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Ratings: Not exact science PDF E-mail

"We’re No. 1! We’re No. 1!"

If you go to enough sporting events, you’re bound to hear the crowd yelling that chant sooner or later.

Probably sooner.

In making a case for Aurora’s football team prior to their setback against Scottsbluff, that same chant could very easily have come out in the form of, "We’re No. 4!," though that would have been extremely odd.

That’s because the state’s two biggest newspapers, the Omaha World-Herald and the Lincoln Journal Star, didn’t quite see eye to eye on where the Huskies should have been ranked.

That’s fine by me. An exact science it isn’t.

"First of all, neither of our rankings is a ‘poll," noted Stu Pospisil, who is in charge of the World-Herald’s weekly high school football ratings and had the Huskies No. 4 a week ago. "It’s one person’s opinion, honed by years of following high school sports and based initially on the preseason rankings."

Lincoln rater Ryly Jane Hambleton says she takes her job very seriously. She had McCook top-ranked in pre-season, and Aurora second.

"I put a great deal of stock into what coaches say about their teams on their preseason information sheets. Some are very forthcoming and others would just as soon you not mention them."

She said Aurora’s biggest question this season was in the line, replacing Garret Johns. And she said McCook coach Jeff Gross was very optimistic about his squad, which like the Huskies, had a lot of experience returning.

"The Huskies’ 26-13 win over McCook sent them to the top and McCook’s subsequent loss sent the Bison to contender status," she pointed out.

She said Class B is "always fun to rate" because there are upsets all the time. "You can’t take yourself too seriously if you do high school ratings in any sport. These are kids who some weeks achieve their potential and some weeks don’t. I see my ratings as a guide to fans. Here are 10 teams, 15 including contenders, that are worth your attention. If the ratings get people interested, they might just go and watch a game. And I am sure if they do that, they will keep going back."

Pospisil noted that he never penalizes a team for not winning by a lot of points.

"In general, teams move up as others lose and I seldom penalize a team for winning a game by not as much as might be expected," he told me. "Sometimes, teams vault over others for impressive wins."

His preseason rankings had the Huskies rated much lower. Thus, they had more of a hill to climb after just a few short weeks.

"Aurora started eighth in the preseason and moved to fourth after the opening win over McCook. Beatrice went from fourth to first as the highest ranking team not to lose in the opening week, also beating a ranked team. And nobody in the top five had lost since."

Ryly Jane added that once the season starts, she reads newspapers across the state to keep up on teams and games.

"You can get caught up in the theories – team A beat team B and team B beat team C. Just about the time you think you have it down, team C beats team A and you’re back to square one.

"That’s what makes the season exciting. Eventually, the teams have a chance to work it all out on the field."

 
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