Monday is the normal day for rankings release for the various sports across Colorado but with all events now in the post-season, polls are no longer released. So we thought it would be a good day to look back at the pre-season rankings in football and see how pollsters did as we begin or continue the playoffs. The results, as always, are mixed.
Pollsters had three of the four semifinalists in the top three spots to begin the year. Stratton/Liberty as the pre-season #1 team followed by Kit Carson and Fleming in spots 2-3. All three are in still in the chase for a state championship and will be joined by Cheyenne Wells in the semifinals. The Tigers were ranked #10 in the pre-season.
Probably the biggest surprise has been Kim/Branson. The Bearcats did not receive any pre-season consideration for the top 10 but went through the regular season with just one loss before falling in the state quarterfinals last week.
Idalia at #7 and Arickaree/Woodlin #8 were the highest ranked teams in the pre-season that did not reach the playoffs.
We’re down to the state quarterfinals in this division but only five teams still chasing a state championship were included in the pre-season top 10. Vail Christian, Dayspring Christian and Sanford are in the quarterfinals but none of the three received enough votes to crack the pre-season rankings.
Hoehne was ranked second but did not make the playoffs. The remaining nine members of the opening top 10 all made the playoffs. Sedgwick County was the pre-season pick at number one and also the number one seed in the playoff bracket; one of only two teams statewide to achieve that feat.
Seven of the eight state quarterfinalists had a spot in the pre-season Top 10. Highland is the exception as the Huskies received some votes but not enough to make it into the rankings.
Peyton and Burlington were 7th and 8th in the pre-season and are the highest ranked teams from the start of the year not to qualify for the bracket.
Sterling, Lamar and Basalt are three teams in the state quarterfinals that were not included in the pre-season top 10. The remaining five teams all opened the season in the polls.
The pre-season number one team was La Junta. The defending state champions made the playoffs but were eliminated in round one. Bayfield at #6, Kent Denver #8 and Aspen #9 were three teams found in the first set of rankings that did not enter the playoffs.
Nine of the pre-season top 10 teams have qualified for the playoffs. The only club not on that list is Pueblo East as the Eagles were #2 in the pre-season. Palmer Ridge was the pre-season #1 club and is seeded 4th.
Every team in the pre-season polls made the playoffs this year. Pine Creek was the number one choice by voters in the pre-season and the Eagles were also named the top overall playoff seed over the weekend. They join Sedgwick County as the only clubs to be ranked #1 to open both the season and playoffs.
Every member of the pre-season top 10 made the playoffs; which is easier to do as the class has an expanded field of 24 teams. The top five in the pre-season polls all received first round bye and the other three were also included in the top nine. The exception was Eaglecrest and the Raptors are the 10th seed.
ThunderRidge was the other member of the top 10 as they opening the season at #10. They received the 16th seed in the playoff bracket.