Something doesn’t add up when it comes to FPD football.
And part of it is my fault.
Give a lot of credit to the Vikings, head coach Greg Moore and his staff and players. They absolutely pounded the gym and the 7-on-7 workouts during the offseason, producing a team that has become one of the top contenders in GHSA Region 7A-1A this fall.
A 4-0 start, a run that includes a convincing win over Class 4A Howard and a runaway victory over 2014 Class 1A public champion Hawkinsville, has pushed the Vikings to the top of the Class 1A private power ratings as the season closes in on its midpoint.
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Yet, for all FPD has done up through now, the Vikings have yet to draw a single vote in the Georgia Sports Writers Association Class 1A poll.
Well, in a way, shame on me for not casting a vote for the Vikings yet.
I split The Telegraph’s poll vote with Michael A. Lough. He votes on Class 4A and larger, while I vote in Class 3A, Class 2A and Class 1A.
The philosophy I use for voting on polls is a king of the mountain approach. Start with the previous year’s finish, build a preseason poll out of that, then adjust when teams lose.
That kind of approach works wonderfully when dealing with college football. It’s also not a bad way to assemble a preseason poll, eliminating wrong guesses based on hunches.
The problem, when it comes to Class 1A, is that there are many more schools in that classification (90) than in other classifications, thanks to the playoff split between public and private. That means there’s a lot more competition to claim one of those 10 ranking spots. And when a team like FPD makes a run, I’ve locked myself into voting for a more established program.
Seven of the original 10 teams I had on my preseason ballot are still in my top 10. Three teams I had ranked during the preseason — Aquinas, Irwin County and Stratford — dropped off after losses. The three additions — Manchester, Wesleyan and Fellowship Christian — all have 4-0 records.
In all, there are 20 teams in Class 1A that have yet to lose this season. That’s some pretty tall competition to conquer in order to break into the top 10.
For the record, the No. 1 team in the writers’ poll, Eagle’s Landing Christian, is No. 3 in the power ratings.
Region play will start to trim the number of unbeatens down. FPD’s off this week, so the Vikings will still be a part of that list once the midpoint of the GHSA schedule is reached with the conclusion of this week’s games.
Does FPD deserve some statewide consideration beyond the top spot it occupies in the power ratings? Sure. But it’s difficult to draw attention in a crowded room.
Since I generally don’t move teams into my top 10 ballot when they’re coming off an off week, odds are that it will be another week or two before I can move FPD into my top 10. But rest assured, Vikings fans, that your team is on my radar when it comes to voting on the writers’ poll.
The good news about all of this? Unlike the college game, voting does not decide playoff spots. Those spots are decided on the field ... the way they should be decided.