When Buffalo moved from Class 3A to Class 2A this season, everyone in 2A mentally made a note — Buffalo and Glenrock will be in the same conference.
That note included an automatic asterisk: When they face each other, it’ll be huge.
Even though the showdown between the Bison and Herders comes fairly early in the season, they’re already the only two teams who remain undefeated in the 2A East standings.
They both notched important victories last week, as Buffalo bopped Burns and Glenrock wore down Wheatland, to set up this matchup of teams both 2-0 in conference play and looking for that opportunity to take the lead for a conference title and home-field advantage through the first two rounds of the playoffs.
Glenrock and Buffalo have a bit of an odd series history — they haven’t been in the same classification, let alone the same conference, since 2000. But between 2001 and 2008, they played each other six times, with Buffalo winning four of those six. The last meeting in 2008 was a classic, with Glenrock holding on late to beat Buffalo 16-14; that season, Buffalo finished as the 3A runners-up and Glenrock won the 2A championship.
In the intervening 10 years since that game, Glenrock has made three trips to the 2A championship game, finishing 0-3 in those contests. Buffalo has struggled more in those years, but the move to 2A this year came at a time when the Bison were showing signs of a turnaround, including a 6-3 season last year.
You could argue the anticipation for this game is actually more than two years in the making. For the 2016 and 2017 seasons, Buffalo had the enrollment of a Class 2A school but opted up to play at the Class 3A level.
Thus, everyone knew as soon as Buffalo’s move to 2A for 2018 became final that this one against the Herders would mean more than usual. It’s more than just a big conference game; it’s the renewal of a competitive rivalry.
And, after 10 years since the last one and two years later than expected, that game will be played on Friday.
Some other games that have me looking over my shoulders as if anyone else recognizes what kind of awesome quality we have developing for Week 4:
A huge game is brewing between Upton-Sundance and Big Horn. Right now, the 1A 11-man East is a three-team race between these two and Pine Bluffs. The difference between first place and third place in that conference really hasn’t meant that much in terms of the first round of the playoffs — the third-place team from the East has won on the road in the first round of the playoffs each of the past five years — but in terms of who gets to host in the semifinals, this one is absolutely critical. I’d be more excited for this game if last year’s game was in any way close, but the Rams lambasted the Patriots 53-13 last year in Sundance. …
Cody will likely top Jackson in the meeting of 3A West Broncs. Still, Jackson’s turnaround continues, and if the black-and-orange Broncs can pull off an upset of the defending 3A champs at home, watch the heads turn statewide like owls spotting a field mouse. …
The Gillette Camels will head across town to Thunder Basin to face the ‘Bolts in the Coal Bowl (sorry, Wright and Upton… Gillette’s stealing this rivalry name). It won’t be much of a game, as the Camels are 0-4 and the ‘Bolts 4-0, but rivalries like this are fun regardless, especially young rivalries still developing their own character. …
The loser of the Sheridan-Kelly Walsh game will be 2-3 after Friday. Not too many people saw that coming at the start of 2018; Sheridan has lost two in a row in the same season for the first time since 2007, while Kelly Walsh hasn’t yet capitalized on the momentum of its semifinal appearance last year and lost 14-7 on the road last week to a younger Rock Springs team. …
For some reason, Pinedale-Greybull is a REALLY intriguing game. …
The 1A six-man West is now officially crazy at the top. We’ll see if Meeteetse can keep things rolling against Burlington — a tall order, but doable for the Longhorns after soundly taking down Snake River last week. …
Here are this week’s picks. Bolded names mean teams I think will win. But life is more complex than that, and we would do well to recognize this inescapable fact.
Cheyenne Central at Laramie
Cheyenne South at Rock Springs
Gillette at Thunder Basin
Natrona at Cheyenne East
Sheridan at Kelly Walsh
Cody at Jackson
Green River at Star Valley
Powell at Evanston
Rawlins at Douglas
Riverton at Worland
Torrington at Lander
Buffalo at Glenrock
Kemmerer at Big Piney
Lovell at Lyman
Newcastle at Moorcroft
Pinedale at Greybull
Thermopolis at Mountain View
Wheatland at Burns
Class 1A 11-man
Pine Bluffs at Tongue River
Shoshoni at Cokeville
Southeast at Lusk
Upton-Sundance at Big Horn
Wright at Wind River (at Ethete)
Class 1A six-man
Burlington at Meeteetse
Farson at Riverside
Hanna at Lingle
Midwest at Kaycee
Class 1A six-man
Guernsey-Sunrise at NSI
St. Stephens at Snake River
Saratoga at Dubois
Open: Hulett, Rocky Mountain.
For a full schedule including kickoff times, as well as results from past weeks, click here. Click on “Week 4” 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: 20-10 (67 percent). This season: 82-31 (73 percent). I meant to pick Mountain View over Lovell last week, but the bold button slipped on me. However, the bold has the power, and I abide by its choice.
Week 4 is the halfway point of the regular season. So who’s halfway to a championship, and who’s already full-way to thinking about 2019? Leave a comment and we can talk a bit about it.