I’ll be honest: During the season, one of the things I look forward to most between games is the weekly rankings.
I love them because they are a great gauge for perspective. Is that team as good as I think it is? What do others think? Are y’all seeing what I’m seeing?
I also love them because it gives every team in the state except for the five teams ranked No. 1 some motivation. You know, “everyone” is overlooking us, “no one” thought we could do it, etc. Motivation can come in many forms, but rankings are the most public. Without them, how could anyone ever feel slighted?
Most of all, though, I love them because they are basically one big way for coaches and media types to have a conversation about who they think are the best teams without ever having to talk to each other.
The problem with rankings is that they’re only good for a week. Friday comes along, a whole slew of games are played, and that new information is incorporated into a new set of votes for next week’s rankings.
However, looking at old rankings can give us lots of insight into a season. Who rallied after a poor start? Who was the team that everyone knew was coming and lived up to expectations? Who lived fast and died young?
Since I want to know the answers to those questions, I started tracking down every single weekly poll for Wyoming high school football, all the way back to the start of such statewide polls.
This research took several weeks of evenings and weekends, most of which was spent either on wyopreps.com or the Casper Star-Tribune archive on newspapers.com. To this point, research has taken me back to 1952, which I believe is the first year for a coordinated statewide effort at an actual poll and not just rankings put out by individual newspapers.
I’m ready to share a big chunk of that research today.
Starting today, weekly polls from 1984 to 2021 will be available on wyoming-football.com. Polls for each year will be linked from the results by year page.
With 38 years of week-by-week rankings now part of wyoming-football.com — and with more to come — we can take a quick look at which teams have done what in the polls.
Most weeks ranked, most weeks at No. 1: It should be no surprise that Cokeville has spent the most weeks ranked (313) and the most weeks ranked No. 1 (141). With 345 weekly rankings available — and with not every week containing a ranking for the classification that Cokeville was in at the time — the Panthers have been ranked more than 90% of the time and have been No. 1 more than 40% of the time.
Not coincidentally, the same five programs that spent the most time both at No. 1 also spent the most time in the rankings, period.
Behind Cokeville in time in the No. 1 spot is Natrona at 94 weeks, Big Horn at 92, Star Valley at 86 and Sheridan at 80.
Behind Cokeville in total weeks ranked is Natrona (279), Sheridan (265), Big Horn (263) and Star Valley (259).
Cokeville is also the program that has spent the most weeks ranked at No. 2 with 82 weeks, tied with Lusk for the most time spent in the second slot.
Who’s been No. 1: In all, 38 teams since 2010 have been ranked No. 1 for at least one week, and since 1984 all but eight programs have failed to reach the top spot. Those who haven’t been ranked No. 1 since 1984 include:
- Saratoga (last reached No. 1 in the final AP poll of 1982)
- Pinedale (last reached No. 1 in the UPI poll in Week 9, 1981)
- Rawlins (last reached No. 1 in the AP poll in Week 10, 1974)
- Newcastle, Cheyenne South, Encampment, St. Stephens, Wyoming Indian (never ranked No. 1, according to currently researched polls)
Five more programs (Hulett, Kelly Walsh, Ten Sleep, Tongue River and Moorcroft) have been ranked No. 1 for just one week since 1984.
Of the teams that have been around since 1984, Wyoming Indian (15 weeks), Rawlins (29 weeks) and Saratoga (36 weeks) have spent the least amount of time ranked. Every other program that has existed since 1984 has spent at least 42 weeks ranked. Of the eight Class 4A programs that have existed since 1984, Kelly Walsh has the fewest weeks at No. 1 (one week) and the fewest total weeks in the polls (93 weeks).
No. 1 all season long: In all, 60 teams have gone wire-to-wire ranked No. 1, most recently Southeast and Farson in 2020. Of those 60, 41 eventually won a state championship.
At the end of this post is a table that notes the total weeks at No. 1, the total weeks ranked and the last time ranked No. 1 for each program.
Prior to 1984, two polls existed for most years — the Associated Press poll and the United Press International poll. Research is continuing on those, and I hope to share them, or at least what we can find, soon. Poll information from 1952 to 1983 is much more spotty, but I will share it all once I feel like it’s in a “shareable” state; right now, it’s not quite there yet.
Remember, weekly polls from each season from 1984-2021 are on the results by year page. More blog posts are coming, so keep your eyes open! I’m still exploring the current data, including figuring out who’s spent the most consecutive weeks ranked and the most consecutive weeks at No. 1.
My huge gratitude goes out to “Stat Rat” Jim Craig and his help for finding a few of the polls I couldn’t. Do a search for his name on this blog and you’ll see how helpful he has been for many, many years, and he’s also one of the key architects to the work posted on sister site wyoming-basketball.com. Thanks again, good sir!
I’m always looking for new information I can post to wyoming-football.com. What do you want to see next?
Weekly poll rankings, 1984-2021
|Team||Weeks at No. 1||Total weeks ranked||Last ranked No. 1|
|Natrona||94||279||Week 2 2019|
|Big Horn||92||263||Playoffs 2019|
|Star Valley||86||259||Week 1 2020|
|Sheridan||80||265||Week 4 2021|
|Meeteetse||66||145||Week 5 2021|
|Mountain View||54||217||Week 8 2020|
|Campbell County||51||239||Playoffs 2016|
|Powell||49||199||Week 4 2020|
|Rocky Mountain||46||135||Playoffs 1999|
|Buffalo||46||202||Week 3 2019|
|Lovell||42||219||Week 2 2020|
|Snake River||39||107||Playoffs 2021|
|Glenrock||37||164||Week 4 2018|
|Rock Springs||36||131||Playoffs 2021|
|Lusk||33||229||Week 2 2021|
|Jackson||30||144||Week 2 2021|
|Big Piney||30||152||Week 2 2007|
|Lander||29||112||Week 8 2004|
|Thermopolis||28||105||Week 5 2010|
|Cheyenne Central||28||154||Week 6 2020|
|Guernsey||27||131||Week 4 2015|
|Green River||24||143||Week 6 2016|
|Wheatland||22||145||Week 3 2021|
|Laramie||21||124||Week 8 1996|
|Dubois||20||106||Week 4 2013|
|Riverton||20||117||Week 7 2014|
|Greybull||17||121||Week 5 1991|
|Shoshoni||15||121||Week 5 2021|
|Midwest||13||132||Week 3 2010|
|Thunder Basin||12||57||Week 1 2021|
|Riverside||12||76||Week 3 2007|
|Evanston||11||117||Week 5 2007|
|Cheyenne East||11||182||Preseason 2021|
|Pine Bluffs||9||101||Playoffs 2021|
|Sundance||8||86||Week 2 2006|
|Wright||7||62||Week 4 2005|
|Lingle||7||86||Week 7 2015|
|Upton||7||106||Week 2 2006|
|Wind River||5||44||Preseason 1998|
|Hanna||2||66||Week 5 2000|
|Tongue River||1||69||Preseason 2007|
|Ten Sleep||1||91||Week 4 1987|
|Kelly Walsh||1||93||Week 4 2006|
|Hulett||1||93||Week 6 1994|
|Rawlins||0||29||Week 10 1974|