I want to suggest something that you might find hard to believe. I think being a high school football coach is harder than being a college football coach. Before you react, I hope you will hear me out.
The one thing that has struck me most about this year's action is how few weeks off there are for the top teams. For example, look at the two programs we showcased on CSS this past Friday night. Collins Hill and North Gwinnett are seemingly playing a top ten level opponent in Georgia every single week. By comparison, how many match ups of top ten teams will college football provide over the course of the season? Only one team currently ranked among the top ten of the BCS has played another team in the top ten. The power schools in college football spend most of their season pounding on inferior opponents that pose little threat of upset. However, the top high school programs are seemingly in a showdown every week with someone who is every bit their equal.
Once again, look at North Gwinnett. The first three games it played to start the season were against three of the last four state champions in Georgia. Can you imagine a college team doing that? No college team would ever schedule so bravely because there is little incentive for them to do so. The college programs can make huge dollars by inviting " cupcake" opponents to come to their stadium for what are known as "payday" games. You are no doubt familiar with that if you follow the sport. What you may not be aware of though is that kind of scheduling does not occur in high school football at all.
Furthermore, the unique trend in high school sports is that the best regions are getting better and better. This is true across the southeast. Top teams are just more likely to be clustered together than spread across the map. Why is this? The simplest explanation is that there is something of an arms race going on with these schools. They are all seeking top coaches, and in a state like Georgia they are willing to pay top dollar to attain and retain them. And if you are not a top coach you have no desire to stick around in a tough region and get embarrassed, so you leave and go to a region that is less competitive.
It was not that long ago that it was almost unheard of to have a high school coach be fired for not winning. I can assure you that is no longer the case. There is real pressure on these guys now. They have to produce, and they have to do it against top competition almost every week.
We will have another example of this with our game on CSS this Friday as Carrollton hosts Sandy Creek. These are the two top teams in AAAA in Georgia and they share the same region. They have to clash at least once every year. It is just the way things are now in high school football. If you want to be the best you have to beat the best every single week. And if you want easy games? Well, you had better go to college football for that.