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Post  3seasons on Fri Nov 08, 2013 7:13 pm


by Mike Bourk

NHIAA Offsides in Playoff Seedings

The NHIAA released the NH high school Division III football playoff brackets and the selections and seeding are in a word, horrible. The NHIAA opted to take the top two teams from each of four brackets and have them play against each other. Here’s what the schedule looks along with their final overall ranking:#2 Bow (7-1) at #1 Pelham (8-0)#4 Newport (6-2) at #3 Stevens (6-2)#12 Bishop Brady (4-4) at #9 Epping-Newmarket (4-4)#10 InterLakes-Moultonborough (4-4) at #5 Gilford (6-2)

Missing the playoffs are:

#6 Campbell (5-3)#7 Mascoma Valley (5-3)#8 Somersworth (4-4)

Outside Looking In

Campbell’s situation is particularly egregious as their only losses were to Pelham, Bow, and Somersworth. The Cougars beat Bishop Brady, Stevens, and Epping-Newmarket all of whom made the playoffs. Bishop Brady did not beat any team with a winning record this season. Their four wins came against teams with a combined record of 5-28. InterLakes-Moultonborough also has not beaten a team with a winning record. Their four wins came against teams that were 6-26. Gilford at 6-2 has yet to beat a team with a winning record.

To The Victor Go The Spoils

This may be true in other high school sports where the upper seeds host the lower seeds. This is not the case in football. For an unexplained reason football is divided into four subdivisions. Two teams from each division make the playoffs regardless of their won/ loss record. Those two teams play against each other in the first round. For the 2013 season that means second ranked Bow plays at ranked Pelham and fourth seeded Newport plays at third rated Stevens. In the other games a ninth ranked team is hosting a number 12 rated team and a number 5 team hosting a number 10 ranked team.

Teams In Other Divisions Suffer As Well

This situation is not unique to Division III. In Division I the number 5 rated Bedford (7-2) and number 7 rated Bishop Guertin (6-3) have been left out of the playoffs while Londonderry (4-5) will be playing on Saturday. In Division II Milford and St. Thomas, both with 6-3 records, miss the playoffs while Kennett and Sanborn at 5-4 both make the playoffs.

A Better Solution

I never understood the need to create a playoff structure for football that varies from every other high school team sport. If the NHIAA insists on the 4 subdivisions only the top team should be guaranteed a playoff spot and host the first game and select the 4 visiting teams from the remaining teams. A less desirable but still fairer than the existing format would be to have teams in each division split into two subdivisions, East and West, using a dividing line similar to what the CHAD All star game uses. Some type of a change has to be made. A change in the NH high school football playoff structure is needed. To rewarding mediocre teams with a playoff spot while slighting much better and more deserving teams, makes no sense.


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