While the IHSA football playoffs won't begin for a few weeks, several teams with 3-4 records will be playing for their postseason lives come this weekend. Here are several 3-4 teams who are still fighting to keep their playoff chances intact:
Chicago Public League
Lindblom: The Eagles (3-4/3-1) play in the Illini Heartland conference and trail both Payton (6-1/4-0) and Uplift (5-2/3-1), but still have a shot if they can beat Robeson (2-5) this week. They would have to also win next week in round one of the Prep Bowl playoffs.
Chicago Catholic League
Providence (3-4): The Celtics will need to beat the state's top ranked team, Loyola Academy (7-0), on Saturday in Wilmette-- and then defeat Mount Carmel (4-3). It's a daunting task but the Celtics have been in this spot more than a few times over the years.
Central Suburban North
Deerfield (3-4): The Warriors host Maine West (4-3) this week and then play at Maine East (1-6) in the regular season finale. If Deerfield can win out the next two weeks they will be 5-4, but they could still be a bit nervous on pairings night given their playoff points status.
Naperville Central (3-4) plays at Wheaton North on Friday, then host Lake Park (2-5) in Week 9. North (also 3-4) must win this week hosting Naperville Central then also beat Waubonsie Valley (4-3) in Aurora. Who has the best chance of getting to 5-4? I'll say Napervillle Central but it's a very close call here.
East Suburban Catholic Conference
Marian Central Catholic (3-4) plays at Niles Notre Dame (5-2) then at St. Patrick (4-3). Defending 5A state champion Nazareth battles St. Viator (5-2) at Viator on Friday then host Marian Catholic (1-6) in Week 9. Best chance to get five wins? Nazareth Academy.
Fox Valley Conference
Hampshire (3-4) has its work cut out for them. The Whip-Purs host both McHenry (5-2) and Jacobs (4-3) over the next two weeks.
Interstate 8 Small
Reed-Custer (3-4): The Comets also have a lot of work to do in hosting Plano (5-2) on Friday, then playing Week 9 in Manteno (4-3).
Woodstock (3-4): The Blue Streaks are on a three game losing streak and now take on rival Woodstock North (5-2) --at North-- on Friday. They will then play at Richmond-Burton (5-2) in Week 9.
[MORE PREPS: High School Lites Football Roundup - Week 7]
Metro Suburban Blue
Fenton (3-4): The Bison play at Wheaton Academy (4-3) then host undefeated 3A state-ranked IC Catholic Prep in Week 9. Ouch.
The Wheeling Wildcats (3-4) will play Friday at Prospect (3-4), then host Hersey (3-4). Hersey will host Rolling Meadows (7-0) this week. They need to beat the Mustangs before even thinking about Week 9 at Wheeling. Prospect (3-4), besides hosting Wheeling on Friday, will then play at Elk Grove (0-7) in the finale. My best guess on which school has the best chance of winning out and getting to 5-4? Wheeling.
The Zion-Benton Zee-Bees (3-4) have battled all comers this season and play Friday night at Warren Township (3-4). They will then host Libertyville (4-3) in Week 9. Warren Township (3-4) needs a win on Friday hosting Z-B before hosting Stevenson (6-1). Best chance to win out? Zion-Benton.
Northern Illinois Big 12 East
Kaneland (3-4): The Knights travel to Geneseo (5-2) on Friday night, then host Ottawa (1-6) in Week 9. Kaneland has a huge task beating Geneseo on the road, but don't count out them out.
Northern Lake County
Wauconda (3-4) hosts Grant (2-5), then hosts Grayslake Central (1-6) in Week 9. Wauconda has a terrific chance of winning both games. North Chicago (3-4) has a much rougher road as they host Antioch (7-0) on Friday before taking on Lakes (4-3) in Lake Villa in the finale. Best bet to win two straight games? Wauconda.
South Suburban Blue
Tinley Park (3-4): The Titans also have a rough road to five wins. They start off this Friday hosting Lemont (7-0), then play at Richards (5-2) in Week 9.
South Suburban Red
Evergreen Park (3-4) and Oak Lawn (3-4) are both fighting to stay alive. Evergreen Park will take on Hillcrest (5-2) on Friday, then travel to Eisenhower (2-5) in Week 9. Oak Lawn will play Friday at Shepard (4-3) then face Reavis (6-1) in Burbank. Best chance to win out here? Evergreen Park; however, the Mustangs could be sweating it out on pairings night because of lower playoff points.
Minooka (3-4): The Indians will host Oswego East (6-1) and Plainfield South (4-3) over the next two weeks. They will also likely be missing starting QB Johnny Carnagio.
Bolingbrook (3-4) will host Thornwood (4-3) and then travel to Homewood-Flossmoor (7-0). Thornton Township (3-4) might have the toughest two back-to-back games in the state as they host Homewood-Flossmoor (7-0) and then Bradley (7-0). Which team has the best chance to win out? Bolingbrook.
Upstate Eight River
Geneva (3-4): The Vikings are in a rare position, needing to win its final two games just to make the state playoff field. Geneva will host St. Charles North (7-0) this Friday and then travel to West Aurora (7-0). The odds might be stacked against Geneva here...but don't count them out just yet.
Upstate Eight Valley
The South Elgin Storm (3-4) will face state-ranked Cary-Grove (6-1) on the road Friday night then play East Aurora (1-6) in Week 9. Bartlett (3-4) will play at West Aurora (7-0) on Friday then host Glenbard East (1-6) in Week 9. Best chance to win two straight games? Bartlett.
West Suburban Gold
Hinsdale South (3-4) will play at district rival Hinsdale Central (7-0) then take on Morton (1-6) on the road in the finale. Addison Trail (3-4) hosts Proviso East (0-7) on Friday then travel to Glenbard West (5-2) in Week 9. Best chance to get to five wins? Hinsdale South.