All you need to know, right here and right now:
No. 3 Northwest Missouri (8-1 overall, 7-0 MIAA) at Fort Hays State (5-4, 3-4), 2 p.m. — The Tigers actually lead the all-time series 12-11-1, but that matters little to the Bearcats, who handed Fort Hays its worst loss of 2008, a 56-7 shellacking in Maryville, Mo. One thing going for the Tigers is that they’ve been tough at home this season, going 3-1 at Lewis Field.
Truman State (1-8, 0-7) at Washburn (6-3, 4-3), 1 p.m. — The Ichabods shouldn’t have any problem with Truman in a game notable only because senior linebacker Zach Watkins will likely become the career tackles leader for Washburn. Watkins currently has 452 career tackles, behind only Grant Gould (2002-05) with 459.
Missouri Western (7-2, 5-2) at Emporia State (2-7, 1-6), 1 p.m. – ESU finishes the year 2-9 after they lose this game and then lose to Washburn in the regular season finale. And that’s in a year when they brought back 9 starters on defense and 6 on offense, along with bringing in the Jayhawk Conference offensive POY. The damage? It’s the Hornets worst season since 1983.
Pittsburg State (5-4, 3-4) at Nebraska-Omaha (5-4, 4-3), 1 p.m. — Chance to save some face for the Gorillas, who can win here and then close out with a win over Truman … and then start to think about what they need to do for next year.
Saint Mary (2-5, 2-4) at No. 14 Friends (6-1, 5-1), 1:30 p.m. — Don’t look now, but the Falcons are starting to roll, having defeated their last three opponents by a combined score of 104-13. If Friends can survive here – which it should – season-defining games at Kansas Wesleyan (Nov. 7) and back home for senior day against No. 7 Ottawa (Nov. 14) await, as does a shot at a fourth straight KCAC title.
Sterling (4-3, 3-3) at Bethany (4-3, 3-3), 1:30 p.m. – This game might be a couple of also-rans in the middle of the pack, but don’t think it’s not important. It’ll be a dogfight.
Bethel (2-5, 2-4) at Southwestern (1-6, 1-5), 1:30 p.m. –
No. 16 McPherson (6-1, 5-1) at Tabor (0-7, 0-6) , 1:30 p.m. — There might not be a 1,000 yard rusher in the KCAC this year, which blows my mind. But if there is, it’ll be McPherson’s Aaron Lafitte, who already has 677 yards.
Kansas Wesleyan (4-3, 3-3) at No. 7 Ottawa (7-0, 6-0), 2 p.m. – Don’t think that the Braves aren’t licking their chops at getting the Coyotes at home — this Ottawa team smells blood in the water, it goes in for the kill. No looking ahead for OU.
Garden City (4-4, 3-3) at Hutchinson (5-3, 3-3), 7 p.m. — It’s hard to imagine that Hutchinson was ranked as high as No. 3 this season, but now finds itself in a win-or-you’re-done situation in the final game of the regular season. However, if the Blue Dragons win, they’re still in the running for a bowl game, likely the Salt City Bowl on Dec. 5 in Hutchinson.
No. 4 Butler (7-1, 6-0) at No. 3 Fort Scott (8-0, 6-0), 1 p.m. – Winner gets top seed in Region VI playoffs, regular-season Jayhawk title and an inside track to playing in the national championship game. Other than that …
Independence (2-6, 2-4) at No. 17 Coffeyville (5-3, 4-2), 7 p.m. – In Montgomery County, this game is a big deal. In 1997, unranked Indy came in and upset No. 1 Coffeyville about halfway through the season. How do I know these obscure facts? Unfortunately, I played in that game. And not for Indy.
Dodge City (0-8, 0-6) at Highland (0-8, 0-6), 1 p.m. – The absolute Toilet Bowl of JuCo games.