Monday, November 27, 2006

So Who’s Number One?

Why Ohio State, of course! Yeah, that’s not the answer you’re looking for. I will tell you how I figured this out. Science, of course. I crunched the numbers, looked at game films, talked to coaches, consulted a psychic, and called Mel Kiper Jr.

Then I flipped a coin. A couple of times.

Folks, it was not easy. Greenwich? Staples? How do you take away the number one vote from the Cardinals, who won the conference championship? But then again, how do you make Staples number two when they beat the Cardinals. So therefore, how can the Cardinals be number one?

Let’s think this thing through. Strike the FCIAC Championship game out of the equation. Assume the game hasn’t happened, and won’t be played until the end of the season – on Thanksgiving, the way many want it to be. Also assume that Greenwich and Staples have not played yet, though that game is coming up. At that point, Greenwich is 9-0, having just beaten Darien. New Canaan is 8-1, with a huge win over Staples. The Wreckers are also 8-1, have lost to New Canaan, seemed to plod to a win over Ridgefield, and needed a last-second touchdown to beat Bridgeport Central.

Take all of that into consideration. Now consider this – Greenwich will play Staples with Jimmy Dunster and Nick Edwards in the backfield. Sean Bannon will be on defense. Dunster is a little nicked up, but everyone is generally healthy.

More to consider. Staples still needs the game to get into the states, but Greenwich does not. That factor does not change, regardless of the FCIAC Championship scenario.

With all of that in your brain, who is still the favorite? Who wins THAT game?

Now before we go on, let’s go back to the injury factor. “If, if, if”, you say, and you’re right. What if, for instance, Nico Guittierez plays for New Canaan all year? Are the Rams undefeated, and do they win the FCIAC? Possibly. The only reason I’m introducing the injury factor is because Greenwich earned the right to play in the FCIAC Championship game prior to Dunster, Edwards, Bannon, and even Jonathan Myers getting hurt. Myers played, so I’ll remove him from the equation.

All right, enough. I really did give this a lot of thought, and I hate considering injuries, but how can they be ignored? Just as how can I ignore the desperation factor for Staples? They had to win – just as Greenwich did in the same game last year. The Wreckers were clearly the better team last year, and won. This year Staples played possessed, and the weather helped them immeasurably, because the Cardinals had to try to throw, and Joe Poletsky had trouble with the wet ball. Still the Wreckers brought a good game plan and won. But if all is even, I think it’s a different story. That said, here they are:

1) Greenwich (10-1, Last Week – 1) – Besides everything else I just told you, two things jumped out at me. One – the Cardinals were the only team to win 10 games and two – that 10th win gave them the conference championship. You can’t go wrong making Staples number one, but I noticed as I finish this up that even the coach’s poll had the Cards higher than the Wreckers. Does that make me feel good? No – it just proves that this is all BS, but it’s also fun.
2) Staples (9-1, 3) – I can’t wimp out and say the Cardinals are 1A and the Wreckers are 1B, but it’s about as close as it can be.
3) New Canaan (9-1, 2) – It’s hard to move the Rams back to third, considering the Rams beat the Wreckers, but I can’t do it any other way. To move the Wreckers to third wouldn’t be fair to them. If not for a missed extra point…
4) Bridgeport Central (7-2, 5) – They hovered around the top all year, and deserve to jump back to fourth. They just couldn’t get the job done against the top two.
5) Trinity (7-3, 6) – Quite a year. I thought they could have made enough noise to make it a really special year, but those seven wins are remarkable, considering it’s been a while.
6) Wilton (7-3, 4) – The Warriors were a fun pick, and sat as high as fourth at one point, but their loss to Trinity hurt them.

A few honorable mentions – congratulations to Dick Cerrone and the Westhill Vikings, who finished at .500 for the first time since 1986. And for showing up with a limited roster, but displayed talent, class and grace, the Bassick Lions get an honorable mention. You’re going to think that I pity them for going 0-10 and not winning a game since 2001, but I don’t care. I respect them – case closed. If you read SP Bowley’s article in the Post about them earlier in the year, you might understand. They don’t want pity; they earn respect.

One last thing for the FCIAC year. I had a family member play in the FCIAC this yeare, and though it was brief, I want him to know that I’m very proud of him. Michael LaHiff joined the Fairfield Warde Mustangs and was just beginning to get his bearings on the field (and some playing time) when a wrist injury finished him. He suited up for Thanksgiving Day against Ludlowe, but that was purely an honorary thing, as he was not medically cleared to play. Tim Parry was at the Ludlowe-Warde game and surprised Michael by saying that his uncle mentioned something about Michael to him. It was nice of Tim to say hello, and I think Michael enjoyed it.

To all players who made the team and honored your uniform by working hard and playing right – congratulations!

Onto the playoffs, where Greenwich, Staples, and New Canaan will all be in action. I’ll have the call of the Cardinals and the Fairfield Prep Jesuits Tuesday night at 6:30. There are no conflicts, so you’ll hear us on the radio and the internet.

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