Instead of my usual manic rant, I’m keeping this one simple for space purposes.
The Waterford Wolverines will clinch the Southern Lakes Conference championship Friday night in Burlington.
At 7-0 and ranked fourth in the latest Milwaukee Journal Sentinel area rankings, the Wolverines feature Tanner Keller, who leads the conference in both rushing yards and yards per carry.
With Wilmot’s shocking victory by one point at Burlington last Friday, when the Demons celebrated Homecoming, the Panthers have an outside shot to share the conference title.
The odds are against Wilmot, however, since Waterford caps off its season at Lake Geneva Badger.
Badger, which dropped a heartbreaker at Union Grove, has an uphill battle against the Wolverines.
So when it’s all said and done, expect Waterford (9-0 projected record), Wilmot 8-1) and Burlington (7-2) to all make the playoffs, with Lake Geneva now set to miss the playoff for the first time since 2005.
Also, Catholic Central can still make the playoffs.
All it has to do is win at Kenosha St. Joe’s Friday.
Easier said than done, but I truly believe the Toppers have the mix of experience and athletic ability to pull off a win.
The Wisconsin Badgers are good enough to beat Ohio State, but they won’t.
An 11-1 season will set up a Big Ten rematch for the championship game, where the Buckeyes will edge Wisconsin in a close game.
But until the Badgers magically find another Russell Wilson under center, they will not win the Big Ten.
I don’t care how good Jonathan Taylor is.
And to be clear, he is not better than Ron Dayne or Melvin Gordon, but being No. 3 in Wisconsin history isn’t too shabby.
Finally, the Green Bay Packers improved to 4-1 with a good, old-fashioned smashmouth whooping in Big D last Sunday.
Green Bay hosts a good Detroit Lions team on Monday Night Football, and don’t think the Packers will forget how the Lions came into Lambeau Field and shut them out last December.
Look for the Packers, with a healthy Davante Adams, to open this one up early and often.
I’m predicting an easy 45-24 victory.
This Packers team has all the makings of a playoff team, and I think their defense is good enough to have Green Bay challenge for a first-round bye and a trip to the NFC title game.
Would they be able to beat New Orleans, Los Angeles or San Francisco.
With Drew Brees hurt, the Rams not looking super consistent and the 49ers most likely pretenders, this is Aaron Rodgers’ best chance to get back to the Super Bowl and enter a new stratosphere of two-time title winners.
I’m predicting a 12-4 record and a first-round bye.
Last week: 7-3
GAME OF THE WEEK
Waterford (7-0, 5-0 SLC) at Burlington (6-1, 4-1), 7 p.m., Friday
Nothing beats this rivalry, with both schools separated by only 8 miles down Highway 36.
The Wolverines are on another level this year, and the Demons may not stop them at all.
Like, zero punts.
That’s why the Demons will need a break or two in this one, whether it’s a fumble, interception or surprise onside kick.
The Demons’ high-powered offense will be stuck in neutral until it’s too late.
Tanner Keller is the best back in the SLC, and he will challenge for All-Region and All-State honors, because I firmly believe this Waterford team will make it to at least Level 4 of the playoffs, which is one game away from Madison.
You would have to go all the way back to 2011 to find the last time Waterford appeared in a state title game.
If the Wolverines can avoid a matchup with Waukesha West, look out.
PREDICTION: Waterford 45, Burlington 28
Catholic Central (4-3, 3-2 MCC) at Kenosha St. Joe’s (4-3, 3-2), 7 p.m., Friday
Something about this one says upset.
Tom Aldrich says his team is playing its best football of the season, and the motivation to make the playoffs for the first time since 2015 should be enough.
The Toppers will clinch a spot in the Division 7 playoffs, something they are fully capable of dominating, with a win.
Racine Lutheran will be way too much next week, so it’s this week or bust for big Blue.
PREDICTION: Catholic Central 28, St. Joe’s 27
Westosha Central (2-5, 2-3 SLC) at Wilmot (6-1, 4-1), 7 p.m., Friday
A rivalry that stands toe to toe with Waterford-Burlington, this game could be tricky.
Yes, Zack Watson is coming off a dominant performance and clutch as heck one-point victory at Burlington.
But could the Panthers be due for a let-down?
Central and Lake Geneva Badger must win out to make the playoffs.
That means Badger must beat Waterford, which won’t happen, but can the surprise Falcons somehow miraculously knock off Wilmot and Union Grove and shock the entire country?
Maybe even the world and galaxy?
Why the heck not?
PREDICTION: Westosha Central 23, Wilmot 20
More football picks:
- Lake Geneva Badger 70, Delavan-Darien 21
- Union Grove 33, Elkhorn 14
- Muskego 55, Kettle Moraine 20
- Arrowhead 27, Mukwonago 19
- Big Foot 35, Brodhead/Juda 33
- East Troy 40, Jefferson 23
- Edgerton 48, Whitewater 7
- Palmyra-Eagle 52, Parkview/Albany 28