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December 25, 2012
A final look back at the pre-season top 25
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At the beginning of August, FlaVarsity.com sat down and evaluated our 'Top 25' by looking at teams to keep an eye on. Over the next few days - we'll re-evaluate how we did. Who did we miss on and who did we see good things from. The next in the series is Class 5A, 4A and 3A.
The Top Ten
Then came the week 2 meltdown against Miami Central and people were wondering if Treon Harris just might be cursed.
Surviving a rash of injuries and a tough schedule - the Tornados managed to storm through the post-season with barely a hiccup - including an impressive 35-7 shellacking of No. 25 Bolles. That was - by far - the worst post-season defeat in the long and illustrious career of Corky Rogers while at Bolles.
Scary thing is - Booker T returns a lot of weapons for next year.
Still, the Stallions pounded almost everyone they played - including Atlantic, Glades Central and Dwyer to end the season. But a second-round matchup with University School proved to be too much and AHD ended their season at 11-1.
With talent like Greg Bryant, Roderick Johnson and company - the national media even put the Stallions up pretty high - and still ranked them in the final Rivals100 - showing much respect to the 3A class in Florida.
The Tigers fell hard after being propped up so high - and looked worthy of the ranking in the pre-season, but a one-dimensional offense proved to be the weakspot.
The loss of Randy Johnson proved to be too much - and Norland did make a post-season run, but not to the effect of the year earlier.
Of course, the Tigers did make it to the second round of the post-season, but quickly bowed out and did not materialize the run in 5A that we thought they'd make.
Two overtime wins over Pensacola Catholic were the closest games - other than two losses to Gainesville (6A runner-up) and University School.
Not that we missed on this one - since the Cowboys did make it to Orlando - but maybe we underestimated where they should have been ranked.
A botched extra point try cost the Indians a shot at overtime in the 5A title game.
Pasco's defense was flat-out dominant, but the offense had spurts of inconsistency. A very weak schedule didn't help.
Lake Wales did it with what some would call 'smoke and mirrors' - and a big regular-season win over Immokalee early proved they were ranking worthy.
Then the slide came. The Highlanders did right the ship and manage to win on the road in the post-season until the regional final.
But only one loss in the regular season and a gauntlet of a schedule made a believer out of us.
Bolles was - in fact - ranking worthy.
... That Tampa Robinson would set a state record for most points scored by a defense - en route to an impressive 12-2 campaign that saw the Knights finish one yard away from a possible state title game appearance.
... That Tallahassee Godby would be the road warriors, playing every single post-season game on the road and winning game after game -starting with a season-ending win over 7A power Tallahassee Lincoln.
... That University School - would be as dominant as they were - ramming through every single game until the Cowboys of Madison County actually dared to take a 17-0 lead on them - and they didn't blink.
... That Madison County would bounce back from a 30-3 embarrassment in the 3A title game to be two plays away from perfection - including a fourth-down play against University that was 33 inches short.
This is what makes picking a pre-season Top 25 so difficult. Still - we managed to rank nine champions or runner-ups - which means in the big picture, we got almost 40 percent of the finals.
Not too shabby, but room for improvement.