Keith Johnson, Deseret News
Timpview coach Louis Wong's team was voted first in 4A by the class' head coaches.

A year ago at this time, the buzz in high school football was all about realignment — and understandably so, with 20 schools changing classifications.

When it was all said and done, the traditional big boys were still standing. In 2010, don't expect much to change at the top again.

In the 2010 Deseret News' annual coaches preseason rankings, four of last year's five state champions — Bingham, Timpview, Juan Diego and Rich — were all pegged to repeat, with new blood expected to rise up in the 2A ranks with South Summit.

Many coaches have a habit of simply pencilling in last year's champ as the preseason No. 1, so having four teams predicted to repeat isn't necessarily surprising. Realistically, though, it's hard to argue with the coaches' championship predictions.

In 5A, Bingham may be the most loaded returning state champion ever. With nine returning starters on each side of the ball, including all-state running back Harvey Langi and three defensive players who've already committed to BYU, the Miners received all 26 first-place votes, and anything less than an undefeated season would be shocking.

As for four-time reigning 4A state champion Timpview, it received 20 of the 21 first-place votes, and even though it graduated some stars, it still returns six offensive starters and five defensive starters this year. A fifth straight state title is a very realistic possibility.

Juan Diego only returns five starters from last year's 3A title team, but coach John Colosimo's track record is a good indicator that the Soaring Eagle will be in the hunt again.

In 2A, South Summit returns 11 starters from a team that narrowly lost in the state championship game, whereas Rich returns six starters from a team that went undefeated in 1A last year.

Despite promising hopes for numerous repeats, nothing will come easy.

Even though Bingham will breeze through Region 3 as usual, it faces a tough preseason schedule including a game at Rio Tinto Stadium against Kahuku, Hawaii. Once the state tournament rolls around, last year's 5A runner-up Davis and Bingham's arch-nemesis Alta figure to be in the hunt yet again.

It's worth noting that in 2010 the Region 3 champion (Bingham's region) and the Region 4 champion (Alta's region) will be on opposite sides of the bracket.

The No. 1 challenger in 4A is Mountain Crest, which has lost to the T-Birds in the semifinals four straight years. Now that BYU-bound quarterback Alex Kuresa is finally a senior, though, this may finally be the year the Mustangs break through.

In Class 3A, if the football gods have any decency, they'll give Hurricane another shot at Juan Diego after losing last year's title game on a Hail Mary play. With nine total returning starters, Hurricane received five first-place votes compared to Juan Diego's 11.

The battle in Class 2A should be a two-team race all year. South Summit may have received the preseason nod at No. 1 with six first-place votes, but last year's champ San Juan received four first-place votes. With seven returning starters, the Broncos may have the mental edge after shutting out South Summit in last year's title game.

As for the state's smallest classification, this year's state title isn't a forgone conclusion. Rich was vastly superior than anyone else in 1A last year, but in 2010 both Duchesne and Monticello could give the Rebels troubles.

2010 preseason high school football rankings

Each year, the Deseret News asks every football coach in the state to vote for the top five teams in their classification. The votes are tallied, and five points are assigned for a first-place vote, four for a second-place vote, etc. The following are the results of those votes (first-place votes indicated in parenthesis):

Class 5A

Team. . . . .Points. . .'09 Record

1. Bingham (26) 130 13-1

2. Alta 96 10-3

3. Davis 63 10-3

4. Lone Peak 33 9-3

5. Pleasant Grove 14 8-3

Others receiving multiple votes: Cottonwood, Brighton, Hunter, Fremont, Northridge, Riverton, Syracuse.

Class 4A

Team. . . . .Points. . .'09 Record

1. Timpview (20) 104 11-2

2. Mountain Crest (3) 73 10-2

3. Highland (1) 33 8-4

4. Springville 28 11-2

5. Bountiful 21 9-2

Others receiving multiple votes: Spanish Fork, Sky View, Bonneville, Pine View, Woods Cross, Logan.

Class 3A

Team. . . . .Points. . .'09 Record

1. Juan Diego (11) 71 13-1

2. Hurricane (5) 65 11-3

3. Wasatch 29 10-3

4. Morgan 21 8-4

5. Delta 15 7-5

Others receiving multiple votes: Cedar, Park City, Desert Hills, Bear River.

Class 2A

Team. . . . .Points. . .'09 Record

1. South Summit (6) 46 10-2

2. San Juan (4) 44 11-1

3. Millard 26 8-3

4. Grand 14 7-5

5. South Sevier 12 9-2

Others receiving multiple votes: North Summit.

Class 1A

Team. . . . .Points. . .'09 Record

1. Rich (3) 25 11-0

2. Duchesne (3) 24 10-3

3. Monticello 20 4-5

4. Altamont 11 6-5

5. Milford 5 5-6

Others receiving multiple votes: None.