against Miami Booker T. Washington, they hadn't played a real football game since November, and with so many new players and a couple of injuries...wait, this is starting to sound like I'm making excuses, isn't it?

9. Pinellas Park (1-0)
Last week: No. 12, beat Boca Ciega 35-0.
Cotey says: Kenny Crawford has brought winning back to The Park, but he definitely has not brought the sexy back. The Patriots will grind you up with their multi-back running back and smack you around on defense until everyone is muddied and bloodied and in desperate need of a shower. All that's missing are the leather helmets.

10. Gaither (1-0)
Last week: No. 14, beat Chamberlain 28-0
Cotey says: Are the Cowboys ready for the top 10? We're not sure, but the first week of upsets means they are here. With Newsome up next, we're not sure how long that lasts, but the Gaither defense has been pretty darned good in the preseason game and Week 1.

11. Wharton (1-0)
Last week: No. 15, beat Spoto 38-0.
Cotey says: With his full complement of receivers, Wildcats quartrback Chase Litton started his senior season off with a bang. But it was the Wharton defense that really shined, dominating Spoto and cleaning up some of the breakdowns in its preseason classic loss.

12. Countryside (1-0)
Last week: No. 18, beat Lakewood 15-13.
Cotey says: The offense is a work in progress, but as long as the defense continues to set the Cougars up with good field position, things might not be as bad for Countryside as I expect.  

13. Hillsborough (0-0)
Last week: No. 16, DNP.
Cotey says: With an extra week to prepare for Jefferson, are there some big upsets lurking in Week 2 as well?

14. Newsome (1-0) 
Last week: No. 23, beat Tampa Bay Tech 23-12.
Cotey says: Teams we whiffed on in the preseason poll for $200 please, Alex.

15. Tampa Bay Tech (0-1)
Last week: No. 7, lost to Newsome 23-12.
Cotey says: Sigh.

16. Plant City (1-0)
Last week: No. 20, beat Steinbrenner 25-10.
Cotey says: If you get up right now and walk to your fridge and make a sandwich, you will have gained more yards than Plant City allowed last week. And have something to eat.

17. Tampa Catholic (0-1)
Last week: No. 14, lost to Madison County 30-15.
Cotey says: Did you know that the team Madison County plays this week, Eastern Christian (Md.) Academy, is nicknamed the Honey Badgers? Seriously! Yeah, I just thought that needed to be mentioned.

18. Pasco (0-1)
Last week: No. 10, lost to Sunlake 17-6.
Cotey says: Ummm....I just....well....I mean, if....the offensive line...well....but Nate Craig...and...I got nothing.

19. Alonso (0-1)
Last week:
No. 11, lost to Jefferson 41-14.
Cotey says: I expected the Ravens to lose to the Dragons. I did not expect them to lose 41-14. As a result, I am questioning my existence.

20. Sunlake (1-0)
Last week: Unranked, beat then No. 10 Pasco 17-6.
Cotey says: Kudos to the Seahawks, who I feel won the biggest game in school history. So ignore the fact I still have you behind Pasco in the poll, and just enjoy your victory and be happy and don't send me any emails or tweets because the happiness of the victory should be all that you are thinking about today, though if you feel the need to vent, mbaker@tampabay.com is always here to listen.

21. Robinson (0-1)
Last week: No. 17, lost to Sickles 35-14.
Cotey says: The Knights’ best chance to avoid an 0-4 start slipped away Friday. Next three games: Plant (No. 1), Jefferson (No. 4) and Armwood (No. 3). Yikes.

22. St. Petersburg (1-0)
Last week: No. 24, beat Gibbs 33-0
Cotey says: The Green Devils have enough offensive diversity and defensive tenacity to surprise some people this year. 

23. Tarpon Springs (1-0)
Last week: Unranked, beat Clearwater 58-0.
Cotey says: I'm not impressed that the Spongers beat Clearwater. But I am impressed they delivered a 58-point beatdown, the worst loss suffered by a struggling Clearwater since Hillsborough beat it 59-0 in 2002.

24. Berkeley Prep (1-0)
Last week: No. 25, beat Middleton 23-12.
Cotey says: It wasn't an emphatic victory, but I think the Tigers are better than most people think, and therefore, maybe this win was, too.

25 (tie). Durant (0-1)
Last week: No. 21, lost to Armwood 48-6.
Cotey says: Cougars aren't as bad as they looked against Hawks. Then again, who is?

25 (tie). Jesuit (0-1)
Last week: No. 19, lost to 28-10 to Hardee.
Cotey says: My efforts to not overreact to the first week saved the Tigers this week.

Knocking on the door: St. Petersburg Catholic, East Bay, Land O' Lakes, Zephyrhills, Hernando. 



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