week 9 top 25

Nothing too crazy at the top, but a lot of non-BCS schools in lofty places. Definitely tough to rank after No. 13 or so.

1. Texas (1) – Longhorns got a bit of scare from Oklahoma State, but they are 3-for-3 in their Big 12 gauntlet. A trip to Texas Tech awaits though.

2. Alabama (2) – A ho-hum victory over Tennessee, as Bama pummelled the lousy Vols. Its good to see them dominate a mediocre or worse team though.

3. Penn State (3) – Big win for the Nittany Lions, as they win at Ohio State for the first time in 30 years. Now it looks like smooth sailing to an undefeated record, as their toughest opponent (Michigan State) is at home.

4. Texas Tech (5) – I had them jump back over Oklahoma because quite frankly, I was impressed by them hanging 63 at Kansas. If Tech beats the Longhorns, it could be No. 1 next week.

5. Oklahoma (4) – Did nothing wrong, as they hung 55 in the first half on Kansas State. But Tech did enough to jump. I’m a little concerned with Oklahoma’s defense at this point though.

6. USC (6) – Didn’t look great against Arizona and I was considering jumping Florida here, but the Wildcats have improved and a win is a win.

7. Florida (7) – 63-5 over Kentucky looks good. If they beat Georgia this week, the Gators will jump some people.

8. Georgia (9) – A huge win at LSU bumps the Dawgs up and gives them some real momentum going into the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.

9. Utah (11) – A bye gets the Utes into the top 10. But in a formidable Mountain West with an undefeated record, the praise is warranted.

10. Oklahoma State (10) – I’m not dropping the Cowboys for losing by 4 at Texas. Plus, there weren’t any teams below them that I really thought should pass them.

11. Boise State (13) – Boise is undefeated too, but I’m not quite ready to put them in the top 10 yet. Another win or two should do the trick though.

12. TCU (15) – A one-loss Mountain West team this high? What am I smoking? Well, TCU is smoking everyone it plays, and its loss is to Oklahoma. Not bad.

13. BYU (16) – Yes, another Mountain West team. Its nuts, as the Mountain West has three teams this high, more than the Big Ten (1), Pac 10 (1), ACC (0) and Big East (0) and equal to the SEC.

14. Ohio State (8) – Ohio State is the top two-loss team, at least for this week. The Buckeyes did blow a huge chance to sneak back in the title race though. Guess those are the travails of a true freshman QB.

15. Ball State (17) – There’s no way Ball State has ever been ranked this high. But David Letterman’s alma mater can play, led by junior QB Nate Davis.

16. Tulsa (20) – The Golden Hurricane was the reason I delayed this top 25, as they didn’t play until tonight. Tulsa is good, but not good enough to share with the NFL. Jerks.

17. Missouri (21) – What’s a good way to take out frustration for two straight losses? Beating the crud out of Colorado 58-0 apparently.

18. Florida State (25) – The big leapers in the poll this week, the Seminoles showed some spunk in beating Virginia Tech. If they do the same against Georgia Tech this upcoming weekend, they’ll jump some people.

19. LSU (12) – The Tigers not only lost at home, but gave up 50+ points for the second time this season. The defense is definitely an issue on the bayou.

20. Oregon (24) – The Ducks are kind of boring and kind of unimpressive, but there’s really not that much better out there. Trust me, I looked.

21. Minnesota (NR) – The Gophers, 1-11 last year, are now 7-1 and a borderline player in the Big Ten race. Tim Brewster deserves some coach of the year recognition for that.

22. California (NR) – Cal looked good against UCLA so it gets its spot in the rankings back. Plus, after the scare Zona gave to USC, Cal’s loss to them doesn’t look as bad.

23. South Florida (14) – I was tempted to keep the Big East out of this poll entirely. But South Florida sneaks in despite losing to Louisville. They are on watch though.

24. North Carolina (NR) – Throwing up 45 against Boston College is enough to impress me. Plus, Virginia’s surge makes that loss not seem as bad.

25. Michigan State (NR) – Yes, Michigan stinks. But the Spartans overcame some demons to the beat the Wolverines and are as good of choice as any for this spot.

Under consideration: Maryland, Georgia Tech, Notre Dame

Dropped out: No. 18 Pittsburgh (lost to Rutgers), No. 19 Kansas (lost to Texas Tech), No. 22 Georgia Tech (lost to Virginia), No. 23 Boston College (lost to North Carolina).

Week 8 top 10

I’ll admit, anywhere from No. 4 to No. 7 was absolutely brutal to rank this week. Luckily, there are a lot of games between top 10 teams this week that will clear things up.

1. Redlands East Valley (7-0)
I was ready to drop the Wildcats if Upland had won. Los Osos won though, giving REV a stay of execution despite struggling with Carter. However, if the Wildcats can oust Miller this week, their legitimacy for the top spot won’t be questioned.

2. Miller (7-0)
The Rebels have been arguably the most impressive team in the CBL this season and I almost made them No. 1 after their 31-7 trouncing of Redlands. But with the Wildcats coming to town this week, I’ll let the Rebels earn their ranking.

3. Los Osos (6-1)
The Grizzlies jumped Hesperia and quite frankly, could have jumped Miller. Their win over Upland was just that good. With Cajon, Kaiser and Bishop Amat coming on, the Grizzlies’ resume is pretty strong. A win over Rancho Cucamonga Friday would only add to that.

4. Hesperia (7-0)
I gave the Scorpions the benefit of the doubt and didn’t drop them, because quite frankly, they haven’t done anything wrong. However, Upland, Cajon and Rancho could easily be in this spot. Hesperia will get its chance to cement its ranking with Serrano this week.

5. Upland (6-1)
I had the Scots down to seventh at one point, but I couldn’t justify dropping them five spots for a loss at a very-good Los Osos team. Plus, earlier wins over teams like Glendora, Colony and Serrano can’t be dismissed.

6. Cajon (6-1)
I had to be consistent here. I flipped Rancho over Cajon last week for a big win against a quality opponent, challenging the Cowboys to do the same. Cajon got a bigger win against maybe even a better opponent, so here it is. The loss to Los Osos looks better by the day.

7. Rancho Cucamonga (6-0-1)
I’m cowering in the corner, preparing for the inevitable tongue-lashing from the Cougar faithful. The reason I put Rancho here was the lack of quality wins, as Etiwanda is the only real standout win. However, a win over Los Osos Friday would launch Rancho over everyone else except the REV-Miller win.

8. Chino Hills (7-0)
This has to be the quietest undefeated team in a good league in memory. Chino Hills isn’t flashy, but the Huskies are extremely efficient. A preseason win over Colony is looking better by the day, but Chino Hills doesn’t quite have bang in that category as some of the teams above it. A win over Glendora this week would help that tremendously.

9. Serrano (5-2)
The Diamondbacks’ offense has been pretty explosive this year and Serrano prepped for its big showdown with Hesperia by smacking around a good Apple Valley team. It’ll be interesting to see if Serrano can keep MRL supremacy on the road.

10. Ayala (6-1)
The Sierra League gets another team in the rankings, and to be honest, this was a long time coming. Ayala has been right on the rankings fence for a month now and finally jumped over it with a 40-0 win over Diamond Bar.

Just missed the cut: Colony (4-3), Colton (4-2-1), Kaiser (3-3-1)
Dropped out: No. 8 Colton (4-2-1), No. 10 Summit (6-1)

Week 8 NFL picks

Yay, I’m to .500 this season overall. I got so excited I almost forgot to pick this week. Here we go with a quickie version.

Oakland (+8) at Baltimore – Baltimore 19, Oakland 13
San Diego (-3) vs. New Orleans, London – San Diego 37, New Orleans 24
Kansas City (+14) at N.Y. Jets – N.Y. Jets 28, Kansas City 10
Buffalo (-1) at Miami – Buffalo 21, Miami 14
Tampa Bay (+2) at Dallas – Tampa Bay 26, Dallas 21
Atlanta (+9.5) at Philadelphia – Philadelphia 31, Atlanta 20
St. Louis (+7.5) at New England – New England 23, St. Louis 17
Arizona (+4) at Carolina – Carolina 28, Arizona 17
Washington (-8) at Detroit – Washington 24, Detroit 10
Cleveland (+7) at Jacksonville – Jacksonville 23, Cleveland 14
N.Y. Giants (+3) at Pittsburgh – N.Y. Giants 21, Pittsburgh 20
Seattle (+5.5) at San Francisco – San Francisco 24, Seattle 20
Cincinnati (+9) at Houston – Houston 27, Cincinnati 13
indianapolis (+4) at Tennessee – Tennessee 20, Indianapolis 17

Overall record: 51-51. Against the spread: 47-54-1

Week 9 college picks

Nice bounceback this week, going 6-4 against the spread. Hopefully we can keep it up this week and finally move past .500.

USC (+15.5) at Arizona
The Trojans looked pretty good last week in throwing 69 points up against Washington State, but then again, I think anyone would put up points against Wazzu, including some of our better high school teams and Division III colleges. Arizona should be a tougher test and will get some punches in, but USC will ultimately prove to be too much.
USC 38, Arizona 20

UCLA (+18) at California
The Bruins have quietly gotten better as the season has gone on, with that progress resulting in a last-second victory over Stanford last week. Cal is just one of those faceless teams that seem to populate the Pac-10 – pretty good, capable of giving anyone a game or giving up a game to anyone. I’ll take the Bruins to keep this competitive but fall short.
California 28, UCLA 17

Oregon (-3) at Arizona State
Arizona State is possibly the biggest underachiever in the country. While teams like Michigan and Tennessee and Clemson have gotten most of the underachieving hype, ASU has gone from a 10-win season last year to a four-game losing streak this one despite returning much of their personnel. Oregon has had the Sun Devils’ number lately, something I don’t expect will change.
Oregon 30, Arizona State 14

Notre Dame (-10) at Washington
Notre Dame past vs. Notre Dame present takes hold at Husky Stadium, as embattled Washington coach Tyrone Willingham goes against his old team. Maybe that fact will get the Huskies primed for the upset, but I don’t really think it matters. The Irish aren’t great, but they are miles ahead of where Washington is.
Notre Dame 27, Washington 14

Oklahoma State (+12) at Texas
The Longhorns have quite a gauntlet going right now, having passed the Oklahoma and Missouri tests with fighting colors and having Texas Tech looming next week. But this test against undefeated Oklahoma State could be the toughest yet. Okie State tends to get off to big leads against Texas (28 points in 2004, 19 points in 2005, 21 points last year) but blow it. Expect a little of the same in this one.
Texas 38, Oklahoma State 28

Georgia (+1.5) at LSU
There’s something about Georgia I just don’t like, but I can’t put my finger on it. They aren’t doing bad at all – 6-1 with their only loss coming to No. 2 Alabama – but it still seems like they are underachieving. LSU is a tough place to win and although the Tigers may not be what they were last year, they are good enough to take Georgia with the home crowd behind it.
LSU 21, Georgia 14

Penn State (-2.5) at Ohio State
I can’t honestly remember the last time the Buckeyes were a home underdog. If it’s happened in the Jim Tressel era, it must have come during his first season of 2001. Penn State has looked extremely impressive this season, but going to the Horseshoe at night is an entirely different beast. Its not a beast they have solved since joining the Big Ten, which is why I’m going with Ohio State.
Ohio State 24, Penn State 23

Texas Tech (+1) at Kansas
The Red Raiders are one of only five undefeated BCS conference teams, but they have been rocked a bit in the past two weeks, being taken to overtime by a mediocre Nebraska team and being challenged by a bad Texas A&M team. Tech seems ready for a fall and Kansas, with its explosive offense, is a team capable of making that happen.
Kansas 41, Texas Tech 35

Virginia Tech (+5.5) at Florida State
Last time people started buying into the Seminoles, they only scored 3 points against Wake Forest. I don’t know, but I’m not really sure that Florida State has earned my trust. Virginia Tech is a flawed team and it lost at Boston College last week, but the Hokies are good at winning ugly. That’s something Florida State hasn’t quite mastered.
Virginia Tech 20, Florida State 16

Alabama (-5) at Tennessee
This is the most interesting line of the week, as it keeps moving down in Tennessee’s directon. The main question I have for that is why? Tennessee has been mediocre to bad all season and Alabama has risen up for its big games – Clemson and Georgia. Tennessee-Alabama is one of the fiercest rivalries in the South, which makes me feel as if the Tide will be properly motivated to treat Tennessee badly.
Alabama 27, Tennessee 17

Overall record: 57-23. Against the spread: 39-40-1

Several local athletes receiving CIF honor tonight

Several local athletes and coaches are in Los Alamitos as we speak, receiving CIF “Character Counts” awards for their pursuit of “Victory with Honor” during the last school year.

Local athletes awarded are Carter senior 119-pound wrestler Steven Melara, Cajon senior basketball player Layshia Clarendon, Colton basketball player Reann Ragoo, Yucca Valley basketball player Lauren Bushong, Alta Loma three-sport athlete Kevin Gannuscio and Upland Christian volleyball player Kylie Edgemon. Colton girls soccer coach Diego Garcia was also honored.

As for Melara, the senior is coming off an impressive summer where he qualified for the U.S. Junior National wrestling team after finishing fourth in the Greco-Roman state championships.

Week 7 high school picks

After going 20-4 last week, i’m now 100 games over .500. Cue the ticker-tape parade. Huge games all over this weekend makes me wish I had a satellite dish and live television feeds everywhere around the county.

Colton at Cajon
Quite frankly, this is what the Cowboy seniors have been prepping for the last 10 years, for their shot at San Andreas League glory. Well, Cajon has it, and on its home field to boot. Couldn’t ask for a much better set up for that. Colton’s offense finally broke out against San Bernardino, which was perfect timing. However, I’m taking Cajon to break the Colton stranglehold on the SAL, if just for this year.
Cajon 23, Colton 20

Upland at Los Osos
This is actually a game you can see on television, as Fox Sports Prime Ticket will show the battle between Upland QB Josh Nunes (Stanford) and Los Osos QB Richard Brehaut (UCLA). In the battle between their future schools last weekend, UCLA prevailed late. I expect that result to foreshadow what’s going to go on this week, as the Grizzlies slow down Nunes just enough to let Brehaut pull one from the fire.
Los Osos 27, Upland 26

Summit at Kaiser
NoFo vs. SoFo. Besides being fun to say, it should make for a great matchup, as the newcomers from the North Side (Summit) takes on the established power on the South Side (Kaiser). The SkyHawks’ ascent from infant program to burgeoning juggernaut has been impressive in its speed, but Kaiser and Dick Bruich will knock them down a notch.
Kaiser 28, Summit 10

Miller at Redlands
This game is the first of a three-week tag-team battle royale between the CBL’s top three teams. One team, Miller, is 6-0 but is relatively untested while the other, Redlands, is 3-3 but has played a rough schedule to date. To be honest, this game is a toss-up to me, but I think the Rebels’ offense is stout enough to slow Redlands just enough.
Miller 21, Redlands 17

Barstow at Silverado
Another matchup that will likely decide a league title, as Barstow established itself as the most viable challenger to the two-time defending champion Hawks with its win over Ridgecrest Burroughs last year. Barstow likes to make me look bad on my picks, and I’ll give them an opportunity to do the same, as I like Silverado to make it two wins in a row.
Silverado 28, Barstow 25

Apple Valley at Serrano
After a rocking beginning, Frank Pulice seems to have his young team at Apple Valley moving in the right direction with three wins in their last four games. A win over Serrano would be a big step. However, it seems as if the Diamondbacks worked extensively on defense during its bye week, as they blanked Rim of the World. Serrano won’t shut out Apple, but it will do enough to grab the win comfortably.
Serrano 24, Apple Valley 6

Chino at Chino Hills
The Cowboys have a stingy enough defense to stay in this game, as they held Ayala to under 200 yards of offense last week. However, Chino lost to Ayala, which underlies their problem – lack of playmakers on offense. Chino Hills has been making plays all year, something I don’t expect to change this week.
Chino Hills 30, Chino 12

Arroyo Valley at San Gorgonio
This game might resemble a hospital ward more than a football game, as both teams have had awful luck with injuries. The Hawks are optimistic that RB Demarcus White will be back in action, which would be huge for Arroyo. San G’s optimism about Tre Meadors is a little more tempered. Either way, this is the likely battle for third and I’ll go with the optimistic team.
Arroyo Valley 21, San Gorgonio 16

Redlands East Valley at Carter
It must be nice to be getting flak for shutout wins. But that’s exactly what’s happening with the Wildcats, who haven’t exactly dazzled on offense the past couple of weeks. Carter, while decent on defense, won’t be able to move on the REV defense. So this basically serves as REV’s last warmup before a back-to-back with Miller and Redlands.
Redlands East Valley 24, Carter 3

Big Bear at Ontario Christian
I’ll delve out of league play on this one, because these are two teams that could use some win and some good karma. Injuries have taken their toll on the Bears, who dropped in an upset loss to Yucca Valley last week, while the Knights have struggled in their transition to the spread offense. I think Big Bear gets well this week.
Big Bear 19, Ontario Christian 13

Other games of note:
Etiwanda 26, Alta Loma 16
Rancho Cucamonga 42, Claremont 10
Eisenhower 23, Rialto 13
Yucaipa 17, Fontana 16
Twentynine Palms 37, Desert Mirage 14
Yucca Valley 20, Desert Hot Springs 18
Ridgecrest Burroughs 38, Granite Hills 13
Rim of the World 30, Sultana 6
San Bernardino 14, Pacific 6
Ayala 31, Diamond Bar 20
Bloomington 20, Jurupa Valley 17
Aquinas 48, Anza Hamilton 6
Hesperia 33, Victor Valley 14
Arrowhead Christian 28, Huntington Beach Brethren Christian 14

Overall record: 127-27-4.

Allmond commits to UCLA

Bloomington senior fullback/linebacker Jayson Allmond made his college choice tonight, committing to UCLA just a few hours ago. Allmond, who had been in contact with UCLA pretty heavily since the start of the season, received the offer from Bruins coach Rick Neuheisel this evening and didn’t hesitate to pull the trigger.

“This is like a fairy tale,” Allmond said. “I’ve been a Bruin all my life and I’m just so excited right now. I announced by commitment over the phone and the coaches were clapping and cheering. It was great to hear.”

Allmond, a 6-foot-1, 262-pound senior, is a three-star recruit according to Rivals.com. He has done pretty much everything for the Bloomington Bruins in his varsity career, from running the ball at fullback to catching the ball out the backfield at tight end to knocking around opponents on the defensive side of the ball. And while UCLA has indicated that they’ll use him at fullback, Allmond is willing to play wherever.

“I’m just happy to be at UCLA and will play whereever they want me,” Allmond said. “I’ve been working hard my whole time and I’m going to continue to work hard, whether I’m at fullback, tight end or linebacker.”

Allmond was also offered by Nevada and received interest from Pac-10 schools such as California and Oregon.

Granite Hills to play Thursday

As an FYI, the Desert Sky League showdown between Ridgecrest Burroughs and Granite Hills is Thursday at 7 p.m. at Apple Valley High School. It has been published as being played on Friday in the past, but it’s Thursday. So add that to the Bloomington-Jurupa Valley game at JVHS as things to possibly do on Thursday.

Berhe recruitment picking up

Despite missing the first four games of the season with shin spints and a torn calf muscle, Division I-A colleges aren’t backing off of Colton cornerback Nat Berhe. In fact, its starting to pick up.

“We’ve had recruiters on campus the last couple of weeks checking out Nat,” Colton coach Harold Strauss said. “UCLA’s been by and I know Arizona State is interested.”

That interest is a relief to Berhe, a three-star recruit according to Rivals.com who received scholarship offers from Minnesota, New Mexico and San Diego State over the summer. With the injury, therefore the lack of senior film to send to coaches, Berhe was starting to stress a bit.

“He wanted to play earlier because he felt pressure to get some film up out there and keep the recruiters’ interest,” Strauss said. “But I told him that he’s have over a half-season of film and that he’d make a better case for himself at full strength. He’s really played well these last two weeks back.”

Berhe is already planning official visits to UTEP and Boise State, with UTEP coming up in the next couple of weeks. Recruits get five official visits, and Berhe plans to use his final three on schools that show an increasing amount of interest these next couple of weeks. Strauss thinks that Pac-10 schools such as Arizona State, who he thinks may be on the verge of offering, will comprise those last visits.

“I think the Pac-10 schools are just waiting for one school to offer,” Strauss said. “That offer could come any day. When it does, I bet you’ll see the rest follow shortly.”

Week 7 top 10

Not much movement this week, as everyone who was in the poll stayed in the poll. I made one switch and that’s it.

1. Redlands East Valley (6-0)
Another kind of ugly win for the Wildcats and I was tempted to drop them to No. 2. But can I really drop a team that has shut out two straight opponents, no matter how overmatched said opponents are? I don’t think so.

2. Upland (6-0)
The bye week certainly didn’t disrupt the Highlanders’ momentum, as they wasted Claremont this weekend. With a trip to Los Osos that will be televised Friday, its safe to say that if Upland wins, it will make a jump up.

3. Miller (6-0)
No offense to the opponents that the Rebels have already faced, but Miller’s season starts this week at Redlands and intensifies even more with a Halloween tilt with REV. Should be exciting.

4. Hesperia (6-0)
The Key Game wasn’t much of a game, as the Scorpions put up a 50-spot on a defenseless Sultana squad. Signs point to an eventual title showdown with Serrano, but the Scorps will go out of league to face Victor Valley this week.

5. Los Osos (5-1)
Second half against Vista Murrieta aside, the Los Osos defense has been solid and it was again against Alta Loma. But the Grizzlies will receive their biggest test against Upland on Friday.

6. Rancho Cucamonga (5-0-1)
Hey Cougar fans, I told you I’d keep moving Rancho up if they kept winning. This week’s win against Etiwanda was huge, as the Cougars’ defense showed up against an elite offense.

7. Cajon (5-1)
Cajon didn’t drop behind Rancho because of anything it did. In fact, the Cowboys should be happy about a 38-12 victory over San Gorgonio. Colton’s coming in this week with the San Andreas title likely in the balance.

8. Colton (4-1-1)
Harold Strauss told me that he wished that the Yellowjackets didn’t score 71 points against San Bernardino Friday. But to be honest, Colton needed to reinforce the fear that the rest of the SAL has had toward it in the past.

9. Chino Hills (6-0)
The Huskies kept rolling, dispatching of recent nemesis Damien and killing some ghosts in the process. It seems as if the battle of Chino Hills with Ayala could be the battle for the Sierra League title.

10. Summit (6-0)
I saw the SkyHawks for the first time and quite frankly, I was blown away by their speed and athleticism. However, their first real test of whether they are fit to sit at the big boy table comes Friday at Kaiser.

Just missed the cut: Serrano (4-2), Ayala (5-1), Redlands (3-3).