⭐ Big Five Games - Week 7, 2017 ⭐
1. Sun Prairie (6-0) at Madison West (5-1) - Big 8 (Airing on The Big 1070)
2. Belleville (5-1) at Cambridge (4-2) - Capitol South (Airing on The Big 1070)
3. Stoughton (6-0) at Watertown (4-2) - Badger South
4. Turner (5-1) at Jefferson (5-1) - Rock Valley
5. Beaver Dam (3-3) at DeForest (4-2) - Badger North
Honorable Mention: East Troy (4-2) at Evansville/Albany (3-3), Oakfield (6-0) at Abundant Life/St. Ambrose (4-2)
⭐ = BIG FIVE SPOTLIGHT
✔ = PLAYOFF CLINCHING SCENARIO
Big 8 (Rankings are WSN Coaches Poll/AP Poll)
#3/#4 Sun Prairie (6-0) at Madison West (5-1): Now that Sun Prairie and Madison West have secured their playoff spots, it's time to battle it out for the conference championship. A West victory here would open up the door for multiple conference champions, but if Sun Prairie wins, they have to clear Verona and La Follette to close out the regular season to finish as the lone Big Eight champions. We are doing this one as part of our Madison Taxi Game of the Week series. Sun Prairie has more takeaways (27) than points allowed (25). West has also forced 18 turnovers.
Madison La Follette (3-3) at #9/UR Middleton (5-1): Last year, La Follette got a big win over Middleton en route to a playoff bid. The same sort of setup exists this year. If the Lancers can upset the Cardinals, it will likely get La Follette into the playoffs. It won't be easy against a tough Middleton squad galvanized by adversity on and off the field, as the Cardinals have looked dominant in wins over very good teams like Verona and West. La Follette still has Sun Prairie in Week 9 after a date with East next week.
Madison Memorial (2-4) at Janesville Craig (3-3): This is effectively a playoff game for both schools. A win increases the chances for the victors in this one to make the playoffs, while a loss might mean elimination. Craig picked up a key win last week over Beloit Memorial, but a fourth win puts them on the bubble for a playoff spot. Memorial needs to win out to clinch a postseason berth.
Verona (4-2) at Madison East (0-6): Verona can clinch a playoff spot with a win over the winless Purgolders. Verona gets Sun Prairie next Friday night.
Janesville Parker (1-5) at Beloit Memorial (1-5): The losing team here can be considered eliminated from playoff contention, while the winning team keeps a shred of hope alive for a possible bid as a 4-5 school.
Badger North (Rankings are WSN Coaches Poll/AP Poll)
Beaver Dam (3-3, 3-1) at DeForest (4-2, 3-1): The winner will clinch a playoff spot, and also root for an upset of Waunakee down the stretch as they stay a game back of the Warriors in the Badger North conference championship race. Beaver Dam's defense was highly regarded coming into the season, while DeForest has overcome a season-opening setback against Oregon and a loss to Waunakee to put themselves in a position to wrap up a playoff spot by Week 8. Easily one of the area's best games in Week 7.
#9/#7 Mount Horeb/Barneveld (5-1, 3-1) at Portage (2-4, 2-2): MH/B can clinch a playoff spot with a win over the Portage Warriors. The Vikings project to be a difficult team to contend with in Division 3. Portage needs the win to avoid a win-out scenario, but it's a tall order this week. Portage will have to win two of its final three games to make the playoffs.
#1/#3 Waunakee (6-0, 4-0) at Reedsburg (1-5, 1-3): Reedsburg's playoff hopes rest on pulling the upset in this rivalry, while Waunakee chases the undefeated season heading into the playoffs. If Reedsburg loses, they are eliminated from playoff contention.
Baraboo (0-6, 0-4) at Sauk Prairie (1-5, 0-4): With playoff hopes extinguished, now's the time to send the seniors out on a high note and pick up a conference victory. Baraboo has been close in some of its games, but hasn't quite earned that first victory yet. Sauk Prairie won over Edgewood back in Week 2.
Badger South (Rankings are WSN Coaches Poll/AP Poll)
#8/#14 Stoughton (6-0, 4-0) at Watertown (4-2, 3-1): After seeing some run-dominant teams the past few weeks, Stoughton now hits the road to take on the aerial assault of the Goslings. Oregon's pass game was able to play effectively on Homecoming, but the challenge is greater now for the Vikings. Watertown controls their own destiny for a conference championship, and it starts this week with that in mind as well as a playoff spot if they win.
Milton (3-3, 1-3) at #6/#9 Monona Grove (6-0, 4-0): Milton needs to win out to keep their playoff hopes alive, but it's going to be a challenge taking on the Silver Eagles, on the road. Monona Grove appears on course for a collision with Stoughton in Week 8, but have to take care of business first against the Red Hawks.
Monroe (2-4, 1-3) at Fort Atkinson (2-4, 1-3): The losing team's playoff dreams end after this game, so expect some craziness. After winning the conference last year, Monroe has found tougher sledding in 2017, as they graduated tons of talent from last season. Fort Atkinson has found some contributors across the board, in a more balanced approach from a year ago, but that will be tested against a solid Cheesemakers front seven.
Edgewood (0-6, 0-4) at Oregon (3-3, 2-2): Oregon gets its second rivalry game in a row, this time against the Crusaders. Edgewood won this game last year thanks to two scoop-and-score touchdowns that went nearly the length of the field. Oregon has dropped its two games to Monona Grove and Stoughton, who both are undefeated.
Capitol North (Rankings are WSN Coaches Poll/AP Poll)
Lakeside Lutheran (4-2, 1-1) at #6/#9 Lake Mills (5-1, 1-1): A huge game in the cross-town rivalry seemingly ever year, the winner stays on track for a playoff spot while the losing team will need to win its final two games to make the playoffs. Both teams have the ability to score at will, so it could be a shootout in Lake Mills on Friday.
Columbus (2-4, 1-1) at #3/#1 Lodi (6-0, 2-0): For several years, this has been one of the best games in the entire state. The match-up loses some luster this season because of the graduation losses suffered by Columbus, but there's a ton of history at play here. Lodi can wrap up a playoff spot with a win.
Luther Prep (4-2, 1-1) at Poynette (2-4, 0-2): Poynette needs to win out to make the playoffs, but their task is difficult as a very good Luther Prep team comes to town. The Phoenix have playoff intentions but will need to win on the road to continue that journey.
Capitol South (Rankings are WSN Coaches Poll/AP Poll)
Belleville (5-1, 2-0) at Cambridge (4-2, 1-0): Capitol South supremacy is on the line in this battle. Cambridge lost a tough one to Darlington last week, but will be playing in one of the bigger contests in recent memory. Belleville, as noted above, has become playoff-eligible, and as a standalone program has not made it to the playoffs since 1982. A win here for Belleville would guarantee themselves a playoff spot, and clinch a share of the conference championship. For the first time ever, a Madison radio station will be broadcasting from Cambridge. It's our Madison Taxi Game of the Week on Friday night.
Waterloo (2-4, 0-2) at Marshall (2-4, 0-1): A Waterloo loss means the Pirates will be watching the postseason, one year after finishing second in the league. Marshall rebounded last year from two conference losses to make the playoff field at 2-2 in league play. A big game for both schools.
Iowa-Grant (4-2, 2-2) at New Glarus/Monticello (3-3, 1-1) (Non-Conference): Another SWAL opponent heads over to the Capitol South this week, this time Iowa-Grant. NG/M has played some solid competition out of conference and it appears they'll get another good one this week.
Rock Valley (Rankings are WSN Coaches Poll/AP Poll)
Turner (5-1) at Jefferson (5-1): The winning team stays a game back of Clinton, and should the Cougars stumble, be in position to get a conference championship tie. Both teams have made the playoffs, and are working towards higher playoff seeds come October. It will be interesting to see Jefferson's defense against the size and speed of Turner.
East Troy (4-2) at Evansville/Albany (3-3): If East Troy wins, they'll have a playoff spot wrapped up. For Evansville/Albany, they need to win twice in the final three weeks to clinch a playoff spot. Plenty at stake here for each team. A three-game winning streak for the Blue Devils will be tested against the impressive running game of the Trojans.
McFarland (2-4) at #3/#13 Clinton (6-0): The Spartans have lost a pair of very tough football games, but have to get back up to attempt a take-down of the conference leaders in order to keep their playoff chances alive. McFarland needs to win out to guarantee a spot. While a loss doesn't necessarily keep them out, a win would obviously be preferential here, to ensure a shot at the playoffs. Clinton's coming off of a big 7-6 win over Turner, and looking to lock up the conference in the coming weeks.
Edgerton (1-5) at Big Foot (2-4): The Chiefs continue their quest towards the playoffs. A loss by either team either eliminates them from the postseason conversation, or in the case of Big Foot, takes the process out of their hands for the final two weeks.
Whitewater (0-6) at Brodhead/Juda (2-4): A 25-year playoff streak hangs in the balance for the Cardinals, but if they can win at home over winless Whitewater, they can dream for one more week, ahead of a big Week 8 showdown with Evansville/Albany.
Trailways Large: Parkview (0-6, 0-4) at Horicon/Hustisford (4-1, 2-1)
Trailways Small: Randolph (0-6, 0-4) at Johnson Creek (5-1, 3-1): Johnson Creek clinches a playoff spot with a win.
Trailways Small: Wayland Academy (0-4, 0-4) at Rio (1-5, 1-3)
Great 8: #2/UR Oakfield (6-0, 3-0) at Abundant Life/St Ambrose (4-2, 1-1) (Saturday, 1pm): This effectively is a conference championship. Last year's lone undefeated team in the state will host this year's lone remaining unbeaten team in the Great 8.