Champ will be crowned in final week

Updated: December 15, 2008, 9:40 AM ET
ESPNRISE.com

Editor's note: ESPN will release the ESPN RISE FAB 50 national football rankings to start each week of the regular season. The rankings combine three previously independent polls and are compiled by a panel of voters, including Doug Huff (Wheeling, W.Va.), Jon Mahoney (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Sheldon Shealer (Myersville, Md.), Brian Stumpf (Torrance, Calif.) and Mark Tennis (Stockton, Calif.). Kynon Codrington, Christopher Lawlor, Mike Loveday, Bob Masajo and Paul Muyskens also contributed to the poll.

All eyes will be on the Florida Class 5A state final this weekend at the Citrus Bowl when ESPN RISE FAB 50 national No. 1 St. Thomas Aquinas puts it all on the line in a showdown of unbeatens against Lakeland.

Ironically, two years ago, it was Lakeland that began a two-year streak of mythical national champions from Florida. Prior to the Dreadnaughts finishing at No. 1 in the FAB 50, the state hadn't had a No. 1 national squad since Coral Gables in 1965.

Last year, Miami Northwestern finished in the top spot, and this year St. Thomas Aquinas could end up with that crown. The Raiders, though, still have to get past Lakeland to do it. They defeated Largo, 35-14, in the semifinals.

To get the upset, Lakeland, which has been No. 10 in the FAB 50 the last two weeks, will have to play better than it did in last week's 22-21 semifinal win over Pine Forest.

If Lakeland wins, the next team in line to perhaps move up to become No. 1 in the final ESPN RISE FAB 50 is Poly of Long Beach, Calif. The No. 2 Jackrabbits are playing No. 37 Grant of Sacramento (13-0) on Friday in the first-ever California Interscholastic Federation Open Division state title game.

The CIF Division I state championship game Friday will be just as big -- maybe even bigger -- as it pits No. 8 Centennial of Corona against No. 19 De La Salle of Concord.

If both St. Thomas Aquinas and Long Beach Poly lose, watch out for the winner of the Texas Class 5A Division I final between Allen (14-1) and Hightower of Fort Bend (15-0) to get a crack at moving up. Hightower is ranked No. 15 (Allen's No. 3) in this week's national rankings, but if it were to win, it would have a final argument that could be tough to ignore.

Rankings: Preseason | Week 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 14 | 16 | Final

Results as of Dec. 13.

ESPN RISE FAB 50 Football Rankings: Week 16
Rank Team Record Points Previous Rank
1 St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) 14-0 250 pts, 5 first-place votes 1
2 Poly (Long Beach, Calif.) 14-0 244 pts 2
3 Allen (Allen, Texas) 14-1 239 pts 3
4 Lake Travis (Austin, Texas) 14-0 230 pts 5
5 Camden County (Kingsland, Ga.) 15-0
(Season complete)
231 pts 5
6 Oscar Smith (Chesapeake, Va.) 15-0
(Season complete)
227 pts 6
7 St. Ignatius (Cleveland) 14-1
(Season complete)
220 pts 7
8 Centennial (Corona, Calif.) 14-0 212 pts 9
9 Phoebus (Hampton, Va.) 15-0
(Season complete)
210 pts 8
10 Lakeland (Lakeland, Fla.) 14-0 204 pts 10
11 Trinity (Euless, Texas) 13-1
(Season complete)
203 pts 11
12 Byrnes (Duncan, S.C.) 14-1
(Season complete)
189* pts 12
13 Plant (Tampa, Fla.) 13-1 189* pts 13
14 Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.) 11-1
(Season complete)
181 pts 14
15 Hightower (Fort Bend, Texas) 13-0 179 pts 22
16 Skyline (Sammamish, Wash.) 14-0
(Season complete)
178 pts 15
17 John T. Curtis (River Ridge, La.) 14-1
(Season complete)
162* pts 20
18 Elder (Cincinnati) 13-2
(Season complete)
161 pts 17
19 De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) 12-1 158 pts 18
20 Prattville (Ala.) 13-1
(Season complete)
151 pts 19
21 Maine South (Park Ridge, Ill.) 14-0
(Season complete)
150 pts 21
22 South Pointe (Rock Hill, S.C.) 15-0
(Season complete)
148 pts 23
23 Armwood (Seffner, Fla.) 12-1
(Season complete)
135 pts 24
24 Liberty (Bethlehem, Pa.) 15-1
(Season complete)
133 pts 32
25 Trinity (Louisville, Ky.) 14-1
(Season complete)
132 pts 28
26 Glenville (Cleveland) 11-1
(Season complete)
127 pts 25
27 St. Bonaventure (Ventura, Calif.) 13-1 126 pts 26
28 Union (Tulsa, Okla.) 13-1
(Season complete)
122 pts 27
29 Muskegon (Mich.) 14-0
(Season complete)
109 pts 30
30 Centennial (Peoria, Ariz.) 14-0
(Season complete)
108 pts 29
31 Bethel Park (Pittsburgh) 15-1
(Season complete)
93 pts 16
32 Center Grove (Ind.) 14-1
(Season complete)
92 pts 29
33 Bellevue (Wash.) 14-0
(Season complete)
88 pts 33
34 Dorman (Roebuck, S.C.) 13-1
(Season complete)
79 pts 36
35 St. Xavier (Louisville, Ky.) 12-1
(Season complete)
72 pts 35
36 Bolles (Jacksonville, Fla.) 14-0 70 pts 48
37 Grant (Sacramento, Calif.) 13-0 66 pts NR
38 Wayzata (Plymouth, Minn.) 13-0
(Season complete)
62 pts 38
39 Destrehan (Destrehan, La.) 14-0
(Season complete)
61 pts NR
40 Permian (Odessa, Texas) 12-1
(Season complete)
60 pts 39
41 Gateway (Monroeville, Pa.) 12-1
(Season complete)
52 pts 40
42 East St. Louis (Ill.) 13-1
(Season complete)
40 pts 42
43 Homestead (Mequon, Wis.) 14-0
(Season complete)
38* pts 43
44 Meridian (Meridian, Miss.) 14-1
(Season complete)
38* pts 41
45 Noxubee County (Macon, Miss.) 14-0
(Season complete)
28* pts 46
46 Hamilton (Chandler, Ariz.) 14-1 28* pts 47
47 Tesoro (Las Flores, Calif.) 13-1
(Season complete)
21 pts 34
48 Longview (Longview, Texas) 13-2 17 pts NR
49 Pine Forest (Pensacola, Fla.) 13-1
(Season complete)
16 pts 37
50 Oakton (Vienna, Va.) 13-1* 13-1
(Season complete)
11 pts NR

Also Receiving Votes: Northwestern (Miami, Fla.) 13-2, North Penn (Lansdale, Pa.) 14-1*, River Hill (Clarksville, Md.) 14-0*, South Panola (Batesville, Miss.) 14-1*, Timpview (Provo, Utah) 14-0*, Valley (West Des Moines, Iowa) 14-0*, Tucker (Tucker, Ga.) 14-1*.

Dropped Out: Previous No. 44 Peachtree Ridge (Suwanee, Ga.); No. 45 Grayson (Loganville, Ga.); No. 49 West Monroe (Monroe, La.); No. 50 South Panola (Batesville, Miss.).

*Ties in points are broken according to which team was ranked higher by a majority of panelists.