Prep Football

Projecting the Iowa high school football playoffs

There's a new system, and new guidelines, in placing the field of 96

Western Dubuque quarterback Calvin Harris (4) is tackled by Cedar Rapids Xavier’s Ethan Hurkett (49) during their game Friday. Both teams are projected as Class 3A playoff teams — Xavier as a district champion, Western Dubuque as an at-large qualifier. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Western Dubuque quarterback Calvin Harris (4) is tackled by Cedar Rapids Xavier’s Ethan Hurkett (49) during their game Friday. Both teams are projected as Class 3A playoff teams — Xavier as a district champion, Western Dubuque as an at-large qualifier. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

In addition to the rain, the lightning and the countless delays and postponements, this football season will be remembered for the advent of a new playoffs system.

For better or worse (probably more for the better), the Iowa High School Athletic Association has implemented an RPI system that will help determine the 16-team playoff field — and the seedings once those teams are determined — in each of the six classes.

District champions are automatic qualifiers, with RPI the determinant for the rest of the field.

RPI consists of win-loss record (37.5 percent), opponents’ win-loss record (37.5 percent) and opponents’ opponents’ win-loss record (25 percent). All nine games are figured in, not just district games. Margin of victory means nothing.

A few tidbits in trying to compile mock brackets with two weeks of play remaining:

• District champions get first priority in seeding and hosting in the first round. In the quarterfinals, that is thrown out the window, and higher RPI get home-field advantage regardless of district finish.

• In the case of a three-way tie for a district title (and if all three teams go 1-1 in a round robin amongst each other), all are designated as district champions, provided the number of district champions doesn’t surpass 16.

• In the event of a two-way tie, on the other hand, the winner of head-to-head is the district champion, the loser is simply an at-large candidate.

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• The IHSAA will make all efforts, whenever reasonable, to avoid first-round matchups between teams from the same district. It will also try to come fairly close to true seeding (1-vs.-16, 2-vs.-15, etc.), with common sense used for geography.

• Brackets will be reseeded for the semifinals in the UNI-Dome. So don’t think of a class as a 16-team bracket. Think of it as four brackets with four teams each. As a result, the East-vs.-West championship games are gone; it’s completely possible to see, for example, a Valley-Dowling championship in 4A.

With those guidelines in place, here’s an attempt at projecting the playoff brackets. All outcomes for Week 8 and Week 9 are merely predictions from the BC Moore computer.

Class 4A

*district champion

Ankeny Centennial Quadrant

#9 Johnston (7-2) at #8 Fort Dodge (7-2)

#15 Ankeny (5-4) at #1 *Ankeny Centennial (9-0)

Cedar Falls Quadrant

#10 Cedar Rapids Prairie (7-2) at #7 *Waukee (7-2)

#16 Davenport North (6-3) at #2 *Cedar Falls (9-0)

West Des Moines Valley Quadrant

#11 Indianola (7-2) at #6 *West Des Moines Dowling (7-2)

#14 Cedar Rapids Kennedy (6-3) at #3 *West Des Moines Valley (9-0)

Iowa City West Quadrant

#12 Pleasant Valley (5-4) at #5 *Bettendorf (8-1)

#13 Urbandale (6-3) at #4 *Iowa City West (8-1)

 

Class 3A

*district champion

Sergeant Bluff-Luton Quadrant

#9 *Carroll (6-3) at #8 *Norwalk (6-3)

#13 Spencer (7-2) at #1 *Sergeant Bluff-Luton (8-1)

Lewis Central Quadrant

#11 Harlan (7-2) at #7 *Oskaloosa (8-1)

#12 Sioux City Heelan (7-2) at #2 *Lewis Central (9-0)

Cedar Rapids Xavier Quadrant

#10 Clear Creek Amana (8-1) at #5 *Solon (9-0)

#16 Waverly-Shell Rock (7-2) at #4 *Cedar Rapids Xavier (9-0)

North Scott Quadrant

#15 Western Dubuque (7-2) at #6 *Decorah (7-2)

#14 Pella (8-1) at #3 *North Scott (8-1)

 

Class 2A

*district champion

Spirit Lake Quadrant

#12 Chariton (8-1) at #5 *Algona (8-1)

#16 Clear Lake (7-2) at #4 *Spirit Lake (8-1)

BHRV Quadrant

#8 *Southeast Valley (6-3) at #7 *Carroll Kuemper (6-3)

#14 Greene County (8-1) at #2 *Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley (8-1)

Waukon Quadrant

#9 *Crestwood (6-3) at #6 *Union Community (7-2)

#13 Benton Community (8-1) at #3 *Waukon (8-1)

PCM Quadrant

#11 *Williamsburg (6-3) at #10 *West Liberty (6-3)

#15 West Marshall (6-3) at #1 *Monroe PCM (9-0)

 

Class 1A

*district champion

South Central Calhoun Quadrant

#9 *Osage (7-2) at #6 *West Sioux (8-1)

#14 West Lyon (7-2) at #1 *South Central Calhoun (9-0)

Van Meter Quadrant

#11 Interstate 35 (8-1) at #8 *Treynor (8-1)

#15 Underwood (6-3) at #4 *Van Meter (9-0)

Bellevue Quadrant

#10 West Branch (8-1) at #7 *Wilton (8-1)

#13 Mediapolis (8-1) at #2 *Bellevue (9-0)

Pella Christian Quadrant

#12 Sumner-Fredericksburg (8-1) at #5 *Dike-New Hartford (9-0)

#16 South Hamilton (7-2) at #3 *Pella Christian (7-2)

 

Class A

*district champion

Westwood Quadrant

#10 *Lynnville-Sully (7-2) at #7 *IKM-Manning (7-2)

#15 West Hancock (7-2) at #3 *Westwood (8-1)

AHSTW Quadrant

#9 *Mason City Newman (7-2) at #6 *Hinton (8-1)

#13 Akron-Westfield (7-2) at #4 *Avoca AHSTW (9-0)

Garrigan Quadrant

#12 North Tama (8-1) at #5 *Durant (7-2)

#16 Grundy Center (6-3) at #2 *Algona Garrigan (9-0)

Hudson Quadrant

#11 BGM (8-1) at #8 *Edgewood-Colesburg (8-1)

#14 Highland (7-2) at #1 *Hudson (9-0)

 

8-Player

*district champion

Northwood-Kensett Quadrant

#13 Lenox (7-2) at #6 *Exira-EHK (8-1)

#14 Newell-Fonda (7-2) at #2 *Northwood-Kensett (9-0)

Ar-We-Va Quadrant

#12 Audubon (7-2) at #7 *Fremont-Mills (8-1)

#16 East Mills (7-2) at #1 *Ar-We-Va (9-0)

Central City Quadrant

#10 Don Bosco (8-1) at #5 *Southeast Warren (10-0)

#11 New London (8-1) at #4 *Central City (9-0)

Iowa Valley Quadrant

#9 Turkey Valley (8-1) at #8 *Ackley AGWSR (7-2)

#15 Rockford (7-2) at #3 *Iowa Valley (9-0)

l Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.