The FCIAC in girls soccer is loaded.

By loaded I mean load-ed. If the FCIAC girls soccer were a potato, it would have sour cream, chives, bacon, cheese and butter on it.

Consider this, the league provided the Class LL, L and M with 10 of its 19 teams. Those 10 teams are a combined 11-4 in the state competition. Six teams remain, including four in Class LL.

Theoretically the Class LL semifinals could be another FCIAC semifinal.

Locked in with all of this is Fairfield Ludlowe. The Falcons, who used the motivation of a Hartford Courant blogger to get past Mercy. The Falcons also used their prowess of difficult opponents in knocking off Class LL No. 4 seed Wilbur Cross, 2-1.

Teams from the FCIAC carry themselves differently in the state playoffs. Grinding through the FCIAC is essentially playing in the SEC in college football or the Big East in college basketball. There is no letup. Even the bottom tier teams on a given afternoon (or evening) can rise up and surprise.

In the states this is beneficial. When a No. 13 Ludlowe team can reach the quarterfinals in LL, or a No. 10 seeded St. Joseph can do the same in M, it shows depth in the league and proves the type of soccer that can be played there.

Even Warde's showing against a top-three team in the state (Berlin) on Wednesday proves this point. Warde was the No. 7 seed in the FCIAC tournament, yet fought valiantly to the bitter end against an undefeated and untied team. I have a feeling that Berlin won't be winning it all, especially with New Canaan potentially waiting for it in the Class L final.

Don't count out the Falcons either in LL. Should Ludlowe be able to get past Pomperaug today, Greenwich and either Westhill or Ridgefield lurk. But having played all three of those teams should prove as a benefit, especially the way that the Falcons have been playing of late. Don't forget also that Ludlowe beat both Westhill and Ridgefield this year.

Essentially what it amounts to is the talent in the FCIAC trumps the talent in any other league in the state. This is true in most every other sport as well. You see it in basketball and in baseball and in football. Any time that one league gets multiple state champions, it is superior than any other. The FCIAC has had two or more state champions in girls soccer in each of the last three years, and are going for a fourth this year.

That is what I call loaded.

Football Picks

I was 1-1 a week ago. The wheels have officially fallen off of the Warde bandwagon. Ludlowe got credit for a win thanks to a controversial forfeit. Either way, this is the last week before Thanksgiving, so here it goes.

Warde (4-4) at Danbury (2-6), tonight, 7 p.m.

The Mustangs put forth their worst performance of the season in a 21-7 loss at Stamford on Friday night. Quarterback Eric Burns is hurt, but I think he will play tonight. Warde still should be able to take care of business against a dismal Danbury team that could only muster a two-point win over Harding. I don't like it, but I have to take Warde. Pick: Warde 14, Danbury 6.

Ludlowe (4-4) at Westhill (2-6), tomorrow, 1:30 p.m.

Ludlowe got credit for a forfeit over the Harlem Hellfighters after the squad could not show up for the game. Staples and Bridgeport Central fans should be ecstatic. It's unfortunate how hellacious the Falcons' early season schedule was this year. Ludlowe has quietly won four of five since starting the year 0-3. That streak should continue today. The Thanksgiving game should feature (gasp) two over .500 teams. Pick: Ludlower 24, Westhill 0

Last week: 1-1. Year-to-date: 12-4.