(Last year's record in parentheses)
1. Merrillville (11-3)
The Bucs were four points away from dancing in The Luke. That close, folks. Lost a lot to graduation but this is like Alabama, they don't rebuild they just reload. It will be key to see how they do without a Raspo, though.
2. Andrean (11-3)
Just like the neighborhood Pirates, the semistate qualifying 59ers are moving up a class, to 3A. Should be another great year on Broadway. Matt DeSomer will lead this offense with a ton of experience and talent.
3. Crown Point (8-4)
If you gain one blade of grass against this defense, congrats. If you gain two you might be going to the Hall of Fame. If C.P.'s young offense can score some points this could be a good, and long, autumn. Or winter.
4. Lake Central (8-3)
David Yancey is gone. Gelen Robinson is not. But high school teams don't win with stars alone. It takes a big group working together and stepping up. If this team does such a thing, duck and hide the puppies.
5. Chesterton (9-2)
Lots of weapons and almost the entire defense is gone, not to mention the head coach, John Snyder. It might be a stretch to expect the Trojans to match last year's success, but they're not going to slip quietly into mediocrity as Mark Peterson takes the saddle.
6. Morton (7-6)
Last autumn wasn't super duper in Hessville. But, somehow, the Govs got hot at the right time to win their fourth straight sectional title. Roy Richards, despite heavy graduation losses, believes they'll be better.
7. Hobart (8-3)
Don't resurrect the Brickie Bowl just yet, but the region's most storied program is back. Won a share of the NCC title and had a halftime lead against state finalist Mishawaka at sectionals. Could this be Back to the Future?
8. Kankakee Valley (8-2)
Brad Stewart's run in Wheatfield hit a high mark last season, winning a share of the NCC title. A big home loss to Hobart in the sectional is proof there is still work to do. This team will be tough, physical and a tough out.
9. E.C. Central (9-2)
The Cards set a school record with nine wins and could have that many D-I players on the roster, too. Great success is happening. But a big loss to Morton in the sectional is a question mark. Or exclamation mark?
10. Whiting (10-1)
The Oilers were Da Region's only undefeated team in the regular season. A lot of talent returns for coach Jeff Cain and his staff. New turf will also be on the field. Finding a way to beat West Central is next.
On the bubble: Boone Grove (7-4), Hammond (6-3), Lowell (5-5), Portage (3-7), South Central (7-3), Valparaiso (3-7), West Side (6-5), Wheeler (6-4).