So much for drama.
By the time we make it into Week 8, the Wyoming high school football season could be absolutely sapped of any uncertainty about conference championships.
That’s because every conference could have its champion decided by the end of Friday night. In every single scenario, the team that could win the title has its destiny in its own hands this week.
The teams that can win the top seed from their conferences this week include:
- Sheridan — A victory over Natrona assures the Broncs the top seed in the 4A playoffs.
- Buffalo — If the Bison can beat Riverton, they will be the No. 1 seed from the 3A East.
- Star Valley — A victory against Green River will hand the Braves the 3A West’s No. 1 seed.
- Big Horn — A Ram victory against Tongue River will make Big Horn the top seed from the 2A East.
- Mountain View — If the Buffalos beat Pinedale, they will take the top seed from the 2A West.
- Lingle or Pine Bluffs — This week’s winner between the two of them will be the 1A nine-man East’s No. 1 seed.
- Wind River — The Cougars can secure the No. 1 seed from the 1A nine-man West by beating Shoshoni.
In 1A six-man, the top two seeds are already assured, with Burlington already securing the No. 1 seed from the North and Snake River the No. 1 seed from the South.
From the group, one sticks out. It’s the only one of the group that has two schools listed by it: Lingle and Pine Bluffs.
Both the Hornets and Doggers, who meet Friday night in Pine Bluffs, are 6-0. But the adventure hasn’t been easy for either one.
Lingle has won six straight but its past three victories have been by eight points, nine points and one point. Pine Bluffs, meanwhile, has had to survive a pair of one-possession games, both times against teams with records of .500 or worse.
In short, both teams have been tested. And, so far, both teams have survived. Together, this week, they will stage the last game of Wyoming’s 2023 high school football season where two undefeated teams will play each other, as no other classification has more than one undefeated team. Whoever wins will be the 1A nine-man East champion, as every other league team has at least two conference losses and the winner here will hold the tiebreaker if something goes awry in Week 8. Moreover, whoever wins will also be the last remaining undefeated team in Class 1A nine-man.
The season still has some drama left, including the biggest chunk of it to be decided at the War.
Just don’t be surprised if it’s a bit subdued heading into the final week of the regular season.
Other games to watch this week: well, almost all of them. Playoff seeding will be a huge focus of the next two weeks — not that they weren’t already, but the focus of who’s in, who’s out and who might go where in the first round is much clearer now than it was, say, a month ago when conference games counted just as much as they do now.
Regardless, some dreams of Cinderella titles are over. Teams already eliminated from playoff contention include Glenrock, Pinedale, Kemmerer, Guernsey, Shoshoni, Ten Sleep, Casper Christian and Hanna; barely mathematically alive are Cheyenne South, Laramie, Lander, Green River, Newcastle, Burns, Wright and Greybull.
In addition to all the games that could decide conference champions, we have a host of games that will be hugely influential in playoff races. Among the more intriguing are Cody visiting Evanston, Thermopolis heading to Cokeville, Torrington venturing north to play Upton-Sundance, Southeast hosting Saratoga, Midwest hosting Meeteetse and Kaycee going to Hulett. …
One game that won’t have any impact on any playoff races will be Wright at Moorcroft. Both teams are 1-5, but both teams are significantly better than their records show. This might be the last time these two regional rivals play for awhile as Moorcroft is set to make the jump to 2A next season.
The streak watch: Snake River has now won 27 consecutive games, tied for sixth-best in state history. And Sheridan has won 26 in a row, cracking the top 10 and tied for eighth-longest in state history. Sheridan also still has theoretical possession of Slim MacGuffin. Also, don’t overlook Pine Bluffs, winners of 17 consecutive games.
On the other side of things is Cheyenne South. The Bison have now lost 36 consecutive games, the second-longest losing streak in state history. Two more losses in the final two weeks of the regular season, and South would tie Kemmerer for the longest losing streak in state history. South has also lost 17 straight at home, and a loss to Laramie next week would tie the state record of 18 consecutive home losses.
Speaking of Laramie: Even if the Plainsmen run the table and pull off the most improbable championship in state history, they can’t finish any better than 5-7. So, no matter what happens the rest of the way, Laramie will have its 23rd consecutive losing season. That’s a state record, breaking the tie that Laramie had with Newcastle’s 22 consecutive losing seasons from 1984 to 2005.
Once again, I have chosen some teams that I think will win, and I have put them in bold. But a couple upsets wouldn’t spoil the broth.
Cody sophs at Rocky Mountain
Campbell County at Cheyenne Central
Cheyenne South at Cheyenne East
Kelly Walsh at Thunder Basin
Natrona at Sheridan
Rock Springs at Laramie
Buffalo at Riverton
Cody at Evanston
Douglas at Rawlins
Lander at Worland
Powell at Jackson
Star Valley at Green River
Big Horn at Tongue River
Glenrock at Newcastle
Kemmerer at Lovell
Pinedale at Mountain View
Thermopolis at Cokeville
Torrington at Upton-Sundance
Wheatland at Burns
Class 1A nine-man
Lingle at Pine Bluffs
Lusk at Guernsey
Riverside at Greybull
Saratoga at Southeast
Wind River at Shoshoni
Wright at Moorcroft
Wyoming Indian at Big Piney
Class 1A six-man
Casper Christian at Encampment
Hanna at Dubois
Meeteetse at Midwest
Snake River at Farson
Ten Sleep at Burlington
Rich County, Utah, at Lyman
Class 1A six-man
Kaycee at Hulett
For a full schedule including kickoff times, click here. You can click on “Week 7” at the top of the page to take you directly to this week’s schedule.
Here are the results of my picks from last week and this season:
Last week: 30-3 (91 percent). This season: 184-34 (84 percent).
If you’re headed to one of those games that could decide a conference championship — can you give me a ride? You’d have to come to California to get me, though… Leave a comment here, or hit me up on the Facebook page or on Twitter.
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