The other day, I had an enlightening conversation with a colleague who ranks high school sports teams for another publication. He/she, who shall go unnamed, explained a particularly bizarre ranking decision by saying that he/she "wanted to do something different."

I guess the thinking is that you can always go back and change them in later editions...

While I've always been a fan of choosing the road less traveled, I had to chuckle at the idea. It might be fun to shake all the Howard County football teams up like a game of Yahtzee and see what kind of reaction I get when I rank River Hill sixth and Mt. Hebron second.

But I think it's more fun to try to get the rankings right and see how they hold up each week, rather than throwing some nonsense against the wall to see what kind of rise I can get out of everyone.

With that being said, there was a little bit of shake-up in this week's rankings. Mt. Hebron, the early surprise team of 2012, has made another leap after beating Long Reach in overtime Friday night. And astute readers will also notice that one of the 'on the bubble' teams has made its way into the rankings, even after a loss.

This week's best games look like Atholton at Howard in a battle of undefeated teams, Mt. Hebron at Wilde Lake and Oakland Mills (0-2) at Marriotts Ridge (0-2) on Saturday at 1 p.m. in the first homecoming game of the season.

(Last week's ranking in parentheses)

1. (1.) River Hill (2-0, 101 points scored-16 points allowed)

The Hawks win the race to 100 points. The next closest team is Howard with 66. Did you know River Hill does not play Atholton this year? Both teams are probably secretly happy for their playoff chances to avoid such a strong opponent on the regular season schedule, but fans miss out on what is always a great football game.

Wins: LR (52-16), OM (49-0). Losses: NA.

Last week: Beat Oakland Mills, 49-0. This week: home against No. 10 Centennial (1-1).


2. (2.) Atholton (2-0, 42-37)

The Raiders have outscored their first two opponents by a combined five points, including an overtime win, but no one at Atholton is complaining about being 2-0 heading into week three of a tough early schedule, all while breaking in a fairly new varsity team. The schedule doesn't lighten up this week, as Atholton visits undefeated Howard in the Game of the Week! I'm looking forward to seeing new Raiders QB Luke Casey (369 yards and four touchdowns combined passing and rushing last week) in action.

W: WL (14-12 OT), Re (28-25). L: NA.

Last week: Beat Reservoir, 28-25. This week: at No. 3 Howard (2-0).


3. (3.) Howard (2-0, 66-21)

Howard has the second best offense and defense in the league so far, trailing only River Hill, but both units will be put to the test Friday night against an Atholton team which is gaining momentum.

W: G (28-14), MR (38-7). L: NA.

Last week: Beat Marriotts Ridge, 38-7. This week: home against No. 2 Atholton (2-0).


4. (4.) Glenelg (1-1, 35-36)

The Gladiators got a little swagger back in their home opener by beating a tough Hammond squad by two TDs, and taking a shut out late into the fourth quarter. Last year Glenelg beat this Friday night's opponent, Long Reach, 23-20.

W: Ha (21-8). L: Ho (28-14).