As we head into the final week of the regular season, the Son of Swami has a recommendation: Get your calculators ready.
This is the weekend high school football fans across the state will try to figure out which 5-4 teams will join the teams with records of 6-3 and better in the 256-team playoff field.
With that in mind, SOS thinks it is important to know that we just might set a record for the number of 5-4 teams that make the playoffs — we’re talking about 35 or more.
Even more interesting will be the actual breakpoints for each division. SOS has used estimated breakpoints for his weekly rankings, but nothing is official until we have the 256-team field, which is then divided by enrollment into the eight divisions.
That is why some schools will wind up in different divisions than the ones in which they were ranked in during the season. For instance, it appears to be a done deal that Muskegon will be in Division 2 and there is an outside chance that Jackson Lumen Christi could be the final team in Division 5 and Traverse City St. Francis could be the bottom team in Division 6.
The exact playoff field will be revealed Sunday at 7 p.m. on Fox Sports Detroit and until then here are SOS’s top games of the weekend.
Farmington Hills Harrison (7-1) at West Bloomfield (8-0), 7 Friday. West Bloomfield is in unchartered waters here as it attempts to have its first unbeaten season since 1962. The Lakers have an array of offensive weapons led by QB Trishton Jackson, who seems to be a human highlight film. Harrison’s Khalid Kareem will have to make life miserable for Jackson and the Hawks will need QB Anthony Giovanni to have a good game against West Bloomfield’s impressive defense. Bloom’s Field 26, Farmington Mill Herrington 21.
Midland (7-1) at Midland Dow (7-1), 7 Friday. This could be a preview of a state playoff matchup down the road. Dow is playing at a high level with QB Bruce Mann lighting up the sky with passes and Mike Robb and Justin Cook are excellent receivers. Midland has an exceptional passer of its own in Payton DeWildt and he has a bevy of talented receivers, which could make this a three-hour game. Chemical Spills 28, Dow Corning 24.
Detroit King (8-0) vs. Detroit Cass Tech (7-1) at Ford Field, 7 Friday. This is a rematch of King’s 31-28 overtime victory in Week 5. But the unknown factor is exactly which King players are going to be suspended following last week’s brawl with Cody? Add that to the factor that Cass Tech is a darn good team and quarterback Rodney Hall is ready to have a breakout game. Momma Cass 26, King of the Hill 23.
Lincoln Park (5-3) at Gibraltar Carlson (5-3) 7 Friday. This is one of many battles between 5-3 teams with the winner going to the state playoffs, but this one is different. Lincoln Park is only two seasons removed from ending its state-record 66-game losing streak. A playoff berth for the Railsplitters is realistic because QB Steve Glenn is a genuine dual threat, but the defense needs a good effort. Carlson has beaten Lincoln Park eight straight times and QB Nate Holmgren is another guy who is a threat running and passing. LinkedIn Park 20, Gibraltar Trade Center 19.
Warren De La Salle (6-2) vs. Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (6-1) at Ford Field, 7 Saturday. This is a rematch of De La Salle’s stunning 31-8 win over St. Mary’s in Week 5. The key stat was that De La Salle’s defense held St. Mary’s to only 38 yards rushing. St. Mary’s Justin Myrick usually has at least one 38-yard gain per game. QB Brendan Tabone will have to hit some passes to help the De La Salle defense honest. St. Mary’s LB Joss Ross and the defense will have to be much better against the run this time because Tru Wilson and Josh Wilk had career games last time. De La Soul 21, St. Mary’s by the Lake 20.