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Sports

Soucie: Key Week 4 games to watch from around Illinois

Huntley's Michael Boland breaks away from Prairie Ridge defenders on Friday in Crystal Lake.
Huntley's Michael Boland breaks away from Prairie Ridge defenders on Friday in Crystal Lake.

Nearly 125 teams got through the first three weeks of the season without a loss.

That number, 122 to be exact, is a little higher than usual, but Week 4 is going to do some serious damage to the ranks of the undefeated.

That’s because there’s a whopping 23 games around the state where both teams featured currently possess 3-0 records.

With that, Week 4 is guaranteed to shave off a sizable portion of those 122 teams, but the early number of undefeated teams is fairly telling.

It’s simple math. All those 122 teams have to do to insure they get into the playoffs is go 3-3 the rest of the way, and even a 2-4 finish will likely get it done in most cases.

So the odds strongly favor a large majority of those 122 teams find their way into the playoffs. Only 256 get in, so nearly half of the field could be populated by teams that are currently 3-0.

Not a great sign for anyone who isn’t 3-0.

Also among that group of 122 teams are a number of teams that aren't accustomed to being in such rarefied air. 

Here’s a few of them:

Chicago Christian: The Knights used to be a playoff regular, but the last 10 years have been sort of cruel to the program.

The last two seasons has found Chicago Christian one win short of the field, but it is well on the way to rectifying those missteps.

Glenbard East: The reformatted Upstate Eight has suited the Rams just fine.

It is a program that is trying to reach the playoffs for the first time since 1999 and would only be the second qualification in school history should the Rams achieve it.

Lisle: The Lions have been a borderline playoff team off and on for several years, but this might be the group that finally breaks through. Lisle has had a number of close calls in years past against conference powerhouse Wilmington and finally crashed through with a win against them in Week 3.

Sandwich: The Indians are another team that had become somewhat accustomed to regular playoff berths, but recent seasons have been unkind.

The Indians look more than capable of getting themselves to the standard considering their start.

Wheaton Warrenville South: It would have been laughable to include the Tigers on this list as recently as five years ago.

But a trio of 2-7 seasons changed the perspective on the Tigers. Now they appear well on their way to changing it right back.

Critical Week 4 Games

Bishop McNamara (3-0) at IC Catholic (3-0): One could argue that the Fightin’ Irish showed the Knights the blueprint to their recent success.

Bishop McNamara beat IC Catholic twice on its way to the 2015 Class 3A title, before relinquishing the throne to the Knights in 2016 and 2017.

Loyola (2-1) at Brother Rice (3-0): Resurgent Brother Rice gets its first big CCL test against a Loyola team that will be frothing at the mouth to get back on the right track after a less than standard showing against Mt. Carmel.

Cary-Grove (3-0) at Huntley (3-0): Is everyone sleeping on Huntley? I guess we’re going to find out in this critical Fox Valley showdown.

Homewood-Flossmoor (3-0) at Bolingbrook (3-0): A team with as much talent as Bolingbrook probably shouldn’t fly under the radar. It certainly won’t be doing that anymore if it's able to get past a very strong Vikings squad.

Decatur St. Teresa (3-0) at Tuscola (3-0): A tremendous small school measuring stick. Tuscola hasn’t lost a regular season game since 2014. Think about that for a minute. Current Tuscola seniors weren’t even in high school when they last lost a regular season matchup.

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