INDIANA FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS. TIME TO MAKE A CHANGE?
October 16, 2013INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
The Indiana sectional football tournament will get underway next week with every team getting a chance for a state championship. No matter how bad a regular season a team had, they will get in. And in Indiana, we continue to decide the path to a possible state championship by a blind draw, with ping pong balls, not a seeding process. Isn’t it about time the system is changed?
Indiana has six classes with just over 30 plus teams in each class. How difficult would it be to seed each sectional since we are letting every team into the playoffs? The best formula right now might be the Sagarin Ratings. It’s not perfect, but this would make sure we aren’t seeing the two best teams in each sectional playing in the opening round. For example, this year in sectional two, Penn plays Portage, both have winning records. In the other bracket, Valpo plays Chesterton, both have losing records. Something doesn’t seem right about that. Why should a team like Valpo play for a sectional title when they were a sub .500 team during the regular season? Penn or Portage will go home early, only because of a blind draw.
Sectional two isn’t the only example where the top teams (record wise) are on the same side of the bracket, sectionals four, five, six, eight, 12, 16, 17, 22, 27, 41, 42 and 48. By seeding the teams, you reward those that had a successful regular season. It has always been my experience you make sure to reward success not failure or mediocrity!
I have an idea. Don’t let everyone into the tournament. Most states have a playoff system and you must qualify for the right to move on. Ohio is a great example. Yes, the Buckeye state has many more schools than Indiana, but they aren’t rewarding bad football teams by letting them into the playoffs. If you didn’t get the job done during the first nine games why should you get another game? In Colorado, the top 16 teams are the only ones who qualify for the playoffs and they are seeded. Want to make the playoffs? Qualify for a spot!
I can guarantee teams like Lafayette Jeff (1-7), North Central (1-7), Lawrence North (0-8), Goshen (0-8), West Lafayette Harrison (0-8), Bedford North Lawrence (1-7), Griffith (1-7), South Bend Washington (0-8), South Ben Clay (1-7), DeKalb (0-8), Marion (1-7), Muncie South (0-8), New Castle (0-8), Greenfield Central (1-7), Mooresville (0-8), Indy Northwest (1-7), Boonville (1-7), Seymour (0-8), Evansville Harrison (1-7), Gary Roosevelt (0-8), Ft. Wayne Luers (0-8), Blackford (1-7), West Vigo (1-7), Guerin Catholic (1-7), Washington (0-8), Mitchell (1-7), Pike Central (1-7), North Newton (1-7), Central Noble (1-7), Taylor (0-8), Benton Central (1-7), Wabash (0-8), Frankton (1-7), Park Tudor (1-7), Crawford County (1-7), Clarksville (0-8), Indy Manuel (0-8), Triton (1-7), South Newton (1-7), Frontier (1-7), North Miami (1-7), Indy Howe (1-7), Hagerstown (0-8), Lincoln (0-8), Covington (1-7), Riverton Parke (1-7), Turkey Run (1-7), Wood Memorial (0-8), Union Dugger (1-7) and Springs Valley would all be getting ready for basketball. A new system would also eliminate the two, three and possible four win teams, depending on their strength of schedule of course. And we can eliminate the opening round games featuring two one or two win teams going head to head like Hagerstown (0-8) at Lincoln (0-8), North Central (1-7) at Lawrence North (0-8), South Bend Washington (0-8) at South Bend Clay (1-7), Muncie South (0-8) at New Castle (0-8), Crawford County (1-7) at Clarksville (0-8), and South Newton (1-7) at Frontier (1-7). Boy these games should be barn burners. Make the regular season 10 games and then allow the seeding formula to take it from there. I know many people will disagree with this idea but I believe it will bring more interest from the teams, players and fans because you will have earned a playoff spot, not given one.
Indiana football, it’s time to make a change. Reward success, not failure and mediocrity!!!