Drew Pasteur of Fantastic 50 fame has put up his weekly rankings along with some extra goodies for the first week of the N.C. High School Athletic Association football playoffs.
In his championship odds, Pasteur lists SouthWest Edgecombe (which is the No. 8 team in the Fantastic 50) as an 8 to 5 favorite to win the 2-AA state title.Two-time defending champion Reidsville comes in at 7 to 2 while the Rams' first-round opponent, Beddingfield, is an 8,000 to 1 longshot. SouthWest's first-round foe, West Stanley, comes in at 500,000 to 1.
Hunt, the No. 3 seed in the 3-AA East bracket, is a 17 to 1 shot to win the state crown, the fifth-best odds. The Warriors are listed as 5 to 1 to win the East. Southern Nash is 130 to 1 to win the state 3-AA title and 30 to 1 to win the East. Charles B. Aycock is 60 to 1 to win the state 3-AA championship and 13 to 1 to win the East.
Tarboro is an 8 to 5 favorite to win the 2-A state championship a year after falling in the 2-A final. If Pasteur is correct, Edgecombe County would be home to two state champions.
Pasteur's computer played the entire playoffs and here are the bracket predictions.
He has Hunt beating Burlington Williams by 21 in the first round as well as Aycock downing Hillsborough Orange by 13 and Southern Nash winning by one at Triton. Hunt then will beat Southern Nash by eight in the second round (interesting because the Warriors beat the Firebirds 28-20 three weeks ago) and Aycock losing by five to Gray's Creek. Hunt is forecast to lose by a point to Gray's Creek in the East semifinals.
In the 2-AA bracket, SWE will steamroll West Stanly by 39 in the first round and Reidsville will knock off Beddingfield by 28. He's got SWE beating Jacksonville Northside by 24 in the next round to set up a showdown with Reidsville, a 28-point victor over Bunn. Then the Cougars will end Reidsville's 44-game winning streak by five points in the third round before beating Eastern Plains Conference rival Kinston by 16 in the East final. SouthWest will down Newton-Conover by 11 for its first state championship.
In the other classifications, Pasteur picks Matthews Butler over Fayetteville Jack Britt by 18 in the 4-AA final; Jamestown Ragsdale by 10 over Harnett Central in the 4-A title game; Northern Guilford by eight over Fayetteville Westover in the 3-AA championship; West Rowan by a point over Hertford County to win the 3-A crown; Tarboro beating Winston-Salem Carver by 10 in the 2-A finale; Monroe by five against Southwest Onslow in the 1-AA championship and Mount Airy to repeat as 1-A king by 13 over Wallace-Rose Hill.
Keeping up with Pasteur's predictions (he's gotten 81 percent correct on the season) will make the playoffs all the more fun for me.