As the season gets underway, which teams are facing the toughest competition, either because of the strength of their leagues or difficult out-of-state tests or some combination?
According to Ken Massey, whose rankings fuel the Super 25 Computer, the top two teams with the toughest schedules reside in the same city: Cincinnati.
Here’s a look at the Top 10, according to the computer:
- St. Xavier (Cincinnati)
The schedule includes three teams ranked in the Super 25 Expert rankings, including the opener against No. 20 St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.), No. 7 Colerain (Cincinnati) and No. 21 Warren Central (Indianapolis). It also include a game against the team with nation’s second-toughest schedule.
- Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati)
Other than the aforementioned game against St. Xavier, Moeller also faces No. 24 Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.), traditional power St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio) and the always challenging slate of Cincinnati foes.
- St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.)
Playing in the Trinity League in Southern California is always tough, but the Braves also host two-time defending Super 25 champion Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas).
- JSerra (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.)
Serra does not play any out-of-state games but closes its season with Bosco and Preseason No. 14 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.), along with tests from Southern California’s best.
- Orange Lutheran (Orange, Calif.)
Lutheran also faces Bosco and Mater Dei along with the high-powered offense from Centennial (Corona, Calif.). Its lone out-of-state game is against Mullen, which was ranked in the top 20 in Colorado last season.
- Santa Margarita (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.)
Another Trinity League member makes the list. That is a tough league.
- Servite (Anaheim, Calif.)
Servite has its league schedule in SoCal but also has a Sept. 9 date with perennial Northern California and national power De La Salle (Concord, Calif.).
- Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.)
Ranked No. 24 in the Preseason Super 25 Expert rankings, Bosco open at No. 6 American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.), then travels to Philadelphia to face St. Joseph’s Prep and hosts Cincinnati’s Archbishop Moeller before the league schedule even begins. That schedule includes St. Joseph Regional (Montvale), which just missed the Preseason Super 25.
- St. John’s College Prep (Washington, D.C.)
The Cadets face a very difficult first half of the season as three of their first six games are against teams ranked in the Top 10 of the Preseason Super 25. That begins with the Sept. 3 opener vs. American Heritage (Delray, Fla.), at No. 4 IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) on Sept. 17 and at No. 9 DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) on Sept. 30. The stretch also includes a visit to St. Joseph Regional (Montvale, N.J.) and a home game against always-tough Good Counsel (Olney, Md.).
- Warren Central (Indianapolis)
Ranked at No. 21 in the Preseason Super 25 Expert rankings, the Warriors open at Center Grove (Greenwood, Ind.) and then visit No. 7 Colerain in two weeks. After a full slate of games against tough Indiana foes, Warren closes at St. Xavier in Cincinnati.
Here are the next 10:
- St. Joseph Regional (Montvale, N.J.)
- Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)
- Bishop Amat (La Puente, Calif.)
- Serra (Gardena, Calif.)
- North Central (Indianapolis)
- Alemany (Mission Hills, Calif.)
- La Salle (Cincinnati)
- Good Counsel (Olney, Md.)
- Canada Prep Academy (St. Catharines, Ontario)
- Gonzaga College Prep (Washington, D.C.)
Note: St. Catherines is included because it plays only U.S. schools