Preseason polls rarely look the same as the final one after the regular season.
Pickerington Central advanced to the Division I state final last season with a senior-laden squad. Although the Tigers return only five starters, they are ranked No. 1 in the preseason Super 7 poll. That is a nod to what coach Jay Sharrett has built. As much as it is a cliché, it is true -- his teams reload, not rebuilt. And he also reminded us that last time the Tigers were in such a position, in 2007, they went 10-0 in the regular season.
The Tigers took five first-place votes and edged Dublin Coffman, which had two first-place votes, and is No. 2. Pickerington North has gained plenty of preseason hype nationally and was No. 1 on the other four ballots and is third in the poll. The remainder of the Super 7 also has a familiar ring to it: Westerville South, Hilliard Davidson, Marion-Franklin and Upper Arlington. Davidson ended last season No. 1.
Yet as traditional as the poll looks, there are some obvious omissions as neither DeSales nor Watterson gained even one vote. However, Hartley kept the CCL from being shut out, earning honorable mention.
Preseason polls rarely look the same as the final one after the regular season. But that's the fun of it, and that's why they play the games. Enjoy the season; you can bet our staff will. Below is the poll as selected by ThisWeekSPORTS.com writers. A unanimous selection is 77 points.
1. PICKERINGTON CENTRAL (11-3 last season), 66 points, five first-place votes: Opener: Aug. 25 vs. Cincinnati Colerain at the University of Cincinnati
2. DUBLIN COFFMAN (8-3), 64 points, two first-place votes: Opener: Aug. 24 at Dublin Jerome
3. PICKERINGTON NORTH (8-2), 58 points, four first-place votes: Opener: Aug. 24 at St. Charles
4. WESTERVILLE SOUTH (6-4), 36 points. Opener: Aug. 2 at Groveport
5. HILLIARD DAVIDSON (11-1), 30 points. Opener: Aug. 24 at Grove City
6. MARION-FRANKLIN (13-1), 18 points. Opener: Aug. 24 at Brookhaven
7. UPPER ARLINGTON (9-3), 16 points. Opener: Aug. 24 vs. Walnut Ridge
Also receiving votes: Hartley, Hilliard Darby, Gahanna and Reynoldsburg