CIAC football will crown eight state champions in 2014

Ansonia celebrates its Class S championship Friday night. Three more finals are set to kick off today (Photo Mara Lavitt)

Ansonia celebrates its Class S championship Friday night. Three more finals are set to kick off today (Photo Mara Lavitt)

The CIAC agreed Tuesday on changes to the state playoff format in football. Under the adopted proposal, there will be eight state champions for the 2014 season, doubling the number from this past season.

Like last season, the tournament will still consist of 32 teams but, under the new format, the quarterfinal round, which was established in 2010 and played the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, will be eliminated. A semifinal round will be contested on the Saturday 10 days after Thanksgiving and championship games will be played the following Saturday.

The top eight teams in each division based on the current CIAC point system will qualify for the postseason. Once the qualifying teams are determined, they will be divided into two groups of four by enrollment and seeded into two separate brackets based on the point system. The winner of each four-team division will be crowned a state champion. Additional decisions on the sites and schedules for the semifinals and finals for this year’s postseason will be decided at a later date.

Eight champions will be the most ever in one season in this state. On several occasions, most recently in 2009, six champions were crowned. Many pundits feel eight champions is too much for a state this size.

“Not one coach, and very few that I’ve talked to, are comfortable with eight state champs,” said Hand coach Steve Filippone, a consultant to the CIAC football committee. “But our hand is forced by the people advising the CIAC to not have that middle of the week (quarterfinal) game. It’s an inevitable part of the climate. Something had to give, and this is it.”

This new system allows a minimum of one week between each game, which is in accordance with a strong recommendation of the Connecticut State Medical Society, a body the CIAC consulted when exploring changes to the playoff format.

Safety appeared to be the CIAC’s main concern for restructuring the playoff format. Last year, due to an extra week in the schedule, teams were allowed to play 11 regular season games. For a handful of teams who advanced to a league championship, and then reached a state final, they played as many as 15 games last season.

“Mainly for the health and safety of our young people we listened to the trainers and medical field,” said Dr. Leroy Williams, the chairman of the CIAC football committee, Tuesday via teleconference. “We feel very comfortable that we are coming in line with the medical community.”

Despite some reservations, Filippone was content with the committee’s decision because it was based on recommendations from the medical community. At the committee meeting last month, Filippone said they agreed to keep the number of qualifying teams at 32 and not amend the regular season for 2014.

“I think the committee did the right thing,” Filippone said. “It’s only for one year. We weren’t about to go backwards or cut down on the number of teams that can participate but the message from medical professionals is, they looked at national data and had concerns about playing Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday, and that the Tuesday (the quarterfinals) game had to go.”

League championship games for the FCIAC and SWC will still be played the week before Thanksgiving, and the new system keeps Thanksgiving Day rivalries as the last game of the regular season. Williams says the committee talked about playing a quarterfinal game before Thanksgiving, but decided against it for this season.

Filippone said future discussion may include exploring the idea of contesting the quarterfinal round before Thanksgiving or “manipulating the start of the season”.

“We plan on finding a way to include quarterfinals in our playoff system,” Filippone said. “We have very reliable assurance from the CIAC that they’re going to allow us to amend it for the following season. Our committee has work to do.”

Crazy Eights

If the new state playoff system was implemented for last year, the fields would have looked like this, with each school’s boys enrollment in parentheses. –Sean Patrick Bowley


2013 Playoffs [Southington champion]

1. Newtown (905) | 2. Glastonbury (1077) | 3. Hall (725) | 4. Southington (1009) | 5. Norwich Free Academy (1071) | 6. West Haven (794) | 7. Fairfield Prep (896) | 8. Ridgefield (906)

Under 2014 format

  • Upper Division: 1. Glastonbury (1077), 2. Southington (1009), 3. NFA (1071), 4. Ridgefield (906)
  • Lower Division: 1. Newtown (905), 2. Hall (725), 3. West Haven (794), 4. Fairfield Prep (896).


2013 Playoffs [New Canaan champion]

1. Darien (659) | 2. Platt (619) | 3. New Canaan (629) | 4. Middletown (674) | 5. New London (536) | 6. Farmington (678) | 7. North Haven (625) | 8. Hand (617)

Under 2014 format:

  • Upper Division: 1. Darien (659), 2. New Canaan (629), 3. Middletown (674), 4. Farmington (678)
  • Lower Division: 1. Platt (619), 2. New London (536), 3. North Haven (625), 4. Hand (617)


2013 Playoffs [St. Joseph champion]

1. Valley Regional/Old Lyme (409) | 2. St. Joseph (440) | 3. Barlow (487) | 4. Bethel (502) | 5. Brookfield (433) | 6. Gilbert/Northwestern (431) | 7. Ledyard (465) | 8. Quinnebaug Valley Co-Op (508)

Under 2014 format

  • Upper Division: 1. Barlow (487), 2. Bethel (502), 3. Ledyard (465), 4. Quinnebaug Valley (508).
  • Lower Division: 1. Valley Regional (409), 2. St. Joseph (440), 3. Brookfield (433), 4. Gilbert/Northwestern (431).


2013 Playoffs [Ansonia champion]

1. Capital Prep Co-op (239) | 2. Ansonia (323) | 3. Rocky Hill (345) | 4. Woodland (363) | 5. Morgan (308) | 6. Prince Tech (359) | 7. Coginchaug (279) | 8. Bloomfield (276)

Under 2014 format:

  1. Upper Division: 1. Ansonia (323), 2. Rocky Hill (345), 3. Woodland (363), 4. Prince Tech (359).
  2. Lower Division: 1. Capital Prep Co-Op (239), 2. Morgan (308), 3. Coginchaug (279), 8. Bloomfield (276).


  1. Bubba says

    The medical community has no data to support their assumptions. How many injuries occurred during the playoffs this past season? It’s a total knee jerk by CIAC. An organization afraid of it’s own shadow. It’s a CIAC football tournament, and you don’t have to participant. I would like to see some schools or leagues opt out and play their own tourney. This committee made a huge mistake with this decision and it will be a joke of a tournament. 8 divisions is like have co-champs per Division.

    • WHAT A JOKE! says

      You got to be kidding me? CIAC how dumb do you think we are. All this is, is naming co-champs per class. “Let’s have everyone qualify as usual and then split each division in two and call them section 1 and 2 in each class”. THAT IS CO CHAMPS! This is an absolute joke and a disgrace. CT is going to be a laughing stock with this. Way to ruin a good thing CIAC. Can we please get someone to run this organization that has an ounce of brain cells? I hope SPB and his counterparts destroy this in the media and force some sort of change. If a vast majority of people voice their displeasure something has to change. Petition anyone?

  2. PapaDags says

    Ciac can’t seem to get anything right, this is ridiculous- 8 champs when 4 is too many to begin with…Good thing the Register does the REAL championship format–1 team on top- as it should be-ESPECIALLY in such a small state as ours.

  3. SWC future says

    So nothing is being done about the point system which is one of the real problems with CTHSFB. These guys are jokes and just keep making decisions causing more problems down the road.

    So the new format, class LL would have had two state champions in Southington and Fairfield Prep? Southington was definitely the best LL team in CT and now they would have to share that honor because in CT, one in 18 high schools will now be state champs.

    Class M would have had Barlow and Joes sharing the title when Joes absolutely demolished barlow???

    I don’t care if this is for one year, these guys had a chance to still play the qt finals, start the season earlier and change the point system! But what did they do, the solution that is the standard for all youth sports, give everybody a participation trophy.

  4. ACL says

    If the CIAC is going to re-seed the teams by size, why not just come up with 8 classes? Then each class has their own playoff standings. Something like:


    Four teams from each of the new classes qualify using the current point system. I know it’s just semantics but I think it is more palatable to have the above named classes (or something similar) than naming two champs per class. Not sayin’, just sayin’.


    There have been discussions about the growing number of premier travel (AAU-like) programs in many sports that are taking high school players away from their high school teams – hockey, soccer, etc. Football has a bunch of programs like this too just none in CT yet. Some people believe that high school football will eventually go this route. The best players will play for elite, travel programs and the rest will play for their lowly, little high school team. One thing that will quicken the pace at which this happens is ridiculous changes that affect how people perceive the organization that makes the rules. A governing body must make changes that do not negatively affect its credibility, reputation, or respectability, otherwise players and teams are going to look to play elsewhere.

    Imagine a football season where NH County’s best play Fairfield County’s best this week while New London County’s play Hartford County’s, etc. Next week, NH County plays the team from Western Mass, and Fairfield plays the Westchester County team. High School football will then be insignificant and become obsolete.

    Be careful CIAC. This may not happen in the next ten years, but it will happen if the decisions being made are knee-jerk, band-aid decisons made based off of little if ant empirical data just to appease a specific interest group.

  6. CT FAN MAN says

    I feel like this is a 1 year stop gap that will set up a major change that will come next year.

    As far as I know, no state has 1 champion, its ridiculous to think we wouldnt separate by size and eclare different state champs, just as every other state does.

    The whole idea of AAU taking over is also crazy. States such FL, TX, VA, CA and Ohio have no problem with this and they are some of the strongest football staes. Not sure where you are getting this info from.

    I also agree with the idea that we should just give all 8 classes different names or classifcations.

  7. Dan the Man says

    a private school division and a tech division would be great. then have 4 divisions(s,m,l,ll) with 4 teams qualifying. that would keep it at 32 teams. The private division would be interesting. the likes of xavier, prep, holy cross, nd west haven, and nw catolic would be enough to have a valid field. the tech schools would taste some post season success as well.

  8. Rob says

    Probably because they know the public reaction is going to be overwhelmingly negative, the CIAC and its representative (such as Coach Filippone) keep stressing the point that this is only going to the format this year and that in 2015 and beyond, they will try to find a new system that goes back to having quarterfinal games.

    I have two questions on this:

    1. What is going to change between now and one year from now in regards to this topic? No matter what, we are still left with the same basic problem. If we keep Thanksgiving Day games as part of the regular season, then there is no room on the calendar for three rounds of playoffs. This is the fundamental problem that is still going to be there one year from now.

    2. The idea of altering the playoff format was first discussed in January. How was there not enough time to find a good, permanent solution for THIS year. They had all of January, all of February, and really all spring and summer to come up with something. Why do we need a temporary solution at all? As long as the playoff format was decided before the regular season starts, it’s totally workable.

  9. Frank says

    There will be no argument from the FCIAC. They keep their Conference Championship, money bowl and they can still maintain their creative scheduling format that maximizes their participation in the CIAC Tournament. SCC are the losers in this debocal. They beat the hell out of each other and maybe they get 3 or 4 teams in.

  10. Jay says

    CT has always been considered a joke in High School football and this doesn’t help. 8 champions in a state so small is a joke. Our kids deserve better than this.

  11. Crimson Crusader says

    I actually like Brownie’s idea….private schools and tech schools should have their own playoffs but the CIAC would never go along with that…..The CIAC should advise schools to limit pre-season scrimmages to just two, start the regular season one week earlier, count only the first 10 games toward the playoffs and have quarter-final playoff games played a week before Thanksgiving. Also Turkey Day games would not count in the points process….at least everyone (including medical community) has a say in this and those who lament that Thanksgiving games are a money-maker and should not be touched, can retain the cash cow…

  12. Talkin' bout playoffs!!? says

    As the girl’s basketball pairings came out today, I thought, why does the football season have to end when the CIAC says it does now? In basically all sports besides football, if you win 8 games, 8 GAMES!, out of 20 you make the playoffs. Why not cut down on the winter season playoffs, and let the football season extend a week and keep the prior format just pushing the quarterfinals back and playing weekly playoff games? There is no reason a boat load of 8-12, 9-11 and 10-10 winter sports teams should make the playoffs. Especially when you see 8-2 teams not make it in football. This playoff system is a joke and the CIAC should be ashamed of themselves. How is it that they can not care about the reaction when it has been ALL NEGATIVE!

  13. Marcus Da Truth says

    Would this safety issue even be around if it didn’t snow the day of the state championship games. Would this playoff issue even come up if didn’t snow that day??

      • ITK says

        Clearly the CIAC could care less about the winter sports who’s season openers are 4 days after the football championship. They’re so concerned about safety yet now twice as many teams will not allow winter athletes any rest nor a preseason to transition to the other sport. If injuries rise students will be forced to choose between football and their winter sport – this isn’t good for anyone other than the almighty self-serving football coaches who already think they are more important than they really are. I bet the CIAC would be willing to shorten the winter season though!

        • Tom Unger, Head Coach Guilford High School says

          this is totally untrue. I wrestled my senior year of high school. My football season ended on thanksgiving at Guilford. Then I worked 3 days at Fonicello’s home and garden center outdoors and then started wrestling practice on monday. I turned out just fine. Your comment holds no merit and your disrespect to football coaches is unwarranted. My peers in the profession work around the clock helping their players and most push their players to achieve in other sports. In Guilford the 3 lacrosse captains are football players, the top wrestler in the SCC tournament was a football player and we have numerous players play hockey, baseball, basketball, etc.

          Also, I love reading the articles on this site and seeing the blogs occasionally. However, the anonymous posting needs to be put to an end. If you want to make your statements and hide behind your computer do it somewhere else. Put your name on your comments and take ownership of what you say. It is borderline cowardice to post anonymously and post some of the negativity that is on here.

          SPB, I love your insight and commitment to high school sports, anyway we could do something about reducing the anonymous negativity that is put on these pages?

          • ter says

            if you honestly believe this format doesn’t negatively impact winter sports then you dont have a clue. this format does nothing but discourage multi sport athletes by forcing them to choose a sport when we should be encouraging kids to play as many sports as possible. i do not agree that most coaches discourage their players from playing other sports. i know coach brockett in ansonia is very supportive of the basketball program and tries to get kids to play both sports, but its hard as a kid to transition from playing 15 games in 14 weeks and then playing a basketball game 3 days later with only 2 practices. football shape and basketball shape are not even in the same planet and the kids need that week in between to get their conditioning up to par to be ready to play basketball.

            and as you said your season ended on thanksgiving and you started practice 3 days later. you didnt play your last game the second saturday in december and then have your first wrestling match on tuesday as these kids are being forced to in basketball….you had practice

        • Dave says

          Ter… I’m sorry, but you are wrong, the winter season (and you can look this up) is technically the longest season of the three available scholastic seasons.

          • C'mon Man says

            Ter can you explain something to me? 115 out of 178 girls bbal teams in CT made the playoffs. The number is very similar in boys bball. Over 60% of the teams make the playoffs? We can definitely shorten the winter season to accommodate for ONE additional round of playoffs. Simple fix. Plus revamp the point system and CT keeps it’s 32 teams, keeps Thanksgiving and adds the needed time to promote safety. Not that difficult. People complain 8 divisions promotes “giving everyone a trophy”. How bad is it that 60% of winter teams make the playoffs and with records of 2, 3, & 4 games UNDER .500?

          • ter says

            you guys are miss understanding me a little bit here. i like the 3 round format and am not saying they should get rid of this format, but the format in place does negatively impact the start of basketball, i think the solution is as simple as starting winter sports one week later. not saying end football earlier at all. there is no reason teams cant play a couple 3 game weeks in hoops instead of 2. i think opening the season the week of christmas with all the holiday tournaments would be a great idea.

        • seth says

          you are a complete moron. stick to basketball where your team can make the playoffs at 8 12. below avg sounds up your ally

        • seth says

          itk you are a complete moron and a joke. stick to the 8 12 playoff teams because below avg is up your ally

  14. Dave says

    As stuarts of the game, we have let the game and our young men down. Watering the experience of our children to a level of passiveness. We (the CIAC) have shown our student athletes that our efforts to solve the problems in front of us can not be made with a firm hand (the way the game is played), but insted with temporary fixes and promises of a better future. THE PROBLEMS have NOT been solved, just put of for another day, to be dealt with by someone else. What about this years seniors ? Why should they have to wait, there is no next year for them. We have 6 months before the first game is played. “The last great democracy”….has died, at least for now. Come on men, rise up and solve this problem. Form a board, be transparent, listen to our coaches, our players….and the medical community…..MAN UP DAMN IT!!!!…FIX THIS PROBLEM!!!!

  15. seth says

    this is an embarrassment. decisions like this is why ct gets no respect and is considered a joke. you can not justify 8 state champs in a state our size when new york has 5 i believe. our kids train year around to be co champs now. that is an absolute joke and an embarrassment. why not give all 32 teams a trophy for making states this way no ones feelings get hurt. we wonder why kids feel entitled and are basically mentally weak. its because of decisions like this. i also like the private school champ, tech school, and public school. also teams that have the ability to recruit like st joes, etc should not be in m. i cant say it enough but this is an embarrassment to our state and makes all of us a joke and i cant hs football in this state and am now embarrassed to say so

    • BW says

      I actually don’t believe any team will look at being a State Champ as being co-champ, but rather as State Champion of their bracket. So I am not concerned with a dilution of pride.
      However, much of what is mentioned above and previously written about still has gone unaddressed by the powers that be. And it doesn’t seem like the problems are insurmountable.

      1. 95% of the reason that they need to take 32 teams is that the point system is completely ineffective.
      Problems include very little weight for strength of schedule
      and no weighting for strength of conference
      Thus to get the 4 teams that deserve to make the playoffs, 8 teams need to be taken to account for those mediocre teams that have a very easy schedule and end up with great records. Someone has to win 10 games in an extremely weak conference.
      Fixes: A) Lose to a team and you get their victory points but not the 100 point win bonus, ie, Lose to Hand and get credited with 80 points vs 180 points if team beats Hand. This provides an incentive to play a harder schedule
      B) Every team in a conference with the previous yr state champ gets a bump of 10 points, a runner up bonus of 5 points. That is beating Hand if that conference had 2 state champs and 1 runnerup would result in 205 points instead of 180 points. (losing — 105 points)
      C) Mandate that all teams have to play at least 1 game (maybe even 2) out of conference

      2. As has been suggested above (this still gets 6 x 4 = 24 teams in the playoffs).
      Private schools get their own division
      Tech schools get their own division
      Then 4 Public school divisions

      3. I believe the LL final game was the last game played in the nation. This is ridiculous in a northern state.
      Start the season at least a week earlier

      4. 2 rounds of playoffs starting 11/8 and finishing 11/15. Seeding completed by 11/1 (last reg game not counted toward state seeding)

      5. Thanksgiving rivalry can still be played on Thanksgiving for those towns/teams that want, or played 11/8 for nonplayoff teams, or not played at all for those teams where there is no important rival game. If the same opponents are involved in the state final game or conference championship then that game would count for that as well. The season would then end on or before Thanksgiving for 95% of the teams.

      6. Conference championships played 8-9 days after the Thanksgiving games

      • Consigliere says

        This is what happens when non-fans/non-players call the shots. The board members who came up with this crap SHOULD be ashamed of themselves…but I guarantee they aren’t….because they really don’t understand nor care about the game or the passion we on this thread and players across the state and the ages share for the best sport ever! Pure travesty.

        • Sean Patrick BowleySean Patrick Bowley says

          Everybody needs to relax. I assure you this isn’t what they wanted to do or want to do. There are higher forces at work and we’re about to find out what those are…

          • JB says

            But, Sean, this like co-champions. Why not just have the 8 by-size divisions and use a better point qualification system? What is so hard about that? At least we would have 8 true champions. This re-mix is just awful.

          • JB says

            The need for this re-mix is only a result of a horrible point qualification system. Fix that and all the other issues are resolved.

          • ter says

            SPB this whole thing is a joke and i know you see it even if you are just being PC about it. its february!!!! there is more than enough time to put together a solid format before the end of summer.

            this is all a ploy to get everyone upset enough about co-champs that people wont care as much in 2015 when they get rid of thanksgiving. this is just like the CIAC, “lets put something so bad out there that people will be so happy to see it go they will gladly sacrifice thanksgiving”……. why else would they go to a 1 year format??? you really expect us to believe you cant come up with a reasonable solution in 8 months??? give me a break, this is CT, its a small state, you dont need some elaborate plan that takes 18 months to concoct. unless they are going to a district format that is going to rearrange everything about CTHSFB as we know it there is no reason this can’t be done before 2014 kick off. hopefully they apologize to the class of 2015 because those are the true victims to the money hungry pigs that run the CIAC.

          • Sean Patrick BowleySean Patrick Bowley says

            Had nothing to do with money. It had to do with the climate surrounding the game. They were compelled to drop Tuesday/Saturday because there’s increased awareness and push back on football safety nationally and locally.

          • ter says

            the climate surrounding the game is still a risk next season, the championships are still being played the second week of december. so if we get hammered with snow and ice again then we are in no better position next year than we were this year.

            i agree the thurs/tues/sat format needed to go but this solution they came up with seems like its just a stop gap for them to eliminate thanksgiving being the reg season finale all together. there is plenty of time to get this sorted out between now and mid july. unless they are they are making serious changes like a district format (which we both know is not happening) there is no reason this should take nearly 2 years to fix. this whole thing seems like a cop out to me because they dont want to step on any toes.

            everyone wants to have a great playoff format that ends at a reasonable time, and everybody wants to keep thanksgiving as is. well you cant have both and the CIAC makes their $ on the playoffs so they throw this garbage format out to stir the pot and upset everyone so it will minimize the blowback in 2015 when they make thanksgiving part of the post season. the writing is on the wall if you choose to read between the lines

          • Sean Patrick BowleySean Patrick Bowley says

            The change had nothing to do with the snowstorms/ice. Safety is the ‘climate’ of which I speak.

            And, yes, this is a stopgap. They want to go back to 4 finalists. There was just no way to legitimately do it without reducing the No. of teams. The football committee didn’t want to reduce the number of teams because they fought so hard to get that many.

            But yes, the writing on the wall is this: Thanksgiving as we know now it will not exist in the future.

          • ter says

            sorry i thought u were talking about the weather lol.

            but wanting 4 finalists without reducing the number of playoff teams while still reducing the number of games?? isn’t this the same case of wanting to have your cake and eat it to?? im not saying there is a perfect solution here, but if this all ends with the inevitable demise of thanksgiving football wouldnt it just make more sense to just rip off the band aid now and get it out of the way as opposed to a one year format that is 1000000 times worse then the format we already have??

          • Sean Patrick BowleySean Patrick Bowley says

            I’d agree, yes. But that’s going to take some doing.

            I get it, 8 champs is terrible. And Dr. Williams positing that it’s not terrible is delusional.

  16. Dave Phillips says

    I’ve covered high school sports in this state since 1976 and this is a joke. Every kid knows this is watered down.

    If CT is going to have just two weeks of playoffs, go back to 6 classes of 4 teams in the playoffs. 24 teams in this size state is plenty. It worked just fine for years. 32 is way too many anyway.

    Yes, there might be a 9-1 team left out of the mix here and there, but I do agree with the comment above that strength of schedule needs to be taken into consideration a lot more. Playing a brutal schedule needs to be rewarded.

    • PapaDags says

      Totally agree with 6 divisions with 4 teams…However you must also set up another division for the tech leagues…1 or 2 of those teams takes away from the 24…Let’s face it and not to be disrespectful to the players on these tech teams…They just can’t compete..

    • true stroy says

      32 years ??? it use to be 6 classes with 2 teams from each class until around 98 i believe then they moved it to 4 teams from each class .

      • Sean Patrick BowleySean Patrick Bowley says

        Semifinals began in 1995, 4 classes of 4
        Then it went to 6 classes of 4 in 2001.
        Then it went to 4 classes of 8 in 2010

  17. ciacfollower says

    I’m very curious, & I’m sure most people on here are, to know who the ‘higher forces’ & ‘people advising the CIAC’ are.

  18. JB says

    I agree 100% with Dave. Fix the qualification point system and go back to 6 divisions. There are too many 9-1 “pretenders” each year and we shouldn’t kill our strong T-day and League traditions just to weed them out with a quarterfinal round. The fix here is very simple, if someone has the right leadership skills to get it done.

  19. Cardinal Rules says

    The point system must be changed but the ciac is not reacting to that at all. even with 8 state championships, they must look at the point system and do away with the pretenders who take a spot away from the Greenwichs, Staples, Xavier, etc. There are many LL teams that are left out because they actually play a tough schedule while teams from the swc, ccc, etc pad their schedule with the class S and M teams from their league. This isn’t anything new but has been going on for quite some time with no reaction to the strength of schedule teams.

    • ter says

      you say teams pad their schedule with S schools like they have a choice on who they play. the leagues are the leagues, you cant help who is in your league and you can’t just up and leave because another league is more competitive. yes they get to schedule their out of league games but that is only 1 or 2 games in most cases.

    • seth says

      it sounds like some of you think the scc shou;d comprise all of the playoff spots. the swc is mad of all s m l schools with newtown and new milford. so i dont get the whole padding their schedule when all the schools are the same size. some of you have to accept that their are different size schools and that their will be small schools in the playoffs. get over it, the man love for scc is borderline ridiculous, i get it that they are bigger and they as a league are stronger but enough is enough

  20. captrips says

    Sean, with all due respect, I believe that’s the point. The CIAC should be stewards of the sports under their purview. Part of being a steward is to stay abreast of critical issues that will impact their spheres of influence and due their utmost to stay ahead of those issues. Reacting to issues that shouldn’t be a surprise is not stewardship and defending sub-optimal decisions, stop gap in nature or otherwise is heresy.

      • captrips says

        OK, so you’re making my point. That said, the focus concussions was not anywhere near the level at which it exists today. However, scheduling playoff games 4 days apart in a sport that plays it’s season 1X per week feeds the fire that was my comment above.

      • says

        Completely agree. It took the CIAC 20 years to figure out that playing the Tuesday after Thanksgiving was too quick a turnaround. Don’t forget during the semifinal days it was the Tuesday then the title game on Saturday. Ridiculous.

        Start the season earlier to make room for a quarterfinal round with four divisions.

  21. JB says

    Sean, that is probably true. The push for a quarterfinal and 32 teams was a bad decision when all they really needed to do was fix the inequities about relative strength of schedules. Hindsight is 50/50 … so let’s use the benefit of a bad decision to fix the real issue – that darn point system.

    • Sean Patrick BowleySean Patrick Bowley says

      I’m adamantly against such an idea for the simple reason of this: It favors the larger leagues and teams are anchored to their leagues. They’re not going to uproot just so they may have the needed schedule to qualify for the playoffs.

      So ixnay that ideayay.

      The only way to really do what you’re looking for is to move to the district model, where teams play like-sized teams in districts and get into the playoffs based on standings, not points.

  22. JB says

    Sean, that small-school bias to protect the lower-competitive leagues is killing the quality of our playoffs. Leagues will adjust and they will schedule better regular season competition both within their leagues and more crossover games.

    Result … “pretenders” no more! Then we can go with 6 division playoffs plus we get to keep our strong traditions alive. I hope the district model never happens in CT. Look at NY, that is about the most faceless football model on the planet. Drone football.

    Our mission should be a higher level of competition WITH strong traditions that secure an emotional following for the sport. Building boys into men … developed from high levels of competition steeped in strong traditions … that is the essence of high school football.

    • Sean Patrick BowleySean Patrick Bowley says

      So you want total league realignment for football, like the NCAA, yea?

      The leagues are the real problem, not bias. The ‘bias’ tries to make it fair for everyone. I’m not in favor of a system that penalizes Newtown or NFA football because their school are members of leagues with a majority of small schools. They can do nothing about it. Uprooting them from those leagues in the name of football is dumb.

      This is high school, not the NCAA (even if it acts like the NCAA).

  23. TP says

    CT leagues as we now have them set up are the real issue…Sean mentioned it already. Lose the league structure where teams play other teams from outside their class size. Never really made sense a LL team could be in the same league as an S team. Create leagues of 8 teams of the same class size…play 7 regular season games against your league. You then have 3 games each year for out of league games which helps keep rivalries intact. This way you have LL teams playing the majority of their games against other LL teams etc. This also means that you could be in one league this year and in a completely different league with different teams next year if enrollment changes lead to a change in class size. When it comes to football the traditional league set up just doesn’t work well in my opinion…it leads to much weaker schedules for some versus others and the the need for 8 teams from each division to be in the playoffs so a deserving team is less likely to be left out.

    • JB says

      TP – the SCC and the FCIAC already have that covered. Other leagues need to emulate their scheduling based upon size and historical program strength. No need for schools like Newtown to transfer leagues that may work well for them in other sports. But their league internal football scheduling is the real issue – reduce the cupcakes in Newtown’s league schedule. Man up or get out of the way. That should be the message to certain leagues. Using strength of schedule within the state qualification point system will reward those leagues that encourage stronger match-ups. And get rid of that stupid 50 point rule which only let’s certain leagues hide their scheduling weakness.

  24. JB says

    But throwing all of our traditions out the window to protect a few schools who may be in the wrong leagues for football? I am not in favor of that outcome. The NCAA realignment is more about money than anything else (ask Maryland how much they got paid to join the BigTen). This argument should be about high school football players – their character development and memories about playing high school ball. If Newtown and NFA can’t achieve that in their leagues, then they may need to consider a move.

  25. oliver ward says

    Ho hum…Connecticut high school sports takes another hit. This wrong on so many levels. In the BIG 3 sports there should be three classes… I’d like to see just three divisions. It would be especially good for basketball. Have leagues with a standard 12 game schedule and more intra-city/league games with some out of state games for a 24 to 25 or 26 game regular season total. No byes in state tournament and each division would have total five game playoff so a team reaching state final would play between 29 and 31 game total. Present system is a joke. New football system is downright silly. Present football playoff format is decent. Now that is all messed up. YUCK!!!

  26. JB says

    OK, Sean, the computer may need some oversight. Let’s use a selection committee for each division … a strong cross section of AD’s from each impacted league along with some neutral knowledgeable football folks (retired media, retired coaches, retired educators, etc) to select and seed the 4 teams per division. This committee will have the benefit of the media polls, the computer rankings, CIAC point results, strength of schedules, injury reports and their own judgement to do the right thing.

    Like the NCAA is doing in 2014 for the D-1 FBS College Football Playoffs. Let’s do that for CT football in this “trial” year. We can keep the league and T-day traditions alive in our state, just like the FBS is doing. Yet, have the strongest playoffs possible.

  27. CTFB04 says

    For all you people who want to separate the private schools and tech schools youwould be opening a HUGE can of worms. Once you separate the those schools, recruiting becomes legal. Thats why all of those NY/NJ catholic schools are powerhouses. With the size of Ct that might be very bad for public school football. You have schools already illegally recruiting and doing well imagine if they can get carte blanche to talk to anyone, bad idea

  28. JB says

    I think the direction from the medical profession is that there are two many high school football games and pre-season full contact practices. Ruining our playoffs is not what the medical experts are after, what they really want is to decrease the total number of games to reduce the risk of head trauma. Our new “targeting” rules, limits on full contact in practices, and elimination of the quarterfinals are “first step” measures in 2014 to implement the requirements.

    Iowa is going to an 8 game regular season and adopting districts this coming year … with a much broader playoff format. Iowa is dumping all their traditions in order to reduce the total number of games.

    So if this is all about a “medical” requirement to eliminate games in a season, say goodbye to T-day and our league traditions forever. The only thing that works in a shortened season is the district model.

    Here is the headline article that Sean can use to start preping his piece for next year’s article on changes for the 2015 CTHSFB season:

  29. PapaDags says

    You CAN NOT elimininate T-Day games…Many schools have traditions near 100 yrs old. Their is nothing like T Day with the coach on the radio updating all scores. I fully understand many schools don’t have a traditional T Day rivalry and that’s a shame for those towns and it’s players and fan base. But why should towns that do have tradition be over-run by the wacky CIAC who will no doubt try eliminating this tradition mainly cause they can’t seem to fix this system. ( which they made worse with co-champs) What a joke.

    • JB says

      I hear the “medical experts” are out to decrease the number of high school football games to reduce concussions. A state organization probably can’t go against the expert opinion or risk massive lawsuits should something bad happen. Takes only one nasty case. Also, it may not be possible to get insurance at the school level unless the expert opinion is followed. I have read that 8 regular season games is their ultimate goal. That would mean ending the regular season a few weeks before the T-day games or start the season much later.

      My guess is that there is more to this situation than we all know, hence the need to study it for an entire year. Probably the CIAC has been given a period of time to make the transition and figure out how to comply. But I think T-day and leagues are going to die in CT.

      Iowa is the process of completing this massive overhaul to their structure. No more leagues – district model – 8 regular season games ending in mid October with a 32 team playoff in 5 classes that is four weeks long. State finals are Nov 22. Iowas has 297 state-wide teams vs our 146. So we could do something similar, only with a 16 team playoff in 4 classes.

  30. UBilly says

    I looked over Matt Glasz district model and the resulting schedule. While it may make for a “fairer” overall schedule, I really dislike the loss of so many great games in the regular season.
    Hand v Xavier never again? No Haven v Xavier and No Haven v Hillhouse? Greenwich v New Canaan or Darien? Staples v New Canaan? Hand v Fairfield Prep? Great games!
    Maybe “not fair” to the loser as they are at a disadvantage to get into the playoffs, but ask the players, they want that challenge. To be the best, you need to play the best!

    • Sean Patrick BowleySean Patrick Bowley says

      No, as I mentioned in the original district idea at my old job, you’d have several open dates to schedule ‘non-district’ opponents. They wouldn’t officially count toward the playoffs, but they’d allow for big rivalry games that otherwise wouldn’t be played.

  31. Hannibal Barca says

    Connecticut. Where every player makes all conference and damned near every team wins a state championship ring. This is stupid.

  32. Dennis Kane says

    Dumb system. I would tell the people advising the CIAC to take a hike. Start the football season 1 wekk earlier like many other states do.

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