Which conference in Michigan is the toughest?
About the only place I have not spent any time in is on the west side of the state. But from everything I have seen (covered state championship games), heard and observed (online), the west side boasts a number of the state's best football programs and leagues. I have a great deal of respect for the "West Side."
All that being said, and from spending a good deal of time reading up and down MLive's Football forums, I wanted to pose the question: Which football conference is the toughest in the state. You can break that question down a hundred ways. Some leagues are bigger than others. Some are top heavy, some are deeper. What exactly do you mean, "Toughest?"
Well, to simplify it, let's treat it like an ACC/Big Ten challenge in basketball. Try to seed the teams in each league, based on recent success - mostly weighted for this year - and include a hint of tradition. Then, pit those teams, based on seeds, against the other conference's top six. Add up the wins, and see what you get. Some will argue, why don't you go eight deep, or 10 deep, or 16 deep. Of course, that could change things up a bit. But because I have 10 other projects I'm working on right now, and the fact that this is for fun, I decided to keep it to just six. Yes, that's an even number, which could create ties, but oh well. That's life.
The greatest thing about this "debate" is that there will be no right answer. Everyone is going to have their own opinion. Loyalty is golden. But I love to hear people argue their case. Sometimes they make a good argument. Sometimes, not so much.
I narrowed it down to seven conferences from across the state. In alphabetical order, they are:
Capital Area Activities Conference: DeWitt, East Lansing, Grand Ledge, Holt, Lansing Sexton, Mason
Catholic High School League: Brother Rice, Catholic Central, Divine Child, De La Salle, Orchard Lake St. Mary's, U-D Jesuit
Detroit Public School League: Cass Tech, Crockett, Henry Ford, Martin Luther King, Pershing, Southeastern
Kensington Lakes Activities Association: Canton, Grand Blanc, Northville, Plymouth, Walled Lake Central, Walled Lake Western
Macomb Activities Association: Chippewa Valley, Dakota, Eisenhower, Marine City, Romeo, Stevenson
Oakland Activities Association: Clarkston, Harrison, Lake Orion, Oxford, Rochester Adams, Southfield
Ottawa-Kent Conference: East Grand Rapids, GR West Catholic, Lowell, Muskegon, Rockford, Zeeland West
I will follow this blog up with another and try my best to seed the teams and square them off. Opinions (you can leave them below in the comments section) will be very helpful. I would weigh recent success - mostly this season - when comparing teams head-to-head. I included a bit of tradition in selecting the teams so that you didn't necessarily get many one-time wonders on the lists.
We have a poll up on the right side of MIPrepZone.com so viewers can vote on who they think the toughest conference is. And I would encourage you to follow us on Twitter @MIPrepZone to help spread the word. Check back by Thursday for an updated blog with the league matchups. And remember, leave your opinions here as to who you would seed where in each league.