In the first playoff matchup of the year for the Steubenville Big Red, they are projected to come away with a 30-21 win over the Buchtel Griffins. However, it should be one of the more hotly contested matchups of the round and all statistical predictions could easily go out the window. The playoffs are an interesting time of year as 7 teams fulfill their most ambitious goal in winning a state championship while the other 217 playoff teams will end their season with a loss. This matchup is no different as the winner will continue their playoff run while the loser will end its 2018 season with a loss. The Griffins rank 19th in the division while the Big Red rank 1st. The teams did not appear on each other's schedules last season, which presents a degree of unpredictability. Usually, matchups from the previous year are used in developing a strategy for upcoming games. For these two, no such opportunity will be afforded.
Looking to build upon their 2-game winning streak, Buchtel comes into the week at 6-4. After their 28-12 win against the East Dragons, they are confident in their ability to finish strong. While the Griffins offense has not been particularly great, ranked 47th in Division 4 with 25.4 points per game, they have improved in recent weeks, averaging 35 points over their last 2 contests. While the defense hasn't been much better, they have improved lately - while they average 12.9 points allowed per game, which ranks 11th in their division, they've taken that average down to 8.75 points over the last 4 weeks.
Steubenville will look to continue the momentum of their 9-game winning streak, the most recent addition to which was a 49-19 win against the Univerisity School Preppers last week, bringing their record to 9-1. The Big Red are undeniably one of Division 4's best offenses, averaging 36.2 points per game, which ranks 17th. In their last 2 games, they've been even better, scoring 51.5 points per game. Their defense gives up an average of 18.4 points per game, ranking 30th in their division.
Prediction: Steubenville to win (99.97% chance of victory)