Here we are with two weeks left in the regular season. While almost all teams have the mantra of one game at a time, it’s time to stick your head out of the hole and look at the district standings.
In the last few years both Missouri and Kansas have gone to the postseason format where all teams make the postseason. While it’s still not my favorite system it’s what we have, and I’ve gotten used to it. Of course each state has its own system, and each has its benefits and its drawbacks.
Let’s start on the Missouri side where a point system is used to seed teams in their postseason districts. There are a few spots where it works fine and then there are others where it doesn’t.
Let’s start in Class 6 District where Park Hill South is currently the top seed with a 7-0 record and 47.08 points. First record does not matter, so don’t worry about that. In the second spot is Liberty North with a 5-1 record and 42.62 points. The Eagles are currently ranked No. 1 in the state and just beat an undefeated Lee’s Summit North 38-35. Liberty North’s only loss is to Bentonville, Ark. and the Eagles play in the Suburban Gold where only two teams have a losing record and three are ranked in the top 10 in the state.
Park Hill South is having a great year and have rolled through their schedule. The Panthers play in a league where they are the only school with a winning record. That being said Park Hill South has handled almost its entire schedule.
The eye test would say Liberty North should be the No. 1 seed. The point system says differently. There are a couple of factors at play here as well. Liberty North is missing a game after Staley had to cancel because of Covid in Week 4. Whether or not that game would have made the difference is a math problem I don’t have time to figure out.
While everything I just described seems like a huge drawback to the Missouri system, the games will still be decided on the field and if the current seeds were to hold true, Liberty North would play at Park Hill South for the district title. That’s when the questions would be answered.
Let’s jump to the Kansas side and take a look at Class 4A. The first big differences are Missouri puts teams in groups with eight teams being the most and Kansas splits the state in half, so teams are seeded 1-16 in Classes 4A-6A.
Ok so currently in Class 4A an undefeated Basehor-Linwood is the No. 1 seed. The Bobcats are 6-0 and have an impressive resume that includes a win over Center on the Missouri side and big wins in almost every other game. They pass the eye test and are ranked No. 2 in the state by Kpreps.com.
If the playoffs started today Basehor-Linwood would play a winless Labette County. That should be a Bobcats’ victory. The next round would face the winner of Tonganoxie and Bishop Miege. You’ve heard of Bishop Miege. Won six straight titles before falling in the semifinals to eventual champion St. James last season. Miege is currently ranked No. 2 in the state.
Let that sink in for a minute. No. 1 vs. No. 2 in the second round of the playoffs. While rankings are not hard numbers, I would think that game should come later in the postseason.
So why is Bishop Miege currently the No. 9 seed? Well the Kansas system goes off record first and then margin of victory. It doesn’t matter who a team’s wins and losses come against 2-4 is 2-4 even if both teams played the same schedule one team would be 6-0 and the other 0-6.
Ok, so you see there are problems on both sides of the state line. Pick your poison, does a point system that tries to bring in strength of schedule but still rewards games played and wins at a higher rate better than one that says record and margin of victory is the ultimate decision.
I feel like there is a better way like eight team districts where you play every team, take the top 6 teams to the postseason and let the bottom two play for the final week with the old +/- 13 or 21 points being the tiebreaker after head-to-head. That seems logical but then your district basically becomes your conference and destroying the conference is un-American so I should just stop there.
While there are problems on both sides, every team gets a chance to have their season decided on the field even if when or who that game is played against can be unfair at times.