We all consistently do something we know will fail. Yet we do it anyway.

We should back up the files on our computer before the computer crashes. But we don’t. And then we accidentally open that email attachment from the deposed Nigerian prince…

We should get the flu shot before flu season. But we don’t. And then we eat at that restaurant that doesn’t give its employees sick days…

We should go to the bathroom before the road trip. But we don’t. And we buy a 44-ounce fountain drink on our way out…

For 18 years, Lingle’s football team faced a similar problem.

Lingle shouldn’t play Southeast. But they do. And they hold out that sliver of hope that they just might win…

Don’t get this twisted. I’m not actually saying the Lingle-Southeast football game shouldn’t be played. It should. Lingle and Southeast are natural rivals. They’re similarly sized, and they’re barely more than a half hour apart. The roots of their rivalry trace back to Southeast’s consolidation in the 1970s and the old SEWAC football days, and beyond that back to Lingle’s games against Huntley in the 1950s and 1960s.

No, I’m not talking about getting rid of this series. That’s silly talk.

But the results in this series suggest otherwise.

The Doggers have had absolutely no success in this series for almost a generation. In 16 games against the Cyclones since 1997 (they didn’t play each other in 2007 and 2008 but played twice in 2009), the Doggers are 0-16. The last time Lingle won against Southeast was in 1996 — a game that if any current Lingle or Southeast players attended, they were likely still in diapers.

This streak of struggle is one of the longest active streaks in the state; Rocky Mountain’s 17-game winning streak against Wyoming Indian is the only current series winning streak longer than the one the Cyclones have run off against the Doggers, and it’s tied with Cokeville’s 16-game winning streak against Shoshoni and Buffalo’s 16 straight victories against Rawlins. (By the way, Rawlins and Buffalo play each other this week, too.)

This anomaly is not because Lingle is a poor football program. In fact, the Doggers have been consistently competitive since this streak against the Cyclones began — they’ve made the playoffs 13 times in the past 17 seasons, and even reached the state title game in 2009.

Of course, the one time they reached the title game, the Doggers played the Cyclones. OF COURSE they did. And the Doggers lost. That’s just how Lingle’s luck has run in this series.

Actually, the anomaly of a streak is more attributable to Southeast, which has had a sublimely successful run since the last time it lost to Lingle — eight state championships, a home playoff game in the first round of the playoffs every single season, never a year worse than .500.

The last year Southeast didn’t host a playoff game, or finish above .500, was 1996. Not coincidentally, the Cyclones finished that season with a 41-12 loss to the Doggers in Yoder, Southeast’s last loss to Lingle to date.

This year might be the year, though, the Doggers break this streak.

Lingle enters Friday’s game with Southeast undefeated (3-0); the Cyclones, meanwhile, come in at 2-2. They’ve had one common opponent so far, Pine Bluffs, and in the ever-misleading land of score comparison, Lingle had the better-looking victory over the Hornets (44-16) than Southeast (36-22).

After 18 years of consistent shortcomings against their Goshen County neighbors, maybe this is the year Lingle finally turns this rivalry into a two-sided one.

What else I’m watching closely this week:

I don’t know what to make of the race for the final four playoff spots in Class 4A. It’s a mess. But I do know that the showdown between Cheyenne Central and Laramie will be key. Does anyone else see a big mishmash of 3-6 teams sitting in the bottom half of 4A at the end of the regular season? …

Worland keeps on chugging along. So does Jackson. And they’re playing each other this week. Even though Powell and Cody are still the favorites, I think there might be more parity in the 3A West than I believed there was at the beginning of the season. …

Lovell’s loss to Big Piney two weeks ago took some of the shine off this week’s Lovell-Mountain View showdown. Nevertheless, this game is still key in the 2A West standings, and Lovell could make a real mess of things — and stay in contention for a conference championship — if it can take down the Buffalos. …

Farson knew at the beginning of the season that the two-week stretch of Week 3 (Dubois) and Week 4 (Meeteetse) would be huge. The Pronghorns took care of the Rams 36-34 last week. Now the defending champion Longhorns make their way to Sweetwater County in a game that could eventually decide hosting duties in the first round of the playoffs. Along with the 3A West, the 1A six-man West could be the most interesting conference in the state. …

Unbeaten Sheridan will likely continue its fast start to the 2014 season when it plays winless Rock Springs tonight in Sweetwater County. No surprise. The Tigers have been on the schneid against the Broncs for a long time: The last time Rock Springs beat Sheridan was in 1959.

On to the picks, where I have listed my projected winning squads in the boldface type.

Class 4A

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

Last week: 24-10 (71 percent). This season: 82-32 (72 percent).

Thoughts? Ideas? Complaints? Compliments? Rants? Post them in a comment.


One Thought on “Week 4 picks: The downside of consistency

  1. Another great post!

    But…. I don’t see this season’s Southeast/Lingle game being any different. In 2013, the game went down to the wire. That I see staying the same in 2014. Both teams love to run the ball and are quite good at it. The difference in the ball game will be the team’s ability to throw the ball. That’s one area Lingle has been slightly better at this year than in the past, but Southeast quarterback Jeff Burroughs has been even more successful at throwing the ball down field. This game will go down to the final moments again with Southeast winning again.As was the case last year, the game will go along way in determining playoff seedings. That’s my prediction. Thanks!

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