The final week of the regular season goes by different names.

Around these parts, though, I call it Spreadsheet Week.

I spend more time on spreadsheets in Week 8 than I do in any other. The myriad playoff scenarios are dizzying, and I need the spreadsheets to make sense of it all.

But honestly, with only 46 teams alive for 40 playoff spots, it’s a little simpler than it seems on the surface.

The simplest scenarios exist for Cheyenne Central, Laramie, Powell, Evanston, Kaycee and Hanna: Win and they’re in. Lose and they’re out. It’s like a bonus playoff game, pigtail games for brackets that we know will already be filled with excitement.

However, only 12 teams — Star Valley, Torrington, Lyman, Pine Bluffs, Lusk, Shoshoni, Rocky Mountain, Hulett, Snake River, Encampment, Meeteetse and Dubois — know their seeds. That includes the entire 1A six-man West, the only place where certainty has much of a foothold. The other 28 seeds are all in question entering Week 8, and only one first-round playoff matchup (Dubois at Hulett) is certain. In Class 4A, not a single team’s seed is set for sure entering the final week of the regular season (except Cheyenne South, which has been eliminated).

With 20 games this week affecting seeding, that means there are almost 400 ways the brackets could look by the time Saturday’s three games are finished.

That’s where the spreadsheets come in. Week 8 — the one week we can mix jockdom and nerddom and it’s not only OK, it’s encouraged.

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Other games that I’ll be watching a little bit closer than usual:

The biggest game with the lowest stakes is the rematch of last year’s 3A championship between Cody and Jackson, this time in Teton County. I say low stakes because the two top-ranked teams in 3A are both playing some great football right now, and even though the winner gets a conference championship and home-field advantage through the first two rounds of the playoffs, it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see both of these teams in Laramie, rematching the rematch, in three weeks. A loss here wouldn’t interrupt that. …

Class 4A’s elites meet this week with Rock Springs traveling to Cheyenne East and Sheridan traveling to Thunder Basin. East, Rock Springs and Sheridan are all alive for the No. 1 seed, and Thunder Basin is still dangerous and in the hunt for the No. 2 seed. There’s a lot to sort out at the top, and these two games will do a lot of the shaking. …

For as messy as the 2A East could be (with the potential for an unprecedented four-way tie), the most intriguing game is still Upton-Sundance playing at Big Horn. Both teams have been playing well this season, and no one wants to see them on their side of the bracket in the playoffs. …

Dubois playing Hulett at Ten Sleep was a bonus game added to the schedule when Ten Sleep and NSI gave up the ghost — Ten Sleep for football, NSI for everything. Now, it also serves as a first-round playoff preview, when Dubois will travel to Hulett for the six-man quarterfinals. Safe to say that both teams will probably be holding back on the playbook this week in anticipation for saving the best stuff for next week. But I’m still interested to see who wins this week.

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Picks are here. Can you dig it? Bold means I think that team will win. Because I like to live on the edge, thinking that anything teenagers do is predictable.

Tuesday
Class 2A
Thermopolis at Big Piney (picked on Twitter before Tuesday’s game)
Thursday
Class 2A
Mountain View at Lyman
Class 1A nine-man
St. Stephens at Rocky Mountain
Shoshoni at Riverside
Wind River at Wyoming Indian
Friday
Class 4A

Campbell County at Kelly Walsh
Cheyenne South at Natrona
Laramie at Cheyenne Central
Rock Springs at Cheyenne East
Sheridan at Thunder Basin
Class 3A
Douglas at Worland
Evanston at Powell
Jackson at Cody
Lander at Buffalo
Rawlins at Riverton
Star Valley at Green River
Class 2A
Big Piney at Kemmerer
Burns at Torrington
Lovell at Cokeville
Pinedale at Thermopolis
Tongue River at Glenrock
Upton-Sundance at Big Horn
Wheatland at Newcastle
Class 1A nine-man
Greybull at Lingle
Lusk at Saratoga
Moorcroft at Pine Bluffs
Wright at Southeast
Class 1A six-man
Encampment at Burlington
Midwest at Guernsey-Sunrise
Saturday
Class 1A six-man

Dubois vs. Hulett (at Ten Sleep)
Kaycee at Hanna
Snake River at Farson
Open: Meeteetse.

For a full schedule including kickoff times, as well as results from past weeks, go here. Click on “Week 8” on the top of the page for this week’s schedule.

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Here are the results of my picks from last week and this season:

Last week: 27-5 (84 percent). This season: 194-40 (83 percent).

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Who do you think is ready to rise up in the final season of the week and surprise us all? Leave a comment here, or hit me up on the Facebook page or on Twitter.

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–patrick

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