Okay, more information now...
8. East Palestine (13-1 V [2nd Div], promoted as champions; 4-10 JV)
Curtis, their primary scorer, has graduated and gone to OSU. Their JV had a rough season in the Second last time around, averaging 70 a game. This doesn't bode well for their debut in the top flight, and I expect they will be heading down in short order. Still, they should win the 1 game necessary for a guaranteed SSNCT bid.
7. Columbiana (3-11 V, retained place via playoff over Jackson-Milton; 3-11 JV)
Coaching change really hurts, and last year's JV stats don't look like healing it. They do return more scoring potential than their colleagues to the south at EP, though, so they should avoid automatic relegation. The strength of the new teams in the Second, though, means they will probably be defeated in the playoff this time around.
6. Sebring (11-2-1 V, 7-6-1 JV)
George is graduated and gone to OSU. His brother, the lead scorer on JV last year, is supposedly no longer interested in the activity and is doing basketball full-time. Some people are going have to really step up to get Sebring to this position, but I think their experience gets them at least 3 wins and safe for another season.
5. South Range (8-6 V, 6-7-1 JV)
The first year after Molnar for the Raiders was more successful than I think they or I had expected, and most of the scoring is returning. More importantly, they've been active already (in something other than trash). The bigger schools and Lowellville have more quality and depth, though, which is why I put SR here.
4. Canfield (5-9 V, 11-2-1 JV)
This pick is more in hope that the second place performance of the JV team last year will translate to varsity this year. As it has been for the past few years, though, oversubbing may lower this club's overall potential. If they can pick and stick with a core group of 4 to 6 players, they might push higher.
3. Austintown Fitch (4-10 V, 5-7-2 JV)
They've played nearly every event in the area that I've put on, including trash, in the back half of 2015. That early experience will pay off as well as having a strong returning unit and alumni willing to help. I expect better younger players to join as well to help in future seasons.
2. Lowellville (9-4-1 V, 7-7 JV)
Cole is gone, but George H. returns. They barely missed out on a top 4 place at South Range's mirror of LIST and have a head-to-head win over Boardman's varsity. Still, I think Boardman has the better depth in their starting lineup. It's Lowellville's lack of scoring from all 4 chairs and a loss against either Fitch or Canfield that will see them miss out on winning a championship for their new coach.
1. Boardman (14-0 V, 12-1-1 JV)
Even though they graduated 3 players, they have the depth from their JV team to always reload. Better yet, for the first time among League schools in years, players have gone to camp. They did really well at South Range and should win the League again, though I will pick them to split their match with Lowellville and ruin the win streak.
Second Division, North
Overall, this section of the Second has more quality than the South.
8. Chaney (0-14 V, 3-11 JV)
New coach, same issues. I think they know they're fortunate to have a team, given everything that's been happening with Youngstown city schools lately.
7. Campbell Memorial (4-10 V, 0-14 JV)
George E. graduated and no other returning scorer averaged better than 10 ppg. They need help from the lower grades and a stable JV team if they are going to get better in a future that looks like being spent in the Third Division from next season.
6. Champion (new)
After on-again, off-again tournament appearances at events over the last few seasons, the remaining coach (the previous co-coach retired) has taken the step of putting the Flashes into the League. They will struggle this season, but hopefully will set the foundation for future success in the JV program.
5. Maplewood (new; tied 12th SSNCT in 2015)
The seniors that went to SSNCT and pulled off the shock result of the season (imho) have graduated. I don't know what their coach has coming in to replace them, but success should beget success, and I think they will adjust well to the new competition.
4. Badger (10-4 V, 11-3 JV [Ashtabula League])
They came 1 game away from claiming the Ashtabula title last season and scored well-enough that they should hold their own, but only if their leading scorer is returning. If not, the younger players should fill some of the void, but I doubt they totally recoup nearly 80 ppg.
3. Cardinal Mooney (new)
After years of wrangling with the ESC and fighting the issue that the team didn't exist due to the cancellation of the TV show in Youngstown, the Cardinals are in the League. Surprisingly, they still have one of the same coaches from the TV era, but I have no idea what they have player-wise. I will read their inaugural match v Maplewood next week.
2. Brookfield (8-6 V, 6-6-2 JV [Ashtabula])
They are coming south and, since Hubbard isn't joining them, the Warriors are the best small school team from Trumbull County in the competition. They won trash at East Palestine, beat EP at their own tournament, beat South Range convincingly at their place, and are 1-1 against Fitch. Scoring from all four chairs gets them here, but...
1. Warren G. Harding (new)
The Raiders are new to the league but certainly not new to quizbowl. They have lots of tournament experience (relatively speaking) and are favorites to win this section and the overall division title, earning promotion automatically to the top tier in 2017.
Second Division, South
8. Empty -- Salem and Heartland Christian both declined.
7. Wellsville (new)
Coached by a South Range alum from the Molnar era, I expect good things from the Tigers...eventually. Initial results are a bit under par, though.
6. Springfield (8-6 V, 10-4 JV)
Despite a good record, I'm putting these Tigers here because they tend to underperform and don't have the motivation to go out and do better. Other programs in the division have stronger leadership, and it's more in hope rather than expectation that I rank them above this team.
5. Western Reserve (4-10 V, 9-4-1 JV)
Time will tell if their coaching change is for better or for worse, but if it means they stop complaining about playing bigger schools it will be a net positive. If the younger players continue as they did last season, they may finish a spot or two higher than this projection.
4. Jackson-Milton (11-3 V, lost playoff for promotion; 9-5 JV)
They lost a lot to graduation and their fall performances have shown that, but it's those fall performances that should get them the experience the other teams around them lack and keep them in the new Second Division come next season.
3. Poland (6-8 V, 11-2-1 JV)
They're like Canfield, but with less talent. They sub so much that no nucleus of a team can develop and, as a result, they end up meddling and middling through each season. A strong younger group should bump them a spot up, though.
2. West Branch (1-13 V, relegated from First Division; 2-12 JV)
These Warriors really struggled last season in a stacked First Division. Most return and a lot of new players showed up for trash, albeit without their new coach. I think they will be able to do a lot better in this newer, weaker section.
1. United Local (10-4 V, 9-5 JV)
The biggest difference between United and the rest of the projected top 4 is a coach that is actively involved and seems excited to be doing the activity. Hopefully, he pushes the players and they will respond with a performance that should see them in contention to win the division. Harding would beat them for automatic promotion, but Columbiana would fall to them in the pro/rel.
Greg Bossick, formerly Persona Non Grata
Mogadore '98, Youngstown State '02
Director of the Mahoning, Ashtabula, Portage, and Toledo Area Quizbowl Leagues