And this weekend's football champions will be ...
Burnstein and Dunlap are predicting an Oakland County sweep of its four state title games. And the way Catholic Central, Brother Rice, St. Mary's and Country Day are playing, who could argue?
On paper, Catholic Central and Brother Rice very well may be underdogs. St. Mary's and Country Day should be favorites. But in the end, all four teams will have to play 48 solid minutes of football to have a chance to hoist state championship trophies.
Here are my predictions for Friday and Saturday's games (click on the blue links for the game previews):
Detroit Catholic Central (9-4) vs. Detroit Cass Tech (11-2) - I'm fighting my inner urge to pick Detroit Cass Tech in this game. And I don't think it has anything to do with last year's 49-13 loss to the Technicians in this same game. CC's record is deceiving. Its losses came to the Nos. 1 and 3 teams in Ohio (Whitmer and Moeller) and two of the best in Michigan (St. Mary's and Brother Rice), who are also playing for state titles this weekend. I see the Shamrocks continuing to play well in their role as an "underdog" - CATHOLIC CENTRAL 27, CASS TECH 20
Birmingham Brother Rice (11-2) vs. Muskegon (12-1) - One of these two teams have spent the majority of their seasons ranked No. 1 in the Division 2 poll. And many predicted this Final a long time ago. This game is a lot like the Division 1 matchup. Rice has more losses, but they came to superior competition (Cass Tech and St. Mary's). The Warriors have steamrolled through the playoffs. I see them winning on Friday - though it could very easily go the other way - BROTHER RICE 23, MUSKEGON 17
Grand Rapids Christian (12-1) vs. Orchard Lake St. Mary's (11-2) - For most of the year, I really felt St. Mary's was the best team in the entire state. I'm not backing down from that. But I will say after looking at Grand Rapids Christian's body of work, it's easy to understand why this may be the best state final played this weekend at Ford Field. The Eagles beat Division 4 finalist Grand Rapids South Christian. They beat Lowell in the playoffs. And they played Cincinnati Moeller (see above) to a 42-34 game - their only loss. This one's going to be a good one, a close one - ST. MARY'S 30, GRAND RAPIDS CHRISTIAN 27
Grand Rapids South Christian (10-3) vs. Detroit Country Day (11-2) - I actually thought this might be the easiest game to predict. Now I find it the most difficult. I don't know much about South Christian's schedule. But one thing I do know is that they played Grand Rapids Christian (see above) very tough, in a 38-28 loss. I don't know if Country Day is playing exceedingly well, or if it hasn't been challenged in these playoffs. Something tells me that might be the difference in this one - SOUTH CHRISTIAN 23, COUNTRY DAY 20
LAST WEEK: 5-0
And, just for fun, here are the rest of the divisions:
DIVISION 5: Grand Rapids West Catholic 20, Portland 14
DIVISION 6: Ithaca 38, Constantine 13
DIVISION 7: Detroit Loyola 34, Ishpeming 10
DIVISION 8: Beal City 27, Harbor Beach 13