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Football pop quiz: Who's No. 2?

Normally the big decisions and major discussion regarding sports polls regard who should be in the top spot.

But in this week's large school football poll -- for this voter at least -- the big question is: Who's No. 2?

Undefeated Orchard Park is the free and easy choice for No. 1, even as it comes off a close call in a 14-12 victory at Frontier (don't worry Falcons, we'll get back to you later).

But who's the second-best large school in Western New York?

The tough part for a pollster is judging teams from different factions: Class AA South, AA North, Class A and the Monsignor Martin Association.

There could really be nine teams who could make their case. And here they are:

*North Tonawanda -- "We're 5-0 after sweeping through our Class AA North schedule and haven't come even close to a close call. We are dominating every team we play."

That's true, but those teams haven't been ranked. Most of them haven't come close to being ranked. There is a definite feeling that Class AA South is in a different league than AA North -- having dominated the crossover games between the two divisions this season (and last).

*Canisius -- "Did you see what we did last week? A catch here or a call there and we would have beaten Aquinas, possibly the best program in the state. They are ranked first in Class A after winning last year's state championship, and the Section VI Class A champion has lost to them the last two years. We lost to Ohio superpower St. Ignatius and crushed two Harvard Cup teams. We'd beat anyone else on this list."

Not a bad argument. But Aquinas did win, 14-7. And you're 2-2.

*St. Francis -- "If you're going to listen to them, then you better listen to us. We know we have an 0-4 record. But we think any of these teams would also be 0-4 if they played our schedule. We also could have beat Aquinas at home if it weren't for self-inflicted mistakes. And we think we're better than Canisius -- we beat them twice last year and we're the reigning league champs, not them."

I hear that as well. I've voted for St. Francis every week despite their 0-fer record because of that tough schedule. But 0-4? At No. 2? That might be too much of a Hail Mary.

*Sweet Home -- "We're 5-0, the defending Class A champs and we're coming off two very impressive performances in routing Williamsville South and Starpoint. We've also beaten Grand Island. We're a clear No. 2 -- we might even be able to beat OP."

Definitely a strong case. On top last year, still on top this year.

*Grand Island -- "Well, if those Catholic schools are going to talk about woulda-coulda-shouldas, we woulda-coulda-shoulda beat Sweet Home in Week Two. Since then, we've been having a much easier time with teams that have given Sweet Home trouble. So you might as well throw us into the mix."

Tough one, but the high-powered Vikings are definitely playing very well these days.

*Iroquois -- "Hello? Woulda-coulda-shoulda whatever. We're cruising along at 5-0 and most people think we'll be playing at Ralph Wilson Stadium."

Now I'm having trouble picking the best of these three Class A teams, much less the best out of these nine.

*Frontier -- "Excuse us, but if Orchard Park is this unquestioned, clear-cut, easy-to-pick No. 1, then how can we not be No. 2? We nearly beat them last Friday, losing by two points! And we beat Lancaster. We're certainly the closest to OP."

I'm going to let the next two candidates argue that one.

*Clarence -- "Hey Frontier, remember us? We beat you (21-14) two few weeks ago. And didn't you lose to Jamestown at home last week? Hey, that's three losses in a row!"

*Lancaster -- "Hey Clarence, remember us? We beat you on Friday (6-0), a week after Orchard Park pounded you (48-0). We're No. 2."

You could almost consider picking the names out of a helmet.

What did we come up with? Well, you can see from the polls on the lower left of this page that North Tonawanda is No. 2 after getting a ton of support.

You can vote in a poll at the Prep Talk blog ( Our weekly "How The News voted" post will tell you how we voted. Here's a hint: It's not North Tonawanda.


Live chat Wednesday at 7

Speaking of feedback, I'll conduct the fifth live chat of the season at 7 p.m. Wednesday on the Prep Talk blog.


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