View From the Press Box: 10/29

Dion Clisso

By Dion Clisso PrepsKC Managing Editor
Posted: October 29, 2018 - 5:55 PM

It’s playoff time again so that means the annual ‘Do you like your state’s playoff format?’ discussion is being had on both sides of the state line.

Since Kansas and Missouri have different formats it’s best to deal with them separately. That being said wouldn’t it be great if both had the same?

Well this week let’s focus on Missouri and next week we will take a swing at Kansas.

Missouri has used the same format for the past six seasons. This year marks the seventh and every year people all across the state find flaws. Usually those flaws are in connection with their own team but sometimes people look beyond their own front porch and try to think globally and what is best for football in the state as a whole.

There were a few changes instituted at the beginning of the season designed to make sure all postseason slots were filled. Classifications and districts weren’t released until right before the season to make sure schools were either fielding a program and if so if they were going to be an 8-man or 11-man program. The other change was that classifications would be done every year instead of every two years.

The past few years with a two-year cycle and classifications announced in April there were several schools that did not field a program in the fall. That caused several open spots in districts in classes 1-4. This year all the spots were filled but there were still two games that were forfeited. Northeast here in the Metro forfeited to Maryville and Confluence Prep in St. Louis forfeited to Cardinal Ritter. Both were 1 vs. 8 games and there was talk of a few more that talked about forfeiting.

While I’m never a fan of the forfeit a quick look at some of the first-round scores and I can understand the thinking. In Classes 1-4 there were 12 games were the winning team scored at least 60 with three games in the 80s and one where the winning team scored 90.

I’m not sure finishing a season getting 90 points hung on you is a fun way to end your season. The idea behind the new system was to give everyone a chance in the postseason. Obviously for those 12 schools and really even more that chance is more in theory than reality.

So what is the solution? Well I don’t know if there is an easy one. There is talk among coaches of having the top six make the postseason with seeds seven and eight playing in the final week of the season to get their 10th game. That would give the top two seeds a bye much like it is in Class 5.

Originally, I wasn’t much for that, but I am beginning to see the merits of the plan. There are games that just don’t need to happen, and you run the risk of kids getting hurt even more because when games get out of hand it seems many bad things happen, and injuries are chief among them.

So can it get better? Sure everything can be improved and with the new structure of classifications being done year to year change can be instituted easily and corrected the same way.

I’ve talked with several coaches and the thoughts run from true districts where you play every team and then take the top four or six on to the postseason. That’s kind of my favorite but many administrators get wrapped up in the old conference system that they can’t even think of that be altered.

Other coaches like the points system but think the 7 and 8 seed in classes 1-4 are overmatched in most cases. Still others would love to go back to three games at the end of the season.

Another thought that should be part of any playoff discussion is what is good form some is not good for all. Class 6 is football among the largest schools and the people making the decisions shouldn’t live by the theory that everything must be the same across the board. If that was the case all classes would be the same size so don’t get locked into that thinking either.

I don’t know the right answer but the opportunity to try new things is right here in front of us. There are a lot of smart people with great ideas we just need to be willing to try to find the best postseason format even if a few things are tried and they don’t work.