An unusual year for DuPage County with no teams in state finals
After 14 weeks this is the final Eyes on Five column of the football season.
And, considering there are no DuPage County teams playing this weekend in DeKalb, we're ending with a bit of a whimper.
Some final thoughts before we head into the off-season ...
1. A blip:
I actually had to double-check the history on this, but it's not good.
For the first time since 2014 and for just the second time since 2000, DuPage County will not win a state title.
During that stunning two decades of success, the area claimed 28 state titles from 10 schools. Downers Grove North, Downers Grove South, Driscoll, Glenbard West, IC Catholic Prep, Montini, Naperville Central, Naperville North, St. Francis and Wheaton Warrenville South all got in on the action.
Now DuPage County doesn't even have a finalist.
How rare is that? It last happened in 1989.
How much of a concern should it be? Has the power shifted elsewhere or is this just a blip?
My guess is DuPage County will be back strong as ever in 2020. Besides, I firmly believe several teams this season -- Glenbard West, IC Catholic Prep, Montini, Neuqua Valley, St. Francis -- had the talent to win it all this year.
I expect the motivation to be strong this off-season.
2. The cherry on top:
It'll be kind of fun to sit back and watch the state title games from the couch this weekend.
The thing I love about all state title weekends is the opportunity to see special players on the biggest stage. Whether it's basketball, baseball, football ... it's awesome to see the best at their best.
Of all the players I look forward to watching this weekend, Michigan-bound Nazareth quarterback J.J. McCarthy is near the top. Same with future Michigan teammate A.J. Henning, Lincoln-Way East's outstanding receiver.
In Class 5A the state will love watching St. Rita sophomore running back Kaleb Brown, who already holds offers from Notre Dame and four Big Ten schools. All he's done this season is rush for 1,947 yards and 35 touchdowns.
And then there's East St. Louis. Enjoy watching that entire team.
3. Prop betting:
The IHSA announced this week that 11 of the 25 submitted bylaw amendment proposals will move forward to a vote among the state membership. Schools will submit their ballots between Dec. 2 and Dec. 16 with results revealed on Dec. 17.
In a surprise the IHSA Legislative Commission decided to advance Proposal 15, which keeps the regular season and playoffs the way they are right now. In other words districts won't happen if the majority of voters say yes to Prop. 15.
It was only a year ago the state voted in districts, which if implemented in 2021 drastically overhauls the regular season and playoffs. Under districts, conferences would be eliminated for football and the IHSA would be responsible for organizing teams into districts of eight or nine teams based on enrollment and geography.
But, again, just a year after 85 percent of the state membership voted by a margin of 324-307 in favor of districts ... the IHSA is giving a do-over? Why have a vote at all if it can be overturned a year later without even giving the proposal a chance to succeed?
Can't wait to see the results next month.
4. No vote:
Of the 14 proposals that didn't advance to the ballot, several directly or indirectly involved football.
The biggest shocker was Proposal 16 -- another attempt to curtail districts by offering playoff expansion -- did not make the cut. In the past the IHSA looked favorably at expansion, and this was a well-researched proposal to find a compromise between the current system and districts.
For some reason, though, the Legislative Commission chose not to put expansion on the ballot.
Also not on the ballot is a proposal separating private schools and public schools in the state series. Same with a proposal to restrict changes to or elimination of a bylaw amendment for three years after it's implemented.
The proposal submissions should be interesting again next year.
5. Stat time:
Thirteen of this weekend's 16 state finalists are previous title winners.
Only Williamsville in Class 3A, Murphysboro in 4A and Warren in 8A seek their first championship.