Here’s a quick look at the playoff scenarios for Wyoming high school football teams entering Week 8 of the 2017 season:

Class 4A
Sheridan: In. No. 1 seed with victory. No. 2 seed with loss and Rock Springs victory. Tie for 1-2-3 seeds (coin flip to break) with loss and Natrona victory.
Cheyenne East: In. No. 1 seed with victory and Rock Springs victory. Tie for 1-2-3 seeds (coin flip to break) with victory and Natrona victory. No. 3 seed with loss.
Natrona: In. Tie for 1-2-3 seeds (coin flip to break) with victory and Cheyenne East victory. No. 2 seed with Sheridan victory. No. 3 seed with loss Cheyenne East victory.
Kelly Walsh: In. No. 4 seed.
Rock Springs: In. No. 5 seed with victory and Laramie victory. Tie for 5-6-7 seeds (coin flip to break) with loss, Natrona victory and Laramie victory. No. 6 seed with victory and Thunder Basin victory.
Thunder Basin: In. No. 5 seed with victory. Tie for 5-6-7 seeds (coin flip to break) with loss and Natrona victory. No. 7 seed with loss and Rock Springs victory.
Laramie: In. Tie for 5-6-7 seeds (coin flip to break) with victory and Natrona victory. No. 6 seed with victory and Rock Springs victory. No. 7 seed with loss.
Cheyenne Central, Cheyenne South: Neither in nor out. No. 8 seed with victory. Out with loss.
Gillette: Out.

Class 3A East
Torrington: In. No. 1 seed.
Douglas: In. No. 2 seed with victory. No. 3 seed with loss and Riverton victory. No. 3 seed with loss, Lander victory and Torrington victory. Tie for 2-3-4 seeds (coin flip to break) with loss, Rawlins victory and Torrington victory.
Buffalo: In. No. 2 seed with victory and Riverton victory. No. 2 seed with victory, Lander victory and Torrington victory. Tie for 2-3-4 seeds (coin flip to break) with victory, Rawlins victory and Torrington victory. No. 4 seed with loss.
Rawlins: In. No. 3 seed with Douglas victory. No. 4 seed with Buffalo victory and Riverton victory. No. 4 seed with loss, Lander victory and Torrington victory. Tie for 2-3-4 seeds (coin flip to break) with victory, Buffalo victory and Torrington victory.
Lander, Riverton: Out.

Class 3A West
Green River, Star Valley: In. No. 1 seed with victory. No. 2 seed with loss.
Cody: In. No. 3 seed.
Worland: In. No. 4 seed.
Evanston, Jackson, Powell: Out.

Class 2A East
Glenrock: In. No. 1 seed.
Wheatland: In. No. 2 seed.
Newcastle, Thermopolis: In. No. 3 seed with victory. No. 4 seed with loss.
Burns, Moorcroft: Out.

Class 2A West
Mountain View: In. No. 1 seed.
Big Piney: In. No. 2 seed.
Greybull: Neither in nor out. No. 3 seed with victory. No. 3 seed with loss and Kemmerer victory. No. 4 seed with loss, Lovell victory and Big Piney victory. Out with loss, Lovell victory and Lyman victory.
Lyman: Neither in nor out. No. 3 seed with victory, Lovell victory and Mountain View victory. No. 4 seed with victory and Greybull victory. No. 4 seed with victory, Kemmerer victory and Mountain View victory. Out with loss.
Lovell: Neither in nor out. No. 3 seed with victory, Mountain View victory and Big Piney victory. No. 4 seed with victory, Mountain View victory and Lovell victory. No. 4 seed with victory, Greybull victory and Big Piney victory. No. 4 seed with loss and Big Piney victory. Out with loss, Lyman victory and a victory by either Mountain View or Greybull. Out with victory, Lyman victory and Greybull victory.
Pinedale, Kemmerer: Out.

Class 1A 11-man East
Pine Bluffs: In. No. 1 seed with victory. Tie for 1-2-3 seeds (coin flip to break) with loss and Big Horn victory. No. 2 seed with loss and Tongue River victory.
Big Horn: In. Tie for 1-2-3 seeds (coin flip to break) with victory and Upton-Sundance victory. No. 2 seed with Pine Bluffs victory. No. 3 seed with loss and Upton-Sundance victory.
Upton-Sundance: In. No. 1 seed with victory and Tongue River victory. Tie for 1-2-3 seeds (coin flip to break) with victory and Big Horn victory. No. 3 seed with loss.
Lusk, Southeast: Neither in nor out. No. 4 seed with victory. Out with loss.
Tongue River, Wright: Out.

Class 1A 11-man West
Cokeville: In. No. 1 seed.
Rocky Mountain: In. No. 2 seed.
Saratoga, Wind River: In. No. 3 seed with victory. No. 4 seed with loss.
Shoshoni, Wyoming Indian: Out.

Class 1A six-man East
Kaycee: In. No. 1 seed.
Midwest: In. No. 2 seed with victory. No. 3 seed with loss and Hanna victory. Tie for 2-3-4 seeds (coin flip to break) with loss and Guernsey-Sunrise victory.
Guernsey-Sunrise: Neither in nor out. Tie for 2-3-4 seeds (coin flip to break) with victory and Hanna victory. No. 3 seed with victory and Midwest victory. Tie for 3-4-out of playoffs positions (coin flip to break) with loss and Midwest victory. Out with loss and Hanna victory.
Hanna: Neither in nor out. No. 2 seed with victory and Hulett victory. Tie for 2-3-4 seeds (coin flip to break) with victory and Guernsey-Sunrise victory. No. 4 seed with loss and Guernsey-Sunrise victory. Tie for 3-4-out of playoffs positions (coin flip to break) with loss and Hulett victory.
Hulett: Neither in nor out. No. 4 seed with victory and Hanna victory. Tie for 3-4-out of playoffs positions (coin flip to break) with victory and Midwest victory. Out with loss.
Lingle, NSI: Out.

Class 1A six-man West
Farson: In. No. 1 seed with victory. Tie for 1-2-3 seeds (coin flip to break) with loss and Burlington victory. No. 2 seed with loss and Riverside victory.
Snake River: In. No. 1 seed with victory and Riverside victory. Tie for 1-2-3 seeds (coin flip to break) with victory and Burlington victory. No. 3 seed with loss.
Burlington: In. Tie for 1-2-3 seeds (coin flip to break) with victory and Snake River victory. No. 2 seed with Farson victory. No. 3 seed with loss and Snake River victory.
Meeteetse: In. No. 4 seed.
Dubois, St. Stephens, Ten Sleep: Out.
Riverside: Ineligible for playoffs.

–patrick

Technically, only one conference champion is guaranteed to be crowned this week.

Either Kaycee or Midwest will win the 1A six-man East Conference championship when the two programs face each other Friday night in beautiful downtown Midwest.

Oh, sure, four other programs can win their respective championships this week, too: Torrington in the 3A East, Glenrock in the 2A East, Mountain View in the 2A West, Cokeville in the 1A 11-man West. Also, Sheridan could win 4A’s top seed with a victory and a Cheyenne East loss to Rock Springs, while Star Valley would win the 3A West with a victory and a Green River loss to Jackson.

But it’s possible that every single one of those teams could lose on Friday. That’s why Kaycee-Midwest is so intriguing — unless it ends in a tie or is postponed or we see the destruction of the Earth between now and about 9:30 p.m. Friday, the top seed from the 1A six-man East Conference will be sewn up at the conclusion of this game.

Midwest has been a nice surprise this season. The Oilers have won four in a row since losing to Burlington 44-40 to open their season. Every game has been a little bit closer than the last one, though — from a 62-point victory against NSI to a 45-point victory against Guernsey-Sunrise to a 36-point victory against Lingle to a 13-point victory against Hulett.

Meanwhile, 32 miles to the north, top-ranked Kaycee has been perhaps the most dominant six-man team the state has ever seen.

The Buckaroos have won their past 25 games, but by far the 2017 season has been the most dominant. With first-year head coach Tony Rouse leading a deep senior class, Kaycee has outscored its opponents 370-26 this season, including its last three by 224-0.

Week 7 is always a little strange, because so many potential playoff scenarios exist. By my math, only three of the state’s 65 teams (Jackson, Wright, Wyoming Indian) have been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs (see below for more on Wyoming Indian). And no matter what happens, two conferences (1A 11-man East and 1A six-man West) are guaranteed NOT to have a conference champion by the time Week 7 is done.

That’s why Friday’s game in Midwest is so interesting. It’s nice to have a little certainty in uncertain times.

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Other stuff on my sonar for Week 7:

The Kelly Walsh-Thunder Basin game is the most intriguing game on the 4A schedule. Thunder Basin is stronger than it’s been all season thanks to the return of running back Austin Clemetson, who came back last week. A ‘Bolts victory gives them all the tiebreakers necessary for a home playoff game, and that’s super helpful. …

Greybull’s surprising loss to Lovell last week turned the 2A West into a big quagmire. Right there in the middle of the mess with Greybull are Lyman, Pinedale and Lovell. They’ll play on Friday (Greybull at Lyman, Pinedale at Lovell), and I honestly have no idea what to expect in either game. …

The only interclass game of the week is really interesting. It’s the two “Bigs” (Big Horn and Big Piney) meeting halfway in Riverton. And they’re both 5-1 coming into the game. Could be a hidden gem of a game on that neutral field on Friday. …

Evanston against Worland in the 3A West could be a really close game. Both teams need this victory to stay in the playoff race, and that may bring out the best in both squads. …

Wheatland has been resurgent of late and could steal a home playoff game if they can top Newcastle. …

I’m interested to see how much of a challenge one-loss Burlington can give undefeated Snake River in Burlington. …

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On to this week’s picks. As usual, the predicted winners are in bold, because to change that tradition now would just be silly:

Friday
Class 4A
Cheyenne South at Gillette
Kelly Walsh at Thunder Basin
Natrona at Cheyenne Central
Rock Springs at Cheyenne East
Sheridan at Laramie
Class 3A
Evanston at Worland
Green River at Jackson
Lander at Douglas
Powell at Star Valley
Riverton at Buffalo
Torrington at Rawlins
Class 2A
Glenrock at Moorcroft
Greybull at Lyman
Kemmerer at Mountain View
Newcastle at Wheatland
Pinedale at Lovell
Thermopolis at Burns
Class 1A 11-man
Lusk at Wright
Rocky Mountain at Saratoga
Southeast at Pine Bluffs
Upton-Sundance at Tongue River
Wind River at Cokeville
Class 1A six-man
Hanna at NSI
Kaycee at Midwest
Riverside at Farson
Snake River at Burlington
Ten Sleep at Meeteetse
Interclass
Big Horn vs. Big Piney (at Riverton)
Saturday
Class 1A six-man
Lingle at Hulett
St. Stephens at Dubois
Open: Cody, Guernsey-Sunrise. Shoshoni has picked up a forfeit victory this week against Wyoming Indian.

For a full schedule including kickoff times, check out the 2017 schedule and results page.

My picks were made last week. By me. I made the picks. Most of them were right. Here’s how many:

Last week: 27-4 (87 percent). This season: 179-29 (86 percent).

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Chiefs forfeit final two games: Wyoming Indian will forfeit its final two games of the year, as reported by Brady Oltmans of the Casper Star-Tribune on Twitter on Tuesday. The Chiefs were scheduled to play Shoshoni this week and Rocky Mountain in Week 8; they were 1-5 prior to ending the season early.

+++

With the playoffs a scant couple weeks away, what teams do you see as the ones ready to make a late-season run? Post a comment so we can dig deep into week 7!

–patrick

Post updated 9:01 a.m. Oct. 12, 2017, to reflect Lingle’s playoff possibility.

The 2017 edition of the Wyoming Shrine Bowl raised $20,000 for the Shriners Hospital for Children in Salt Lake City, Shrine Bowl executive director John Cundall announced Wednesday in a release.

All profits from the annual all-star football game, played in June in Casper, went to the hospital. This year’s game was the 44th Wyoming Shrine Bowl.

Shrine Hospitals focus on providing care for children at no cost to the family.

The North team won the 2017 game 49-7. The 2018 game will be June 9, 2018, in Casper.

–patrick

Here’s a quick look at the Wyoming high school football playoff picture entering Week 7:

Class 4A
In: Sheridan, Cheyenne East, Natrona, Kelly Walsh, Rock Springs, Thunder Basin, Laramie.
Neither in nor out: Cheyenne Central, Gillette, Cheyenne South.
Out: No one.

Sheridan, East and Natrona are ahead of the rest of the pack; KW, Rock Springs, Thunder Basin and Laramie are more or less fighting for seeds 4-7, and Central, Gillette and South are basically fighting it out for the eighth spot. Technically, there could be some shuffling in these tiers, but for now there are three distinct separations of playoff battles happening in the big schools.

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Class 3A East
In
: Torrington.
Neither in nor out: Rawlins, Douglas, Buffalo, Riverton, Lander.
Out: No one.

Right now, Lander is on the outside looking in, but if the Tigers can upset Douglas and Rawlins, they could make a real mess of things. The loser of this week’s Buffalo-Riverton game will have a tough time keeping pace, too.

+++

Class 3A West
In: Star Valley.
Neither in nor out: Green River, Cody, Evanston, Powell, Worland.
Out: Jackson.

A scenario exists where Green River, Cody, Evanston, Worland and Powell could end up in a five-way tie for seeds 2, 3 and 4. That’s how messed up (or, alternatively, parity-filled) the 3A West is this season.

+++

Class 2A East
In
: Glenrock.
Neither in nor out: Newcastle, Wheatland, Moorcroft, Thermopolis, Burns.
Out: No one.

Speaking of scenarios, there is a bizarre scenario in the 2A East where four teams could tie for places 1-4 with 3-2 records. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

+++

Class 2A West
In: Mountain View, Big Piney.
Neither in nor out: Greybull, Lyman, Pinedale, Lovell, Kemmerer.
Out: No one.

Technically, everyone is still alive for the playoffs, thanks mostly to Lovell’s upset of Greybull last week. The scenarios here are messy; there’s a weird one where four teams tie for the fourth seed. Ugh.

+++

Class 1A 11-man East
In: Pine Bluffs, Big Horn.
Neither in nor out: Upton-Sundance, Southeast, Lusk, Tongue River.
Out: Wright.

The weird scenario here is where there’s potentially a three-way tie for the No. 4 seed, or, even worse, a four-way tie for seeds No. 3 and 4. It’s possible. I hope I don’t have to sort through it, though.

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Class 1A 11-man West
In: Cokeville.
Neither in nor out: Rocky Mountain Saratoga, Wind River, Wyoming Indian, Shoshoni.
Out: No one.

Rocky Mountain, Saratoga and Wind River are in the best positions to qualify for the remaining open spots, as they’re all 2-1 in league play. Shoshoni and Wyoming Indian need some miracles to happen to climb back from 0-3 and force a tie for one of the final spots; they play each other next week.

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Class 1A six-man East
In: Kaycee, Midwest.
Neither in nor out: Guernsey-Sunrise, Hanna, Hulett, Lingle, NSI.
Out: No one.

This might be the weirdest scenario, where zero-victory NSI actually has a better chance than one-victory Lingle. That’s because NSI has two conference games remaining instead of one and could, with the right scenario, force a tie for the No. 4 spot. Lingle could do that, too, but needs winless NSI to beat unbeaten Kaycee, in addition to a bunch of other things, to force a four-way tie for the No. 4 seed that might be broken coin-flip style.

+++

Class 1A six-man West
In: Farson, Snake River, Burlington.
Neither in nor out: Meeteetse, Ten Sleep, Dubois, St. Stephens.
Out: No one.
Ineligible: Riverside.

Meeteetse just needs to beat Ten Sleep next week to secure the conference’s last available spot. If Ten Sleep wins, though, that opens the door for winless teams Dubois and St. Stephens to stay alive, too.

–patrick

How Big Horn and Upton-Sundance have missed each other the past few seasons defies a convenient explanation.

Big Horn hasn’t played Upton since the two teams played in the 2004 2A championship against each other and hasn’t played Sundance since 2008.

That’s weird. In Wyoming terms, they’re pretty close to each other — it’s 160 miles from Big Horn to Sundance and 147 from Big Horn to Upton. And they’re in the same classification and conference for every single other sport.

Also, the past three years, the schools have been dominant in their respective classifications:

  • In 2014, Big Horn was 10-1; Upton-Sundance was 6-4.
  • In 2015, Big Horn was 7-2; Upton-Sundance was 10-1.
  • In 2016, both programs finished 10-1.

Tally that up, and combined the past three seasons, Big Horn and Upton-Sundance are 53-10. Not too shabby.

However, despite being close in proximity, enrollment and success, the two programs tallied those records in different football classifications — 2A for Big Horn, 1A 11-man for Upton-Sundance.

This year, though, football classification shakeups brought this rivalry back to the fore. Big Horn is in the smallest 11-man division for the first time since playing in Class 1A Division II in 2000. Upton-Sundance, meanwhile, has been in the 1A 11-man ranks for the entirety of its co-op, remaining playoff eligible through a quirk of WHSAA rules that allows co-ops to claim only partial enrollments of schools.

In other words, Big Horn has been the small guy in the big division for a long time, while Upton-Sundance has been the big guy in the small division for a long time.

That changed this year, when Big Horn — after winning the 2A title in 2016 — came back to the 1A ranks and joined Upton-Sundance in the same classification (and the same conference) for the first time in football.

As expected, both teams have continued their streaks of dominance amid the conference restructuring. The Rams are 4-1, the lone loss by a single point in overtime to defending 1A 11-man champ Pine Bluffs and the four victories all by at least 28 points, while the Patriots are 6-0, their closest game last week’s 28-14 victory against Southeast.

In terms of the 2017 season, this game is critical for both programs as the 1A 11-man playoff race finds its form.

In terms of the rivalries that exist between the three schools — and the two programs — the game is more than just an opportunity to gain a better playoff seed. It’s an opportunity to revive a dormant regional rivalry between two programs that have consistently displayed excellence.

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Other games that look like they’re halfway decent:

The 3A East showdown between Torrington and Douglas could be for the conference crown. They’re the only two teams in the conference who are still unbeaten in league play. Winning Friday is no guarantee of a title, but the team that wins will be in control of its own destiny. …

The Bridger Valley Bowl is always interesting, full stop. Mountain View has the edge, but in a rivalry game, Lyman could be dangerous. Also, don’t overlook the Sublette County rivalry bubbling between Big Piney and Pinedale. …

The only interclass game of the week has Kemmerer at Lusk, and it could be a tight one. If it was in Kemmerer, maybe I’d go with the Rangers, but with almost 400 miles between the two communities — who are playing each other for the first time, by the way — the edge goes to the home team. …

Oh yeah, it’s rivalry week in 4A. Capital Bowl with East-Central, Oil Bowl with Kelly Walsh-Natrona, Energy Bowl with Sheridan-Gillette… and yet the best game in 4A might be Thunder Basin facing off against Rock Springs. Both teams desperately need this one to keep any dreams of a home playoff game alive. …

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On to some picks. As usual, the team I anticipate winning is bolded. Because the reverse of that would just look ridiculous and confusing. I have standards.

Friday
Class 4A
Cheyenne Central at Cheyenne East
Kelly Walsh at Natrona
Laramie at Cheyenne South
Sheridan at Gillette
Thunder Basin at Rock Springs
Class 3A
Buffalo at Lander
Cody at Worland
Green River at Powell
Jackson at Star Valley
Rawlins at Riverton
Torrington at Douglas
Class 2A
Burns at Wheatland
Glenrock at Thermopolis
Greybull at Lovell
Lyman at Mountain View
Moorcroft at Newcastle
Pinedale at Big Piney
Class 1A 11-man
Big Horn at Upton-Sundance
Cokeville at Saratoga
Pine Bluffs at Wright
Shoshoni at Rocky Mountain
Southeast at Tongue River
Wind River at Wyoming Indian
Class 1A six-man
Farson at Meeteetse
Hanna at Guernsey-Sunrise
Hulett at Midwest
Kaycee at Lingle
Ten Sleep at Riverside
Interclass
Kemmerer at Lusk
Saturday
Class 1A six-man
Burlington at Dubois
St. Stephens at Snake River
Open: Evanston, NSI.

For a full schedule including kickoff times, check out the 2017 schedule and results page.

Thank goodness Evanston is off this week. They can’t screw up my picks. They were the *only* team to do so last week. Oh well. Maybe this week I finally have a perfect week in the regular season? Meh. It’s more fun when it’s not predictable.

Last week: 30-1 (97 percent). This season: 152-25 (86 percent).

So what rivalry in Week 6 are you most happy to see — revived or not? Post your thoughts in a comment and let me know!

–patrick