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October 8, 2010
Dallas Jackson is the Senior Analyst for RivalsHigh. Email him your question, comment or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.
In a day and age of keeping up with your neighbors, the state of Colorado may be the house on the block destined for Extreme Makeover.
Colorado shares its border with seven states, but among the group, Colorado may be the lowest in national perception for high school football.
Yep, the weeds are high. The paint is peeling. All is not well.
Actually the only thing that is good is the foundation.
Denver (Colo.) Mullen has been the only team from the state ranked in the RivalsHigh 100 in the last three years. The Mustangs were not ranked in 2008, but checked in at No. 21 in 2009 and currently reside at No. 48.
The group is one of the reasons Mullen is 6-0 with five shutouts - a reason this team should be headed to the Top 25. But it isn't. Here's why - the rest of the state is struggling, as it always seems to be
Mullen is the only school in Colorado to be in the final poll since the rankings were expanded to 100 teams in 2008. It's an amazing stat considering the state has the third-highest number of teams in the Rocky Mountain area, is the leader in the region for pro football (all pro sports for that matter) and has numerous top college football programs.
And if you think such a one-in-done scenario is common in that part of the country, where there are fewer schools and not as much passion for football, think again.
Consider this about the bordering states of Arizona, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming since 2008:
Amazingly, New Mexico and Nebraska are stronger.
The state, in fact, has been passed by in perception and rankings by even Utah, which has less than half the number of schools playing 11-man football.
For comfort, Colorado must look to Wyoming and Kansas.
Mullen, simply put, stands alone.
Founded in 1931 as a boarding school for orphan boys, Mullen slowly evolved into one of the most successful Lasallian private high schools after it changed its focus in 1966, when the last of the orphans graduated and paying boarders joined the students.
The school now plays host to just under 1,000 co-education students as well as one of the best football teams in the state.
It just doesn't host many good football games: No other team in Colorado is ranked inside the Top 250 teams nationally.
Mullen has the ability to schedule games against out-of-state competition - it won at Kansas City (Mo.) Rockhurst last year, 17-7 - but it has been otherwise slow to do so.
That needs to change. Or Mullen will be left to be the nicest house in a bad neighborhood.