Osseo at Maple Grove
It doesn't get much better than opening the season against a bitter intradistrict rival. Osseo just might have its best team since Ryan Stockhaus took over the program in 2016. The Orioles haven't scored more than one touchdown in the past four meetings.
Lakeville North at Lakeville South
This crosstown rivalry is always a stern clash played before a jam-packed crowd. Class 6A defending state champion Lakeville South has won the past three meetings (34-19, 35-15 and 12-0). The Cougars will be favored to take the Big Cat Trophy a fourth consecutive time.
Chaska at Chanhassen
These intradistrict rivals have been meeting since Chanhassen High School opened in 2009. To the winner goes the clay Victory Jug. Three of the past four meetings have been decided by five points or fewer. Both teams have key holes to fill from their winning teams of a year ago.
Lakeville South at Eden Prairie
The beginning of what could be a very difficult four-game stretch for Eden Prairie. The Cougars defeated Eden Prairie 42-7 last season. Eden Prairie isn't a program that forgets.
Becker at Hutchinson
Bulldogs mentor Dwight Lundeen will move up to the second spot for most career coaching victories if he can get eight this season. He has 382, trailing retired Brainerd coach Ron Stolski (389) and Verndale's Mike Mahlen (417). This will be a tough spot to add another. Hutchinson has its sights set on successfully defending its Class 4A state championship.
Minnetonka at St. Michael-Albertville
The Skippers are coming off their first winning season (8-2) since 2018. Now comes the challenge of maintaining success. The inexperienced Knights, with 19 starters graduated, will have half of the regular season behind them and could pose problems for Minnetonka. The Skippers held on for a 23-20 victory last year.
Prior Lake at Eden Prairie
A golden opportunity for Prior Lake to show it belongs with the big boys. The Lakers have been around .500 the past seven seasons but have all the makings of a team moving into the upper echelon. Problem is, Eden Prairie could be better than it was when it went 10-2 last season.
Lakeville South at Prior Lake
One week later, the Lakers get thrown back into the fire against Lakeville South. Prior Lake has lost its past three meetings against the Cougars. The Lakers last beat the Cougars in the 2014 season opener.
St. Thomas Academy at Mahtomedi
These two programs are among the elite in Class 5A. Both are coming off 10-win seasons and state tournament appearances, losing to eventual state champion Mankato West. St. Thomas Academy has won the past two meetings by five and six points. Expect another close one.
Eden Prairie at Stillwater
The Ponies' record should be gaudy at this point. This will be a good indication of where they really stand. Eden Prairie beat them 28-21 in the final regular-season game a year ago. They went 8-2 in 2021, their other setback against Wayzata in state tournament play.