Lowndes At McEachern Is No Ordinary First Round Playoff Game
We’ve got a great first round playoff game for you Friday night on GPB. We really think you’ll enjoy it. But truth be told, Lowndes and McEachern should not be meeting in the first round of the playoffs. These two teams are too good to be playing each other this early.
The Georgia High School Association does a great job with football. The playoffs in the state of Georgia are a showcase event culminating in seven state championship games in the Georgia Dome over a two-day period…and all seen on GPB! The GHSA does it at the highest level. I’d say among the top five states in the country…maybe top three. But they could do it even better.
I applaud the GHSA over the years. They’ve adapted and made things better when they recognized a need for change. Twenty-five years or so ago they scrapped the old region playoff model that allowed only one team from each region to advance to the state playoffs which at that time started with the quarter-finals. The reasoning behind this was based on the truth that sometimes the best two teams in the state might come from the state region. We saw this as recently as 2013 when Norcross defeated region-rival North Gwinnett in the AAAAAA state championship game.
Over the last 10 years or so the GHSA canned the old “penetration rule” for deciding overtime games and went to the model that resembles that which they now employ in college football. The GHSA also abolished the rule that state championship games could end in a tie. All of these were great decisions that have advanced the game.
Now I encourage that they do away with the current cross-region playoff system and go to a seeding of all 32 teams that qualify for the state playoffs in classifications 2A through 6A. Players practice too hard, coaches’ coach too hard, administrators administer too hard for playoff match-ups to be pre-determined before the season even begins. In all sports that I can think of, playoff match-ups are determined based on the quality of a team’s body of work during the regular season.
Here’s the Matt Stewart proposal and I’ve had a few well-respected high school football coaches in this state (with multiple state championships too their credit) tell me they think it’s pretty good.
All eight region champions would be seeded 1-8 and therefore guaranteed home playoff games for the first two rounds. All second place region teams would be seeded 9-16 and would be guaranteed a first-round playoff game. Teams that finished third and fourth in their regions would be seeded 17-32. The seedings would only be used to set the brackets. For instance if in the quarter-finals two region champions were playing each other, or two second-place teams, or so on…they would still conduct a coin flip to determine who gets the home game. Again the seedings would only be used to set the brackets.
So how do you come up with the seedings? You devise a point system. You come up with a committee. You create a combination of both. It isn’t impossible. The GHSA already uses a power rankings to determine seeding in Class A and uses similar methods to seed teams in other sports.
Just for the sake of argument…I used the Max Preps computer rankings to determine seeds in my make-believe bracket. Here’s what I came up with. McEachern would be the #5 seed in my state tournament and would play #28 Hughes in the first round. Lowndes would be the #17 seed (or the highest rated seed among the third- and fourth-place finishers) and would play at #16 Lambert (the lowest rated seed among the second-place finishers) in the first round. Is the system perfect? By no means no but nothing will ever be perfect. But at least such a system would move towards a playoff bracket created around an individual team’s body of work for the season and not pre-determined.
As it is…we get Lowndes at McEachern in the first round of the AAAAAA State Playoffs and we are happy to televise it. It’s going to be a great game…worthy of perhaps a quarter-final match-up even…but we get it in the first round. Come to think of it…that ain’t so bad.
For all you recruitniks…here’s the guys you should keep an eye on Friday night…
Bailey Hockman – Committed to Georgia – 247 Sports Composite 4-star and #2 Junior Pro-Style QB
Julian Rochester – Committed to Georgia – 247 4-star and #8 DT
Tyler Smith – Committed to North Carolina – 247 4-star and #26 Junior WR (out for season with knee injury)
Jaytlin Askew – Offered by Auburn and Nebraska – 247 4-star and #25 Junior CB
Tremayne Anchrum – 23 Offers including Nebraska and Clemson – 247 3-star and #20 OG
Tyler Simmons – 20 Offers including Georgia and Alabama – 247 3-Star WR
Christian Roberson – Committed to Mississippi State – 247 3-Star and #33 TE
Sam Jackson – Committed to Georgia Southern – 247 3-Star and #35 All-Purpose Back
C.J. Windham – Committed to Middle Tennessee – Senior WR
Bryan Okeh – 6 Offers including Georgia State and Tulane – Projected Safety
Andrew Tarver – 5 Offers including Georgia State and Tulane – Senior DT
Xavier Reddick – Offered by South Alabama – Junior OLB
Tarik Adams – Committed to Marshall – Projected OG
Gabe Nabers – Committed to Georgia Southern – Senior TE