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.