In the first weeks of the 2021 football season we’ve seen an uptick in games cancelled. Through this though we’ve seen a few games get made in short order that have allowed teams an opportunity to get a full season in and allowed a few matchups we normally wouldn’t have seen.
Already Odessa travel to Lansing for a game put together on short notice. This past week William Chrisman traveled across the state to play Washington Thursday night on just over 24 hours notice and Richmond played at Bishop Ward, games that in “precedented times” would have never happened.
But this got me thinking, what if we took some of the lessons we’ve gathered from this season and last and make high school football better.
The immediate idea that came to mind is to allow schools to block off the last week of their regular season, if interested, and enter a pool of teams where they’ll be matched against a similarly talented opponent headed into the playoffs.
There’s some benefits to this. The first would be a chance to replicate some playoff approaches headed into the postseason. Teams don’t know who they’ll be playing until the week prior during the playoffs, why not have a chance to do this in a setting that won’t end your season. Additionally, in this playoff points era, a team that’s perhaps sitting in that 3-5 range in their district, has a chance to really up their standing with a win.
The second benefit is for the teams who need a good game before heading into the postseason. Take the defending Class 2 champs, Lamar for example. Last season from September 25 until November 13, they didn’t play a team with a winning record. What’s more beneficial for a team that’s 7-1 headed into the last week of the season, going through the motions against 1-7 team or taking on someone like Lafayette County?
Finally, it comes back to the thing we’ve learned from these last few weeks. The coaches and players just want a game. One of the best parts of the playoffs is playing an unfamiliar opponent and facing off against someone that’s part of your regular schedule you see in every sport. This would allow teams to hop on the bus and go a couple hours to face some new schools and new styles, never a bad thing.