BRADENTON -- The prep football season hasn't begun.
But the prognosticating appears to be over.
Rivals has released Nos. 99-2 of its national RivalsHigh 100 and listed Manatee at No. 3 on Tuesday.
"The bottom line is that this team could push for a national title without playing any out-of-state games, with what it brings back on both sides of the ball," wrote Dallas Jackson, Rivals' high school football analyst. "The team will have to get maximum play out of its defensive line because there are teams that will test it on the outside."
The Hurricanes opened the poll season ranked No. 1 by MaxPreps, which released its list June 1, and was slotted at No. 3 by USA Today. The daily publication unveiled its Super 25 last week.
What does all this mean?
Well, nothing really.
The Hurricanes entered last season unranked by MaxPreps and USA Today and were at No. 36 in the RivalsHigh 100.
But they went undefeated against Florida schools and won the Class 7A state championship.
One perk of being ranked so high so early in the season is it gives Manatee a chance to do something it hasn't done -- win a mythical national championship, with the key word being "a" rather than "the."
To wit, Louisville's Trinity High finished last year atop Rivals' final rankings, while MaxPreps and ESPN declared New Jersey's Don Bosco Prep the best team in the country.
Bosco beat Manatee last season in Bradenton.
And there seems to be the same sort of disagreement this season: Miami Central is ranked No. 1 by USA Today but is slotted 16th by Rivals and went unranked in MaxPreps' Xcellent Top 25.
Manatee will have a hand in deciding who's right. Miami Central, which lost to Seffner Armwood last season in the Class 6A final, visits the Hurricanes during Week 3.
Manatee opens the regular season at 2 p.m. Sept. 2 against Miramar.