Looking (Way Too Far) Ahead
How accurate are DCTF's pre-preseason high school rankings?.
The Dave Campbell’s Texas Football staff is hard at work on the 2014 Winter Edition of the magazine (due out in January), which is one of the most unique products out there. What sets it apart? It’s not just a look back at the season that was – trust me: we have plenty to look back upon – but it’s also your very, very first look at the 2014 season.
The biggest highlight of that early look-ahead? The way-too-early high school rankings, in our “Next Year’s Top 10” and “Next Year’s Top 5s” sections.
Now, there’s an inherent danger in such early prognostication. When we put together the Summer Edition – due out in June – we talk to every coach in the state and find out about their team that season. But for the Winter Edition? It’s more or less gut feeling, as well as the limited information of “who was good this year?” and “who do those teams lose to graduation?”
Admittedly, there are going to be some swings and misses – that’s simply going to happen because of the amount of inputs we have – but all things considered, we’ve gotten pretty darn good at this thing.
So, with the 2013 Texas high school football season in the books, how did we do in our way-too-early rankings in the 2013 winter edition – a full 12 months ago? Let’s take a look.
|1||Allen||16-0, DI state champion|
|2||Katy||15-1, DII runner-up|
|3||Cibolo Steele||12-2, DII quarterfinals|
|4||La Porte||5-6, DII bi-district|
|5||Arlington Bowie||7-4, DI bi-district|
|6||Dallas Skyline||11-2, DI regional semifinals|
|7||Austin Westlake||7-5, DII area|
|8||Southlake Carroll||11-2, DI regional semifinals|
|9||Pflugerville Hendrickson||10-1, DII bi-district|
|10||Houston Lamar||11-1, DI regional semifinals|
|1||Denton Guyer||14-2, DI state champion|
|2||Cedar Park||11-2, DII regional semifinals|
|3||Humble Summer Creek||11-1, DI area|
|4||SA Brennan||15-1, DI runner-up|
|5||Whitehouse||12-1, DII regional semifinals|
|6||Texas City||12-1, DII regional semifinals|
|7||Nederland||10-2, DI area|
|8||Elgin||12-1, DII regional semifinals|
|9||Lucas Lovejoy||8-4, DII area|
|10||Sherman||4-6, missed playoffs|
|1||Carthage||15-1, DI state champion|
|2||Gilmer||11-2, DII regional semifinals|
|3||Argyle||16-0, DII state champion|
|4||Stephenville||12-2, DI state semifinals|
|5||Kilgore||15-1, DI runner-up|
|6||La Marque||8-4, DII area|
|7||Navasota||10-2, DI area|
|8||Lorena||9-2, DII bi-district|
|9||Celina||9-2, DII bi-district|
|10||Graham||14-1, DII state semifinals|
|1||Daingerfield||10-4, state quarterfinals|
|2||Cameron Yoe||15-1, state champion|
|3||Newton||12-1, regional semifinals|
|4||Wall||15-1, state runner-up|
|1||Refugio||14-2, state runner-up|
|2||Cisco||16-0, state champion|
|3||East Bernard||12-1, state quarterfinals|
|4||Canadian||12-2, state quarterfinals|
|5||Rogers||12-1, regional semifinals|
|1||Mart||10-4, state semifinals|
|2||Shiner||11-4, state runner-up|
|3||Stamford||14-1, state champion|
|5||Bosqueville||10-4, state quarterfinals|
|1||Tenaha||11-2, state semifinals|
|2||Wellington||14-0, state champion|
|3||Falls City||14-1, state runner-up|
|4||Muenster||12-1, state quarterfinals|
Overall, how’d we do? Some thoughts.
-If the goal is to make sure you identify the state champions that far out, our prognostications were pretty strong. Only two of the 10 11-man state champions – Cedar Hill in 5A, Aledo in 4A – were unranked in our way-too-early predictions.
-Furthermore, check out the No. 1’s in these rankings: state champ, state champ, state champ, quarterfinalist, runner-up, semifinalist, semifinalist. We may not have been able to pinpoint every great team, but if you were pegged at the top of our rankings back in January, you had a pretty good year.
-Altogether, we ranked 50 teams back in January. 49 of them made the playoffs – only Sherman (our No. 10 team in 4A) missed the dance; 43 of them won at least one playoff game. Now, maybe that’s a low bar, but that means that our big-time swings-and-misses were to a minimum.
-Aside from Sherman, the biggest misses were scattered mostly through the big school ranks. La Porte, Arlington Bowie and Austin Westlake fell short of expectations, and Pflugerville Hendrickson – despite an unbeaten regular season – fell victim to the aforementioned Westlake in the first round in 5A. Humble Summer Creek was a second-round upset victory, as was Nederland, while Lucas Lovejoy never really got on track.
-Other misses: La Marque in 3A, Hempstead in 2A DI, Mason in 1A DI, Munday in 1A DII.
-Overall, though? Can’t be too ashamed of these results. The average win total for the 50 teams that we ranked: 11.3. That’s pretty darn good.
So, next month, when you crack open your copy of the 2014 Winter Edition of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football, just remember: these way-too-early rankings aren’t the end-all be-all, but they provide a pretty accurate barometer as to what to expect in the 2014 season.