By MURPHY FAIR
First round playoff action begins in just a few days. The 2013 regular season is now a thing of the past and what many fans consider to be the best time of the year has finally arrived. Four weeks from this coming weekend, 16 teams will do battle on the turf at Tennessee Tech in Cookeville, each hoping to take home a golden trophy that reflects their season-long battle cry, "We're Number One!"
Will Maryville be able to reclaim the 6A title and add yet another piece of metal to its trophy case? Or will one of several teams from Rutherford County be able to derail the "Beast from the East" in the semifinals? Oakland, Blackman, Siegel and Smyrna are certainly capable of gaining fourth round status.
Who will advance from the lower portion of the 6A bracket? Most figure the likely candidate to be Whitehaven. But one of several teams from Montgomery, Shelby or Williamson County could advance to the finals. Personally, I think either Rossview or Ravenwood is a good bet.
In 5A, Henry County is the odds-on-favorite from the west. The Patriots will likely have to beat Ridgeway a second time, however, to play in Cookeville.
The list of East Tennessee possibilities is a long one. It includes Knoxville West, Anderson County, Campbell County, Cleveland, Ooltewah, Rhea County, East Hamilton and Oak Ridge. All have tasted defeat at least once this year.
The best 4A teams in the state also call the Eastern Time Zone their home. A potential third round matchup between Greeneville and Fulton will probably be a better game than the 4A BlueCross Bowl. Whether or not a team like Pearl Cohn or Trezevant has enough talent to handle either of these teams remains questionable.
C.P.A. and Alcoa have been at or near the top of the 3A polls all season long. Teams like Upperman, Lewis County and possibly Lipscomb Academy all have good teams this year but I doubt if any have what it takes to get beyond the Lions or Tornadoes and make an Upper Cumberland appearance in early December.
This year's 2A title game just might have a pair of private schools battling for gold. Knoxville Grace and Trinity Christian are my picks here. Trousdale County, Marion County and others all have a chance to represent the public sector but I seriously doubt it.
And in 1A, I think South Pittsburg and Union City are destined to give fans a great encore presentation of their 2009 BlueCross Bowl performance.
In Division II-AA, nobody's been able to give Ensworth much of a game this year. The Tigers are solid favorites to win a fourth straight championship. And in Division II-A, I expect Webb and E.C.S. to put on a great show in the first of the eight title games.
The BlueCross Bowl weekend certainly has plenty of possibilities.
Murphy Fair has published Tennessee High School Football for 25 years. His statewide syndicated radio show (Murphy’s Matchups) can be heard locally Fridays just before kickoff on WBRY.).