Of all the 41 potential playoff scenarios that exist heading into Week 8, none is weirder than Lovell’s.
Of the eight possible scenarios coming out of the 2A West, Lovell makes the playoffs in five of them and misses the playoffs in three of them.
Here’s the kicker, though: Lovell could lose and qualify for the playoffs. They could also win and miss the playoffs.
Obviously, the odds are better if Lovell wins. Of the four scenarios in which Lovell wins its game on Friday against Kemmerer, the Bulldogs qualify for the playoffs in three of them; of the four scenarios in which Lovell loses, the Bulldogs still make the playoffs in only two of the four scenarios.
The odd duck scenario where Lovell wins but still doesn’t qualify happens if the Bulldogs beat Kemmerer, Lyman beats Big Piney and Greybull beats Mountain View. In that scenario, Lyman and Lovell end up tied for the No. 4 seed, and thanks to Lovell’s loss to Lyman, the Bulldogs would be out and the Eagles in.
So is it possible Lovell could take the field on Friday night and actually TRY to lose to help qualify for the playoffs? Or just forfeit the game completely?
The short answer: No.
The reason? Kickoff times.
The first game played in the 2A West on Friday will be the one between Big Piney and Lyman, which kicks off at 2 p.m. If Big Piney wins, Lovell’s in the playoffs, no matter what.
However, if Lyman pulls the upset, Lovell HAS to win (and then hope Mountain View beats Greybull) to qualify for the playoffs.
So even though the scenarios outline a situation where it would be better for Lovell to lose, the kickoff times assure us we won’t see anyone intentionally tanking in Week 8 to qualify for the playoffs.
Thank goodness. Because as weird as Lovell’s situation is this week, it’d be even weirder to see a team intentionally trying to lose to qualify for the playoffs.
We know some things — but not everything — entering the final week of the Wyoming high school football regular season.
Twelve teams (Kelly Walsh, Worland, Cody, Torrington, Glenrock, Big Piney, Wheatland, Mountain View, Cokeville, Rocky Mountain, Meeteetse and Kaycee) already know their playoff seedings.
Two first-round playoff games are already set: Worland at Torrington in 3A and Meeteetse at Kaycee in 1A six-man.
And 10 teams (Cheyenne Central, Cheyenne South, Greybull, Lyman, Lovell, Lusk, Southeast, Guernsey-Sunrise, Hanna and Hulett) are playing for their playoff lives this week. Two games — Cheyenne Central hosting Cheyenne South and Southeast hosting Lusk — are direct winner in/loser out scenarios.
Obviously, Week 8 is full of important games. Here’s some highlights of a few of them.
If you asked me which game I want to see most this week, it’s Upton-Sundance vs. Pine Bluffs. I want to know if Upton-Sundance’s 40-point loss to Big Horn two weeks ago was an aberration or a harbinger. We’ll find out Friday when the Patriots face an undefeated defending state champion on that champ’s home field. …
Star Valley faces Green River for the top seed in the 3A West. Star Valley will be the favorite, even on the road, but Green River could really upset expectations if they can somehow beat the two-time defending champs. …
Farson facing Snake River in Baggs could be the best game of the six-man regular season. Yes, Snake River lost to Burlington last week, but the Rattlers can still win the West’s No. 1 seed with a victory. Farson, meanwhile, is still undefeated and angling for a second consecutive trip to Laramie. …
Cheyenne East and Sheridan are playing what could objectively be called the game of the week. After all, Sheridan is 8-0 and undefeated in 4A, while Cheyenne East is 7-1 and proving it knows how to win games in all styles, but especially close ones. The Broncs should be the favorites, but the Thunderbirds are likely to give Sheridan a necessary challenge heading into the playoffs. …
The Thunder Basin-Laramie game could be a hidden gem in the Gem City. It’s an important game in the 4A seeding race, and Laramie has the potential to pull the surprise at home if the ‘Bolts overlook them. …
The Mountain View-Greybull game isn’t quite what we thought it might be at the beginning of the season, but nevertheless it’s a big one in the 2A West. And Mountain View has to make the trip to Greybull, making things a little more difficult on the no-e Buffalos. …
The Thunder Bowl is back in Sheridan County after a three-year hiatus as Big Horn faces Tongue River. Honestly, there’s no reason why this game should ever be off the schedule, and I’m glad to see the regional rivals facing off again. …
The Rocky Mountain-Wright game is a late addition to the schedule after Wyoming Indian forfeited to Rocky Mountain a couple weeks ago. Wright had an open week scheduled, so it makes sense for the two of them to meet halfway in Sheridan — Rocky as a playoff tune-up, Wright as one more chance to take the field as a team. …
On to my choices for each game. You know how I do this by now: predicted winners in bold, and then we all watch the games, which is way more fun than predicting them:
Cheyenne East at Sheridan
Cheyenne South at Cheyenne Central
Gillette at Kelly Walsh
Rock Springs at Natrona
Thunder Basin at Laramie
Douglas at Buffalo
Jackson at Evanston
Powell at Cody
Rawlins at Lander
Riverton at Torrington
Star Valley at Green River
Big Piney at Lyman
Burns at Glenrock
Lovell at Kemmerer
Mountain View at Greybull
Thermopolis at Newcastle
Wheatland at Moorcroft
Class 1A 11-man
Cokeville at Shoshoni
Lusk at Southeast
Rocky Mountain vs. Wright (at Big Horn)
Saratoga at Wind River
Tongue River at Big Horn
Upton-Sundance at Pine Bluffs
Class 1A six-man
Burlington at Riverside
Hulett at Guernsey-Sunrise
Meeteetse at St. Stephens
NSI at Kaycee
Worland at Pinedale
Lingle vs. South Platte, Neb. (at Dalton, Neb.)
Class 1A six-man
Dubois at Ten Sleep
Farson at Snake River
Midwest at Hanna
For a full schedule including kickoff times, check out the 2017 schedule and results page.
Results of my picks from last week and this season:
Last week: 24-6 (80 percent). This season: 203-35 (85 percent).
So here we are: the last week of the regular season. Who’s your surprise team for a championship run? And what does week 8 hold for them? Leave a comment and let’s enter into a dialog.