IDAHO FALLS, Idaho – The Sports Line power rankings for Week Three featured more movement among the top five teams, but only two schools jumped into the top 10. West Side takes over the No. 1 position after picking up the road-win bonus with a victory at Marsh Valley Friday night. Trailing the Pirates are the Aberdeen Tigers, the same team West Side beat in the 2A championship game last season. If Aberdeen and West keep this pace, we could see the Tigers and Pirates in a re-match for the title in 2015. (Download the complete list under, ‘Related Content.)
Biggest Gain: 18. American Falls (+10)
Biggest Loss: 21. Malad; 22. Ririe (-6)
The American Falls Beavers made the biggest leap with the team’s first win in the Tony Cade era. The Beavers earned extra points by blowing out Filer on the road, giving AF a much-needed boost out of last place. The Idaho Falls Tigers fall into the Beavers’ old spot in 28th after Blackfoot routed the Tigers in Bingham County.
Sports Line’s power-rankings formula measures a team’s total performance using win-loss record, point differential and strength of schedule. In 2014, the top five teams in SL’s rankings all played their way into their respective state championship games. Three of those teams; Highland, Snake River and West Side, ultimately won their titles. Blackfoot and Aberdeen were the only two inside the top five to lose in the final weekend.
The Highland Rams hold steady at No. 8. Highland is, of course, one of the best teams in the state at any level. Our formula, however, hates the Rams’ schedule. Highland has yet to leave the dome, and the Rams have played weaker opponents in the past two weeks. While Gino Mariani’s squad is earning points for their margin of victories, the strength of schedule outweighs any gains in that department. Highland will see real grass in a real game for the first time in 2015 as the Rams head to Madison Friday night in a battle of Top 10 teams.
Speaking of Top 10 match ups, here’s a look a few intriguing games this week among high-performing teams:
(1) West Side @ (9) West Jefferson
(6) Skyline @ (5) Rigby
These games could be shootouts with Skyline and Rigby both already proving their abilities to score early and often in ball games. Keep an eye out for these games on Sports Line Friday night at 10:35 p.m.
Looking ahead to Week 4 in Idaho, I see some games that’ll be tough to call until the final gun. I’m scheduled to be at Madison in the first half and Rigby in the second half. Let’s hope the Cats-Rams and Trojans-Grizz games give us some thrilling highlights. Enjoy the games!