⭐ Big Five Games - Week 8, 2017 ⭐
1. Luther Prep (5-3) at Lakeside Lutheran (5-3) - Capitol North
2. Cambridge (6-2) at New Glarus/Monticello (5-3) - Capitol South
3. Oregon (5-3) at Monroe (4-4) - Badger South
4. Beloit Memorial (2-6) at Madison Memorial (3-5) - Big 8
5. Evansville/Albany (5-3) at Big Foot (3-5) - Rock Valley
Honorable Mention: Madison La Follette (4-4) at Sun Prairie (8-0), Beaver Dam (4-4) at Waunakee (8-0), Watertown (4-4) at Monona Grove (8-0)
Big 8 (Rankings are WSN Coaches Poll/AP Poll)
Madison La Follette (4-4) at #2/#3 Sun Prairie (8-0): La Follette will need to crash homecoming against the Big 8's clear top team in order to clinch a playoff spot, although they're probably in already. Sun Prairie can clinch an outright conference championship with a win. La Follette has won three of the past four games between the schools. Our Madison Taxi Game of the Week.
Janesville Craig (4-4) at Verona (5-3): While Craig is likely in with a fourth win under their belts, they could clinch by winning on the road in Verona. For the Wildcats, they're already likely facing a road playoff game to start in a couple of weeks, but a fourth loss would probably match them up against the likes of Sun Prairie or Middleton--two teams that handled Verona this season.
Beloit Memorial (2-6) at Madison Memorial (3-5): Beloit Memorial wasn't able to upset Middleton, but they can dash the Spartans' playoff dreams by getting their third win of the season, something they have done once this century. For Madison Memorial, once a playoff longshot, they'll have to take care of the pesky Purple Knights, who are finally showing an upwards trend after going over three years without winning a conference game. A Madison Memorial win affects virtually the entire playoff scene as it adds a large school to the 224-team field, pushing nearly everyone else down a spot when it comes to divisional cut lines.
Madison West (6-2) at Janesville Parker (1-7): Madison West could get a seventh win and push for a home playoff game, while Parker could upset a team headed for the playoffs and get some momentum going into the offseason. West is in line for a home game at the moment.
Middleton (7-1) at Madison East (0-8): Middleton getting an eighth win will be important in getting a #2 or #3 seed in the playoffs, meaning they'd avoid Sun Prairie until a Level 3 contest potentially. For East, after coming up a little short against La Follette last week, they'll need to pull a big upset to get a victory to take with them into the offseason.
Badger North (Rankings are WSN Coaches Poll/AP Poll)
Beaver Dam (4-4, 4-2) at #1/#2 Waunakee (8-0, 6-0): While the upset would be amazing, Beaver Dam has clinched its playoff spot, so there's not as much pressure on this game. Waunakee can wrap up the conference title with a win and have a solid argument for a #1 seed, although D2 is very top-heavy. There's a chance these teams could meet in Level 1 again.
#6/#5 Mount Horeb/Barneveld (7-1, 5-1) at Sauk Prairie (2-6, 1-5): Mount Horeb/Barneveld is playing for a top playoff seed in the D3 field. After winning a classic against DeForest, they'll look to continue the five-game winning streak they're on by downing the Eagles.
Portage (2-6, 2-4) at DeForest (5-3, 4-2): Portage has dropped four in a row, and at one point what was a promising season with playoff aspirations has turned into must-win in the final game in order to hold even a tiny amount of those hopes. DeForest will want to avoid a costly loss here, as it could throw them into a 1-8 game in Level 1 against a conference champion... such as Waunakee, which is what happened last year.
Reedsburg (2-6, 2-4) at Baraboo (0-8, 0-6): Reedsburg has a tiny chance of a playoff spot with a win over Baraboo to close out the regular season.
Badger South (Rankings are WSN Coaches Poll/AP Poll)
Watertown (4-4, 3-3) at #4/#9 Monona Grove (8-0, 6-0): Watertown needs to upset Monona Grove in order to clinch a playoff spot. The Silver Eagles need a win to win the conference outright and hold on to an argument for a #1 playoff seed, depending on which division they fall into. Watertown has been generous in spotting opponents points, but the Silver Eagles won't need the charity after rolling up 63 on possibly the best defense in the conference last week. In the preseason, this one looked like a shootout, and it still may be that with two of the state's very best quarterbacks slinging it out, but Watertown will need to pull a huge upset in order to secure a playoff spot. For Monona Grove, being an undefeated conference champion should be good ammo for a #1 seed in either a top-heavy D2 field as one of the smallest schools or the deeper D3 field as one of the largest schools, although not a guarantee. Watertown might be in with a loss, but it's a coin flip (figuratively, probably not literally) if that happens.
Oregon (5-3, 4-2) at Monroe (4-4, 3-3): Oregon is playing for seeding now in the D2 field, while Monroe is simply trying to get back into the playoffs after going undefeated in the regular season a year ago. This should be a very interesting game to follow. The Badger South has two teams right on the bubble that need to win and get in over tough opponents, so plenty of eyes will be on the Badger South this week. Monroe can still get in with a loss, but it will be essentially a coin flip, although probably not a literal one.
#10/UR Stoughton (7-1, 5-1) at Fort Atkinson (3-5, 2-4): Fort Atkinson's slim playoff chances ride with pulling an upset on the Vikings, who battled tremendously in a loss to Monona Grove. Stoughton, meanwhile, is directly on the D2/D3 cut line, so having eight wins in their back pocket will be a good argument to get a first-round home game in either division.
Milton (3-5, 1-5) at Edgewood (0-8, 0-6): This one is for the seniors. Milton has dropped five in a row, while Edgewood is still looking for their first win after 13 straight losses. One streak ends Friday night.
Capitol North (Rankings are WSN Coaches Poll/AP Poll)
Luther Prep (5-3, 2-2) at Lakeside Lutheran (5-3, 2-2): One of the state's few true play-in games to the playoffs, the winning team is on to Level 1 while the losing team watches the playoffs from home. The argument for Luther Prep: Their three losses have come to really good teams. Lakeside Lutheran, however, has played a similarly brutal schedule--and they get the home field advantage. The winning team slots in to the Lodi/Lake Mills/Turner bracket, a pretty daunting gauntlet.
#5/#10 Lake Mills (7-1, 3-1) at Columbus (2-6, 1-3): Lake Mills could wrap up a seeding placement that keeps them on the other side of Lodi in the playoffs until Level 3, in what should be one of the state's most interesting D4 quadrants with teams from southwestern Wisconsin. Columbus is seeking a Week 10 game yet so this may not be it for the Cardinals in 2017.
Poynette (2-6, 0-4) at #2/#1 Lodi (8-0, 4-0): Barring a massive upset, Lodi can clinch an outright conference championship with a win. The D4 playoff field should be impressive, with the three Capitol North teams and some other solid southwestern Wisconsin teams in the southwestern bracket. Lodi would be a near-lock for a #1 seed, unless Clinton somehow ends up in D4.
Capitol South (Rankings are WSN Coaches Poll/AP Poll)
Cambridge (6-2, 3-0) at New Glarus/Monticello (5-3, 2-1): This game is for a conference championship: If the Glarner Knights win, it will force a co-champion scenario (and possibly a tri-champ scenario if Belleville wins). It also affects all playoff seeding for those involved. For Cambridge, this is a chance at an outright conference title.
Marshall (2-6, 0-3) at Belleville (5-3, 2-1): Belleville is looking to deal some payback to the team that kept them out of the postseason last year, while also clinching a playoff spot (although they're already in with a .500 record). Marshall will have a chance to play spoiler against the larger Wildcats, but their playoff hopes are dashed. If Belleville wins and New Glarus/Monticello beats Cambridge, the Wildcats will be tri-champs of the Capitol South.
Waterloo (3-5, 1-3) at St. Francis (6-2, 4-2) - Non-conference: Waterloo will conclude its season with a road date against a team two divisions (and nearly three divisions) larger, who also happens to have a knack for putting up points.
Rock Valley (Rankings are WSN Coaches Poll/AP Poll)
Evansville/Albany (5-3) at Big Foot (3-5): Evansville/Albany is in to the D3 playoffs as a road team, so they can't really do much to improve their seeding in what will be a very deep field. Big Foot, however, needs a win to get in (a 4-5 team is very likely to advance). A big game in Walworth on Friday.
McFarland (2-6) at Turner (6-2): D4 will be balanced, but in the area, Lodi and Lake Mills await as soon as Level 1 for Turner. Every win is key. McFarland has had three tough losses this year, but the Spartans haven't quit.
East Troy (4-4) at Brodhead/Juda (2-6): East Troy is likely into the playoffs already, but can claim that spot by ending a four-game losing streak against a team that will see its quarter-century-long playoff streak end.
Whitewater (1-7) at #3/#17 Clinton (8-0): Clinton can clinch an outright Rock Valley championship with a win, and lock themselves in as a #1 seed in D5. If they end up somehow in D4, they would likely be in the same group as Lodi, where the #1 seed is not as assured.
Edgerton (2-6) at Jefferson (7-1): Jefferson is angling for a home playoff game in what will be a very deep D3 playoff field. Last year, a Rock Valley team went 8-1 and ended up a #5 seed.