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UPDATE: Central, Booker T. each ranked nation's best in separate polls

It's no secret Miami Central and Miami Booker T. Washington each have some of the nation’s best talent.

On Thursday, the debate began as to which was better.

Central found out early in the day that it will open the season ranked No. 1 nationally by Rivals.com, which released its Top 100 preseason poll. But later in the day, Booker T. found itself in the No. 1 spot in USA Today’s Super 25 presesason rankings.

The teams will play each other Sept. 6.

In the Rivals poll, Central is joined in the top 10 by Booker T. (No. 4) and Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas (No. 9).

Central is also ranked No. 2 nationally by MaxPreps.com. The Rockets have won two state titles in the past three seasons and advanced to at least the state semifinals four consecutive seasons.

USA Today, however, has Central ranked No. 7 and St. Thomas ranked No. 11.

Fort Lauderdale University School is also ranked at No. 38 completing South Florida's defending state champion quartet in the Rivals rankings.

Central is entering its first season under coach Roland Smith, who guided rival Miami Northwestern to a state title in 2006 - the last season he coached high school football prior to being hired this summer.

The Rockets return 10 starters on offense including their whole offensive line and star running backs Dalvin Cook and Joe Yearby. They also have six starters back on defense.

Central opens the regular season Aug. 30 at Plantation American Heritage, which is considered a top contender in Class 5A. The Rockets then take on Booker T. in a huge showdown Sept. 6.

Central also travels to play Don Bosco Prep (NJ), ranked No. 83 by Rivals, on Sept. 21. The Rockets also have tough district matchups against Northwestern, Carol City, Norland and Homestead and finish the season with a showdown against University School the weekend of Nov. 8.

Booker T. opens the season Aug. 24 at Norcross (Ga.), a team ranked No. 5 in the poll. The Tornadoes follow that with Central and a game Oct. 4 at No. 18 Las Vegas Bishop Gorman.

St. Thomas Aquinas opens with Northwestern Aug. 31 at Sun Life Stadium and two weeks later plays consensus defending national champion John Curtis Christian (La.) Sept. 13 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.

In addition to their season-finale against Central, University School's schedule begins with a nationally-televised preseason game Aug. 25 against Homestead. The Suns later face Miami Norland, defending Class 8A state runner-up Weston Cypress Bay, Lauderdale Lakes Boyd Anderson and have an Oct. 25 road date at Rivals No. 48 Bradenton Manatee.

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