Coach's Corner: Tim Crone 2/6
By Tim Crone former Blue Springs Activities Director and Head Football Coach
The Missouri State High School Athletic Association along with member schools is at it again – analyzing a change to the Missouri State football playoff system.
Prior to my retirement as athletic director at Blue Springs High School I served on two ad hoc committees that worked on the playoff system. As most know, the oldest playoff system was based on a point system which took into consideration records and the level of competition for teams played during a regular 10-game schedule.
Obviously, schedule was of high importance. Weak years in a strong conference could result in the strong team progressing to the playoffs. Some conferences were composed of teams of different sized classes which could cost a team if they won or lost to a smaller school.
The point system was eventually dropped for geographic and conference affiliation. The district playoff system consisted playing against three other teams in their “district.” The winner of each district would advance to the state playoffs. If a tie occurred, a point differential would determine the winner.
The most recent system currently in use allows two teams from each district to advance with the winner playing the second place winner in another district. It is a traditional cross bracket situation with the winners continuing on to the state bracket.
None of these systems have been perfect. It is very complex to arrive at perfection. One local athletic director doesn’t feel that a district championship no longer has any meaning. I disagree. Although the district champion does start by playing a lower seeded team in the first round, they are still a district champion.
With a two team system more schools and communities are able to experience the positive atmosphere that accompanies a playoff situation. How can that be bad if you are really about the kids?
My concern has always been the ability/inability to actually seed teams no matter which system. Seeding for basketball, baseball, wrestling, volleyball, softball, etc. in district tournaments has been established on day one. Seeding for wrestling is seeded all the way through the tournament.
Due to the lack of a seeding process in football many of the state championship games have resulted in many boring and lopsided contests and the current system is set up to match up a team from the west side of the state with a team from the east side of the state.
The new proposed system where every team makes the playoffs and are then seeded based on a system similar to the old points system does not appear to be a true seeding system but once again an attempt to balance representation. Why not seed so that the best teams play against the best teams?
It will be interesting to see if the member schools will pass the new proposal. It looks like yet another experiment on the road to getting the format right. Good luck to all! I will personally continue to believe that it is healthy and positive to have as many kids as possible be able to enjoy the playoff experience. As John Wooden once said, “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”
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