As we enjoy a week of sunshine and no rain (at least according to the weather people), it is time to look down the road when the leaves are falling on them to see who will be waiting on Oct. 22 and still be playing in the postseason.
As far as teams in the Times circulation area in Illinois, Crete-Monee has officially clinched a playoff spot. The Times No. 2 Warriors are 6-0 and are ranked No. 3 in Class 6A by the Associated Press.
For some teams, 5-4 might get them in, but it all depends on points. A team earns one point for each victory of its opponent. Usually, 35 or 36 accumulated points will qualify a 5-4 team, but in some years that number has been higher.
Mount Carmel is playoff eligible with a 5-1 mark. The Caravan play at St. Laurence tonight and have 30 points. With their schedule, which finishes with St. Rita and Providence, nothing is a "gimme," so getting that sixth win is important, though strength of schedule would get the Caravan into the playoffs for a record 26th time.
There is a big matchup in Calumet City tonight as T.F. North (4-2) hosts Bremen (5-1), and another big game in Harvey on Saturday afternoon when District 205 rivals Thornton and Thornwood square off -- both are 4-2 and coming off losses.
North enters this week's game following a big 16-14 overtime win over District 215 rival T.F. South, its first over South since 2006. Bremen was shut out 21-0 by Lemont. The Meteors are banged up, but who isn't by Week 7? A win would make Artie Rogers' team playoff eligible and with Lemont and Eisenhower as the last two games, the schedule is a tough one. One good thing for North is all three of its remaining games are at home.
North has 32 playoff points and should have enough points to get in with a 5-4 mark, but I am sure Artie Rogers would like to not go into Week 9 needing a win to get in, plus a 6-3 team may get a better first-round game than a 5-4 team, which usually draws a 9-0 opponent.
Thornwood has dropped two straight after a 4-0 start and a 5-4 record may not get them in. The Thunderbirds have 22 points. They have been the feel-good story so far as they try to make the postseason for the first time since 2001. After Saturday, they host Lincoln-Way West and District 205 rival Thornridge, which is winless through six games.
Thornton fell to Lincoln-Way West and is looking to get back on a roll and into the postseason. The Wildcats host Thornridge in Week 8 and travel to Andrew for the regular-season finale. It should be a good one Saturday.
Homewood-Flossmoor got back on the winning track last week with a 41-0 win over Lockport and is 4-2. Craig Buzea's team plays at winless Joliet Central on Saturday afternoon and a win would make them playoff eligible. The Vikings have 27 playoff points and finish with Joliet West and a big one with Sandburg in Week 9. H-F should get into the playoffs and it is certainly looking to make another run into the Class 8A playoffs like the Vikings did last year.
The playoff picture isn't crystal clear yet, but it is getting into focus.
This column is solely the writer's opinion. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.