Sunflower League aka. SM East and Everybody Else
As has been the usual for the past few years, the league has found itself dominated by SM East with Free State being one of the few teams considered a potential competitor for the Lancers every year. The team has continued to add to a ridiculous number of blowouts since the beginning of the 2014 season with a total of 36 games won by 21 points or more. For reference, Free State has only won 33 games TOTAL in that time-span. To beat this dead horse even more, the team has won 16-straight games against SFL opponents with an average margin-of victory of 38.6 points.
Playoff Seedings Quick Reaction/Predictions
After an extremely lacking effort in the first half of the season, Olathe North looked to be heading for another hard-fought 3-6 season that fell short of any expectations. While the Eagles overcame their early struggles en-route to a 5-3 record and a Top 4 seed in the playoffs, BV West has floundered against overpowered opponents and enter with a a 1-7 record, just barely escaping SM East by beating win-less Gardner (0-8). The Eagles found balance on the ground with the addition of Arland Bruce into the rotation. Bruce has combined with Daymonn Sanchez for 838yards and 7 TD's through Week 7. On the other side, the Jaguars have struggled to compete with anybody, but they will rely on SR QB Keaton Goodale, who has tossed 5 TD's with just one interception despite the team's focus on the run game. If they continue to ignore his passing ability and keep him on the run where he has also done his best to carry the team (468 yds, 9 TD's), there shouldn't be much competition here.
Prediction: Olathe North 35-17 Blue Valley West
In a somewhat opposite scenario than our previously mentioned SFL team, the Chesty Lions started the season with a 3-1 record before struggling to maintain momentum. The struggles have now found the team with a 4-4 record and a two-game losing streak. In their defense, their one-two punch duo of Dante Jackson 989 and Hunter Krom have racked up a whopping 1,791 yards on the ground together while evenly splitting an 18 TD total. Jackson has also impressed through the air with a 12:5 TD:INT ratio and a 105.4 QBR.
The Huskies struggled to stay in games late and that gave them little opportunity to escape from a 2-7 record. The team focused on it's passing game this year, which may have been their undoing, as QB Payton Hartman went on to throw more picks than touchdowns with little to no run support. The team only gave up less than 21 points once this season and the combo of Jackson and Krom should prove far too much as Lawrence rolls onto the second round.
Prediction: Lawrence 42-14 Blue Valley NW
#1 Free State vs #16 Wichita North
If you feel bad for SM West fans, you may want to look away when the Redskins are brought up. While the Vikings managed to stay within two scores against a couple opponents, Wichita North only managed such a result against fellow basement-dweller Wichita Southeast (1-7). The Firebirds have ran over plenty opponents this year on the back of Jax Dineen, who became one of two SFL players to finish the regular season with over 1,000 yards rushing (1,113 to be exact). Dineen made good use of those yards as he found the endzone 17 times this year. Even if the Redskins found a way to neutralize the star RB, Free State's other options seem too deadly to even put up a fight defensively.
Prediction: Free State 49-7 Wichita North