By Mark Tennis and Kirstin Olsen
After last week's rankings were delayed one day to account for the monster matchup between No. 1 Papillion-La Vista South (Papillion, Neb.) and No. 4 St. James (Lenexa, Kan.), the POWERADE FAB 50 Week 6 rankings are being released without waiting for two big matches being played Thursday in the Midwest.
In those two contests, No. 12 York (Elmhurst, Ill.) is taking on No. 41 Marist (Chicago), while in nearby Indiana it will be No. 15 Muncie Burris (Muncie, Ind.) meeting No. 28 Yorktown (Yorktown, Ind.).
One of the biggest movers in this week's rankings is No. 16 Xavier Prep (Phoenix), which is up from No. 20 after beating previous No. 19 Horizon (Scottsdale, Ariz.) for the second time and now clearly looks like the top team in Arizona.
There were only two teams that dropped out from last week and there were no changes at all among the first 15 teams in the order.
There are just two more significant tournaments this season to help determine the FAB 50 rankings, and both are in California.
First up is the Torrey Pines Cal Challenge in San Diego on Oct. 14-15. It features 32 teams in pool play, and 16 teams have the chance to advance to the championship bracket. That is followed by the Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions on Oct. 28-29 in Santa Barbara, which will help determine the lineup in California with some opportunities for teams from the San Diego, Southern, Central and Central Coast sections to face each other. The TOC will be a 16-team, match-style bracket in a best-of-five format.
After that, it will be down to state championships, where upsets happen but are rare other than in the highly competitive brackets in California, Texas and Illinois.
State playoffs have already begun in a few places, such as Hawaii. The Nebraska state championships, which will likely feature the final outing of the season for No. 1 Papillion-La Vista South, will be held on Nov. 12 with the Texas state finals, possibly matching No. 2 Lake Travis (Austin, Texas) against No. 5 Southlake Carroll (Southlake, Texas), set for Nov. 19. The California Interscholastic Federation state finals, as usual, will cap the season nationally on Dec. 3.