Monday, November 3, 2008

Monday Report: BV Northwest Week

The story of BV Northwest making the playoffs with a 2-7 record is the sort of thing that has led many to believe the Kansas high school football playoffs are "watered down." Perhaps it's a bad thing that a team like BV Northwest can go 0-7, beat two teams with a combined four wins, and make the playoffs. But maybe that is the kind of stuff that makes the Kansas playoffs special.

There are two key points to be made of BV Northwest making the playoffs. First off it exemplifies the idea that a team can lose a district game and still make the playoffs. Up until 2002, a team could go 8-0, lost their last district game, and not make the playoffs. This happened on frequent occasions.

The most recent of those dealt with BV North in 1997, and 2000. Both years the Mustangs went undefeated only to suffer a loss in district play and not make the playoffs. It also happened to Olathe South in 2000 when the Falcons went 8-0 only to lose to eventual state champion Olathe North in the final district game, and not make the playoffs.

For the sake of teams like BV North and Olathe South, the playoffs were widened to take the top two teams from each district, starting in 2002.

Since then there have been many cases of top teams that would have been left out in the previous system. The system seems to be very beneficial in that regard.

Second of all it allows teams that heat up towards the end of the season to make playoff runs. Case in point BV North in 2003. The Mustangs started 0-5 then went on to win six straight games before losing to Olathe North in the state semi-finals. The district set up allowed BV North to make that run.

Now on the negative side: should a 2-7 team be making the playoffs? Likely, no. A system based on the top ranked teams in the each respective league seems like it would make the most sense.

That way, every game would be meaningful towards making the playoffs. The majority of the season would count and the best teams would make the playoffs. That seems to be the best way to determine who makes the playoffs, but it gets confusing when you get down to conference size.

In Kansas Class 6A East, for instance, you have the 12 team Sunflower League, and then four of the six teams in the EKL. With changing classifications each year it would be difficulty to put a system in place that would work with the changing amount of 6A teams.

So for now, the district system is what Kansas will abide by. It has its pros and cons, but really, the best teams usually make it where they should.

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