Extra Points: Brian Spano 12/12
By Brian Spano PrepsKC Senior Writer
It's time for the Missouri State High School Activities Association to figure out their high school football playoff bracket system is broken.
If this past weekend's display of lopsided, blowout state championship games wasn't enough evidence, then I don't know what is.
I understand they want to pit an eastern side of the state school against the western side of the state school to drum up interest between say Kansas City and St. Louis when it comes to the bigger classes, but look at the dominance of the western side over the eastern side just in the last 12 years.
In classes 4 through 6, a school from the western side of the state has won 26 of the 36 state championships played over that time span. That's 72 percent of the time for those playing along at home. Don't the folks at MSHSAA know this?
Let's take a look at the scores from this past weekend's Missouri state championship games in St. Louis. They broke down like this:
Besides the scores, the most glaring "stat" is Parkway Central is the only St. Louis school represented in the state games. And let me throw one more at you, Rock Bridge's win over Hazelwood Central in the semifinals snapped a string of Class 6 appearances by St. Louis teams dating back to the beginning of the Show-Me Bowl in 1968. For the first time in the history of the MSHSAA Football Championships, a St. Louis-area team did not play for the championship of the state's largest classification.
The Class 4 contest between Webb City and Helias was the only competitive game of the entire weekend. The others were basically decided by halftime or the score was so out of hand had a running clock in the second half.
So what can MSHSAA do to alleviate a competitive balance that seems to be leaning heavily to the west?
It's time to reseed teams after they get past the first two rounds of the playoffs. That would take the 16 remaining teams in each class, with the exception of Class 6, and rank them 1 through 16. Class 6 would do it after the first round.
Of course, the argument against this is there would be the possibility of a state title game of two St. Louis schools or two Kansas City schools or two Springfield-area schools.
My answer to that is so what. As long as it puts the two best teams in the state title game, regardless of which region of the state it comes from, then we know we have a system that's trying.
The way it's set up now is archaic. It's not working. This shouldn't be about Kansas City vs. St. Louis. West vs. East.
Sorry, but Kansas City has won. The West has won. The scores and the stats back it up.
It's time to change, but I don't see MSHSAA making that move anytime soon, if at all. But if it did, not only would I applaud, it would be one of the best things to happen to high school football in this state in a long time.
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