Sideline Pass: Jim Bradford 6/4
By Jim Bradford PrepsKC Senior Writer
It wasn’t that long ago that the big dogs in Kansas — Class 6A and 5A football teams — had to go undefeated to advance to the state playoffs. Well, not all of them, but a good handful did.
Just ask the 1994 Olathe North team, the 1997 Olathe East team or either of the 2000 or 2001 Olathe South teams how they felt sitting at home with 8-1 records while the playoffs began.
That was remedied in 2002 when Kansas added a week of playoffs and took two teams from each four-team district. And life was good.
But after a decade or so, they’ve decided to change again. And life will be even better.
See, just taking half of the teams to the state playoffs didn’t really fix all the squeaks, so to speak. It’s great to be able to take a 9-0 and an 8-1 team to state, but geography was not always kind and some districts were hard-pressed to supply one good team, let along two.
So when week 10 rolled around, 2-7 and 3-6 teams were still playing.
Now, those 2-7 and 3-6 teams might still be playing, but it will be because of a monumental upset.
Starting in 2016, big class schools in Kansas will go to an eight-game regular season and begin the playoffs in week 9. There will be no district play and each of the 32 teams in 6A and 5A will be broken up into two sections of the state (west and east) and then seeded 1-16.
For instance, in Class 6A last fall, a 2-7 Shawnee Mission North team and a 3-6 Shawnee Mission South team advanced to week 10 as the second teams out of their respective districts while a couple of 5-4 teams like Blue Valley Northwest and Olathe South turned in equipment.
Now, with no district play, the teams will earn the right to play in week 10 with elimination game no. 1 in week 9.
Not only does this get the best eight teams into week 10, it allows some flexibility in scheduling, not forcing teams into playing the same three teams at the talk end of every year.
I love it. Kudos KSHSAA. Well done.
Now, if we can just get them to start paying these players. Oh, wait…
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