The Advocate sports staff is picking Danville to be the area's best team despite Harp's claim that he lacks depth, especially on the line. Marty Warren expects Danville to finish 10-0 and Hal Morris and Mike Marsee both expect a 9-1 season, with the only loss coming Saturday to an improved Rockcastle.
Perhaps I've listened to Harp too much, but I'm not quite as optimistic. I'm predicting a 7-3 mark with losses to Rockcastle, Boyle and district rival Frankfort.
Morris thinks Boyle will go 9-1 and lose only to Danville. Even though I probably should know better than to think Boyle will lose to Henry Clay, I'll take Boyle at 9-1 also with the one loss coming to Henry Clay. Marsee and Warren both have Boyle at 8-2 with losses to Danville and Henry Clay.
Garrard County and Mercer County should both have successful seasons. Morris and myself have Garrard 8-2 and losing only to Glasgow Saturday and Corbin to end the season. I was tempted to pick the Golden Lions to beat Corbin to win the district crown, but the game is at Corbin and that swayed my thinking.
Marsee has Garrard 6-4 with losses to Lincoln County and Mercer. Warren picks Garrard 5-5 with losses to Glasgow, Harrodsburg, Mercer, Corbin and George Rogers Clark.
Count me as a believer in new Mercer coach Marty Jaggers. I have him 8-2 and losing only to Garrard and Lloyd Memorial. Marsee and Warren both project a 7-3 mark and agree on losses to North Laurel and Lloyd. However, Warren thinks Harrodsburg will also beat Mercer and Marsee also foresees a loss to Newport. Morris picks Jaggers' team to finish only 5-5 and throws in a loss to North Oldham.
Harrodsburg is picked to win from two to six games. Warren picks 6-4 with losses to South Laurel, Boyle, Frankfort and Danville. Give me 4-6 with losses to Mercer and Garrard as well. Morris and Marsee have the Pioneers winning just two games - Trimble County and Owen County.
Morris thinks Casey can rebound from last year's one-win season and finish 5-5 with wins over Grant County, Marion County, Evangel Christian, Taylor County and Bethlehem. I have Casey 4-6 and losing to Taylor. Warren has the Rebels 3-7 and Marsee 2-8 with wins only over Marion and Evangel.
That leaves Lincoln and second-year coach Larry French, a man who has not always been known for his patience. He's realistic enough to know his team still has major shortcomings, but he's also far more optimistic than he was a year ago.
I see a 4-6 finish with wins over Montgomery County, Clark, McCreary Central and Pulaski County in Saturday's PBK Bank Death Valley Bowl. Marsee also has Lincoln 4-6, but he projects a win over Garrard and a loss to Pulaski.
Warren has Lincoln 3-7 and beating McCreary, Montgomery and Whitley County. Morris has the Patriots just 2-8 with wins only over McCreary and Montgomery.
But the big question remains will Boyle and/or Danville win state titles again this year? Maybe, but the preseason pick here is that this will be a title-less year for Title Town. Just remember by November, though, that feeling could change.