Here is a weekly look at what should prove to be some of the best games each week in the Sunflower League this season.
Week One, September 3 - SM West at Olathe North
Usually the big boys don't clash until later in the season, but this year the biggest game in the Sunflower League regular season may come in week one when SM West travels to take on defending Class 6A champs Olathe North. Some food for thought: SM West is 6-1 in season openers under Tim Callaghan, and while ODAC can be quite an imposing stadium for non-Olathe teams, the Vikings haven't lost a game there since 2004. Team's spend more time prepping for their season opener than any other game during the season, and it should be a great battle. The winner of this game will be a strong favorite to win the Sunflower League.
Week Two, September 10 - SM North at SM South
This game was one of the most thrilling contest during the regular season last year. The same should be expected in 2010. Since it's an early season game both teams will still be molding their rosters for the season, and the winner of this game will receive a huge boost for the rest of the year.
Week Three, September 17 - Olathe East at Olathe North
This Olathe District rivalry has traditionally been one of the best in the Sunflower League through the years. The team's Sub-State matchup in 2002 was probably one of the better games of the decade. There should be no love lost between the two rivals this season and a both team's possess big time playmakers, which should make for highlight reel type of game.
Week Four, September 24 - SM East at Olathe North
By week four we should have a pretty good feel for where both of these teams rank amongst the competition, especially SM East, and whether or not they stand a chance at upsetting the preseason favorite Eagles. SM East hung tough with Olathe North in the first half of last year's regional playoff game--perhaps they play that way for two halves this season.
Week Five, October 1 - Olathe South at Olathe Northwest
It would be nice to see an aerial contest in this game. While Olathe Northwest operates more of a balanced run game, they do have one of the league's top receivers in Nick Bandy and hopefully they get him the ball alot in this game. We know Olathe South will be running their spread passing game. Bragging rights amongst these two Olathe foes will also be on the line.
Week Six, October 8 - Lawrence Free State at Olathe East
Last season Olathe East pulled the major upset of the early season knocking off Free State in the opening week of the season. This year, Free State may be the underdog with a chance to returning the favor. And no one from Free State will ever forget about Olathe East coach Jeff Meyer's victory prediction against the Firebirds in the 2006 playoffs.
Week Seven, October 15 - SM Northwest at SM North
The Hula Bowl has lost some luster in recent years, but it still remains a solid rivalry. This game opens up district play in Kansas and the first game is always the most important to starting things off right. It's also interesting to note that SM North hasn't beat SM Northwest since 2004.
Week Eight, October 22 - SM West at SM East
The Nut Cup is a rivalry that has been lopsided for quite some time. SM West has beat SM East in every gridiron matchup for more than a decade now. Even in their worst years the Vikings have found a way to beat the Lancers. Last year's game was close for three quarters, and things could potentially get tighter this season.
Week Nine, October 29 - Lawrence Free State at Lawrence
The Lawrence, Kansas rivalry is the best in the Sunflower League. It's good to see the game slotted for the final week of the regular season--it only seems right that way. A victory for either team could eliminate a season of turmoil, and a loss could do just the opposite.