Taking a look around … starting with a big (and unexpected) matchup in El Dorado that Jeff Lutz will be covering for us tomorrow.
Air Force Prep (2-1) at No. 5 Butler (2-1 overall, 1-0 Jayhawk) 7 p.m. — The Grizzlies get an unexpected test here from Air Force Prep after the Huskies upset then-No. 3 Hutchinson last week with a 40-7 thrashing in Colorado Springs.It will be interesting to see if and when Butler coach Troy Morrell will decide to unleash freshman running back Dreamius Smith — the Heights product is fifth in the league in rushing with 203 yards and three touchdownsæon 14 carries through three games, an amazing 14.5 yards per carry average. My pick: Butler 45, AFP 10
Garden City (1-2, 1-1) at Fort Scott (1-2, 1-1), 1 p.m. — Fort Scott’s games don’t really count … but my guess is they get a win right here. Busters are terrible. My pick: Fort Scott
Dodge City (0-2, 0-1) at Independence (0-3, 0-1), 7 p.m. – Independence shouldn’t be this bad. My pick: DC
Highland (0-3, 0-2) at No. 14 Hutchinson (2-1, 1-0), 7 p.m. — Hutch still has to be reeling after last week’s loss to AFP … but Highland got beat 89-0 by Butler. Time for the Blue Dragons to take out some frustration. My pick: Hutch
No. 19 Pittsburg State (2-0 overall, 2-0 MIAA) at Truman (1-1, 1-1), 7 p.m. — Just two weeks into the season and the Gorillas are already in a rather unexpected place as one of three unbeaten teams left in the MIAA along with No. 2 Northwest Missouri and No. 13 Washburn. Pittsburg State has its defense mostly to thank for its start, allowing a league-low 261.5 yards per game. Sophomore linebacker Nate Dreiling, a Hutchinson High product, leads the charge with 17 tackles through two games, including 11 in last week’s win over Emporia State. My pick: Pitt State 21, Truman 3
Central Missouri (1-1, 1-1) at Emporia State (0-2, 0-2), 1 p.m. — Will the Hornets win a game this year? My pick: Central Missouri
No. 13 Washburn (2-0, 1-0) at Missouri Southern (0-1, 0-1), 6 p.m. — Washburn’s story the last few years has mainly involved hot starts and cold finishes … winning anywhere on the road in the MIAA is a big deal IMO. My pick: Washburn
Southwest Baptist (1-1) at Fort Hays State (1-1, 1-1), 7 p.m. — SW Baptist’s last year before being back in the MIAA in football. Tigers have 2-QB system. My pick: FHSU
Bethel (0-2 overall, 0-1 KCAC) at Bethany (2-0, 1-0), 7 p.m. — The Swedes have one of the NAIA’s most electrifying players in running back Junior Allen (318 yards rushing, four TDs), but defensive end Julius Russell is coming off a monster game in last week’s win over then-No. 12 McPherson, racking up nine tackles, a sack and a safety.
Bethel has lost 12 straight games and 14 of its last 15 dating back to the end of the 2009 season. My pick: Bethany
No. 24 Ottawa (1-2, 1-0) at Saint Mary (0-2, 0-1), 1:30 p.m. — Saint Mary is much improved, but I think we’re going to see the after-effects of Ottawa playing one of toughest non-conference schedules in history of KCAC (even though they lost both games) by them rolling league opponents. My pick: Ottawa
Sterling (1-2, 1-0) at Kansas Wesleyan (0-2, 0-1), 6 p.m. — KWU is a surprise at 0-2. My pick: Sterling
Friends (1-0, 1-0) at Southern Nazarene, 6 p.m. — Still can’t believe what a late start Falcons got on season. My pick: Southern Nazarene
McPherson (0-2, 0-1) at Southwestern (1-1, 1-0), 6 p.m. — Rough start for defending KCAC champs. Still, it’s Southwestern. My pick: Mac