WICHITA, Kan.—It is that time year again for football to start and that means it is the Return of the Bold Predictions. Last year I was 3.8 out of 10 in bold predictions, so let’s see if we can hit the magic number four!
Remember these are bold predictions, so I find myself out on the end of a tenuous limb for many of them. Without further adu, here are 10 Bold Predictions for the 2011 Football Season.
1. No state champion will repeat.
Since 1997 there have only been two seasons out of 13 (2000 and last year in 2010) in which no team repeated as a champion in any class. Heights, Stilwell, Louisburg, Silver Lake, Meade, Madison and Baileyville are your defending champions from Class 6A on down and none of them will repeat according to this guy.
2. El Dorado and Bluestem will both win a game.
El Dorado is rocking an 18-game losing streak heading into this season, while Bluestem sets the standard for futility right now with a 24-game losing streak as the state’s longest streak. I see both of those streaks ending at some point this season.
3. All six of the AVCTL Division IV teams will make the playoffs.
Collegiate, Andale and Maize South are essentially locks for the playoffs. That leaves Clearwater, Wellington and Circle as the other three teams. Clearwater is the favorite in a district that includes Winfield, Wellington and Mulvane. Wellington is toting a 19-year playoff streak with a new coach, so that will be the district to watch. Then Circle is in one of the more wide open districts the state has to offer with Rose Hill as the front runner and then El Dorado and Augusta. One of those three must go to the playoffs.
4. Andale and Bishop Carroll will both lose at least four games
Yes, I am in fact crazy. Carroll has not lost four games since 2002 and Andale hasn’t done it since 2004, but both programs are in tough districts/leagues that pose an extreme potential for relatively high loss totals. I have Carroll losing to Heights in the opening week, Northwest in the middle of the season at Northwest, Hutchinson in district play and then a playoff game. Andale I have going down to Collegiate, Rose Hill, Maize South and then in the playoffs for a fourth loss. Clearwater is dangerous as well on the Andale schedule.
5. The top two statistical 11-man quarterbacks will come from the Heart of America league
Trent Stucky of Sedgwick and Caleb Cherryholmes of Remington had stellar junior seasons and now return great supporting casts as seniors. Stucky threw for 1,758 yards and 22 touchdowns and rushed for 1,074 yards and 14 touchdowns. Cherryholmes has an inexperience receiving corp, but threw for more than 2,000 yards last year. Tyler Mathews and Matt Reed are probably better prospects collegiately, but I like these two boys to throw up more stats.
6. No one player in the state will account for more offense than Burden's Bo Savage
Bo Savage of Burden is a scoring machine. He threw for a national 8-Man record 52 touchdowns last year and almost 3,000 yards. His top target in Ky Biddle is back and another 50-plus touchdown season could be in the cards.
7. A one-win team will make the playoffs.
Yes, this is a possible outcome for the season. There are two districts that have the potential to send a one-win team to the playoffs. Class 4A district 10 has Rose Hill (hands down favorite to go 3-0) and then Circle, El Dorado and Augusta. Circle is due for a down year with the graduation of Jordan Phillips and Alex Gardinier and is in one of the toughest top-to-bottom leagues around in the AVCTL Division IV. El Dorado is riding an 18-game losing streak heading into this season. Augusta was 1-9 last year. The other district is Class 3A District 11. Collegiate will go 3-0 (that prediction is not so bold). Then there is Belle Plaine, Douglass and Independent. All three of those CPL schools have had struggles in recent seasons.
8. Hays will make the playoffs for the first time in since 1995
The Indians have been stellar under head coach Ryan Cornelsen. In his first two seasons, Hays is 14-4, but some of those losses have come at inopportune times in district play. Hays just missed out on the playoffs last year as the Indians lost on a tiebreak. This year they break through.
9. The Class 3A State championship will be won by the West and decided by more than 20 points
The real Class 3A State Championship will take place in the semifinals on a field in either Conway Springs or Wichita. The Cardinals and Collegiate Spartans look head and shoulders above the rest in this class this year. Silver Lake will be there as always, but only returns three total starters from last year’s team. Rossville returns 14 total starters from its semifinal team that was blown away by eventual champion Silver Lake. Whoever comes out of the East will be blasted by the West this year.
10. Buhler will have the top 11-man players in both rushing yards, rushing touchdowns and interceptions
Tanner Fisher is primed for a ridiculous season this year. He could break records if Coach Steve Warner does not call the dogs off against some of the lesser teams. What is less appreciated is that JP Lohrentz is a pretty solid lockdown player in the secondary. He picked off 10 balls last year and when teams get behind they will look to throw and Lohrentz will be there to pick them off and lead all of 11-man in picks.
There they are. The Bold Predictions for the 2011 football season. What do you think? Some of these too ridiculous? Leave a comment and let me know what your bold predictions are for the year.