The Summit Athletic Conference, as I mentioned earlier this year, has a new conference and non-conference football schedule format so the teams are not spending their entire regular seasons cannibalizing each other.

Predictably, the Northeast 8 (NE8), who kicked Carroll and Homestead out and formed from the now-defunct Hoosier Northeast Conference, will not be adding the two Western Allen County suburban schools to their gridiron schedule.

The NE8, however, had two teams who added other SAC opponents to their schedules. New Haven will battle Northrup and Bishop Luers. East Noble will also battle Luers, and will host Snider the following week.

The SAC’s athletic directors went right after it.

Here are the SAC schools who immediately increased their schedule strength.

Carroll, the 6A state runner-up wasted no time adding opponents to prepare them for the grueling 6A postseason. They’ll open 2023 with a semi-state rematch with the Hamilton Southeastern Royals, who finished the 2022 regular season undefeated and top-ranked until they faced Carroll. The Chargers will follow that road game with a home opener against powerhouse Warren Central, who proudly displays two Class 6A state title trophies in its case whose space is shared by some Class 5A trophies.

Homestead added Carmel and Noblesville to their 2023 slate, and Dwenger looked south to pick up Brownsburg (another strong program from the Hoosier Crossroads Conference) and Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller. The latter is an all-boys enrollment school, and a traditionally strong program who has had its fair share of Hoosier State clashes customarily among teams in Central Indiana.

For what it’s worth, Moeller – along with Cleveland Saint Ignatius, Lakewood Saint Edward, Detroit Brother Rice to name a few – schedules out-of-state foes out of necessity. Neighboring schools in their respective cities are reluctant to put them on their schedule due to the effects of a highly likely loss on these teams’ state playoff berth-earning criteria.

This isn’t a problem in Indiana, on the other hand, thanks to the elimination of clusters in the mid-1980s. It’s great to load a program’s schedule with elite opposition with the takeaway of learning your favorite program’s strengths and weaknesses without a postseason berth slipping from your grasp.

Snider followed suit with Carroll and other SAC school’s looking to the middle of the state to beef up their schedule adding Warren Central, traveling there for its 2023 opener.

Warsaw and Warren Central, by the way, will do battle in 2024 and 2025. The Tigers will also be on Snider’s schedule in 2025. The non-conference schedule continues to move toward an annual meat grinder.

The IHSAA recently sanctioned girls’ wrestling as an emerging sport.

Warsaw has four grapplers who are participating in increasingly available girls’ tournament action as well as wrestling in varsity and junior varsity boys’ wrestling duals.

Lady Tiger wrestlers include Marian Castro, Emily Dawson, Natalie Davis, and Kynna Yoder. These four wrestlers have a post-season tournament journey on their agendas launching this weekend: the Indiana High School Girls’ Wrestling Association (IHSGWA) state tournament.

Today’s road to the state tourney finals will start at Penn high school for the lady grapplers. Recent area conference and postseason boys’ tournaments have featured a notable number of young ladies earning a spot on the top eight podium, furthermore, qualifying for advancement.

The Lady Tigers’ basketball squad has a chance to take sole possession of the top of the Northern Lakes Conference ladder tonight when they travel to Middlebury to battle the Northridge Raiders. Northridge enters the fray with a 10-game win streak while Warsaw learned about what does and does not work for them in a 21-point loss to top-ranked South Bend Washington.

Both schools have used their non-conference slates to prepare for this battle. It will be interesting to see if Northridge will run with the Tigers, or force them into a half-court pace. This is a must-see NLC clash if you want to see a close margin, competitive contest because these two schools will eviscerate the rest of their NLC opponents if each squad remains healthy and focused.

Life is too busy, and it moves too quickly top smart from an Ohio State football loss, even when it’s in a College Football Playoff (CFP) game. The New Year’s Eve loss to top-ranked Georgia, though, was the most frustrating game I watched… well… since the Buckeyes’ second consecutive loss to “That Team Up North (TTUN).”

I don’t think I’ve barked at my TV screen as much as I have in the past two Buckeye losses among the last 20 years as I did on these two most recent losses.

I’ll double down on the CFP selections, though. The committee nailed it. Take that, Nick Saban.

We were treated to two competitive, fast-paced, hard-hitting contests with a combined scoring total of 179 points. Props to the committee. I hope the first round in the imminent field of 12 is this fun to watch. TTUN’s performance in the 51-45 loss to TCU meant there would not be a rematch of The Game.

As my Buckeyes moved carried a 14-point lead into the final stanza, I started searching for photos with “THE Ohio State University” in sharp graphics, and the usual logo, poised to post it following the final seconds.

Instead, the Times Square ball wasn’t the only thing that dropped as midnight drew last Saturday. Noah Ruggles’s 60-yard field goal attempt to win the ballgame also landed almost simultaneously: short and wide left.

The nature of my vocation usually results in my missing at least the first half of the CFP championship match, and nothing will change for me this year, so I guess it’s my sour grapes related to the Buckeyes’ elimination last Saturday. I’ll be in my office until about 8:30/9 p.m. anyway.