Updated: November 20, 2011, 5:22 PM ET

Football playoff bracket -- Class 8A

The pairings have been released for the 2011 IHSA football playoffs

Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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Playoff Brackets: Class 8A | 7A | 6A | 5A | 4A | 3A | 2A | 1A

Maine South is shooting for its fourth consecutive Class 8A state championship. The Hawks were crowned the area's top-ranked team in the preseason and have held onto that honor so far with a 9-0 regular season.

On its way to its last two state titles, Maine South had to take down Loyola in the semifinals. Loyola could be the Hawks' biggest challenger again this season. The Ramblers went 9-0 and won the Catholic League Blue title. The two teams would meet in the semifinals of the lower bracket if they both advanced. Loyola has the top seed, and Maine South is No. 2.

No. 3 Palatine (8-1), No. 4 Bartlett (7-2), No. 5 Glenbrook South (7-2), No. 6 Barrington (7-2), No. 7 Stevenson (7-2) and No. 11 Glenbard North (6-3) are also top teams in the lower bracket and can't be overlooked.

In the upper bracket, Waubonsie Valley (8-1) received the top seed. The Warriors are on a six-game winning streak since losing to Bartlett in Week 3.

No. 2 Bolingbrook (8-1) may be the most talented team in the upper bracket. The Raiders' only regular-season loss came to Lincoln-Way East. They have plenty of skilled players all over the field.

No. 3 Downers Grove South (8-1), No. 4 Simeon (7-2), No. 5 Marist (7-2), No. 6 Brother Rice (6-3) and No. 7 Mount Carmel (6-3) are also contenders in the upper bracket.