Each week we'll take three intriguing matchups and put our knowledge to the test with some predictions. If you think your team's game is one of the best on the schedule, let us know in the comments or on Twitter @CParishESPNHS and we'll put it up for debate.
We're back after a brief hiatus and ready to pick the state's best games. So let's get right to it.
(Ranks are based on ESPNHS state rankings)
Wayzata (11-0) vs. Cretin-Derham Hall (11-0)
Could this game have any more name recognition? It's the reigning state champ against a perennial juggernaut with a trip to the Class AAAAA state finals on the line. Just when you think the defending champs have finally reached the end of their winning streak, the Trojans surprise you. They're the only team to beat Eden Prairie this year and they've been outstanding even despite replacing several key pieces from last year. But CDH has been equally impressive even after losing a few key players to injuries throughout the course of the season. Who's going to win? (Shrug.) We'll take the reigning champ and hope for the best. PREDICTION: Wayzata 24, Cretin-Derham Hall 20
Eden Prairie (10-1) vs. Totino-Grace (10-1)
Alright, admit it. Unless you go to Totino-Grace or Cretin-Derham Hall, you want to see the Eden Prairie-Wayzata rematch. Who wouldn't? The two teams have already played an epic tilt; there's no reason to not want to see them play again. Well, you don't need to tell Eden Prairie that, the team that fell on the losing end of that outstanding contest. But if the team finds itself looking past Totino-Grace, it'll find itself looking at the exits. Totino-Grace has a team worthy of a title berth appearance and has the talent to beat E-P, led by senior quarterback Bob McDaniel. But it's not easy to score on Eden Prairie — the Eagles have given up just 94 points all season. PREDICTION: Eden Prairie 27, Totino-Grace 14
Bemidji (10-0) vs. Mankato West (10-0)
Speaking of reigning state champs, Mankato West is the Wayzata of Class 4A — fresh off a title, unbeaten and favored in the state semifinals. Bemidji is a strong team, no doubt about it. The Lumberjacks have a strikingly balanced offense and a quarterback in senior Mitchell Hendricks who can throw the ball as well as anyone in the classification. But Bemidji hasn't played anyone quite on Mankato West's level. Minnesota recruit Phillip Nelson has the Scarlets playing as well as anyone in the state, and it'll take a Herculean effort to top the defending champs. PREDICTION: Mankato West 31, Bemidji 17
Previous Record: 18-8