Dear J.T. Curtis,

You have a tough decision to make by Monday: You can have your powerhouse John Curtis football team continue to compete in Division II or play up a classification and compete in Division I.

I have 114 reasons why the Patriots should move up and play with the big boys.

That 114 represents how many points Curtis crushed its three playoff opponents by last season on its way to yet another state championship.

It was the 26th time highly-successful coach J.T. Curtis and his Patriots hauled a state championship trophy back to River Ridge.

Teams have until noon Monday to notify the Louisiana High School Athletic Association if they intend to move up a classification.

School officials at St. Thomas More and Teurlings Catholic indicated in June that they would likely move up to Division I, giving the classification a total of 10 teams. (The six Catholic League schools, plus Catholic-Baton Rouge and St. Paul’s.)

Curtis, whose 530 coaching victories rank second all-time nationally, sounded 50-50 Saturday morning on which way his team is leaning.

Maybe this number crunching will help.

Here are four reasons Curtis should play up: (You didn’t really think I was going to give you 114 reasons did you?”)

1 Better competition

Curtis’ run to the 2013 state title proved to be a breeze.

Let’s rewind: A bye in the regional round; a 48-0 victory over St. Charles in the quarterfinals; a 40-6 rout over Evangel Christian in the semifinals; and an anti-climatic 32-0 rout of University Lab in the Dome.

I know what you’re thinking.

That was just one year.

Not exactly.

Remember those 26 titles mentioned earlier?

Well 22 of those championship games were won by double digits. Only four were decided by single digits, with the most recent one being in 2002 when Curtis beat O. Perry Walker 16-14.

The titles since then have all been lopsided. The Patriots’ margin of victory in its title game victories since 2002? 15, 25, 34, 15, 21, 30, 22, and 32.

At some point, the lopsided wins have to get stale.

2Proven track record

Curtis has shown time and time again that it can play with the big boys, no matter what classification it competes in. When it competed in Class 4A in the 1990s and early 2000s, the school went 8-3 in championship games. The Patriots went 4-1 as a 3A school and 1-0 in Division II when it played up a classification last season. The 2013 seasonin included a win over 4A powerhouse Karr. The Patriots were a dropped pass away from beating 5A St. Augustine. And who can forget two seasons ago when Curtis was considered the best high school team in the nation, regardless of classification.

3 No pressure

This year’s Curtis team has earned some national rankings already, but the expectations aren’t like they were during that national championship season in 2012 or last season.

All-everything linebacker Kenny Young graduated from last year’s team and so did several other key players who moved on to play big-time college ball.

This would be the perfect season to test the waters.

The possible scenarios?

Play up in Division I and fall short of the title: “Oh well, they had a good year.”

Play up in Division I and win a 27th title: “Wow.”

Stay in Division II and fall short: “Wow.”

Stay in Division II and win a title: Ho-hum.

4Oh, the possibilities

Who can forget those epic regular-season games last season when Curtis played Karr and St. Augustine?

Now imagine a similar matchup this season in the postseason between Curtis and St. Augustine.

Now imagine that game just being the semifinals, with the Patriots edging the Purple Knights.

Now imagine the buzz the following week when Curtis plays Rummel in an all-Metairie matchup for the Division I crown.

Imagine how the Superdome would be rocking.

Yes, I am imagining the possibilities.

Hope you are too.