Blitz is going to preface this column by saying it isn’t going to make too many people happy. But hey, that’s what cartoon bears have to do sometimes.
Week 1 of the prep football season had plenty of thrills.
East Noble came back to knock off Plymouth late.
DeKalb’s stop on an Angola two-point conversion try gave the Barons their most emotional win in years.
How about New Haven going down swinging against South Bend Riley in a 28-27 overtime showdown?
Four games were decided by four points or less involving Northeast 8 teams alone.
Yup, lots of excitement.
Except in the Summit Athletic Conference, with the closest game being a 41-6 win for Bishop Dwenger over Wayne.
Look, Blitz isn’t trying to say that the SAC isn’t talented. It has significantly more individual talent and teams capable of winning state championships than any other area league.
But when it comes to regular-season intrigue, the SAC is lacking.
Since 2004, just five different teams have won at least a share of the SAC championship. Of those, three of them – Bishop Luers, Wayne and North Side – have just one title each. The other two, Snider and Bishop Dwenger, are the dominant programs in the league year after year after year.
Does Blitz blame them? Of course not. But it does really cut down on the excitement in the SAC. So much media attention goes on the teams within Fort Wayne, but in terms of exciting football during the regular season, prep football purists should look elsewhere.
So what is the problem? Well, the SAC has a mix of higher-class powers (Snider, Bishop Dwenger), lower-class powers (Concordia, Bishop Luers) and programs that struggle to be competitive on a consistent basis. With the entirety of the nine-game regular season being conference games, it results in plenty of lopsided games between the various tiers.
Do we really need to see Snider skunk South Side on a yearly basis? Or Homestead pound North Side?
Maybe North Side and South Side would be better served getting to play a program out of conference that better matches up?
More and more leagues around the state are either going to a division format or highly considering it. The SAC does not seem to be one of them, with most coaches and athletic directors set in their ways. Yes, it is easy to schedule when all nine of your regular-season games are conference opponents. But jeez, what a bore some weeks can be.
In a variety of ways, the SAC would be better served adding at least two non-conference games per year. When Elmhurst and Harding closed, how fun was it to see Snider play Penn and Bishop Luers travel to Brebeuf?
A year ago, the SAC had 11 of its 45 regular-season games decided by seven points or less, good for 24 percent. Not too bad. But the year before that, just three games were decided by that margin.
Three games during the entire regular season that ended with teams within a touchdown of each other.
We continue to hype up SAC showdowns each and every week, and some actually live up to the level of excitement we crave. Most of the time, however, the best games of the week happen in the NE8, ACAC and NECC, with some of those non-conference tilts due to being able to step out of the league for games.
The SAC has so much going for it – individual stars, powerful programs, revamped facilities – shouldn’t it be showcased in the best way possible?
Right now, it isn’t.
These opinions represent those of Blitz and Outside the Huddle. No opinions expressed on Outside the Huddle represent those of any of our advertisers. Follow Blitz on Twitter at Blitz_OTH