The question I get the most this time of year is easily, “When is the football preview section coming out?”
The answer is Aug. 27, or the day before the games begin. That’s less than two weeks from now, which seems absolutely incredible, and exciting, and a bit terrifying because summer is about to officially end (for us, it basically has).
Right now, we’re in the process of visiting schools, checking out practices and putting together our stories.
I’m sure all of you have lots of questions, but here are the things that I’m looking forward to finding out (some of these things I already have found out), and what the preview section will try to answer — although some of these will take several games to answer.
* Who’s playing quarterback? There are quite a few schools that graduated a very special athlete at quarterback this past year, meaning there will be a lot of new faces playing the most important position on the field.
St. Clair with Jared Tobey; Richmond with Ryan Boyd; Marysville, Josh Smith; Marlette, Brad Schaub; Peck, Tristan Haener; and Carsonville-Port Sanilac, Dan Rickett, are just a sampling of the schools that graduated quarterbacks who put up huge numbers a year ago, and in all of those cases, had done it for more than one year.
* Can Marine City and Peck repeat as state champions? I think the answer is yes, and I think the previews will say as much. Both teams return enough firepower to defend their titles. Does that mean I’m predicting they both will? No, it’s a bit premature for that. But after you read each of their previews, you’ll come away thinking, “Man, they’re going to be really good again.”
* What will the move to the MAC Gold do for Port Huron Northern? Another one that will be answered as the season goes on, but I’m going to go ahead and say it’s going to be a good thing, regardless of what the Huskies MAC Gold record is this season. Any time you can add three local teams to the schedule and they’re now division rivals, it’s a good thing. Northern can expect bigger visiting crowds for those games, and fans are more likely to travel to Marysville, St. Clair or Marine City than they are to a game at Fraser.
* Will the Blue Water Area Conference go back to being wacky? Each of the past three seasons has featured a BWAC team going undefeated in league play (Richmond a year ago; Croswell-Lexington the two before). This season, Almont is the favorite, but the line behind the Raiders isn’t very clear, which could lend itself to quite a bit of craziness.
* The area’s two biggest rivalry games are being played when? St. Clair and Marine City are going to square off in Week 2, which is incredibly early for that game. Lately, it’s been a late-season game, and the last time it was played this early was in 1982. Northern and Port Huron, meanwhile, won’t meet until Week 9, which could have playoff implications. It’s typically a midseason game, but it was the regular-season finale as recently 2003.