Normally, in this space every week, I spend some time discussing what appear to be the best games in the state for that week.
Not this week.
Instead, I want to look at the weirdest conference in the state — so far — the 2A East.
Through the first half of the season, all seven teams in the 2A East have all secured at least one conference victory. That’s incredibly strange for this early in the season.
So how did we get here? Well…
Starting this week, Buffalo stands alone undefeated in conference pay at 3-0, with victories against Thermopolis, Burns and Glenrock.
Next is Wheatland at 2-1, which beat Newcastle and Glenrock but lost to Burns.
Then it’s Thermopolis at 1-1; the Bobcats lost to Buffalo but beat Moorcroft.
Then it’s four teams at 1-2: Burns, Glenrock, Moorcroft and Newcastle. Burns beat Wheatland but lost to Moorcroft and Buffalo; Glenrock beat Newcastle but lost to Wheatland and Buffalo; Moorcroft beat Burns but lost to Thermopolis and Newcastle; Newcastle beat Moorcroft but lost to Wheatland and Glenrock.
Now, take a breath, and then try to follow this logic train as it leaves the station. … Newcastle beat Moorcroft; Moorcroft beat Burns; Burns beat Wheatland; Wheatland beat Glenrock; Glenrock beat Newcastle. At least one of those was an upset. The problem is, right now, we can’t tell which.
That leaves the 2A East with conference standings it has now, and we’re not even halfway through the conference season.
And while Buffalo and Thermopolis have seemed to separate themselves as the top two teams in the conference (at least for now, but who knows?), that leaves five others fighting it out for the conference’s final two playoff spots. This week, Glenrock and Burns face each other in an opportunity for clarity. Or more confusion.
September is barely over, and I’m already looking at the WHSAA’s tiebreaker scenarios.
If this kind of stuff keeps up, we’ll need them.
Here’s the other games drawing my attention in Week 5:
Natrona’s game at Thunder Basin is the marquee matchup in 4A this week. Natrona’s star rose significantly last week after a double-OT victory against Cheyenne East that was accomplished without star running back Dante Wallace in the lineup. Thunder Basin, meanwhile, is still unbeaten and wants to stay that way. Who wouldn’t? …
Powell’s fast rise back to the upper echelon of 3A has been one of the most emotional stories of the season. There isn’t anyone in the state who isn’t rooting for the Panthers’ success this fall — unless Powell is on the opposite sideline. The Panthers’ potential will be put to the ultimate test this week with a trip to Afton to face top-ranked and defending champ Star Valley. A good showing in Lincoln County, even if it doesn’t translate into a victory, could keep Powell pointed in the right direction. …
Don’t overlook the Fremont County rivalry game this week between Riverton and Lander. It just got big. Both teams won their conference openers last week, and one of them will be 2-0 and in control of their own destiny after this game. …
When did Lovell-Big Piney become a HUGE game? Because that’s what it is in the 2A West this week. That conference has developed three distinct tiers — Mountain View at the top, four teams in the middle, and winless Greybull and Kemmerer now in spoiler roles — and both Lovell and Big Piney are in that middle tier right now. This is a great opportunity for both teams to prove they belong in the race for a home playoff game. …
Don’t look now, but Southeast is 2-0 in the 1A 11-man East and has a huge opportunity with its trip to Dayton to play Tongue River, which is 0-3. But the East Conference has proven unpredictable, too. …
The six-man game that looks like the most intriguing one to me is Hulett at Kaycee. Given how the conference is shaping up, the loser here will have a really hard time staying in contention for a home playoff game. …
On to the picks. If a team is bolded, that means I think they’ll win. Sixty percent of the time, I’m right every time.
Cokeville vs. Natrona JV (at Green River)
Lyman at Star Valley JV
Cheyenne Central at Kelly Walsh
Cheyenne East at Laramie
Cheyenne South at Sheridan
Gillette at Rock Springs
Natrona at Thunder Basin
Cody at Evanston
Green River at Jackson
Powell at Star Valley
Rawlins at Worland
Riverton at Lander
Torrington at Douglas
Buffalo at Moorcroft
Glenrock at Burns
Kemmerer at Greybull
Lovell at Big Piney
Pinedale at Mountain View
Thermopolis at Wheatland
Class 1A 11-man
Pine Bluffs at Big Horn
Shoshoni at Rocky Mountain
Southeast at Tongue River
Wright at Upton-Sundance
Wyoming Indian at Wind River
Class 1A six-man
Burlington at Dubois
Farson at Meeteetse
Guernsey-Sunrise at Saratoga
Hanna at NSI
Hulett at Kaycee
Riverside at Snake River
Newcastle at Lusk
Encampment vs. Fleming, Colo. (at Briggsdale, Colo.)
Open: St. Stephens.
This week’s game between Lingle and Midwest is now a forfeit victory for the Doggers.
For a full schedule including kickoff times, as well as results from past weeks, go here. Click on “Week 5” on the top of the page for this week’s schedule.
Here are the results of my picks from last week and this season:
Last week: 24-8 (75 percent). This season: 111-37 (75 percent).
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