Over the next couple weeks, you will probably hear a lot about home-field advantage in the playoffs.
And you may ask yourself how much it really matters, playing at home in the postseason.
The short answer? It matters a lot.
While home teams win an average of about 56% of Wyoming high school football games, that skyrockets to 74% in the playoffs.
Moreover, no active team in Wyoming has a better road playoff record than home playoff record.
And for some teams, the difference is pretty drastic.
Take, for example, Farson. All-time, Farson is 6-0 in home playoff games but 0-7 in road playoff games. It’s safe to say that Farson — who’s playing Meeteetse this week, with the winner holding home-field advantage from the 1A six-man West — wants to play as many playoff games at Pronghorn Field as possible.
Or Big Horn, one of four teams chasing the top two spots out of the 2A East: 33-6 at home, 3-17 on the road.
Or Rock Springs, which needs some help to avoid a first-round road trip in 4A: 13-1 at home, 6-31 on the road.
And Sheridan, which is working hard to try to get the up-for-grabs fourth seed in Class 4A, would much rather play its opening-round game at home, where the Broncs are (get this) 39-2 all-time in playoff games.
So when you look at the standings and try to parse through what’s possible, keep in mind just how important it is to stay off the bus as much as you can in the postseason.
With that in mind, let’s clarify a bit of confusion about the potential hosts for state title games.
Without realizing it, the Wyoming High School Activities Association put out some conflicting information about who would host the championship game if two teams with equal seeds (say, both top seeds, or both No. 2 seeds, and so on) met in the championship.
WHSAA Associate Commissioner Trevor Wilson gave me some definitive answers via email this week, though, and what it boils down to is this: When in doubt, check the handbook.
Wilson clarified that, in the case of two equal seeds meeting, the WEST team will host the 3A and 1A six-man title games, while the EAST team will host the 2A and 1A nine-man title games. These are the scenarios outlined in the WHSAA handbook for this season.
Wilson also clarified that if the two teams have met in the regular season, that regular-season result will NOT be used to determine the host.
As we approach the final two weeks of the regular season, surprises become fewer and fewer. But that makes surprises more interesting when they do happen. These are the games that could bring us the most surprises:
Riverton and Worland could give us a close game in a key 3A East matchup. I really considered picking the Wolverines this week, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them KO the Warriors in Washakie County. …
Opposite momentums will meet in Cokeville Friday. The host Panthers have won three in a row after starting 2A West play with consecutive losses. Meanwhile, Big Piney’s lost two in a row after starting 4-0. How big will “Big Mo” be for both teams? …
Wheatland and Torrington meet in a huge game that will go a long way in deciding 2A East title rights. No matter who wins, they’ll both need a little help next week for the top seed, but the top seed doesn’t happen at all without a victory right here. …
The Lusk-Southeast winner is the top seed from the 1A nine-man East Conference. Meeteetse and Farson face the same stakes, just for the 1A six-man West. Both games could come right down to the final moments; Southeast hasn’t yet played anyone with Lusk’s firepower, and undefeated Meeteetse has been plucky enough to give also-undefeated Farson a challenge.
Here are the weekly picks. If you’re new here, I pick teams to win every week, and I signify my choices in bold. But you’re not new here, are you?
Star Valley at Evanston (as picked before the game on Twitter)
Class 1A nine-man
Greybull at Shoshoni
Natrona sophs at Snake River
Campbell County at Sheridan
Cheyenne South at Laramie
Kelly Walsh at Cheyenne East
Rock Springs at Cheyenne Central
Thunder Basin at Natrona
Douglas at Buffalo
Green River at Cody
Jackson at Powell
Rawlins at Lander
Riverton at Worland
Big Piney at Cokeville
Burns at Newcastle
Glenrock at Upton-Sundance
Lovell at Kemmerer
Lyman at Pinedale
Mountain View at Thermopolis
Tongue River at Big Horn
Wheatland at Torrington
Class 1A nine-man
Lusk at Southeast
Moorcroft at Riverside
Pine Bluffs at Lingle
Wind River at Rocky Mountain
Wright at Saratoga
Class 1A six-man
Midwest at Kaycee
NSI at Guernsey-Sunrise
Ten Sleep at Burlington
Class 1A six-man
Encampment at Dubois
Hulett vs. Hanna (at Midwest)
Meeteetse at Farson
For a full schedule including kickoff times, as well as results from past weeks, go here. Click on “Week 7” 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: 26-5 (84 percent). This season: 155-52 (75 percent). Does not include last week’s forfeit.
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