The annual Southside Showdown between South High and Service High, ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in this week's Alaska Sports Broadcasting Network poll of large-school football teams, is worthy of hype.
After all, South leads the Cook Inlet Conference with a 4-0 league mark, and Service is locked in a three-way tie for second place with West and Dimond at 3-1. Also, South beat Service in the state championship game last year, one year after Service beat South for the title.
South and Service meet Saturday night at 7 at Anchorage Football Stadium in a game that marks South's homecoming.
South is coming off a 56-0 beating of Chugiak that dropped the Mustangs, ranked No. 4 a week ago, from the poll. Service last week beat Eagle River, 52-14. Service flew four spots up the poll after being ranked No. 5 last week.
Palmer (4-1) of the Railbelt Conference remained No. 3 heading into Friday night's conference game against visiting Lathrop (4-1), which dropped two spots to No. 4.
Dimond debuted in the poll this week, slipping in at No. 5.
In other CIC games this week, West and Dimond play Friday at Dimond's Alumni Field, and either winless Bartlett or winless East is going to break through since those teams play Friday night. Also, fifth-place Chugiak plays Saturday at sixth-place Eagle River. That game has meaning beyond rivalry -- the CIC gets five spots in the state playoffs this season.
Among medium and small schools, Soldotna (5-0) remained No. 1 after throttling Kodiak, 63-0.
Kenai (5-0) and Juneau (4-1) switched spots, with the Kardinals climbing to No. 2 and the Crimson Bears sliding to No. 3. North Pole (3-1) remained No. 4 and Eielson (4-1), on the strength of a 54-40 win over Monroe, made its first appearance in the poll this season at No. 5.