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Taking The Field: Qualifying, Pt. 1

(Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of entries explaining the MIAA’s new statewide football playoff system.)

Introduction

Everybody wants to be the last team standing come Super Bowl Saturday, but for the first time in 2013, the path to the MIAA Super Bowls will be different. There will be six statewide championships contested for the first time this season. And, with practices set to kick off across the state in less than a week, we’re taking time to dissect the playoff process to introduce our audience to the new system.

Today, we’re taking a look at qualification, by section.

(All information courtesy of the Massachusetts High School Football Coaches Association and its website.)

NORTH AND SOUTH

Here’s the skinny:

  • Eight teams will qualify for the Sectional Tournament in both North and South in the following tournaments: Div. 1, 2, 3 (separated into four pools – Northwest, Northeast, Southwest and Southeast) 4, 5 and 6.

  • Only in Eastern Mass., automatic qualifiers are qualified for postseason sectional play. Leagues with five or more teams automatically qualify two teams for the playoffs, while leagues with less than five teams will automatically qualify one team for the playoffs.

  • In the event that a sectional field is overpopulated with automatic qualifiers, the top team from each league will automatically be placed in bracket. The remaining slots will be ranked by power ranking until a field of eight teams has been satisfied with “Wild Cards” – meaning leagues can end up with multiple representatives within tournaments.

  • Power rankings are scaled by the following rubric: 12 points awarded for a win over a team in a higher division; 10 points for win over a team in same division – also for a team outside of the North or South; 8 points for a win over a team in a lower division.

  • Value is also placed on opponents with three points for every win an opponent has after victory and one point for every win an opponent has after defeat. Ties are half the corresponding value (1.5/0.5).

  • A team’s final power rating is calculated by this formula: (Own Value + Opponents Value) / Number of games played.

CENTRAL

Central and Western Mass. have chosen to forego the automatic qualifier process, so the process becomes a little more streamlined. However, there are differences to the field size due to the number of participating schools in each district.

Here’s the skinny in Central:

  • Eight teams in Division 2, 4, 5 and 6 will qualify for the sectional tournament.

  • Teams will be seeded in each division according to the CMass power rating system.

  • Power rankings are scaled by the following rubric: 12 points awarded for a win over a team which is two divisions higher; 10 points awarded for defeating a team within own division, defeating a team within league, defeating a team outside of District, for defeating a team either one division up or one division down; eight points awarded for defeating opponent which is two divisions lower.

  • Also, two points are awarded for each of opponents’ victories, in victory, and one point awarded for each of opponents’ victories, in loss.

  • The total number of points for each team will be divided by the number of games played by that team to determine the team’s power ranking.*

* (For tie-breaker procedures, visit MHSFCA.net)

WEST

Here’s the skinny:

  • Four teams in Divisions 2, 4, 5 and 6 will qualify for the sectional tournament.

  • Teams will be seeded in each division according to the WMass power rating system.

  • Power rankings are scaled by the following rubric: 16 points awarded for defeating teams more than two divisions higher (excluding mandated games); 14 points awarded for defeating team two divisions higher (excluding mandated games); 12 points awarded for defeating team one division higher; 10 points awarded for defeating team within own division, within league or team outside of Massachusetts; 8 points awarded for defeating team one division lower; 6 points for defeating team two divisions lower; 4 points for defeating team more than two divisions lower; 2 points for each of opponents’ victories after victory.

  • Also, two points are awarded for each of opponents’ victories, in victory, and one point awarded for each of opponents’ victories, in loss.

  • The total number of points for each team will be divided by the number of games played by that team to determine the team’s power ranking.*

* (For tie-breaker procedures, visit MHSFCA.net)

OK, everybody had enough for today? We’ll give you some time to deal with your ensuing Popsicle headache before going any further.

Class is adjourned for today (and the worst is behind us), but be sure to check back tomorrow when we outline the playoff brackets and how state champions will be decided.