Big-ticket matchups abound this season, and some schools plan on battling in multiple mammoth contests.
Sure, a team's league schedule and playoff bracket can be tough. But when it comes to those first few games of the season where teams get to choose who they play, it doesn't always have to be tough - or easy.
These 10 programs definitely didn't take the easy path.
Top 10 toughest football schedules for the 2013 season
1. Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.)
Toughest opponents: Paramus Catholic (N.J.), Central (Miami), St. Joseph Regional (Montvale, N.J.)
Not only does Don Bosco Prep face the brutal schedule of in-state teams, but it takes on one of Pennsylvania's top teams in St. Joseph's Prep before traveling cross-country to challenge Mission Viejo (Calif.). When it returns home, it will be greeted by visiting Miami Central, the nation's No. 2 team.
2. Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.)
Toughest opponents: Curtis (River Ridge, La.), Paramus Catholic (N.J.), Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas), Jordan (Sandy, Utah)
When it's not facing the likes of Paramus Catholic and St. Joseph Regional locally, Bergen Catholic will be zigzagging the country to take on some of the nation's best. It opens on the road in Utah against Class 5A champion Jordan before heading south to play John Curtis. Upon returning home, Bergen Catholic hosts Bishop Gorman.
3. Washington (Miami)
Toughest opponents: Central (Miami), Norcross (Ga.), Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)
One could make the argument that Washington should be No. 1 on this list. After all, it faces two Top 10-ranked teams in Central and Norcross. It also faces a difficult road opponent in Bishop Gorman. City rivals Norland and Northwestern await in the latter part of the season.
4. Curtis (River Ridge, La.)
Toughest opponents: Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.), Karr (New Orleans), St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
Curtis' schedule is significantly more challenging in 2013 than it was in 2012. It takes on out-of-state foes Bergen Catholic and St. Thomas Aquinas while also seeing in-state powers Edna Karr and St. Augustine.
5. Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)
Toughest opponents: Washington (Miami), Mountain Pointe (Phoenix), Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.)
Simply put, there are no easy weeks for Bishop Gorman during the nonleague schedule, as head coach Tony Sanchez has once again assembled a lineup of the nation's top teams. Bishop Gorman will be playing teams from five states, including three from California.
6. Allen (Texas)
Toughest opponents: Coppell (Texas), Carroll (Southlake, Texas), Cedar Hill (Texas)
Allen's schedule lacks games with opponents from other states. In Texas, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Allen still has two Top 20 opponents in Coppell and Desoto and also has a game with one of the nation's top programs in Southlake Carroll.
7. Brophy College Prep (Phoenix)
Toughest opponents: Hamilton (Chandler, Ariz.), Mountain Pointe (Phoenix), Desert Mountain (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
Brophy's 2013 schedule seems like one of the state's toughest in recent memory. Brophy Prep has road contests against Hamilton and Mountain Pointe, the state's top two teams. It also gets 2011 state champion Desert Vista as well as Desert Ridge on the road. It will also see perennial power Centennial (Peoria, Ariz.).
8. St. Ignatius (Cleveland)
Toughest opponents: Paramus Catholic (N.J.), St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio), St. Xavier (Cincinnati)
St. Ignatius faces its usual mixture of elite Ohio teams highlighted by Cleveland-area rival St. Edward and Jesuit rival St. Xavier. It will take on defending state champions Paramus Catholic and Brother Rice (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), as well as a Mentor squad that ended its season last fall.
9. Servite (Anaheim, Calif.)
Toughest opponents: St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.), Long Beach Poly (Calif.), Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)
With a buffet of talented foes, Servite probably could place higher on this list, as the Friars once again face the gauntlet known as the Trinity League. Servite also opens on the road against Bishop Gorman, a team that defeated Servite handily in 2012. New coach A.J. Gass will have his hands full.
10. St. Xavier (Cincinnati)
Toughest opponents: Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati), St. Ignatius (Cleveland), Colerain (Cincinnati)
There's hardly a down week for the Bombers in 2013. St. Xavier plays a rugged in-state schedule but also hits the road to take on Warren Central (Indianapolis). It will host Brentwood Academy (Tenn.) and Ben Davis (Indianapolis), two state title contenders from their respective states.
Posted on August 14, 2013
by Matt Fulton