Inside the SportsPower Rankings, Oct. 20

Pity the St. Thomas Aquinas Saints of Overland Park, Kan.

Once upon a time, this team was doing great in the SportsPower ratings and rankings, after rolling to a 5-0 start with relative ease. They dropped 50-plus points twice, 48 points another time and didn't have a close call until an October 1st matchup with traditional power Bishop Miege, a 31-26 Aquinas win.

But then, the Saints played 8-0 Webb City out of Missouri. Then they played 7-0 Blue Valley. Now they play 7-0 Gardner-Edgerton.

It's a murderer's row of matchups. While teams in Texas and Florida come across a three-game stretch like this in the playoffs quite often, it's rare for a Kansas school to see such power in back-to-back-to-back weeks.

St. Thomas Aquinas lost to Webb City, 34-26, on October 8. Webb City 's strength of schedule has prevented a high SportsPower rating, but the Cardinals are traditional powers in Missouri every year and they're no joke.

Aquinas then went out and lost to Blue Valley, 38-20. Blue Valley is ranked No. 16 in the nation in SportsPower's Large division.

Now, the Raiders play Gardner-Edgerton in a game set to be televised by ESPN. Gardner-Edgerton is ranked No. 24 in the Large division and features quarterback Bubba Starling, a phenomenal athlete who's committed to Nebraska but may be lured by millions of dollars in next summer's Major League Baseball draft.

If Gardner-Edgerton wins, St. Thomas Aquinas will fall to 5-3. It would then have a case at being the best 5-3 team in the country.

Game of the Week

The Hoover Buccaneers of Alabama are a highly visible team in the national scope, dating back to the MTV series that featured the program.

Hoover keeps on rolling, too, taking a 7-0 record and No. 13 Mega ranking into Friday's game against Mountain Brook. At 7-1, Mountain Brook is ranked No. 7 in Alabama and is the toughest opponent Hoover has faced to date, according to the SportsPower ratings. Yes, even tougher than Byrnes (S.C.), which lost to Hoover 14-0 in the opening week.

Hoover is gathering steam for another state championship run, but Mountain Brook is capable of putting an immediate end to the quest.

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