Let's take a quick look at all nine Rutherford County football teams before next Friday's Jamboree at Riverdale.
The six-team AAA event will be on WGNS Radio – FM 101.9 and 100.5 and 1450AM – and will consist of three games, each two quarters in length.
The Eagles have an attractive 2012 home schedule with no serious travel.
They won their opener 28-27 last year over Westmorland and went on to an 11-1 season. I do not expect this again.
Graduation hurt and although the Eagles were good last year, they were also lucky, winning four games by three points or less. I do expect at least seven wins and a playoff run.
Lancaster Christian has a full schedule and five home games.
The Knights could be getting ready to play with the big boys in TSSAA single A football very soon, as they continue to make a larger footprint in Smyrna.
They open at home versus Hopkinsville Aug. 17.
MTCS was 1-9 last year and the prospects for 2012 are not much better.
Depth and experience are serious problems along with a very tough schedule and only four home games.
The Cougars are well coached with excellent facilities and terrific support. They continue to be short of talent at important positions and also in numbers. Success at any level for a private school playing in the public school divisions is hard to attain especially in football.
MTCS has been able to compete in every sport over the years but football requires more athletes and many more coaches. This will not be easy.
The Blaze were 8-4 and in the playoffs again in 2012.
They opened with a 14-9 win over Independence. This season Blackman has five home games, including Brentwood and Pearl Cohn, and they will again be very tough to beat.
I think the Wolverines are improved. They better be – it's time.
They haven't won a district/region game since beating Oakland five seasons ago. They opened last year with a 31-0 win over a weak Antioch team, but the Wolverines have had almost as many false starts as they have seasons.
La Vergne has five home games including always tough Wilson Central and a very strong Mt. Juliet team.
The Pats are a bit of a mystery. I think they will do better than last year's 6-5 playoff team but then I look at their schedule.
They open in West Tennessee at tough Arlington, which was a narrow 27-17 home win for Oakland last year. Oakland isn't home until Sept. 14 with only four home games.
This won't be easy for a team that's on a three-game carry over losing streak from 2011.
The Warriors were 13-1 last year and had a deep playoff run.
The Red and Gold also open in West Tennessee at Brighton, a team Riverdale destroyed 49-6 last year at Tomahawk Stadium. The Road Warriors have only four home games and play legendary Ballard at Papa Johns Stadium in Louisville in week two.
The Stars began 2011 with an impressive 35-30 win at Franklin and finished 8-4 and in the playoffs. Despite a tough schedule which has five home games, including Ootewah and Franklin, I think the Stars are again playoff bound.
I really like their coaching and this squad has made a great deal of progress. Many say Smyrna has temporarily dropped out of Rutherford's BIG FOUR and Siegel has joined. We shall see.
The Dogs were 6-5 in 2011 and opened with a shocking 29-26 loss in the Dog Pound to BGA.
This season will be tough: Graduation hurt badly and it's also time to pay the piper and go to Olive Branch, Miss., on Sept. 7. And no one goes to Olive Branch unless they are on their way to Tunica.
This team looks weak on paper. Two things to remember: Smyrna has six home games and, no matter how good or bad the Dogs look, they always overachieve.
The Smyrna program is built on tradition, fine athletes, great coaching and terrific support. A down year is very possible.
Next Sunday we'll evaluate the Jamboree and make our picks for week one and the season.
Remember that we will have complete scoreboards and schedules on Thursdays for Middle Schools and Sundays for High Schools.
Also remember most High School games begin at 7 p.m. this year.
Check us out at murfreesboropost.com for all the schedules for 20 middle and high schools.