You may or may not know of my reputation of being an expert when it comes to determining which high school football teams are going to win games, and more importantly, win championships.
Last year around this time, I had a column picking which teams were going to win the state title in each of the five classifications. I got three of them correct: Alta in 5A, Timpview in 4A and North Summit in 2A. I was wrong about Cedar in 3A and Duchesne in 1A. The way I see it, I hit .600.
With that in mind, and knowing I have a lot to live up to, let's look at this year's winners, starting in 5A.
As I told Bingham coach Dave Peck a couple of weeks ago, I'm going back to my roots. No, I'm not from South Jordan. I just have a history of picking the Miners to win it all. I was wrong in 2005 and right in 2006. For the third time in four years, I'm going with Bingham.
The Miners have reloaded. Their offensive line will be too big and strong for most teams. Their defense will be overwhelming. Most importantly, I know Bingham won't want to let me down. I threatened that if the Miners didn't win the state title in 2006 I'd never pick them or believe in them again. They hate to disappoint me.
Wouldn't it be easy to just type T-i-m-p-v-i-e-w in as the 4A champion and move on? D-o-n-e. I'm not picking against a program that's won 23 straight games and returns 12 starters from last year.
History says it isn't smart to pick against Logan coach Mike Favero and his staff in big games. I like history. I'll go with it.
Certain games stick out for me when I think of what Favero has done at Logan. Favero's Grizzlies defeated Highland on the muddy tundra of Weber State's Stewart Stadium in the state championship game in 2000 when the Grizzlies were smaller and less talented than the Rams. Last year, Logan whipped heavily favored Judge in the championship game after it lost to the Bulldogs by 28 points in the regular season.
Who makes up a point swing like that over the course of a couple of months? The Grizzlies, that's who.
The 2A classification is balanced. You could make a case for reigning champion North Summit, Manti, Juab, Millard and San Juan each to be frontrunners for the state title. I'm only going to make a case for Millard.
The Eagles have come close the last two years and I think they'll get over the hump this time. One thing that stood out to me is a comment coach Marshall Sheriff made about this year's team. He said the players are the type to fight in the halls. Take that attitude to the 2A championship game this year and we'll all look good.
Kanab is ranked No. 1 in 1A. You have to consider the Cowboys, with their returning depth and size, to be the favorite to win their second straight state title.
I'm instead going with Rich. The Rebels return six starters on each side of the ball. They experienced the thrill of playing in a state-title game last year and the disappointment of losing it. They'll come through this time.
So there you have it: Bingham, Timpview, Logan, Millard and Rich. I could be wrong about one or two of these teams, although I highly doubt it. I'm sure I'll frequently be reminded of these picks during the year.That's fine. Congratulate me all you'd like.