Poll Question: Should The WIAA Have A Committee Seed State Football Playoffs?
Written by Bryan Levesque on March 8, 2011
Earlier today Doug Pacey of the Tacoma News Tribune reported that Washington State Football Coaches Association is suggesting they officially expand the football playoffs to 32 teams and have a committee of retired coaches and athletic directors seed the teams, replacing the current format which has teams slotted biased on predetermined league finishes.
The latest example from the 2010 playoffs that Pacey talked about was when #2 Lynden hosted #3 Tumwater in the first round of the 2A playoffs.
That same round, #1 Archbishop Murphy hosted #4 W.F. West resulting in the top 4 ranked teams in 2A playing not in the semifinals, but in the round of 16.
Over the past couple of years, the Greater St. Helens League has also had to deal with the quarks that come with a pre-determined slotted playoff system.
In 2009 Camas entered the preliminary round (round of 32) with a 7-2 record and a #9 ranking in 3A. Finishing 2nd in the 3A GSHL gave the Papermakers a home game and what you would think is an easy opponent before entering the true first round of state (round of 16). As ESPN college football analyst Lee Corso would say, “Not so fast my friend!” Camas hosted the #2 team from the 3A KingCo, which just happened to be Liberty, the #4 ranked team in state. Camas lost at home to the Patriots 32-22 ending the Papermakers season, while Liberty went on a nice run to the state finals before losing to KingCo #1 seed Bellevue.
What makes the 2009 Camas example even more frustrating is the fact that the same season, Columbia River who finished 4-5 and 3rd in the 3A GSHL had a much easier task in the 2009 preliminary round. The Chieftains did have to go on the road, however it was up in Seattle against a 5-4 Nathan Hale squad who finished #2 in the Metro League. Columbia River hammered the Raiders 41-18 advancing to the state playoffs, while Camas, who had spent most of the 2009 season ranked in the top 10 was out.
Fast forward to 2010 and the 3A GSHL faced the same situation where #2 Mountain View drew a much tougher opponent in Timberline than #3 Kelso did with Seattle Prep. Again the GSHL #3 advanced to state while the #2 did not.
The 4A GSHL has not avoided this either.
Last season entering week 9, Union was riding a 7 game winning streak and sat at #8 in the AP poll. Meanwhile up north Bothell was also riding it’s own 7 game winning streak and held the #4 AP ranking. (Both Union and Bothell had not lost since week 1 games at Qwest Field in the Emerald City Kickoff Classic.)
Union fell at home to 2-time defending 4A GSHL Champions Skyview 37-34 in week 9 while Bothell lost to then #1 ranked Skyline who was the 2-time defending 4A State Champs (not to mention they won the 3A championship in 2007).
Union as the 4A GSHL #2 seed had to travel up north to the 4A KingCo #2 seed in the preliminary round (round of 32) and take on Bothell. Despite cutting the Cougars lead to 28-21 in the 4th, Union ended up losing 42-21 while Bothell made it 2 more rounds to the Quarterfinals before losing to Bellarmine Prep 28-21.
Christopher Ames over at StateWideStats.com also brought up a good point in his article today. Ames pointed out that while the current system does lead to early matchups of highly ranked teams, it also simply places the focus on winning your league games. Ames is afraid that if a committee seeds biased on AP rankings that teams could start running up the score to impress out of region AP voters, which will in turn, get them a better seed come playoff time.
So we ask…