You could make a pretty solid argument that the hype for this week's Bingham-Alta showdown began as soon as the two titans of Utah prep football stepped off the field at Rice-Eccles Stadium following their epic semifinal encounter with one another last November.
Right now, there isn't anything hotter than the Bingham-Alta football rivalry, and it's producing mammoth crowds and huge interest whenever the two south valley schools collide.
Bingham-Alta will once again overshadow everything else this weekend in prep football, but the Hawks and the Miners aren't the only ones with a monster game on their hands. Up and down the state, there are a number of enormous preseason contests, many of which would be bantered about as "Game of the Week" material had they not taken place this week.
In no particular order, here is a quick look at several of them:
• No. 4 Cottonwood at No. 3 Layton: This isn't exactly the ideal matchup for Layton to try and deal with the loss of star running back LaVaughn Jackson, who's out with a broken foot, but the Lancers will do what they can to compensate without him in this huge clash of top 5 teams.
• No. 14 East at No. 6 Skyline: Are the Eagles really back, and how exactly is East doing without coach Aaron Whitehead, who abruptly left the Leopards' program just over a month ago? We should find out at the very least partial answers to both questions when these neighbors collide in Salt Lake City.
• No. 23 Park City at No. 11 Logan: Park City had Logan beat on the road in the opening round of last year's 3A playoffs until the last 18 seconds happened and Logan pulled out a miraculous come-from-behind win. Park City has had the crushing defeat on its mind ever since, and this is a huge opportunity for them to take care of some unfinished business inside Logan High's picturesque stadium.
• No. 10 Jordan vs. Massillon, Ohio: Jordan will represent itself and the entire state when it takes on this Ohio school at the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Coming off a close loss to Northridge in Week 1, Jordan will aim to maintain its focus in the high-pressure environment.
• No. 5 Northridge vs. Crespi, Calif. : Like Jordan's game against Massillon, this is another big opportunity for a local team to garner respect for Utah prep football. Northridge showed glimpses in Week 1 of being one of the state's elite teams, and a win this weekend when they face highly regarded Crespi and star junior QB Bryan Bennett at Snow Canyon High would undoubtedly prove that the Knights are for real.
TOP 25 WATCH: Week 1 of the 2008 season, as one might expect, produced a fairly sizable shakeup of the Deseret News Top 25 rankings.
Skyline, an upset winner over Bingham, was the week's biggest climber, as the Eagles jumped nine spots from No. 15 to No. 6.
On the other hand, Bountiful was the week's biggest dropper as the Braves fell nine spots from No. 12 to No. 21. Interestingly, that drop could've been even bigger, but the Braves checked in one spot ahead of Lone Peak, the team that beat them 21-0, by a single vote.
Also of note, No. 7 Bingham and No. 16 Highland each fell five spots apiece, while the bottom four teams in last week's Top 25 were replaced by four new ones.
SACK MASTER: Opposing offenses better know where Copper Hills star senior Clint Jex is at all times, or they're gonna be in big trouble.Jex, a hybrid defensive end/linebacker, recorded 12 sacks a season ago and is already back to his usual tricks as he got to the quarterback a whopping four times during Copper Hills' 40-12 win over Payson on opening night.