Unprecedented turnover at top of Class AAAAAA rankings

The Class AAAAAA rankings shuffle – with three No. 1 teams in the first three weeks of the season – is historic. North Gwinnett is the new No. 1, replacing Colquitt County, which replaced Norcross.

That is the first time since the Atlanta Journal-Constitution rankings began publishing a preseason poll in 1971 that there have been three No. 1 teams in the first three weeks of a season.

That got GHSF Daily to thinking about some of the most volatile seasons for No. 1 teams in history.

The 2006 season is the standard in the highest classification.

Camden County started No. 1. It seemed safe at the time. Camden had won a state-record 56 consecutive regular-season games. But the streak ended at 58 with a loss to Aiken, S.C.

Lowndes, the defending champion, got the nod at No. 1, only to lose days later to Central Gwinnett 11-7, ending Lowndes’ 25-game home winning streak. One of those home wins was a 38-0 victory over Central the previous season.

The next No. 1 was Roswell, which hadn’t held the top spot in any poll since 1971. Roswell proceeded to lose its next game 14-3 to Wheeler, which was 2-2 and hadn’t had a winning season in nine years.

Next up at No. 1 was North Gwinnett, making its first-ever appearance in the top spot. This also marked the first time since 1963 that the No. 1 team had lost in four consecutive weeks. (In ‘63, it was Rossville, Waycross and Dalton in Class AA.)

North Gwinnett held firm for three weeks. But the Bulldogs lost to No. 2 Norcross in a battle of 9-0 teams for the Region 7 championship in the final week of the regular season, making Norcross the No. 1 team in the playoffs. It also was Norcross’ first No. 1 ranking.

The 2006 season ended in a most fitting way – a 14-14 tie. Peachtree Ridge and Roswell shared the championship.

Since 1996, when the state playoffs were expanded to 32 teams, there has been only one No. 4 seed to win a state title. That’s Peachtree Ridge. There has been only one team not currently in Gwinnett County or Region 1 to win a state title in the highest class. That’s Roswell. It was a whacky year.

Below are all seasons since 1971 in which there have been as many as five No. 1 teams in one class, one season. The teams are listed in the order in which they became No. 1.

Note that the highest classification had been stable until 2006.Now, anything can happen.

*1972 Class AA (5) – Westminster, Woodward Academy, Shamrock, Southwest (Atlanta), Southwest DeKalb

1975 Class B (7) – Duluth, Trion, Duluth, Trion, Savannah Country Day, Bremen, Lyons

1977 Class AA (5) – Dalton, Fayette County, Woodward Academy, Ware County, Waycross

1978 Class A (5) – Buford, Savannah Country Day, Gordon Lee, Miller County, Buford

1982 Class A (5) – Palmetto, Commerce, Palmetto, Metter, Palmetto

1986 Class A (6) – Lincoln County, Commerce, East Rome, Wilcox County, Warren County, Lincoln County

1987 Class AAA (5) – Villa Rica, Worth County, Central Thomasville, Thomasville, Worth County

1993 Class AA (6) – Mitchell Baker, Early County, Dublin, Swainsboro, Washington County, Greene-Taliaferro

1998 Class A (5) – Washington-Wilkes, Lincoln County, Commerce, Irwin County, Darlington

2006 Class AAAAA (7) – Camden County, Lowndes, Roswell, North Gwinnett, Norcross, Peachtree Ridge/Roswell

2007 Class AAAAA (5) – Roswell, Norcross, Stephenson, North Cobb, Lowndes

2011 Class AAAAAA (5) – Brookwood, Lowndes, McEachern, Camden County, Grayson

*In 1972, No. 1 Westminster lost its opening game, and new No. 1 Woodward lost its next game, leading to three No. 1 teams in three weeks. But Westminster had a bye the first week. Westminster lost in week 2, and Woodward lost in week 3. So technically, it was three No. 1 teams in four weeks that season. Otherwise this would be the only case other than 2013 (AAAAAA) to see three No. 1 teams in the first three weeks of a season.

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27 comments Add your comment

Sportsnut

September 3rd, 2013
9:43 am

Just a tidbit: Region 1 after two weeks, 8-3
Region 2, 3-4
Region 3, 4-4
Region 5, 6-4
Region 6, 3-6
Region 7, 4-5
Region 8, 3-7

Sportsnut

September 3rd, 2013
9:48 am

Here’s the best looking Region right now, Region 4 sits at 11-1. That does not bode well for their opponents. This is indeed going to be a special year.

Colquitt Fan

September 3rd, 2013
10:15 am

Do the strength of schedules match up?

Sportsnut

September 3rd, 2013
10:54 am

Right now, we know the stronger teams, some of them , are playing not so hard games. A couple are playing very hard games. That can be deceiving. Teams that were considered better before the season started are showing not to be as advertised. That weakens their opponents strength of schedule.

Camden74

September 3rd, 2013
12:27 pm

That’s what happens when you have preseason rankings and not have enough information on the teams being ranked. Also, not into consideration teams that are much improved from last season. Sportsnut, COME ON MAN! :-)

Sportsnut

September 3rd, 2013
2:06 pm

My whole point. How do they know? The landscape is constantly changing. It is addressed in “AAAAAA Hard to Predict”.

Camden74

September 3rd, 2013
6:20 pm

I predicted Region 4 would do well last season and was disappointed, fool me once and it’s over! :-)

Russ

September 3rd, 2013
6:45 pm

Enter your comments here

57Cat

September 3rd, 2013
7:23 pm

Sportsnut, if you guys take care of. Colquitt, that will go a long way toward garnering respect for Region 4. I am not sure about Tift Co. and Brunswick, and not too much can be said -yet – for Lowndes, but the other teams in Region 1 stack up well against the top 4 or 5 in any of the other regions. That is not to say that the #1 and #2 teams in Region 1 are better than those of every other region in 6A, but i think our strength goes deeper. Lovejoy may be the best team in the state but other than your school, I don’t know who else plays in your region.

Camden74

September 3rd, 2013
8:42 pm

This season, I believe there will be a pitch battle for the fourth spot in R1, 6A and being able to make it to the playoffs…….RELEASE the……..Go ahead, it’s okay, you can say it! :-D

Marietta fan

September 3rd, 2013
9:12 pm

I think this is just like college football where you really can’t have accurate preseason rankings. On paper, Norcross and Colquitt looked like the best teams in 6A, thus the were 1 and 2 in the preseason. When the games are finally played, you can see how good they actually are. It can work the other way also. Who saw Peachtree Ridge beating Walton and being ranked after 2 weeks? Even my team Marietta is looking better than people thought. Thats just what I think.

bksmith14

September 3rd, 2013
9:12 pm

lowndes is going to be fine 57 cat just watch

Cat Man

September 4th, 2013
8:36 am

I’m having a hard time with these rankings. Why is Lovejoy getting the shaft? So N. Gwinnett has beaten 2 top 10 teams, Grayson was ranked only because these sportswriters said so. They are definitely NOT a top 10 team this year. Lovejoy has been ranked above NG til now, they won their first game big and deserved to move up. We,ve never gotten any love from these AJC writers. I guess they all live on the north side!

bksmith14

September 4th, 2013
9:13 am

the rankings have always been a little bias towards the north

Cat Man

September 4th, 2013
9:19 am

Camden74

September 4th, 2013
10:04 am

The AJC knows better than to “bite” the hand that feeds them! Maybe most of their advertisers, subscribers and employees live in the NORTH. Ya think? :-)

NGHS 09

September 4th, 2013
6:37 pm

@Cat Man

For arguments sake…NG beat Camden (top10) and Lovejoy beat Mundy’s Mill. Mundy’s Mill hasn’t had a winning season since 2007. For your argument’s sake, throw NG’s blowout win over a rebuilding Grayson team out of the picture….Where’s your confusion still? Humor me for a second…which win is more impressive? Besides, rankings don’t win games!! #1 rankings are a bunch of hot air and anticipated failure. I’m just glad NG has this week off to rest up for their showdown with Norcross next week. Lovejoy has the respect of AAAAAA without question…just as long as they don’t play back yard dirty football.

Spurrier Still SUX

September 4th, 2013
6:55 pm

Coffee County is a “sleeper” in AAAAAA….. now 2-0 – best team since Pulpwood Smith in 1984?

Todd Holcomb

September 4th, 2013
8:22 pm

”Why is Lovejoy getting the shaft?. … We,ve never gotten any love from these AJC writers.”

We compile composite rankings each Wednesday that reports six different state polls. Lovejoy is ranked higher in the AJC poll than any other.

GwinnettDad

September 4th, 2013
10:12 pm

Best as I can tell, and I’d love to report differently, that 8AAAAAA is the weakest that I can remember. Maybe that will change. 7AAAAAA seems to be vastly stronger, even though Norcross got spanked so badly to start the season.

GwinnettDad

September 4th, 2013
10:14 pm

@74, and oh by the way, sour grapes is simply sour grapes. Whining about the AJC so early in the year? Why? :-) :-) :-)

bksmith14

September 4th, 2013
10:16 pm

rankings just give us reasons to argue with each other and something to talk about . There will be a lot of 8-2 and 7-3 teams that will enter this years playoffs. Colquitt may be one and lowndes may be also. its going to be hard for anyone to run the table in our region this year, as it appears coffee has let everyone know they are going to have to be dealt with. Ware was supposed to beat them with ease last week and instead got clobbered. 6 turnovers did not help wares cause,,that along with going into that game thinking they would smash coffee with ease was a lot of the reason they lost the game although i do think coffee has improved. We will see soon

Fred

September 5th, 2013
10:06 am

@Cat Man – With all due respect, Lovejoy is getting the “shaft” as you put it because you havn’t made that final step to the state championship. You’ve done well the past couple of years but you haven’t proven you can be a champion. Once you do that and perform at a high level for more than a couple of years, you begin to sometimes but not always get the benefit of the doubt. As an example, in 2011 Grayson won state but didn’t do well in the polls until later in the year. In 2012, after being ranked #1 in the country by several national polls, we totally dropped out of the top 10 in the AJC after losing to Parkview. Colquitt gets the benefit because they have consistently been there at or near the end for the past 4-5 years, not just 2.

People say we are not a top 10 team this year and we may not be but we have gotten the benefit of the doubt because of our past 6 years of being at or near the top. Your time will come. Besides, I don’t care where you rank us as long as we are number 1 in the standings at the end of the year.

Cat Man

September 5th, 2013
12:34 pm

@NGHS 09 I agree with you about one thing, the rankings are a bunch of hot air. And I also realize NG has beaten 2 top 10 teams in their first 2 games. We know by now that Grayson shouldn’t have been ranked to start with judging by the way they’re playing. That’s neither here nor there. Lovejoy had an immpressive win by 4 plus touchdowns and should have moved up. It’s just logical to me that if you’re no. 2 and no. 1 loses, you move up, especially if you blow out the other team like we did. NG has looked very good so far and deserves the ranking as well. My problem is with the guys that make up these polls. Very seldom do they show any respect for a good southside team.

Cat Man

September 5th, 2013
12:41 pm

@ Fred I somewhat agree with your logic about not finishing the deal, but LJ has had some great teams in the past. We just haven’t been able to put 6 or 7 good seasons in a row. There’s a steep tradition down here. It’s unfortunate that some are only looking at the last 2 yrs.

Camden74

September 5th, 2013
3:26 pm

GwinnettDad…..No sour grapes here, just stating the reality of things. I’m thinking, most of the AJC’s support comes from certain areas of town, from certain businesses and the majority of their staff comes from those areas too. I could very well be wrong, but GREEN has a lot of power. I complained before because the AJC always used to bill themselves as Georgia’s Newspaper. Since we now know they don’t consider themselves that way anymore, it just stands to reason that they would support the population that supports them……..They try, but the bottom line has to be respected. I’m sure Todd doesn’t have the last say on running the paper. So, just to let you know, NO WHINING here! RELEASE the…….Go on, it’s okay, say it! :-D

GM1957

September 5th, 2013
8:11 pm

Correction needs to make concerning the Coffee-Ware game. Coffee forced the fumbled with good ole fashion hitting like players should do. 2 or 3 of Ware’s turnovers were IT’s very very fast cover guys. Ware played hard, but for some reason everyone would like to say that Whitewater and Ware underestimated Coffee. I disagree…..Coffee is going to show out this year. Prediction: Coffee beats Goes 5-0 into Region play…. Beats Valdosta, Tift, Bruinswick, Camden and Lowndes…. Colquitt will be Coffee’s biggest challenge, but maybe not….