Taking the Field: End of the line, Pt. 3

August, 20, 2013
8/20/13
5:16
PM ET
(Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of entries explaining the MIAA’s new statewide football playoff system. For the entire series, click HERE. All information courtesy of the Massachusetts High School Football Coaches Association and its website.)

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 what happens to teams that do not run to their respective championship games. Without further ado, we take a look at perhaps the most misunderstood tenet of the plan: REPEAT, teams not qualifying DO NOT have to schedule their own games for Weeks 8 to 10.

For team who fail to make the eight-team cut in their respective divisions, here's how the final three weeks of the regular season will proceed in each division (not taking into account Thanksgiving Day games, which are scheduled in advance).
  • 11-team Divisions (Div. 3 Northwest, Div 3. Northeast):
    • Week 8 (Nov. 1-2): Seed 10 @ Seed 9; 11NW @ 11NE.
    • Week 9 (Nov. 8-9): 9 @ 11; 10NW @ 10NE.
    • Week 10 (Nov. 15-16): 11 @ 10; 9 NW @ 9 NE.
  • 12-team Divisions (Div. 1, Div. 2 North and South, Div. 3 ):
    • Week 8: 12 @ 9; 11 @10.
    • Week 9: 9 @ 11; 10 @12.
    • Week 10: 12 @11; 10 @9.
  • 14-team Divisions (Div. 5 North):
    • Week 8: 12 @ 9; 13 @ 10; 14 @ 11.
    • Week 9: 9 @ 11; 12 @ 10; 13 @ 14.
    • Week 10: 10 @ 9; 11 @ 13; 14 @ 12.
  • 16-team Divisions (Div. 4 North and South, Div. 5 South):
    • Week 8: 12 @ 9; 11 @ 10; 16 @ 13; 15 @ 14.
    • Week 9: 9 @ 11; 10 @ 12; 13 @ 15; 14 @ 16.
    • Week 10: 12 @ 11; 10 @ 9; 16 @ 15; 14 @ 13.
  • 20-team Divisions (Div. 6 North and South):
    • Week 8: 12 @ 9; 11 @ 10; 16 @ 13; 15 @ 14; 20 @ 17; 19 @ 18.
    • Week 9: 9 @ 11; 10 @ 12; 13 @ 15; 14 @ 16; 17 @ 19; 18 @ 20.
    • Week 10: 12 @ 11; 10 @ 9; 16 @ 15; 14 @ 13; 20 @ 19; 18 @ 17.

OK, so now, let say you qualified for the playoffs and happen to lose in the rounds leading up to Week 10.

If that's the case, here's the bracketology. Hang with us here as we set this up ...

In this scenario, the No. 1 seed vs. No. 8 game will be known as Game 1. No. 4 vs No. 5 is Game 2, No. 3 vs. No. 6 is Game 3 and No. 2 vs. No. 7 is Game 4. The Week 9 games featuring the winner of No. 1 vs. No. 8 and No. 4 vs. No. 5 will be Game 5. The other sectional semifinal will be Game 6.

Now that we have that construct in place, here's how the loser's bracket of games will fill out:
  • The loser of Game 1 will meet the Game 2 loser in Game 7.
  • The loser of Game 3 will meet the Game 4 loser in Game 8.
  • Then, the winner of those games will meet, with the losers meeting each other in Week 10.
  • The losers of Game 5 and Game 6 will then meet in Week 10.

There are stipulations on the host sites of those games, so check out the full rundown on MHSFCA.net as to the specifics across each region. And, of course, as those dates near, be sure to keep up with ESPN Boston.

That's going to put a wrap on our latest Taking the Field feature, but be sure to check back for one more, when we'll lay out all the Divisions (statewide), so you can find where your local team fits in the state championship quest.

Past installments:

Part 1: Qualifying | Part 2: Bracketology

Scott Barboza

Reporter, ESPNBoston.com
Scott Barboza joined ESPNBoston.com as a high schools editor/reporter in May 2010. He spent the previous three seasons working in the New England Patriots media relations department after a stint at the Taunton Daily Gazette, where he covered everything from Little League baseball to the Boston Red Sox.

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