As we take a look at the layout for the WIAA postseason, it's natural to try and pinpoint where we might see an upset or two. Here's my take. Since upsets aren't something that you can term "likely," the grading scale will look like this: 1. Highly unlikely, 2. Pretty unlikely, 3. Worth keeping an eye on, 4. Legitimate cause for concern and 5. 50/50 shot.
D1: Middleton at Oconomowoc: 5. Middleton has perhaps the best offensive lineman in the state (Kare' Lyles), a talented defense and a resume that includes two losses -- one in four overtimes and one at the last minute with players suspended. At full strength, Middleton is dangerous, and it makes for a great matchup between the Cardinals' D and Oconomowoc's high-flying offense.
D3: Wisconsin Lutheran at New Berlin Eisenhower: 5. Wisco is actually ranked higher than Eisenhower on the last state coaches poll, and you can expect this to be a tight, exciting game that should be the showcase game in the Milwaukee area. Wisco shared the Wisconsin Little Ten Conference in typical fashion, running the football and gaining from a tough nonconference slate. Ike's two losses have both been by a single score to a pair of 8-1 teams, and if Joey Scaffidi is healthy, the Lions will have a dual-threat offense that can hang with anyone. Should be a great game.
D4: Martin Luther at University School: 5. Like the rest of the Metro Classic, Martin Luther is a bit of an enigma, with at least one great win (Kenosha St. Joseph) on the ledger and one surprising loss (Dominican). USM has a small roster but was still able to hang with the Midwest Classic. Still, ML sees a perceptively tougher schedule and may have an edge here.
D1: Arrowhead at Verona: 4. Arrowhead is still Arrowhead until proven otherwise, and though Verona looks like the better team on paper, would it surprise anyone to see the Warhawks make a run in this postseason?
D3: Greendale at Plymouth: 4. Even through Greendale's offensive struggles this year, it's so hard to give up on the Panthers, especially after two wins to close the year and a new quarterback (Clay Kujawa) who seems to be clicking with one of the area's top receivers, Zach Harrison. Plymouth's two losses are to a pair of teams that are a combined 17-1, and it features a balanced cadre of rushers. But this could be one of the great games of the first round.
D1: Kenosha Bradford at Oak Creek: 4. Bradford did, after all, shock Oak Creek in the regular season, but this screams as an opportunity for the Knights to get some atonement, particularly coming off an outstanding win over Indian Trail and breakthrough performance by quarterback Jakup Sinani.
D2: Port Washington at Kewaskum: 3. It was an up-and-down year for Port in a year where several North Shore teams were trying to find their identity, and it would appear that the first playoff visit in eight years will be a short one, though Port does have running back Matt Ruppel and offensive lineman Tyler Beach producing big chunks of yardage. Not to mention, when the two played in the nonconference season, Kewaskum won a close 21-14 game.
D5: Brookfield Academy at Racine St. Catherine's: 3. St. Cat's won the Metro Classic, but Brookfield Academy produced a spirited first half against a Lake Country Lutheran team that defeated St. Cat's earlier this year, so the Blue Knights should feel they have a shot.
D2: Wauwatosa West at Brookfield Central: 3. There are two reasons to be intrigued here: one is that Tosa West has demonstrated that it's a talented team, and handing Pewaukee its only loss of the year in lopsided fashion is eye-opening. Two, Brookfield Central is coming off a stunning loss to Menomonee Falls. But that was the regular-season finale and this is the playoffs, so the expectation of victory should remain in Central's favor. But if there's one 1-8 matchup that isn't a slam dunk, this is it.
D2: Cedarburg at Brookfield East: 2. The Bulldogs did enough to get into the playoffs but haven't shown the same level they're used to, and Brookfield East, when healthy, is a force.
D2: Stoughton at Waukesha West: 2. Stoughton is 6-3, but four of those wins have come by single digits against teams that finished with below-.500 records, so while the Vikings have won when it mattered, they don't appear to stack up on paper against a West program that routinely finds another gear in the postseason.
D2: Menomonee Falls at Menasha: 2. As great a story as it is to have Falls in the postseason, Menasha could actually win the whole thing and brings an undefeated record into the playoffs. Falls does get points for that Central win, especially because Central is ranked higher than Menasha in this group of eight -- but for recent history to repeat, it's going to take another perfect effort.
D2: South Milwaukee at Whitefish Bay: 2. Bay will almost certainly have too much firepower and be able to contain South Milwaukee's one-man wrecking crew Jake Simuncak, who may not be healthy enough to suit up after missing the finale against Greendale with a concussion.
D3: Jefferson at Pewaukee: 2. Jefferson is solid but picked up many of its seven wins in a conference full of smaller schools, and while Pewaukee does have a blemish on its schedule with a loss to Tosa West, the Pirates have been consistently solid the rest of the way. Jefferson does have one feather in its cap -- it's responsible for Evansville/Albany's only loss this season.
D4: St. Francis at Kiel: 2. Kiel lost last week to undefeated Sheboygan Falls by a mere touchdown, and while its schedule is far from a masterpiece, it's playing a tougher schedule than the Mariners are.
D6: Dodgeland at Lake Country Lutheran: 2. LCL doesn't play in a top-flight conference, but the Lightning have a strong team that hasn't lost this year and knows how the postseason works. Dodgeland's conference isn't all that eye-popping, either,
D2: Milwaukee Bay View at Greenfield: 1. Again, the City isn't likely to stack up, and Greenfield will be looking for a bounceback after two tough losses to close the year.
D2: Messmer/Shorewood at Germantown: 1. This is a 4-5 game, but realistically, Germantown is the much stronger program. The Warhawks closed the season with 100 points in the final two games to get into the playoffs, and Messmer/Shorewood is limping to the finish line.
D2: Bradley Tech at Homestead: 1. The Highlanders have a realistic shot to get to Madison.
D3: New Berlin West at Catholic Memorial: 1. The Vikings worked hard to get to the playoffs but must now face perhaps the favorite to win the whole thing.
D5: Dominican at Columbus: 1. The Knights first WIAA berth means a battle with a team that was among the best in Division 4 and has dropped down to Division 5.
D1: Milwaukee Hamilton at Franklin: 1. Milwaukee King is a legitimate threat in the City Conference, but there's little to suggest that suburban teams will struggle with the other City Conference squads.