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Thursday, March 7, 2013

CIAC considering Open Division

Ned Griffen at the New London Day reported that the CIAC is considering adding an Open Division to the football playoffs.

He writes:
The CIAC's football committee has tried to alleviate that problem, discussing two ideas: an all-co-op/technical school division and an open division featuring the state's eight best teams, regardless of size.

"We've brought it up," New Canaan High School coach Lou Marinelli, the head of the football coaches committee, said. "At the next meeting, I'm certainly going to bring it up."
Teams must win at least 40 percent of their games to qualify for the state tournament in other CIAC sports.

Thirty-two of 146 football teams qualify for states (21.9 percent). There have been numerous instances where a one-loss team didn't make states.

Nothing could be changed until the 2015 season because the CIAC and its football committee are three years into a their five-year agreement using the present system - four, eight-team divisions.
The playoffs previously had six, four-team divisions.

"I know we're not going to get both," Hand of Madison coach/committee member Steve Filippone said. "The most likely scenario is that we'd get some movement on the co-op division I think, but I'm not dismissing in any way, shape or form an open division because I feel there's a lot of good feeling about that."

The open division would not only just allow eight more teams into the playoffs, it would settle all No. 1 debates on the field and pique interest amongst football fans.

Filippone said that a BCS-formula could be created using The Day's Top 10 state coaches poll, the New Haven Register media poll, and Ned Freeman's computer rankings for and A coaches committee would then seed the eight teams.

Teams wouldn't be able to opt out of the open division.

  • Add an Open Division but eliminate a Class so there's still only four divisions (Open, L, M, S). Still include Tech schools and co-ops as part of the four divisions.
  •  Reconstruct the enrollment policy. Under the new policy, a current Class M team might move up to Class L and a Class S might move up to Class M. This balances the field for when teams move out of the letter divisions and into the Open Division and the field in the letter divisions won't be diluted.
  • Keep the postseason schedule as is: Quarterfinals the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, semifinals that Saturday and championship games the following weekend.
I am against adding more teams to the field. I understand the coaches have expressed interest in having the number of qualifying teams similar to those in other sports but, quite frankly, a team that wins only 40 or 50 percent of games in football doesn't deserve to make the playoffs.

So, let's say that last season five Class LL teams (Staples, Southington, Xavier, Newtown, NFA) qualified for the Open Division.

The remaining three Class LL teams (Greenwich, Glastonbury and West Haven) become the top 3 seeds in the newly formed Class L division. Then five remaining teams from Class LL and Class L under the restructured enrollment policy would fill out the Class L field.

Let's say in Class S, Ansonia and Capital/Classical/Achievement qualified for the Open Division, then the next eight teams in that division (North Branford, Rocky Hill, Hyde, Trinity Catholic, Woodland, Prince Tech, Stonington, Oxford) play for the Class S title.

More thoughts (edited from original post):

I understand a concern is an 9-1 team not making the playoffs. It's likely that a 9-1 team would be considered for the Open Division. If they don't make the Open field, it's likely they will still make the playoffs in their letter division.

A way to ensure a 9-1 team makes it is to have a ladder system. Say a Class L team (under my format) doesn't make Open Division or Class L, they can be bumped down to qualify in Class M. Or if a 9-1 Class S team doesn't qualify in S, they can be bumped up to Class M.

This way, the eight best teams make the Open division and then the next best 24 teams qualify for a letter division.

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