Bransfield’s Monday Musings: Welcome to the BSS

ORLANDO >> So Connecticut is going to have eight high school football champions this fall. Eight state champions. In a state the size of a postage stamp.

The CIAC Football Committee had a meeting, talked about it and came up with this solution.


There will be four divisions, LL, L, M and S. Of course, there will really be eight divisions. The committee doesn’t call them eight divisions, but a rose by any other name…. Here’s what the committee did.

1. The current playoff points system – as unfair as it is – will continue to be used.
2. The top eight teams in each of the four classes will make the playoffs. That’s 32 teams, which common sense says is 16 too many.

Now the entertainment begins.

3. Those top eight teams will then be divided into two groups of four by enrollment. So even if a team has the highest number of playoff points, if its enrollment makes it fifth, it will not play against the other top three teams in points, but will be put into the group with the other three schools based on enrollment.

This they call fair.

4. Then the four teams in each subdivision will be reseeded by playoff points.

This they call sensible.

Then there will be eight semifinal games and four so-called championship games producing eight – that’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 champions.

This is called good.

Getting in the spirit of let’s give everyone a trophy, I propose that we give each division a proper name. Let’s call the largest enrollment class the RBHS division for Really Big Huge Schools.

Then the next division of LL schools, TNSBHS division for The Not So Big Huge Schools. I can’t wait to hear the cheerleaders spell out that one.

In Class L same thing. We can have the RBBS division – the Really Big Big Schools, and the NSBBS – the Not So Big Big Schools.

In Class M, first is the BMS – the Big Medium Schools, and the NSBMS – Not So Big Medium Schools.

Then for Class S we have the BSS – the Big Small Schools Division. And just for variety, we can have the TWSS for Teenie-Weenie Small Schools.

All of this makes marvelous sense, although living in Oz might be the place it really makes sense. After all, there is the enormous total of 140 high school football teams in Connecticut, of which perhaps 120 have exactly no chance of winning a state title. With eight divisions, that means a team will be champion of fewer than 18 schools.

That’s fewer schools than are members of the Central Connecticut Conference or the Southern Connecticut Conference.

Think this is silly? Welcome to the club.

But let’s cut to the chase. The real issue here is that the football committee just won’t budge off the the dime on 32 teams qualifying for the state playoffs, despite the fact that in the past few years, many playoff games were blowouts because there were a bunch of teams that had no business being in any postseason.

But that fact is ignored. The group did nothing to fix a broken playoff point system and did nothing to make sure that we had genuinely deserving state champions. Nope, they decided to have eight “state champions.”

Even the kids know that makes little sense.

But I really think we ought to use the acronyms. I can hear the coach now in the Big Small School division saying to his kids: “Our goal is to win the BSS championship.”

I figure the first two letters of that say all that needs to be said about this system.

But let’s be brutally frank: the football tail is wagging the dog. The season is absurdly long. It runs into mid-December, it forces winter coaches to prepare without key players across the state. The basketball season this year ends after spring has officially started.

The baseball and softball seasons run into the second weekend of June, after most parochial schools have dismissed for the year. And, if there were no snow days, public schools would be in the midst of final exams.

Football should be over by early December at the very latest.  Basketball should be over 10 days into March. Baseball should end in early June. The villain of the piece is football. Many say it’s out of control.

I love high school football, but I agree with that view. Time for adults who do not have vested interests to take control. Now.

Do legislators have a clue?

There are two proposals before the Connecticut General Assembly that will have a profound negative impact on youth and high school sports in Connecticut should they somehow find enough legislators to vote in favor. Both are classic examples of laws that are well-intentioned, but are speeding headlong down the road to hell.

One is HB 5113 entitled AN ACT CONCERNING YOUTH ATHLETICS AND CONCUSSIONS. Sounds like a wonderful thing, right? Read on.

This law would require that all coaches of all youth sports – Little League, American Legion, high school, AAU, you name it – retake a new course on concussions. This course must be taught to ALL PARENTS AND STUDENTS.

Wait a minute. As one coach said, “We can’t get all parents to come to a PTA meeting; how are we going to get them to take a course?

The same coach said: “What about single parents who have to work? What about parents who don’t care?

All parents and students must sign a consent form, parents must agree in writing that their child can return to play, even after a doctor has cleared the kid. Practice is limited to 90 minutes of contract, including scrimmages. All referees must take the coaches’ course.

All youth sports from Little League, to Park and Recreation programs, to AAU must have a concussion course and every kid over the age of 7 must have a concussion course.

And here’s the kicker. “Adherence to all requirements or be subject to civil action from the state attorney general.”

Look, we want our kids to be safe, but this is overkill on the grand scale. Once again, we have legislators delving headlong into areas they know little about. One coach said to me, “This would absolutely chase me out of coaching. It puts far too much burden on every coach at every level and at the end of the day, if I didn’t adhere to every single item, the attorney general is coming after me.”

Joe Serra. Matt Lesser. Paul Doyle. Christie Carpino, Dante Bartolomeo. All of you legislators, start talking to people.

Talk to Fred Balsamo, the head of the state athletic directors. Talk to coaches in your high school. Talk to Little League and AAU coaches. It’s asking too much and in my view – and in the view of coaches and administrators with whom I have talked – this is absurd.

Playing sports contain risk. People get hurt. There needs to be reasonable precautions. But this bill – and the somewhat less invasive SB 229 AN ACT CONCERNING SUDDEN CARDIAC ARREST PREVENTION, are simply unrealistic and, in the words of one administrator, “will devastate youth sports, not to mention drive high school coaches and officials out of their professions.”

There is the old line that says hide the women and children when the legislature is in session. On this one, add “hide the coaches and officials” to the list.

Here and there

Christina Harvey, a Middletown High alumna, Class of 2011, is having a great year for the indoor track team at Tufts University. While at MHS, she ran the anchor on the 4×200 relay team which still holds the school record … this year she did the same thing at Tufts, running the anchor in the 4×200 team which smashed a 30-year old record at the college with a time of 1:45.50 … Harvey also set the Jumbos’ record in the 60-yard dash with a time of 7.89 … Christina Harvey, this week’s winner of the Way To Go Award.

The MHS cheerleading team finished fifth overall out of 20 teams in the Central Connecticut Conference cheerleading championships last weekend … out of 87 cheerleaders who tried out for the All-CCC cheer team, some 40 were selected including Middletown’s Calvin Dempsey … Dempsey earned 58 of 60 points, the highest score of the day, and earned a certificate of excellence.
Paid more for a seat at the Braves exhibition game — $39 — than I paid for a ticket last summer in he same approximate area for a regular season game at Turner Field in Atlanta … think that the fact the stadium is in Disney World had something to do with that? … does the sun rise in the east? … if Arizona Gov. Brewer had not vetoed what was laughingly called the Religious Freedom Bill (a.k.a. as legalized bigotry against LGBT Americans) I would have hoped the NFL would have yanked the Super Bowl out of that sorry state … bet the NFL is breathing easier today.

Did you have any doubt that Mercy would dismantle Career in the SCC final? … me neither … lost in the game story about the MHS’ boys CCC playoff loss to Weaver was that Brandon Simmons had 38 points … kid can play, folks … I missed the 33-30 Xavier win over West Haven … throwback to the 1930s, huh?

Congratulations to area wrestlers who performed very well at the state meets … Xavier finished a close second in LL to Newtown … Middletown was a strong seventh in Class L … Will Chowanec (138), Brendan Butler (160) and Colin Cunningham (182) won individual state LL championships for Xavier … Cody Carrillo was Class L champ at 182 from Middletown … Ryan Henderson (145) and Zachary Roth (170) won state championships for Haddam-Killingworth.

The girls tourney gets underway this week … Mercy is home tonight with Crosby as it begins its run at a second straight LL crown … Middletown opens at home tomorrow night with East Lyme in Class L … lots of area teams in action tonight and tomorrow, too.

MHS super swimmer Matt Dagenais broke another all-time school record when he set a new time in the 200 yard freestyle of 1:47.16 against Bulkeley on Friday … the kid’s name is now on the record board six times … he holds the school record in the 200 free, the 200 individual medley and the 100 yard butterfly … he also is part of the school record holding 200 freestyle relay, the 200 medley relay and the 400 freestyle relay … oh, yeah, he’s a junior.

No surprise Xavier lost in the SCC playoffs to Career … Career is one of the state’s elite teams … Career is in Class L, which is shaping up as one very tough division .. the Falcons now prepare for the Class LL tourney.


  1. JB says

    Thanks, Jim … was not aware of the proposed legislation. Schools will be under the gun if this gets passed. Hopefully, coaches as employees, will not accrue any direct liability. Of course, they will need to be the front line in implementing the law. And as you point out, that could be a daunting task driving some coaches out of the business. That would be more collateral damage caused by this concussion “war-path” that is gripping the nation. However, the train has left the station and the CIAC is just trying to deal with it … I would guess that coaches are already noticing widespread decreases in participation in football as a result of the national spotlight on concussions over the past few years. It would be interesting to get an interview from these “medical experts” that are shaping the future of CT football and what their end-game looks like for our sport. What has changed so much in the past few years to warrant the backlash? I mean, we have had many business, academic and even former Presidents of the United State that played football in high school and college – all with head gear that was not very protective. So who are these “medical experts” and are they well qualified with thoughtful reasons for these changes/laws or are they just trying to “pass-the-buck” in regards to liability given the excessive public spotlight?

    • Sean Patrick BowleySean Patrick Bowley says

      I love Jim, and — as always he makes poignant observations — but everybody getting up in arms about the ‘mismatches’ must not remember the 6-Class, 4 playoff mess we had.

      The worthy teams from stronger conferences got left out and we still had the *same* issue of ‘mismatches.’

      The 8-team, 4-class playoff is/was the best playoff format in Connecticut. It really is the only way. You could argue how the seeding works, that it shouldn’t conform exactly to the points. I won’t. But you can. That’s fine and fair.

      But this whole argument against ‘mismatches’ — and we heard it mentioned by Dr. Williams on the 8-champ teleconference — is bunk. Newsflash: There are blowouts in sports, even in the playoffs.

      Stop using this as an argument, everyone.

  2. Sean Patrick BowleySean Patrick Bowley says

    Also: Jim’s ahead of the game on the subject of the legislation.

    Stripped to its essential message, the proposed bill and its proponents is why we have the playoff situation we’re in now. Not arguing that something needed to change, because there was no way the Tuesday-Saturday setup was ever going to last. I’m just saying this is what made it so.

    Stay tuned.

  3. NED says

    “The real issue here is that the football committee just won’t budge off the the dime on 32 teams qualifying for the state playoffs, despite the fact that in the past few years, many playoff games were blowouts because there were a bunch of teams that had no business being in any postseason”

    Aye, Sean, this is a moot point

    Here are the average scores during each round of the quarterfinal era:

    Quarterfinals: 36.84375 to 16.34375

    Semifinals: 36.09375 to 15.625

    Finals: 40.1875 to 15.625

    The biggest round for blowouts has been the finals with a 25.375 average margin of victory

    “After all, there is the enormous total of 140 high school football teams in Connecticut, of which perhaps 120 have exactly no chance of winning a state title”

    Another moot point as that’s the case in most CIAC team sports (see hockey, D-1)

    “The group did nothing to fix a broken playoff point system”

    Elaborate, please, why it’s broken. Curious

    Question, Jim – what’s your ideal football playoff model?

    If you contend that the system is broken, then please provide a better plan that would be too pragmatic to be ignored. I write that respectfully and not as a snarky troll (or ogre)

    It’s too easy to complain that the system is flawed without providing solutions

    Finally, re: your Orlando dateline – aren’t you the cosmopolitan

    • JB says

      NED – I think the point is that strength of schedule needs to be added to the point system primarily for LL qualifiers. If you re-run your numbers just for the LL division and also look at how the highest seeded teams faired, your conclusion would be very different. Last year alone, 4 out of the top 5 LL seeds were dispatched in round 1 – two of them routed. Newtown was beat by the 4th best FCIAC team and Hall was embarrassed by West Haven. For more competitive playoffs, Ridgefield should have played a Southington in round 1 not round 2. The result of a poor seeding system via the points alone can carry all the way into the finals. We need strength of schedule for the LL qualification to improve the playoffs … both either an 8-team or a 4-team format.

  4. JON says

    Great article but the idea of only having only 16 in the playoffs is a joke. For all of you fans or writers that dont really know what type of work goes into going 8-2 and even 9-1 in the fciac and not get into the playoffs is insane. Sorry, it is. When you look at hockey with only 20 teams in division 1 alone and having like 10 teams make it is a joke. What about lax when many state schools dont even have a teams and teams get in with .45 winning percentages, same with basketball. But we are ok with screwing many good football teams that get passed over by teams with better records in weaker conferences that can have 8 or 9 win seasons in FCIAC or SCC. This is ok?? Get real, if you only knew what goes into getting to that point to be let down is not right for THE KIDS!!!!!! The 4 conference 8 team was def the best option and should have tried to keep it with starting earlier and taking a game away from the season schedule.

  5. CT FAN MAN says

    There were so many upsets in this first round this year how can we say that we need to narrow the field? It was fine how it was last year. All we need to do is play games 7 days apart and thats it. First round games should be the thursday after thanksgiving. Semi Finals the following friday nights. Championships the following weekend. It goes later but then everyone is happy, keep thanksgiving and keep the playoffs. Winter sports can wait just as they do in every other state.

  6. JB says

    CT FAN MAN – the gripe is that some LL teams get into the playoffs with strong records from weak leagues, thus, the field of 8 is not necessarily the true top 8 teams. JON’s view resonates with everyone in the FCIAC and SCC when they see teams get in to the playoffs based on points earned from lower quality wins and then are easily dispatched in round 1 … that needs to be addressed. So adding a strength of schedule adjustment to the qualification point system fro the LL division, whether its an 8-team or 4-team playoff, is a must have to make the selection and seeding process more accurate. If you looked at the end of season CalPreps computer ranking for LL, that better captured the true ranking of the top 8 LL teams … the results from the CIAC-point seeded top 5 teams seemed to validate that CalPrep is a better seeding tool. Our goal should be to find the top 8 teams for the playoffs. Without the district model, one way to do so is to incorporate a strength of schedule component to the qualification point system. Every other state in the Nation has done this, even with the district model, in order to properly seed the playoff teams each year. So why can’t we do that?

  7. CT FAN MAN says

    JB- LL isnt the only class that experiences seeding issues. Cap Prep has been the #1 seed in S the last 3 years and has been eliminated in the first round all 3 years. That is why I believe we keep it all like it is but just play the playoff games a bit further apart. The winter sports will catch up just like the spring sports do for the later bball tourney. I also think we should start a week earlier and every team have a bye built in on week 5 or 6 (major SAT weekends). This would keep kids from playing 14 or 15 straight weeks of football.

    • ter says

      the crazy thing about your last sentence is that those teams the played 15 games this season actually played them in 14 weeks, which is even worse….. this whole thing is such a joke and unfortunately is going to end with thanksgiving no longer being the regular season finale

  8. Time To settle it on the field says

    How many blowouts would there have been if you put the top 8 teams in an open playoff division ?

    • JB says

      Same issue if you use the state point system … and it could be worse if a bunch of S teams choose to play up based upon high points from primarily soft S schedules.

  9. CT FAN MAN says

    @Time to settle- Wont ever and should never happen. No other state puts small and larger schools against each other just for the fans satisfaction of finding the true number 1. This is still HS football. There will always be multiple state champs. Its the writers and coaches job to vote on who #1 is. IF your team does its job and wins the state title thats all the satisfaction those kids need.

  10. brownie says

    As I have said repeatedly, have a tech school champion, a private school champion and two or three public school champions and the case is settled.

    • ACL says

      I agree with the private school division but not the tech division. The tech schools already play each other in conference play. All the tech division would be is a conference championship. A strength of schedule component would level the playing field in regards to the number of tech teams that get in but can’t compete.

  11. ACL says

    The strength of schedule component can not be used only for LL. As someone noted above, Capital Prep is a great example for S. It happened in M this year as well, with two teams qualifying while the majority of their regular season games were played against weak S teams. And let’s not forget about Platt (L). They played two teams from their division this season and one of those was in the first round of the playoffs. Strength of schedule is not isolated to LL and needs to be applied to all classes.

  12. Rob (OCEC) says

    As this conversation continues to roil at a steady boil, no one seems to want to infringe on Football games being part of the regular season on the 4th Thursday in November. Plenty of comments request the addition of a “strength of schedule” component while there already exists one in the point system. I suppose it’s not good enough? CLAPREPS is the only answer to save the sanctity of HS Football right?

    I Love High School football. What I fail to understand, and please don’t tell me about the “Great Rivalries” is the necessity to play in-season football on Thanksgiving. Additionally, why do the Winter Sports have to absorb the stupidity and ego of the Football contingent? Shouldn’t the adults in the organization be able to make a decision that grants a fair deal to each sport season?

    There was a numerical set above that showed football scores throughout the playoffs are blowouts. Why do we limit the field then? Make it more like Basketball, Baseball and whatever. Seed the top 16 or 32 per class and have at it.

    Consider the Cinderella Stories from the NCAA Basketball Tournaments like Valpo, or Villanova which was the 6th seed (which would have equated to about 20th or lower in the AP) in it’s region when it won the whole thing. Under the mentality of what is said above, those teams, and subsequent stories, would have never been told. Imagine a team that battles through an 8-2 season where they only lost to the Class L and LL champions from the previous year then go on to win their own state championship. Oh wait, you don’t have to imagine it, the M #4 seed in 2012 Hillhouse did it. In that same bracket the #8 and #6 seeded teams won their openers as well.

    Continuing to say that the lower seeds “don’t belong” is absurd. Holding onto some ideal of in-season football on the 4th Thursday in November but then being upset about winter weather and travel for the football playoffs is asinine. Having to play 10 or 11 games to determine who is in the playoffs or not means that people fail at Math. 6-8 games of Regular season should suffice. If you can’t figure it out by then, move to Vermont and develop a fondness for Curling.

    The biggest thing that irks me though is that people on these sort of posts who claim to love Football, then have a disdain for a system that provides more football. How do you sleep at night?

    More Football(Specifically More Playoff Football) = A GOOD THING.

    • Just Sayin says

      High school football doesn’t play 10 or 11 games to determine who makes the playoffs, they play that many to provide high school athletes with a sport to play and a season to play it in. It’s not whether or not there’s more football for Rob to blog about, it’s whether or not there’s more football for the athletes. 6 games? These kids work their asses off in practice. They ALL deserve a full season.

  13. JON says

    Come on the winter season goes FOREVER and many teams waste the entire christmas vacation with 1 or even 0 games played.. Give me a break, they should at least have a game right before and even a couple after christmas as the kids are not traveling and have to be there to practice. They also play close to 20 games not including conference playoffs and states if they make it. Football should start a week earlier and maybe hoops pushes back its start 5 days, not a huge deal seeing the amount of games being played. Best option was 4 rounds with 8 teams the way it was, just spread it out a few extra days!!! Snow storm panic time- this wasnt being brought up the past couple years without the snow.

  14. joe says

    the idea that football is the main culprit in the other seasons going to long is bull. 15 games in high school football is to many especially when played in 14 weeks. 12 should be the max games but even still why does it matter if it goes to the second week of december??? there is no reason basketball needs to open up that 2nd week

    i coach hoops for ansonia who’s football team is playing in the final week every year. is it fair that we dont get our full team right from the start?? no. is it fair to the kids that want to play both sports?? no. but i still dont think the solution is ending football earlier. we play 2 games a week. sometimes 1. there is no reason we cant start our season the week of christmas break, and play 2 or 3 weeks where teams play 3 games so the season still finishes around the same time. as for spring sports, who is getting hurt by basketball going into late march??? most high school baseball fields are in no condition to start using in april anyway so they cant start any earlier even if everything else ended a week or two earlier.

  15. Rob (OCEC) says

    Joe says, “12 should be the max games but even still why does it matter if it goes to the second week of December???” On point 1, I agree, 12 games max. That means with 3 weeks of playoffs, you are now limited to a 9 week regular season. We found out this year that you can no longer play the Tuesday-Friday-Fri/Sat playoff gauntlet, so that means there is no reason to adhere to regular season games on the 4th Thursday in November. Since that is the case, why not have game 1 of the season on Labor Day weekend and you’d be having either semifinal or finals games on that weekend just after the 4th Thursday in November. Second, I don’t really care how far into December they go, take it all the way to the end like College Bowl games, just don’t complain about the snow and cold during those games. I do agree that the Basketball folks can adjust, most do already, their schedule to be lighter in the beginning then pick up as the season rolls on.

    All of the “Basketball can suck it up folks” fail to address what I identified as the “Real Culprit”. That being the adherence to the sanctity of “In-Season football” being played on the 4th Thursday in November. Remember the following:

    More Football = Better

    • UBilly says

      Rob (OCEC),

      When you say more football = Better, you are not taking into account all the teams that do not make the playoffs. When you reduce the number of regular season games, you are taking games away from most of the states teams. Keep 10 regular season games for all those kids who put in tons of time but are not playing in the post season.

      If you expand the playoffs more as you suggested above and drop the regular season to less than 8 games (you said 6-8), many teams might only play 6 games, half the teams that qualify for states would only play 7 games, 75% of teams who qualify would be “lucky” enough to at least get to 8 games. That is why you can’t cut the regular season to 6 games. I couldn’t tell you who are the best teams in 6 games and I don’t like curling. We may miss a “Villanova” story in the playoffs, but we maintain the integrity of the regular season, something college basketball has not done.

      The nice thing about football as opposed to the other “everyone gets to play playoffs” sports, you need to win to get in. It is the only sport where good isn’t good enough. Yes there are inequities due to schedules, but bottom line: You need to prove it on the field by winning week in and week out. Many teams get to have good seasons, but only a few get to enjoy great seasons. Isn’t that more like real life?

      • JB says

        The NCAA “real” D-1 has struggled with the same trade-off for years. It has chosen strong regular seasons, steeped in rival games and tradition capped off by a 4-team playoff. For football that is a more sustainable format given the inability to go to a 64 “March Madness” type playoff. The opposite works well for basketball. The differences between the two sports are important … and we shouldn’t try to make football into basketball.

        • Rob (OCEC) says

          D-1 has it’s problems, but D-2 and D-3 both play a fair sized bracketed playoff. It doesn’t seem to hurt their reputation or limit opportunities. As to Ubilly’s comment about win and get in, address that to the people who keep calling out the “Pretenders” with 10-1, 9-2 or 11-0 records who get into the playoffs. I stand by the perfect regular season gets you a playoff spot mentality. If your schedule was weak, you might suffer in the playoffs, but you get to play in them. I’m not stuck to 6 games, but 8 wouldn’t be insulting. Teams do not have to play 10 or 11 regular season games for their season to have meaning. As for not taking into account the teams that do not make the playoffs, get better, Period. The current system doesn’t take them into account. There were no tears shed for a very good Foran team, outside the Foran Fan Base, for their well played 8-3 regular season that I can recall. I would say that they would have given at least 3 teams in the playoffs problems. Furthermore, why does “Luck” have to be part of the equation? Teams are either good enough to progress through the playoffs, or they aren’t. You make Luck comments then talk about the Integrity of the regular season? Puhleeze.

          As for turning Football into Basketball, I recognize the damage to the body effect. However, if the season ended after 9 games, you could have 4 rounds of playoffs (16 teams selected) and have only played in 13 games total for just 2 teams, 12 total for 2 more, 11 for 4 more and 10 for 8 more.

          And for Just Sayin’ ; Your comments are ridiculous. My statement has nothing to do with me being able to “Blog” about anything. Rather, it’s about the silliness of having to maintain regular season football on the 4th Thursday in Novemebr then turn around and continue to complain about the weather in early to mid December.

          • Just Sayin says

            Ignorant commenters use the word ridiculous with regularity here.
            High School sports are an extra curricular activity designed to provide student athletes with the opportunity to play for their school. My son worked his ass off to play for a state semi-finalist this year and played 13 games. He would have liked to have played one more but he was lucky enough to have played for a winner. Last year they went 7-3 and missed out on the playoffs, losing to 3 state champs. Your comment is to “get better”. Well, they were pretty damn good, but had a tough schedule and came up short. The seniors on that 7-3 team were certainly deserving of a 10 game season after 7 months of lifting and passing leagues and summer practice in 90 degree heat. By the way, the players on the 0-10 teams were working their butts off too.
            They already play less games than the playoff teams, should we take some more away? We always play to win, we should, but high school sports weren’t invented so you could know who the state champ was every year. It was put in place so students could compete.
            Go ahead, tell me this comment is ridiculous too
            Also, I froze my tail off at that semi-final game and loved every second of it. I don’t recall complaining about any weather.
            I’m also a supporter of Thanksgiving football. That’s because I get was high school sports is about. RIDICULOUS!

          • UBilly says

            Perfect, Just Sayin. The season is the journey, lets enjoy that as much as the destination of the playoffs.
            If the playoffs weren’t so hard to get into, would they be as important?
            Don’t skimp on the regular season as to most teams, every week is important.

  16. JON says

    Stick with 4 divisions with 8 teams starting on Thanksgiving or that weekend. Keep Thanksgiving games for all the teams that dont make the playoffs and then if teams make the playoffs maybe they can match up the team’s opponents that make playoffs with another playoff team’s opponent so teams still can play on thanksgiving in a sort of bowl match up. This could keep the thanksgiving matchups for the majority of teams that dont make the playoffs while matching up regionally the opponents of teams that get in or by size etc. This should be looked at.

    .80 win percentage should get you in, its not basketball at all, but the fact these kids work year round to get to this point only not to get in (4 teams really??) Log jam of teams with similar records to be determined by records of teams from weaker conferences to the stronger ones? Not fair, no matter what way you slice. Keep 32 teams which still keeps the regular season important as 8-2 barely gets you in as is.

  17. Rob (OCEC) says

    @Just Sayin’; Ignorance is an absence of understanding whereas what you display is more along the lines of accepted stupidity and continued Idiocy. You either refuse to read anything written or choose to argue based on a single word. In the case of the team you support, your son’s I assume, my ideas would have granted them two years of playoffs rather than just the one. If you take the time to read what is written rather than being an Internet Troll, you would have seen that. Granted that football is a sport provided for participation to students but don’t they deserve a quality product? If there is flaw in the system shouldn’t it be corrected in a manner that serves the football players? I am not against football on Thanksgiving, BUT, it doesn’t have to be part of the regular season. If you read Jon’s comments above, I sort of agree with him. While you, specifically, may not have complained about the weather, there were plenty who did. There were page long posts about how dangerous it is to drive in the snow and how it was such an “injustice” for the Darien VS New Canaan Class L Championship game to be at CCSU rather than the field nearer to them. One of the reasons cited the long drive in the harsh snow conditions. Your emotional comments about what a student athlete “deserves” are admirable but I think you are wrong. Student athletes should be provided a safe and fair environment within which to compete. They should be provided an even metric to gage whether they are better or not better than other participants. In the current system it gets done but there are systemic flaws such as inequity between leagues. Some teams play a schedule that is brutal while others don’t. They, the CIAC, have to “pick a poison” so to speak. Currently, the toxins of choice are no less than 32 teams in the post season, regular season games on the 4th Thursday in November and removal of the Thursday / Tuesday / Friday gauntlet at the end of November. Going back to what I said, if you start the season on 5 September, run 9 games across 10 weeks for the season with a Bye in there somewhere you could start the playoffs on the 14 of November with 16 teams in 4 Classes. 8 per class would play on the 21st leaving 16 teams that would be playing “play-off” football on Thanksgiving Weekend. The rest could play their rivalry game just like they have for however long they have played it. So Thanksgiving weekend is the Semi-Finals with Championship weekend on the 5th/6th of December. Every team gets 9 regular season games, a 10th game if they aren’t in the playoffs on Thanksgiving (same as you said they “Deserve”). Playoff bound teams add a game per round they advance and if they are eliminated in week 1 or 2 of the playoffs, they can choose to play their Thanksgiving Day game. Percentages for Playoffs would be 9-0=100%, 8-1=89%, 7-2=78%, 6-3=67% it wouldn’t be inconceivable to see teams at 6-3 qualifying for the playoffs if there were 16 per class. A 6-3 team that played through the SCC Div 1 would not be out of place in the playoffs in any class. Again, I say take a look at Foran this past year. They would have competed in the playoffs.

    My final comments, you wrote; “That’s because I get was high school sports is about. RIDICULOUS!” I’m at least average with my understanding of the English language, but what? Are you saying you have an elevated understanding of the “meaning” of high school sports? I contend otherwise based on your incoherent ranting. Rather than tearing down someone else’s idea and providing you feminine emotional response, how about presenting a genuine thought of your own.

    So sayeth this “Ignorant Commenter”.

    • Just Sayin says

      Once again, you misunderstand. High School football already IS and HAS been a quality product for over 100 years. So you think I’m wrong that All athletes deserve a full season? Then you don’t GET it. You wrote “6-8 games should suffice” not 9. If a team goes 7-3, loses to 3 state champs, and doesn’t make the playoffs, they’ve already played a quality season. If they don’t make the playoffs so be it. It’s not always going to be perfect. Deal with it. As for Foran, they are a good example of why Every team deserves a full season. They are SCC Div 2 by the way. 8-3 this year. A great season, but a little bit short. But still much better than 6-8 games. Do you go to the games Friday night? That’s what it’s about isn’t it? Better to have 10 Friday nights than 6-8, no? I’m sure your reading comprehension is just fine, but I used small words anyway.

      You’ve now called me ridiculous, stupid, an idiot, a troll, incoherent and feminine.
      You may have some issues with maturity.
      I root for North Haven. Come on down sometime. You’ll find me quite personable.

      • ACL says

        @Just Sayin’ – Rob’s point in regards to Foran is that as a M (D2) team playing in the SCC, they played a much more difficult schedule than half of the teams who qualified in the M division and should have qualified for the playoffs based on their strength of schedule, similar to your situation the previous season.

        While I am an ardent member of the Foran Fan Base, he is absolutely correct that the Lions would have put a much better product on the field than a few of the teams that qualified. The strength of schedule component (or lack of it) needs to be addressed by the CIAC.

        Our three losses were to NH, Shelton, and WH. Nothing to sneeze at and the only game that was never a doubt was WH.

        • Just Sayin says

          I completely agree that Foran was much better than not just some M schools ahead of them but also L schools. But that speaks more to figuring strength of schedule into the playoff equation rather than the number of games played. My point about Foran was simply that they worked too hard, were too good, to be relegated to a shorter regular season. If they had gone 6-5 and were not on the playoff bubble, they still deserved to play a full 10 game season(11 last year).

  18. Mark says

    I like JON”S idea. I also think that only having 4 teams get in per division would be OK as well. The thing that seems most obvious is that there should NOT be 8 state champions, that is ridiculous

    • JB says

      I don’t see the FCIAC going along with a district model. There is way too much history to throw away for the benefit of adding one round to the playoffs. Plus, the crossover competition is likely better within the FCIAC conference than what folks have penciled in as the LL and L districts in its region. And eliminating the T-day “play-in” / rival traditions as well as the conference title game? DOA.

      • Sean Patrick BowleySean Patrick Bowley says

        A lot of coaches are into the district model, quite frankly. Been getting a lot of interest, emails etc.

          • Sean Patrick BowleySean Patrick Bowley says

            The Leagues won’t go for it because, well, it would destroy them. You’d need a schools revolution, as it were.

        • JB says

          Sean, school revolution would be a minimum! But I understand the frustration of many FCIAC coaches – the chance of making States from the FCIAC is harder than all other conferences except the SCC. Only way to make things more accuarate and fair is to introduce a strength of schedule adjustment to qualifiaction so the best possible teams are making States. A bunch of FCIAC and SCC coaches have a legitimate gripe – they can only play who they play, but get no recognition in the CIAC point system for playing a much stronger schedule than other State qualifiers.

          • Sean Patrick BowleySean Patrick Bowley says

            Once again: No, on the strength of schedule adjustment, because the schools are stuck in the leagues and we can’t be in the business of penalizing schools just because they happen to be in a certain part of the state. Poor NFA, man, they’d be screwed yearly because they’re stuck in the ECC. So screw that.

            And don’t say ‘then change leagues!’ … because, what’s HS sports all about, making sure our football seedings are more fair by uprooting towns and leagues?

            If that’s the case, if that’s what you want then DISTRICT MODEL the state. Might as well.

          • JB says

            Tough being between that darn rock and hard place ! Let’s use the NHR media poll and get rid of the point system if not fair for anyone. Your views on at least that overlay?

          • Sean Patrick BowleySean Patrick Bowley says

            I’m not as bent about it as you and others are, quiet honestly because, to win a title you have to play the best teams eventually. Whomever wins it, is the worthy winner.

            The only way to truly fix ‘seeding’ is to go district, and then you could probably add a qualifier.

  19. ACL says

    While I know the names Jim came up with in this article were made with tongue firmly planted in cheek, he makes a point. If we are going to be stuck with this ridiculous system for one season, why bother with re-seeding the teams? Separate the teams into their eight divisions prior to the season, re-name them, and go with it. While the idea of eight champs is nonsensical, what is even worse is that there will be two schools in each division claiming to be 2014 champs. Here is my idea on what they should be named:


    I know its semantics but it seems a bit more palatable than two champs per division. Not to mention the fact that re-seeding seems pointless if they start the season in these classifications. Thoughts?

    • JB says

      ACL – very logical, sounds right to me. However, that darn point system would deliver too many “pretenders” … the remix is an attempt to neutralize the issue by going to top 8 and then divide. Assign the 2013 top 4 point getters to each of your divisions and you will see the issue.

      • JB says

        ACL – here is the hypothetical 2013 top division:

        LLLL – Glastonbury, NFA, Southington, Newtown

        All but Southington lost in round 1 of the actual 2013 playoffs … those 4 teams are not the top 4 biggest-school teams in CT. No way. Newtown plays mostly S level teams. They got 100 points for an Immaculate forfeit … come’on, man !

        • ACL says

          @JB – Excellent point. I didn’t realize how much it would change things. That being said, they should still rename after re-seeding. Two champs per division is a farce.

          • JB says

            Agreed … protecting certain schools in weaker conferences seems to be the CIAC mantra … “hey, they can only play what is set before them” … but that is true for teams in the stronger leagues without any recognition of the same issue but from top program losses … they can only play what is set in front of them as well. Someone like Foran not making the M playoffs is to me way more of a tragedy than protecting certain schools in weak conference – the philosophy is bad for competition and is demoralizing for the kids. We need to make this more about achievement and less about entitlement. Just my view.

  20. ACL says

    @JB – couldn’t agree more. I thought the last bastion of ‘everyone gets a trophy’ was high school sports but I guess not. We are raising a generation of marshmallows because they have been brought up believing they deserve recognition for just showing up and the CIAC is folding to the pressure brought to bear by the parents raising this generation. That’s my view but I guess I’m old school nowadays.

  21. CT FAN MAN says

    My honest opinion is that the people whom are complaining about strength of schedule are those were left out of the playoffs. Just like in college if you win all your games youll have a shot. I dont want to hear about a 4 or 5 loss team complaining about how their schedule was tough, if you want to be the best you have to beat the best. Like SPB said the best team usually wins the state championship. System was fine last year all you had to do was separate the playoff games further apart.

    • ACL says

      The complaint isn’t about being left out, its about the teams that get in and don’t compete when they get there. And we’re not talking about 4 or 5 loss teams.

      There are teams that qualified for the playoffs that didn’t play the majority of their games at their division or higher and benefitted from it. Those teams pushed out teams that challenged themselves throughout the regular season.

      That is the point of the strength of schedule argument. Nothing more, nothing less.

  22. JON says

    Exactly! Keep the same system as the past few years, start the playoffs earlier on Thanksgiving or that weekend, teams who dont get in get to play thanksgiving games and match up the team’s opponents who get into the playoffs like a bowl match up. Its really not gonna effect that many teams across the state overall when 32 get in out of how many teams total? This would be AWESOME. They should look into this next years after this year’s system fails.

  23. CT FAN MAN says

    So we are really talking about two teams then right? Platt and Newtown. I dont think we need to re invent the wheel because 2 teams didnt perform well beacuse of a weka schedule.

  24. ACL says

    Platt, Newtown, Capital Prep, Prince Tech, Quinebaug Valley, Valley Regional (even though they won a game, it was against the weakest team in the playoffs, IMO), and Gilbert NW are the types of teams we are talking about. That is 20% of the 32 team playoff field. So no, its not about just two teams.

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