But with region play still featuring a mixture of public and private schools, and a new playoff system akin to college football’s BCS they may have created two entirely different things — confusion and controversy.
“It’s the same technique they have been using in Louisiana, they are going to use a combination of various statistics to figure it out,” said Mount Pisgah coach Doug Dixon. “It is going to change the dynamic of things.”
Under the new playoff configuration 16 public schools will be placed in one bracket and 16 private schools in another. Each bracket will play out to crown a state champion, an easy enough concept on the surface but determining each 16 is where things get hairy.
Instead of a traditional top-4 in each region moving on to state, the GHSA has formulated a points system to determine the top 16 teams with each win and loss during the regular season being weighted differently — based on the opponents classification and final win-loss record.
The only guaranteed playoff spot will go to each region’s champion. For teams finishing in second place and beyond a calculator will be needed to determine their playoff fate.
“Your region standings aren’t going to be nearly as important,” said Dixon, whose Mount Pisgah team will play in the same region 6A as local schools Fellowship Christian and King’s Ridge.
“It is going to be a lot like college football where every game counts, those non-region games are just as important.”
Each win under the new system will be worth 10 points, with an additional two points added for teams in higher classifications and one point added for each win the opponent has by season’s end.
Losses too will factor in under the same formula — with zero points to start and the same numbers added based on opponents’ win-loss record and classification.
Add in varying rules when playing out-of-state teams, non-region teams, ties, forfeits and an appeals process to follow the final decisions and it will truly be a wait-and-see for Class-A football in early November.
King’s Ridge coach Jeff Pickren, who has hopes of taking his young program to state for the first time this fall, said he would worry about the new formula when the time came. Until then he was focused on one thing.
“Just win games. That’s all you can try to do and the more you do the more likely you will be to get in.”
“If we go undefeated or win nine games and don’t get in we might raise some Cain, but I don’t think that will be the case.”