Luke “District 6 football guru” O’Roark here.
“Ahh, Luke. What’s up, man?!”
Oh, you know, just thinking about my good friend Matt Harris over at IdahoSports.com.
If you haven’t heard the 411 yet, Harris recently broke down each playoff scenario for each district and classification in Idaho (thank you, Matt, seriously).
“Ahh, Matt. Love that Canadian man.”
If you haven’t seen it, you should. It’s incredibly helpful, especially if you’re trying to figure out if your team is making the playoffs or not.
But, boy, it’s a doozy.
For example: there’s 32 — not a misprint — scenarios for 5A District 3. In 4A District 6, there are a whole bunch of wacky scenarios that involve the Azzie point system (ehhh) and/or the MaxPreps’ “national rankings” system being used to determine some tie-breakers (you know, the website that is hardly updated consistently and accurately for football in Idaho).
If you got 32 different scenarios for your classification, at that point, you might as well start predicting, “what would happen if aliens came to Dona Larsen Park Friday night” or “what would happen if the Bonneville Bees actually transformed into literal bees with helmets?”
Predicting playoff scenarios makes my head spin. Harris told me Wednesday that it took him anywhere from 12-to-15 hours over the weekend to finish it.
“It can be pretty daunting from a statewide perspective,” said Harris, who started putting himself through the gauntlet two to three years ago to help himself (and others) keep track of where teams are at.
“But, you know, when you get people saying ‘thank you’ and coaches, administrators, fans and media members and people saying how much they appreciate it, it’s worth it,” he added.
Again, I appreciate Matt’s work on it.
But I guess why I’m writing about this topic for this week’s column is more to just let out general frustration with sports culture, not to conjure up ideas of reform (for what it’s worth: I’m more for a hardcore RPI system with very few teams getting into the playoffs.)
Like, man, just take it easy on us, sports gods. It’s week eight. We’re tired. Everybody tired. My crystal ball is being held together with Pokemon band-aids, scotch tape and Elmer’s glue (sidebar: I don’t trust anyone that, when in grade school, never put an absurd amount of glue on their hands just so they could peel it off. All the cool kids did it.)
I mean, do we really need to see a three-win team play a seven-win team in the opening round? Do we really need 16 teams making the state playoffs? Will sports ever die?
As Skyline head coach Scott Berger said last Saturday: we know who is good, and who is not, by this point. No point in dragging this thing out.
”Yeah, but Luke, there’s always upsets. What if—”
— what if I just left you right there and went onto this week’s picks?
Let’s just do that before I get ran out of Idaho due to my unpopular opinions.
Game of the Week (kinda): Madison (6-2) at Skyline (6-2), 7 p.m.
Both these teams aren’t playing for much Friday. They’ve both finished conference play, as postseason awaits both.
On paper, it’s two good teams. But they won’t be playing for much.
It’s the “Game of the Week” with an asterisk.
Madison 21, Skyline 14
Rockland (2-5) at Clark-Watersprings (0-5), 5 p.m.
It’s been rough couple weeks for the Warriors. They haven’t scored a single point since Sept. 21.
The last time they scored, regular season soccer was still going on. I was still a young, bright-eyed journalist ready to change the world one story at a time.
I think Clark-Watersprings at least scores this time around.
Rockland 38, Clark-Watersprings 12
Raft River (4-2) at Butte County (2-4), 7 p.m.
Just like our friend Matt Harris, Butte County has put itself through the gauntlet as of late.
The past three weeks: at Oakley, versus Grace, at Valley. Now versus Raft River.
What’s next? Butte County versus the New England Patriots. ... in New England?
In all seriousness, kudos to the Pirates for playing some tough teams down the stretch. By week eight, everybody is tired. But Butte just keeps going regardless.
The challenging schedule may not generate wins, but you at least have to respect it.
Raft River 41, Butte County 30
Valley (6-1) at Challis (6-1), 7 p.m.
This one is basically a playoff matchup before the playoffs. Both teams are atop of the 1A D1 ranks. This one could get very interesting.
Valley 33, Challis 26
Ririe (4-3, 1-2 2A District 6) at North Fremont (7-0, 3-0 2A District 6), 7 p.m.
North Fremont has already clinched a 2A playoff berth.
Ririe is eliminated from playoff contention.
I don’t think either of these facts mean much. Both will play hard for pride’s sake.
I got the Huskies going unbeaten in the regular season.
North Fremont 34, Ririe 16
Sugar-Salem (6-1) at Parma (1-7), 7 p.m.
Sugar-Salem 45, Parma 0
Snake River (1-6) at Preston (4-4), 7 p.m.
It’s been a tough year in Moreland.
The Panthers could sneak into the playoffs, somehow, but I just don’t see it happening.
On to basketball season!
Preston 34, Snake River 14
Blackfoot (3-5, 1-3 4A District 6) at Shelley (2-6, 0-4 4A District 6), 7 p.m.
A playoff berth for either team is unlikely, but this may be the biggest thing going on Friday night in Bingham County.
I like Blackfoot, as Shelley has struggled to finish out games this year.
Blackfoot 28, Shelley 21
Hillcrest (7-1) at Thunder Ridge (0-8), 7 p.m.
Listen, all I’m going to say here is that some of ya’ll better check up on your kids’ social media accounts every once in a while. I’m not a snitch (said every snitch ever), but I see what’s going on Twitter (aka the greatest but also worst app on earth).
This one is going to be fun (I mean, as much fun as a 7-1 vs. 0-8 matchup is going to get).
Hillcrest 35, Thunder Ridge 7.
Firth (3-3, 2-1 2A District 6) at West Jefferson (5-2, 2-1 2A District 6), 7 p.m.
Both these teams have clinched playoff bids. The question now is where they will be placed.
It’s simple: the winner is the No. 2 seed. The loser is the No. 3 seed.
It might be comparing apples and oranges, but who knows when the seeding is all made up.
Regardless, I got West J.
West Jefferson 36, Firth 27
Rigby (4-4, 1-1 5A District 5-6) at Highland (7-1, 2-0 5A District 5-6), 8:15 p.m. at Holt Arena
Listen, I hate to be “that guy,” but Highland is pretty damn hard to beat in Pocatello.
I think the Rams take care of business at home. If they don’t, I won’t write this column next week (!!!!!!!!!).
Highland 37, Rigby 24