SHERIDAN — Quick note: Preseason polls are purely speculative.
That said, Big Horn and Sheridan come into 2013 as they might have been expected to following last fall.
After semifinal losses for both Sheridan County sides in 2012, the Rams took six first place votes for a No. 1 preseason 2A ranking in WyoPreps.com first Coaches and Media poll, released Wednesday. In Wyoming’s top conference, 4A, the Broncs are third behind Natrona and Gillette, respectively.
Sheridan opens at Laramie next Friday. Laramie is in its second consecutive year under a new head coach, and is not ranked in the preseason coaches and media voted poll.
While unrated, a more experienced No. 5 team, Kelly Walsh, and their visit to Homer Scott Field for Sheridan’s home opener Sept. 7 will not likely be a cake walk for the Broncs. Sheridan makes the long trip to unranked Evanston the week after that, followed by a home visit from last year’s semifinal finisher and No. 4-ranked Cheyenne East, led by 2012 state champion wrestler and hard-to-bring down quarterback Tevis Bartlett.
Sheridan has plenty of time to get themselves in order before seeing 2013’s two projected top squads late in the season. They’re at No. 2 Gillette Oct. 4 before hosting No. 1 seed Natrona Oct. 18.
Gillette starts with three unranked teams — KW, Evanston then Cheyenne Central — before a trip to Natrona in week 4. Natrona gets Central, East and Laramie to start their season.
As 4A carries its best teams from a year ago as favorites, Lyman and Lovell (last year’s 2A champ and runner-up) graduated big numbers and come in at No. 4 and No. 3, respectively. Mountain View is the preseason No. 2, receiving three first-place votes and six second-place votes.
For the Rams, the 2A conference is a bit more wide open. They open with at zero week scrimmage at Lovell — the team that ended their undefeated season in 2012 — Saturday, Aug. 31. Big Horn took six first place and four second-place votes, not receiving a fourth-or fifth-place vote.
Other Sheridan County football squads, Tongue River (2A) and NSI (6-man) did not garner any votes and were not listed in the poll.
Tongue River plays a scrimmage Saturday, Aug. 31 in Thermopolis while NSI opens with a trip to Dubois next week.