It's no coincidence that the two top teams in the state of Illinois are led by the state's top two quarterbacks, both who have a championship under their belt.
A rivalry is brewing between Bolingbrook quarterback Aaron Bailey and Maine South quarterback Matthew Alviti. Bailey, a four-star prospect, is committed to Illinois; Alviti, also a four-star, has pledged to the Fighting Illini's rival, Northwestern.
Both Bailey and Alviti have their sights set on winning another championship during their senior seasons, before becoming Big Ten rivals. Each talented team has potential to take home the title, creating an interesting debate; which team is Illinois' best?
In the FOX Sports NEXT preseason poll, the four Illinois High School experts were forced to make the call, and it would be a split decision. As a result of the tiebreaker rule, Bolingbrook takes the top spot due to its superior record in 2011.
Each expert explains their selection for the top spot in the rankings, plus offers a preview of what to expect.
Allen Trieu - National Recruiting Analyst, FOX Sports NEXT
"You have to like Maine South because it has a great quarterback who is a multi-year starter and will want to go out on top. He has a good offensive line and some great targets, too. I'm worried that in the playoffs, when weather becomes a factor, that may take away their strength, but I won't bet against them.
Beth Long - Midwest Field Reporter, FOX Sports NEXT
Chris Emma - Publisher/Reporter, PurpleWildcats.com
"Can you pick against the 8A state champs? I sure can't. Starting quarterback Aaron Bailey, who is headed to Illinois, has every reason to make his senior year even better than last year. Plus, Parrker Westphal looks to be able to replace the loss of Antonio Morrison to Florida and his play making ability on defense and guys like Omar Stover and Chandler Piekarski are in line for big years."
"Maine South quarterback Matthew Alviti is just a winner, and that's why I have tabbed the Redhawks as my top team in the state of Illinois. The senior already has one trophy and is looking for another one this season. Head coach Dave Inserra's team is a good one. Maine South is the best team in the state."