North Haven’s Matt Glasz wants you to consider the ‘District Model’ for CT football

Above: Matt Glasz’s discusses the ‘District Model’ on CPTVSports’ Game Time, March 6.
Graphic: Sean Patrick Bowley - CT Post)

Graphic: Sean Patrick Bowley  for CTPost.com)

Editor’s Note: Playoff proposals in Connecticut high school football are nothing new. But the CIAC’s recent decision to scrap its 4-Class, three-round set up in favor of an eight-division, two round playoff for 2014 in the name of safety, has ratcheted up the debate again.

Combined with the idea that Connecticut’s league structure already creates unbalanced playoff results, writers, coaches and fans have produced a myriad of proposals designed to fix the system once-and-for-all.

One such proposal — perhaps the most radical of them all, for this state at least — has been making the rounds again after we first posited the idea in May of 2013 at Connecticut Post.

It’s called ‘The District’ model, which is a system used by most of the country’s state associations. It abolishes the traditional football leagues and reorganizes the state’s playoff classes into divisions, whose winners then qualify for the state playoffs based on standings rather than playoff points.

Matt Glasz, who starred as a back at North Haven in the late 1990s and is now the Director of Annual Giving and Athletic Development at Coast Guard Academy in New London, has imagined what such a system would look like. He’s produced his own districts formats and a scheduling formula and has been championing the cause across the state’s media.

His improved model has appeared in comments here on GameTimeCT, in a column by The Day of New London’s Mike DiMauro, and on CPTV Sports‘ Game Time show (above).

A few coaches from across Connecticut have warmed to Glasz’s idea. We’ve received a few emails from some asking to know more about it. So we asked Glasz to present his here in its entirety, which he graciously has done:

An Analysis Supporting a District Model for Connecticut High School Football

A snapshot of Connecticut's league territories as of 2014. Note: CSC teams are sprinkled across the state and not accurately represented. Graphic: Sean Patrick Bowley

A general snapshot of Connecticut’s league territories as of 2014 shaded by town’s public school affiliation. Note: CSC and other private school teams are sprinkled across the state and not accurately represented. Graphic: Sean Patrick Bowley / GameTimeCT Click to expand.

The Connecticut high school football landscape is comprised of eight leagues/conferences that range in size from 12 to 32 teams (graphic at right).

This format is based largely on tradition and convenience. The NVL can trace its roots to the turn of the 20th Century with the league officially forming in 1930. The ECC was founded in 1934 and the FCIAC was formed in 1961.  Even the relatively-new SCC is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

As more schools in Connecticut began to field football squads, new conferences formed, merged, and realigned each with varying rules on membership, format, scheduling, etc.

Most leagues consist of schools from the same geographic region regardless of their respective student body sizes. Others are spread throughout Connecticut but generally have similarly sized enrollments.

For example, the FCIAC schools are all located in Fairfield County but range in size from Class S, Trinity Catholic (male enrollment – 227) to Class LL, Danbury (male enrollment – 1,468). Meanwhile, 19 of the 21 Pequot Conference schools are in either Class M or S but they are spread out across six different counties.

Another discrepancy between the various conferences is that each league uses a different methodology to craft their divisional formats and schedules.

The SCC, CCC, and ECC are divided by enrollment using 4, 6, and 3 divisions, respectively. Meanwhile, the CSC (another league spanning six counties) does not have any divisions among its 12 members which vary in size from Class L to S.

The collectively inconsistencies in the membership, alignment and scheduling of these different conferences has created a flawed system that perpetually benefits some to the detriment of others.

To correct these flaws, the current format must be improved so that we have the most equitable system possible for scheduling opponents and qualifying teams for the state playoffs.

To that end, the institution of a ‘District Model’ based upon the unbiased measures of enrollment and geographic location is necessary.

School-sized mismatches, Like Class LL West Haven vs. Class M Foran would be eliminated under the district model.

School-sized mismatches, Like Class LL West Haven vs. Class M Foran would be eliminated under the district model.

Facts

Larger schools have an obvious competitive advantage against smaller schools because they can draw from a larger pool of athletes.

There are, of course, exceptions. A handful of smaller schools can hold their own against those with larger enrollments. However, when we examine the three Connecticut conferences that align themselves by enrollment the data reveals that, in fact, smaller schools are barely competitive with their large school counterparts.

Over the past three seasons the smaller divisions within the CCC, ECC and SCC went a combined 63-162 against opponents from larger divisions. That’s a winning percentage of just .280 for the smaller schools.

The current model benefits larger schools that regularly compete against schools with much smaller enrollments.

Conversely, small schools that annually play larger conference opponents face an inherent disadvantage compared to small schools that play other small schools.

A District Model would group similarly sized schools from the same geographic region, alleviating the inequity of smaller schools playing disproportionately larger schools. It also eliminates the unfair advantage of larger schools regularly competing against much smaller schools.

For example:

  • Newtown, last season’s Class LL No. 1 seed, played just one Class LL school in the regular season. Seven of its remaining games were against Class M or S schools.
  • Platt, the Class L No. 2 seed, played only one Class L school. All 10 of its remaining regular season games were against Class M or S schools.
  • Norwich Free Academy, the Class LL No. 5 seed, lost its only Class LL game. Five of its remaining games were against Class M or S schools.

All three of these teams lost their opening round playoff game. I’m not insinuating that these teams were undeserving of a berth in the playoffs. My point is that we should provide a better format for these, and all, teams to prove their worthiness against the same schools vying for a spot in the postseason.

The irony is that we’re already using this model… sort of. Every year teams are divided by enrollment once they make the state playoffs. Why not use enrollment to determine how teams qualify for the playoffs?

Format

I propose keeping the traditional structure of four Classes: LL, L, M, and S. Divide each Class into 5 Districts that are based primarily on geographic location with a preference toward keeping traditional rivalries intact whenever possible.

The Districts that I put together are based on 2013 enrollment figures, however, if the CIAC adopted a similar model I would recommend using a multi-year average to determine a school’s Class and reevaluate every 5 years or so to limit a school from frequently changing their Class designation.

Here’s what the four playoff divisions could look like (click on each image for full size).

Class LL District

Class L District

Class M District

Class S District

 

Matt Glasz's example of potential scheduling by district (Click for details - Microsoft Excel Document)

Matt Glasz’s example of potential scheduling by district (Click to download – Microsoft Excel Document)

Scheduling 

The regular season would start the first Friday of September, providing 13 weeks to play 11 games (or 12 weeks to play 10 games depending on how the calendar falls). This allows for a bye week and a week off prior to Thanksgiving.

Each school would play all 6 or 7 teams in their District plus 3-4 games against opponents from other Districts in their Class.

Those match-ups would be based on win-loss records from the previous two seasons (similar to the way the SCC schedules its Division I and II crossover games). This helps ensure many of the top teams in each Class will be competing on a yearly basis even if they are in different Districts.

The winners of each District would automatically earn a state playoff berth.

Three additional wild-card teams, as well as tournament seeding, would be determined using a point system similar to the current CIAC model. I would also be open to the possibility of implementing the CalPrep.com rankings to account for discrepancies in strength of schedule.However, with all schools competing against teams from their own Class this would be less of an issue than under the current league/conference model.

Thanksgiving

In any proposal the issue of Thanksgiving football will be hotly debated. It’s the most unique aspect of Connecticut high school football I elected to keep meaningful games on turkey day intact.

Aside from providing a much-needed financial boost to high school athletic programs, many of these rivalries are entrenched in the fabrics of their respective communities.

I believe there should be a place for Thanksgiving football in any proposal and have therefore included the option for schools to keep their traditional rivalry game even if their opponent was from another Class.

Determining how outcomes of those games would affect playoff points is admittedly tricky and even contradictory to the rationale of the District model. However, I just wasn’t willing to eliminate the tradition of the Green Bowl, NFA-New London, Ansonia-Naugatuck, and so many others. The most likely solution would be to use the current system of qualifying points earned for defeating an opponent in a Class larger or smaller than your own.

Postseason

Aside from seeding, this proposal is largely unrelated to the playoff format discussion.

Personally, I find the 2014 plan to crown 8 “state champions” including two from each Class to be absurd. I understand why you can’t conduct a three round playoff in two weeks. I don’t understand why the championship games can’t be played the following week?

It would affect only eight teams. That equates to roughly 5 percent of the schools that play football in Connecticut. Do you think those kids would rather be preparing for a state championship game or practicing free throws in preparation for a scrimmage?

Keep Thanksgiving football.
Keep 32 playoff teams.
Keep 4 state champions.

If it snows, grab a shovel.

Glasz proposes keeping Thanksgiving Day football rivalries, like the Notre Dame-West Haven v. Hamden Green Bowl,  under the proposed District Model. (Photo Peter Casolino)

Glasz proposes keeping Thanksgiving Day football rivalries, like the Notre Dame-West Haven v. Hamden Green Bowl, under the proposed District Model. (Photo Peter Casolino)

Concerns

The biggest downside to a District model is that we lose some traditional rivalries. For example, West Haven vs. Notre Dame of West Haven and New Canaan vs. Greenwich would not be played.

However, I think keeping Thanksgiving rivalries is a fair concession. How many legitimate rivals can one school really have anyway? And think of all the terrible mismatches that would be eliminated: No more SCC crossover games!

Another issue that has been raised is an increase in travel. In my opinion, this is laughable. Games played in-District are all within the same geographic region. That’s the same as it is now and actually an improvement for Pequot and CSC teams.

For those 3 to 4 intra-District games, half will be played at home. We live in the third smallest state in the union so realistically we’re talking about a maximum of one or two games per season that a team would drive an extra half hour. This should not prohibit the introduction of a far more equitable scheduling format.

This doesn’t solve the question of who’s No. 1. In fact, this model would likely make it harder to gauge how teams from different Classes would stack up against one another. But that’s not the job of the CIAC. The media and coaches polls are conducted merely to sell newspapers. The CIAC is tasked with creating a format to crown state champions.

Benefits

In addition to being the most equitable system, think of the games we’ll get to see week in and week out.

Who wants to watch West Haven beat up on Foran or NFA throttle Windham? Especially when you consider the alternative could be an inter-District game between the Westies and Staples or the Wildcats battling Xavier for a District championship.

We get more competitive games across the board and a weekly dose of high profile match-ups usually reserved for the state finals.

The bottom line is that this model just makes sense. Like sized schools should compete against like sized schools, especially when those outcomes determine who gets to compete in the states most exclusive postseason.

Conclusion

There is no perfect system and every proposal will have its flaws.

Thankfully, the games will go on regardless of what format is in place and we’ll all have games to watch. But keep in mind that every year around the state athletes and coaches, most of whom are unpaid volunteers, will spend thousands of hours preparing and competing. I think all of their hard work, talent and dedication should be rewarded by providing the most equitable system possible.

Comments

  1. Jay says

    We are new to the CTHS playoff system but I been following closely this debate since it started at the end of last season, to me this definitely sounds like the best proposal I have heard as of yet. Now! How do we get the governing body to look at this proposal? Because like Mr. Glasz stated this should be about the athletes. “every year around the state athletes and coaches, most of whom are unpaid volunteers, will spend thousands of hours preparing and competing. I think all of their hard work, talent and dedication should be rewarded by providing the most equitable system possible.”

    • Matt Glaszmattglasz says

      My understanding is that a model based on enrollment has been discussed by the CIAC football committee in the past. It would be telling to find out which committee members were against it. Hopefully following the 2014 season the decision makers will give serious consideration to an overhaul of both the playoffs and regular season.

      • CoachB says

        Greg shrugue principal at New Milford high school made a proposal very similar to Matt’s a few years ago

        It was a very detailed and well documented proposal

        In our situation at Foran a proposal like this would give generations of kids a chance to play in a CIAC State tournament

        As it stands now it will never happen

        I hope something can be done soon
        Proof is in the record of Div 1 wins over Div 2 teams
        Is something like 187-26

        I have compiled a detailed accord of all the wins and losses and point differentials
        Write me at jbevino@milforded.org
        Ill send the attachment

  2. CTFan says

    Good idea but what happens to the teams like hand who play Xavier, West Haven, Prep, and Shelton in LL? You’d be changing half their schedule and making it weaker. Plus not to say those are all great games to watch. Keep high school football the way it is.4 class’s and 4 state champs. Cut down the amount of games if you want but either way this new formatting will change nothing

    • Unfair.. but in a good way says

      I agree with you CTFan… we should not penalize teams like Hand who have played against the larger schools since the SCC was created. The district model, no offense to a lot of teams, lowers the competition level and penalize the teams who want to challenge themselves. Blowouts are going to happen no matter what, that is inevitable, but, we should reward the challenging schedules both in the system ranking and in the playoffs (give them two home games, quarterfinals and semifinals instead of one). Texas follows a district model and allows you to schedule whoever you want outside of your district regardless of school size, and they are rewarded for scheduling the bigger schools both in seeding and in the playoffs.. this might help to alleviate the Thanksgiving issue, which, by the way, is an issue exclusive to CT.

      • Matt Glaszmattglasz says

        I wouldn’t say Hand (or any team) is “punished” in this system. The whole basis is creating a schedule that’s equitable for all. In theory the Tigers schedule could include games against Platt, Middletown, New Canaan, North Haven and Notre Dame – West Haven… not exactly cupcakes.

        I’d be open to the idea of maybe one additional game out of Class but keep in mind that for every Hand-Xavier game we could get there could also be games featuring a borderline playoff team facing a subpar opponent and that win could mean the difference between a playoff spot.

        The idea is for no team to have a scheduling advantage/disadvantage.

        • Rob (OCEC) says

          Exactly! You do not want to allow a Class M, S or L school to manipulate their standing by scheduling a Class LL cupcake for bonus points. You earn your spot against the same sized competition as you will play in the post season.

          BTW, I started to name LL Cupcake schools, but thought that would incite a riot, so I didn’t.

      • Tiger Pride says

        Hand (historically an M to L school) has always enjoyed playing much larger competition. In fact, the 3 times Hand finish #1 in CT was by taking that ranking from a LL school–beating Cheshire in ’97, Xavier in ’12, and by New Britan losing in ’04.

        Playing the very best competition has always been Hand tradition. It would be nice to allow the option to schedule some LL games.

        Great job Matt!

  3. says

    As a former player in multiple classes, leagues, and conferences (Wilbur Cross 2008-2010, Derby 2010-2012), this is by far the most reasonable option regarding high school football playoffs and scheduling. Districting based on enrollment gives no team a credible advantage over anyone in their schedule other than the only things that matter in football; raw talent and coaching. Hopefully this reaches the board and they actually propose something like this, because this could revitalize the community involvement in some towns that classic Connecticut football was founded on.

  4. FauxRealism says

    Good plan, only tweak I would make allow each team to schedule 2 rivals (Thanksgiving + one other).
    Then ND-WH could keep West Haven, New Canaan could schedule Staples or Greenwich, even in alternating years. It softens the blow of making the complete leap to the new system and gives us the best of both worlds.

  5. Commenter says

    > I’m not insinuating that these teams were undeserving of a berth in the playoffs.

    Uh, yeah, you are. And that’s fine. Just have some guts as a writer to say what you want to say. We can handle it.

    • Matt Glaszmattglasz says

      No, I’m actually not. I do think they earned their spot in the playoffs. Platt beat every team on their schedule and deserved a chance to compete in the postseason. The point is that they shouldn’t be playing a full slate of Class M and S schools as means of qualifying for the Class L playoffs.

      • ACL says

        Here, here Matt!

        That is the biggest inequity in the current model. There are too many teams that play too many teams below their division and qualify for the playoffs. In a sport that requires a team to win a minimum of 9 games, that is a big advantage for teams that find themselves in that category (through no fault of their own).

        I don’t know about past years but there were more than a few playoff qualifiers that had the same type of schedule as Platt, across all divisions. Here are the ones I found:

        Newtown – 1 LL, 3 L, 6 M, 1 S (forfeit against Immaculate)
        NFA – 2 LL, 3 L, 3 M, 2 S
        Platt – 0 LL, 1 L, 4 M, 6 S
        New London – 1 LL, 3 L, 3 M, 4 S
        Valley Regional/Old Lyme – 0 LL, 1 L, 2 M, 8 S
        Gilbert/NW Regional – 0 LL, 1 L, 4 M, 6 S

        That’s almost 20% of the playoff field! If that doesn’t constitute a problem with the current system, than I don’t know what does.

        Well done Matt.

  6. says

    As far as scheduling goes I agree with playing the 6-7 games within the district, but instead of 3-4 games out of district but same size I’d reduce that to 1-2 games and leave 1-2 games for open scheduling, giving coaches/AD’s the freedom to beef up their schedule (re: the Hand comment), preserve traditional rivalries (re:NDWH-West Haven) or seek out of state opponents.

  7. says

    I think this plan also addresses the issue with scheduling regarding the Tech schools – which need a more integrated schedule so they have a realistic gauge of where they stand playoff-wise.

    • ACL says

      Completely agree with you on that point Dan. The only way to gauge the Tech schools is to ensure they play other schools their size. Obviously, playing an all Tech schedule is not a good measuring stick.

  8. TP says

    This is how it should be done…I would allow for 1 or 2 dates in the schedule for a traditional rival…then this would be by far the best proposal out there…well done.

    • JB says

      I like Matt’s ideas and applaud his effort but there are huge obstacles to the district model presented … the biggest is travel time to make for effecitve crossover match-ups.

      The districts don’t really match up that well geographically with the power teams centered in a few locations that are still too grouped together. The only way this works is for big-time travel demands to make the crossover games work … i.e., like Greenwich and Hall playing each other. That kind of match-up is a must, but schools aren’t going for a 2-3 hour round trip on a Friday for a regular season game. Not happening. Yet, if not, we are in the same trap of not finding the best playoff teams.

      My view is the only way the district model works is to eliminate T-day and shorten the regular season, such that you can have a 16-team playoff per class. 8 district champs + 8 wildcards per class, based primarily upon head-to-head competition. However, tie breaks and seeding by the CalPrep computer model. That is basically what most other states are doing.

      • JB says

        Also, because of the size of our state, to make a district model work we would need to drop to 3 classes. 146 teams in CT divided by 3 equals about 48 teams per class. 8 districts with 6 teams per district. 5 regular season games in-district and 4 crossover games out-of-district (but much closer to home). One bye week.

        16-team playoffs begins end of October and finals are the Saturday after T-day. Non-playoff teams will schedule a T-day exhibition games … hey great, gets them 10 games. Kind of like a bowl game situation, with teams matched-up based on record versus rivalry tradition.

        Example of a couple of down-state L districts:

        District 1
        Greenwich
        New Canaan
        Stamford
        Westhill
        Darien
        McMahon

        District 2
        Staples
        Wilton
        Prep
        Central
        Norwalk
        Harding

        Think about it … keep the rivals of the old L and LL towns together and better crossover games closer to home.

        Downside is T-day tradition is gone forever and no more league championships. I don’t see it. If we just use a schedule-adjusted point system, we can get close enough without the league-breakup for the district model.

        Just my opinion.

        • Matt Glaszmattglasz says

          Thanks for the feedback JB. I really don’t think traveling an extra half hour once or twice a season should be a deal-breaker.

          To me 146 teams warrants 4 state champs. Also, if I’m understanding your proposal correctly non-playoff teams would have a month off between their last regular season game and their Thanksgiving exhibition game?

  9. Marcus Da Truth says

    I love this idea and 1 & 2 games open for rivalry games would be perfect. No system will ever be perfect but it will mean closer games for fans and more competitive games throughout the state!! TRUTH!!

  10. Rob (OCEC) says

    This system deserves a go. I believe it should be given a 2-4 year trial after this coming season of 8 Champions. I strongly disagree with anyone who says travel is a distractor to high school football. When you look at the spreadsheet that Matt created with possible matchups for the first year of scheduling, what was the longest game for “your” team? I follow/support Ledyard, I think the farthest proposed was a game VS Hillhouse. That means either the Acs, or Colonels have a 1 hour to 1.5 Hour bus ride for 1 game in that year. That really isn’t that long of a bus ride and good fans will travel. Additionally, for the 1-3 crossover games, a team shouldn’t have all 3 on the road. I used Bing to check the driving distance and time for NFA and Greenwich, estimate is 103.3 miles taking about 1 hour 47 minutes. There are not too many matches that would be farther. The other thing I noticed was that the crossover games were, for the most part, only 1 district away. So a New London/Windham County team likely would not find itself in Fairfield/Litchfield Counties during the regular season. As for this desire to hold on to rivalries and “traditional” games, wouldn’t the teams like Hand develop new rivals? Is a season not playing Xavier really that horrible? Middletown seemed to be okay not playing the X-Men last year making it to the Semi-Finals in the Class L.

    The most telling thing I heard Joe and Matt agree to was, no system is perfect. What matters most, or should be the focus of a system overhaul, is the provision to the athletes an equitable system of competition that recognizes and encourages teams to compete at their best. If the CIAC can do that, then no system would be considered a failure.

    @JB, 16 team playoffs, I like it. For every team that has been left home feeling they were better than some of the playoff teams, or maybe even had beaten some of the playoff teams (Stonington 2013 defeated Ledyard) going 8 more to the playoffs should solve that. Highly unlikely that a 16, 15, 14 or 13 seed would get to the finals, but Cinderella deserves her dance.

    • Adjust our thinking says

      Let’s be honest… do you think Guilford or Branford are psyched about playing hand or North haven every year? We are trying to “make” this system work. If we choose to go the district model way we must, at least, be willing to allow teams to schedule any team they want for their district games, bigger or smaller.. that’s how all the legit state competitions are run… look it up

      • Sean Patrick BowleySean Patrick Bowley says

        That makes no sense. Think of these districts as leagues. That’s your league. Win your league, make playoffs. So there has to be a schedule formula, not pick-your-own-schedule.

      • Rob (OCEC) says

        @ Adjust, why does it require an adjustment for Branford or Guilford? If your school is of the same size as Hand or North Haven, then to qualify for the post season you need to beat them. If you can’t, sorry, be the 2nd best and get a wildcard spot. If you can’t, then the answer isn’t to go and pad your schedule with a bunch of smaller or less competitive schools. What does that do? It puts a “Pretender” in the playoffs and leaves a team home that earned their spot to be there but got bumped by someone “ducking” the competition.

  11. JB says

    Matt, Greenwich to West Hartford on a Friday could take 2 hrs one-way … it could take 1 hr alone for that school bus to get past Stamford!

    Again, I applaud your ideas and like the way you think that is for sure. We are like minded from a competition standpoint in that regards, but our travel issues to the north can be horrific.

    I would leave those far-away regional match-ups to an expanded playoffs.

    Plus, the town rivalries in the FCIAC are huge and fans / players don’t want to give that one up. Thus, going to one Large class with solid in-region crossovers could solve all those issues. Year-in-year out I don’t see a ton of competitive difference between the elite traditional LL and L teams.

    Yes, my bad on the T-day idea … I was just throwing that in without any thought on the timing gap. Maybe alter the playoffs so we can fit T-day in as the season “bowl” games sandwiched between quarters and semifinals with finals the first week in December.

    • ACL says

      @JB – Since this idea is geared to the greater good, why not play the ‘long distance’ crossover games on Saturdays? It would avoid most traffic concerns and greatly reduce the headache and anxiety of driving on a Friday night. For the most part, the traffic issue is the biggest concern for the southwestern part of the state (I work in Stamford and live in Milford so I am intimately familiar with the traffic nightmare; can we put teams on the train? just kidding) and affects a finite number of teams and an even smaller number of games. I may be over simplifying things but I think this is a reasonable solution to this problem.

    • Dave says

      JB…
      I like how you shot down the “bowl” idea earlier in the year, but, now you are all about it… Look at our adjustment of the regular season and playoffs as social security, everyone hated it at first, but, now it is a virtual untouchable in our economy.. we need to get a plan in place that doesn’t have too big of an issue either way. Matt’s plan deserves consideration.. but, the playoff idea (the original concern) needs work. Thanksgiving has to go… that way the three rounds can be played and the bowl game on thanksgiving takes the place of the traditional games. At first everyone will hate it, but, over time, we will see that it works

  12. JB says

    Iowa recently made the full conversion to the district model. Gut wrenching change for certain regions/leagues. They have 276 teams and crown 5 state champs … that is about 55 teams on average per class, but split this way:

    Class 4A = 46 teams
    Class 3A = 56 teams
    Class 2A = 56 teams
    Class 1A = 56 teams
    Class A = 62 teams

    Iowa’s 2013 playoffs were 32 teams per class … 5 playoff games Oct 30 thru Nov 22 final. Lot’s of cinderella chances in that dance! Rob should like.

    This structured allowed Iowa to keep some of the rival aspects of the historical league match-ups in-tack and leave the regional match-ups to an expanded playoff … that is how the state football folks sold it to the leagues who resisted the changes for years. The district model was DOA until they made that change.

    To me, we have a similar problem that Iowa faced. Although, we don’t have to go to the extreme of 32-team playoffs to solve it. But 3 classes is a must have, otherwise the FCIAC will never go along with it … the likes of Greenwich being able to play both Staples and New Canaan in the regular season is a must have.

    Again, 8 district champs and 8 wildcards primarily from head-to-head competition … 16-team playoff. However, tie breaks and seeding are determined via the CalPrep computer rankings for each class at the end of the regular season.

    • Rob (OCEC) says

      You are correct JB, I do like the larger tournament format. I do admit that after round 1 though half the teams season is over and don’t think that cutting the season to an un-meaningful number would be a good idea, despite an arguing point I put on another similar football post. I believe small reductions to the season, with expanded playoffs are more meaningful than smaller playoffs and 10/11 game regular seasons. The larger you make the playoffs, within reason, the better quality games you should get in the quarter and semi finals. Whereas currently, those games have been very lopsided; BUT so have the championships so our current system fails at some level to put two highly competitive teams into the finals. The additional benefit I perceive is that you get some matchups in the middle rankings that are valid and could provide quality football for everyone involved. Consider a game this past season between Foran and Stonington. Both teams just on the outside looking in at the Class M and both teams competed well throughout the season. On another note, if you were there, I doubt that you were not entertained, despite the difference in the final score, at the Class M quarter final between ST Joes and Ledyard. While I am a Ledyard fan, and ST Joes clearly had the depth to carry out that 1980′s Lakers fast break pace, it was entertaining none the less. With more teams in the playoffs, you get a shot at more of those games.

  13. JB says

    OK, Matt, I just looked at your hypothetical schedules quickly and WOW you have done a ton of good work. Well thought out match-ups. But why so many open dates? Some teams have 2 bye weeks and an OPEN date … and teams like Staples have two weeks off back-to-back in mid-season. That would be a downer. Is that all just to accomodate T-day games?

    • Matt Glaszmattglasz says

      Great question JB. The Open dates are placeholders and yes it has to do with Thanksgiving as well as the differing number of teams in certain Districts. For example the Housatonic (comprised mostly of Class LL schools from the SCC and FCIAC) has 8 teams while the other Class LL Districts have 7.

      It got tricky manually creating the schedules while preserving the Thanksgiving rivalries as some, but not all, of those match-ups were within the same District while others weren’t even in the same Class.

      My thought is that the Open dates could simply be filled with an opponent who also had the date open. To use your Staples example, they could schedule a team like Ridgefield who also has an Open date in weeks 9.

      In the model every team has at least one bye week and two if they play on Thanksgiving. Also keep in mind that the schedule is based on the 11 game 2014 calendar. In a 10 game season the Open dates would be eliminated as would one of the out of District games for teams without an Open date.

      • JB says

        OK, Matt, got it. I think the CIAC is looking to eliminate regular season games, so likely the Open dates would likely go away.

        Biggest issue to the district model will be the elimination of town rival games, no league titles and increased travel times. For the FCIAC, these obstacles are the most acute given the well established traditions in an already highly competitive league … with horrific traffic issues going north. You would have to win that vote and I am not sure how you do so.

        Also, I double-checked enrollments and going to 3 classes wouldn’t work either … teams like Hand, North Haven and NC would be M class schools. So a 4 class structure and 8-team playoffs are best. How would you propose selecting the 3 wildcard teams and determine the seeding? There would still need to be something more rigorous than the CIAC point system. Team strength varies materially every year, even within each class.

        • Matt Glaszmattglasz says

          Agreed; those would certainly be the sticking points. My hope is that support for this type of model will grow and force the issue to be seriously by the CIAC football committee. At the end of the day goal of creating the fairest system would need to trump the desire to maintain all the traditions.

          I would select the wildcard teams and seeding using the current CIAC point system and possibly combine it with a strength of schedule ranking like CalPrep.com. The crossover District games will help sort out who are the top teams in each Class.

          I struggle with the idea of one District winner not getting a home playoff game but not much you can do about that.

          • JB says

            agreed the fifth seed would have to deal with it. Need CalPrep to help make it more realistic than straight points … could be tons of ties with just CIAC point system.

  14. JB says

    ACL – Saturday for crossover games could work, but that would compete with college gameday for many fans. Resolved with morning kick-off … best time for traffic as well.

    • ACL says

      College football is a concern but only for the fans. I doubt the CIAC would worry too much about scheduling around it. LOL DVR’s across the region would be in high gear!

      In all seriousness though, we really aren’t talking about too many games. If memory serves, there a few teams in the FCIAC that play Saturday afternoon games already. Am I right on that? Or is my feeble mind playing tricks on me? LOL

      • Rob (OCEC) says

        ST Joes at home; No Lights = Saturday afternoon games. That’s why they played their playoff games at Trumbull High School.

  15. Tony says

    Matt I think you have done a great job with this. As a coach of a class M co-op team I think this schedule makes a lot of sense. Probably would have to tinker with it a little bit so that some people would not have two weeks off in the middle of the season, but I love the idea

    • Matt Glaszmattglasz says

      Thanks Tony!

      The “Open” dates are merely placeholders based on the 11 game schedule in 2014. Teams could schedule games against other teams with the same open date to fill the void.

      As mentioned by JB (and I’ve heard similar rumors) the CIAC is looking to play a max of 10 regular season games so that issue would be resolved on its own. In this model every team would have at least one bye week and two if they play on Thanksgiving.

      Coaches and Athletic Directors from smaller schools, especially those who annually play larger schools, will need to keep advocating for this type of model. Relying on the programs who benefit from the current system to advocate for change won’t bring us any closer to a more equitable format.

  16. JB says

    Rob – I totally agree with you. Those were great matchups and having more of those games would be awesome for CTHSB. I think the only way to get at the playoff mis-match issue is (1) a district model that Matt is proposing for better regular season match-ups PLUS (2) a process that uses a schedule-adjusted ranking system to help determine the “wildcard” teams and seed the playoff participants. My view is that both college football and basketball should be our guide to getting this right … develop an independent selection committee (not the CIAC) that takes all of the available inputs – CAIC points, CalPrep computer rankings, media & coaches polls, and their own football judgement – to determine the seeding. If we do both things, then the playoffs would be hugely enhanced and deliver awesome well-matched and properly seeded opponents. But it doesn’t always work out … injuries, weather, etc are always looming that can make the final game an unexpected blowout. But that is part of the playoff gauntlet … the toughest tend to thrive.

  17. Jake says

    I like this but with one addition. Catholic schools should have to play two classes up because of the advantages they have with acquiring players. For example, ND-West Haven is Class L by enrollment but should have to play LL. St. Joes-Trumbull is Class M by enrollment but they should also have to play Class LL. East Catholic-Manchester is Class S by enrollment but they would play in Class L. Whether or not they recruit is a whole other debate, but we certainly can’t argue the point about the advantages they indeed have with players from multiple towns on there roster.

    • Sean Patrick BowleySean Patrick Bowley says

      I don’t have an issue with that. The top half of large catholics go in LL, the smaller go into L. Then readjust the publics to even it out. Yes. In fact, this should be the case for all playoff divisions in all sports.

      • ACL says

        Absolutely agree. What about magnets? Same treatment?

        I don’t think the magnets could compete two classes up in football. For example, Hyde would get killed in L. I don’t know about Capital but, judging their playoff results, I don’t they could either.

      • says

        Just to make sure I have this correct – all catholic schools would have to be bumped up two divisions? I’m not sure I’m completely on board with that. Apart from Xavier (Fairfield Prep and St Joe’s resurgence are recent – not perennial), what Catholic schools in this state have been enjoying an obvious advantage over public schools. St Bernard’s? Notre Dame-Fairfield? How about Immaculate – I think they had to forfeit games this year due to concerns about safety from not having enough varsity athletes? You want to bump them up two divisions? I wouldn’t put Connecticut Catholics on par with those in New Jersey.

    • Just a thought says

      What about schools like Ansonia, plus many others, that draw from other towns….would they have to move up too? Let’s be honest, football is different then lets say basketball where one or two players make a huge difference, you need an entire team to do well consistently….that is a big reason why Catholic schools don’t move up for football but do so for other sports. Its a different team dynamic.

    • Matt Glasz says

      While it’s hard to dispute that many private schools have an advantage in drawing talent from multiple towns I don’t think you could hold them to a different standard since they are still drawing from the same enrollment numbers as the public schools in their Class.

      ACL brings up a good point about magnet schools. Unless the CIAC decided to completely separate all schools with a selective admissions process I don’t think it would be fair to hold those schools to a different standard.

      • Dr. Von Nostran says

        Here is the Catholic shool data:

        LL:
        Prep 9-2
        X 7-3

        L:
        NDWH 5-6

        M:
        SJ 10-1
        St Bernards 1-9

        S:
        HC 8-3
        NWC 7-4
        St. Paul 6-4
        East Catholic 5-6
        NDFF 1-10
        Sacred Heart 0-11
        Trinity 0-11
        Immaculate 0-11

        That’s 13 teams. TWO qualified for the post season.
        Clearly that group of S schools should ALL be playing in the L division.

        If you went with a district model, clearly SJ should be moved up based on their recent success, but remember they went 19 YEARS between championships. Just like public schools (Ansonia excepted), success seems to be cyclical.

        • PrepFan says

          And let’s not forget Fairfield Prep has not won a state championship since 1988. For all their huge advantage over those poor underpriviledged kids in Greenwich, the Cardinals have won five LL championships since Prep’s last win.

          • Go Cardinals says

            Prep stepped on the field with a lot more talent than most, if not all of the teams they played this year… don’t cry “woe is me,” is that taught at Prep orientation? I hear it a lot…

  18. Question says

    Just wondering, I’ve been reading a lot about the suggestion of CalPrep system for rankings….who does these rankings? Would they be CT ppl, do they watch film/games?, coaches, random CT media, random internet media, just wondering bc I’m not familiar with the system and why it is better? I’ve looked at who would have made playoffs this past season and some ridiculous teams would have been in (some with losing records!), seemed to be a lot of conference biased judgement so that’s why I’m unsure how it works….clarification anyone? Not that the current system is perfect but i’d say overall it works pretty well

    • Matt Glasz says

      Here are the links to the end of season CapPrep rankings for each of the CIAC Classes:
      Class LL – http://calpreps.com/2013/ratings/Connecticut_division.htm#LL
      Class L – http://calpreps.com/2013/ratings/Connecticut_division.htm#L
      Class M – http://calpreps.com/2013/ratings/Connecticut_division.htm#M
      Class S – http://calpreps.com/2013/ratings/Connecticut_division.htm#S

      For what it’s worth here’s how their year end Top 10 would have looked:
      1. New Canaan (L)
      2. Southington (LL)
      3. St. Joseph (M)
      4. Fairfield Prep (LL)
      5. Darien (L)
      6. Ansonia (S)
      7. West Haven (LL)
      8. Xavier (LL)
      9. North Haven (L)
      10. Glastonbury (LL)

      As Sean said, these are completely done by math. And yes, there were indeed teams with losing records in the CalPreps top 8 teams per Class (both Notre Dame, West Haven and Hillhouse finished 5-6 last season but ranked 6th and 8th respectively in the Class L and M CalPrep rankings).

      That’s one of the reasons why I think, at most, these rankings could be used as a tool to help aid the CIAC point system and account for some of the strength of schedule discrepancies. It would be a mistake to base playoff wildcard bids and seeding based solely on a computer ranking.

      I think the combination of all teams playing like-sized opponents plus an objective strength of schedule ranking and traditional CIAC playoff points would be a huge improvement to the current system.

      Finally, to answer your initial questions here’s a full breakdown of how CalPrep calculates their rankings:
      http://www.calpreps.com/ratings.htm

      • JB says

        The math is good, but not perfect for selecting the wildcards and then seeding. I think we should follow the lead of the NCAA and appoint an independent selection committee who would use the CIAC points, CalPrep computer rankings, media & coaches poll, and their football judgement. Matt is someone who should be on that committee along with retired coaches/ADs, retired referees, former players/business leaders … high integrity, knowledgeable football people, with a passion to do the right thing.

        • Matt Glasz says

          Haha, I appreciate your vote of confidence JB but I would be wholly unqualified for that role as I typically only get to 3-4 CTHSFB games per season and even those are almost exclusively North Haven games.

          The thought of a committee deciding who makes the playoffs makes me uneasy. Only the coaches watch enough film to really know who the top teams are and I just don’t think they could be unbiased.

          To me, a modified CIAC point system that includes an accurate strength of schedule component like CalPrep’s combined with a District scheduling format would be ideal.

      • Question Answered says

        Thanks mattglasz, helpful answer….I agree, this could be a helpful tool but not a wholesale movement

  19. Rob (OCEC) says

    And that math is scary accurate. It shows shines a bright light onto the teams that qualified in the past that performed poorly in the playoffs.

  20. PrepFan says

    I love this plan, but there are two problems:

    1. It makes far too much sense for the CIAC to even consider.

    2. The FCIAC would never give up the ability to feed cupcakes to their glamor programs.

  21. JB says

    The “glamor” programs in the FCIAC would eat the same LL “cupcakes” in its region … this system, would likely decrease the competition for the FCIAC power programs. Like Greenwich replacing NC with Hall is not an improvement in competition.

    • Matt Glasz says

      I actually agree that most of the top FCIAC teams currently play a schedule that’s as competitive as any other league in the state outside of the SCC Div I. But I also don’t think that their theoretical opponents in a District model would be a “decrease in competition”.

      Let’s take your Greenwich example, using their 2013 schedule vs. a theoretical 2014 District model slate. Four of the opponents would remain unchanged (Norwalk, Bridgeport Central, Westhill, and Staples).

      In the current model Greenwich played
      West Haven 
      Darien 
      New Canaan 
      Trumbull 
      Fairfield Warde 
      Danbury 
      Trinity Catholic 

      4 Class LL (one playoff team)
      2 Class L (two playoff teams)
      1 Class S
      Combined win percentage .587

      In a District model Greenwich could play:
      Fairfield Prep.
      Glastonbury
      Hall
      Ridgefield
      McMahon
      Stamford

      6 Class LL schools (four playoff teams)
      Combined win percentage .734

      In this case it appears that the District model provides the more challenging schedule. While both are very competitive and feature great match-ups, the District schedule is deeper comprised completely of like-sized schools.

      St. Joe’s on the other hand would certainly end up with a far more manageable schedule than they are currently playing.

  22. JB says

    Matt, I don’t agree for Greenwich last year with the Challenge games included. New Canaan, West Haven, Darien and Trumbull were stronger as a group than Prep, Glastonbury, Ridgfield and Hall. Just look up a couple of posts to your summary of the CalPrep final rankings.

    And for NC, Darien, Joes, Trinity, Wilton, etc … their schedules in the new District model could be a relative cakewalk.

    Don’t get me wrong, the district model may be good for state-wide competition … but for the FCIAC, the district model doesn’t really improve competition – overall.

    Heck, look at the last few title games. Awesome matchups. Last year was New Canaan vs St Joes … CalPrep ranked #1 vs #3. I know I will get booed and folks think the following comment is heresy … but the FCIAC title game may have been a tougher matchup than any of the state final games. Doesn’t happen every year, but it happens often enough that no one in the FCIAC wants to give that up. Those FCIAC banners in the gym hang just as high as the state banners.

    • Matt Glasz says

      Assuming you’re right about comparing those select teams (and the argument can certainly be made both ways) you need to take into account the entirety of the schedule. You can’t pick and choose which opponents support your argument.

      Regarding New Canaan, their theoretical District schedule would include: Windsor, Platt, Masuk, Hand, Middletown and Darien. Not exactly what I would call a cakewalk.

      As for Class S Trinity Catholic, why should they play a schedule with 8 Class LL or L teams including Greenwich, New Canaan, Darien? Are those games “improving the overall competition in the FCIAC”? Their District schedule wouldn’t be a cakewalk either. Merely a fair representation of schools that are similarly sized.

      The reasoning behind this is to create the most equitable system for all CTHSFB programs. As a result some teams would face a more difficult schedule than the ones they currently play. Others would face an easier schedule than the one they have now. Others may not experience a discernible change, but the playing field would be level.

      I know that not everyone will be in favor of this type of proposal but the CIAC should do what’s best for the entirety of CTHSFB programs regardless of how high teams in the FCIAC like to hang their banners.

  23. Dr. Von Nostran says

    I’m not totally opposed to the idea of a “district model”, but I’m not sure I agree that it is necessary. Looking at the teams that qualified for each Class, if the schedules were different I don’t think the qualifying teams would change much.
    Let’s cap the # of qualifing teams in each class to 2 per league. Be the best in your league in a given class, and you should get in. Foran would have made the field over one of the SWC teams. If you aren’t the best in your league, you can’t be the best in the state.
    Trinity is an extreme example given the league and geographic situation.
    I just don’t see the problem in MOST cases. An L schools should be able to compete with LL, S with M. Size is certainly a metric to consider when scheduling, but not blindly.
    In the district model NC gets to keep their long standing rivalry with Bassick. That is the most inequitable game on the state schedule. NC has better coaching, equipment, facilities and more uniform combinations than many colleges. They even brought in a QB from California, and they run onto the field with a cool sledgehammer….Bassick doesn’t have a field. But since they have similar student #’s we keep the annual match-up.
    If we had four teams qualifying per Class I would be all in favor of moving to the model, but since we go eight deep I’m pretty confident that the BEST team is making each field. It may not be perfect, but it’s not grossly inaccurate.

    • Matt Glasz says

      I think we can, and should strive to, do better than close enough.

      New Canaan dominates their series with Bassick because they have better coaching, infrastructure and resources to attract and develop their athletes. They’ve put those pieces together and are justly rewarded with success on the field.

      That’s completely different than a LL school dominating Class M and S schools simply because they have a much larger pool of athletes to draw from.

      The current average male enrollment for a LL school is 893. That’s nearly double the average in Class M, 456 and three times the size of the average Class S school, 296. Even Class L schools, with an average male enrollment of 607, draw from a pool that has 286 fewer students than the average LL schools.

      The only two objective metrics are enrollment and geographic location. Why chose arbitrary numbers like picking two teams from every league when there’s a much more logical way?

      For what it’s worth, Class LL champion Southington didn’t win their division and was seeded below fellow CCC members Glastonbury and Hall. Should they not have been eligible for the playoffs because they weren’t the top 2 teams in their league?

      • Dr. Von Nostran says

        I think the LL qualifiers all belonged. Southington/Glastonbury/Hall all played full LL schedules and beat each other. I’m questioning the fact that people say Newtown/NFA didn’t belong. What would the difference be? To add X or McMahon? Both are LL schools and had every opportunity to win their way in, and didn’t.
        Trade Newtown for Trinity and half your problem is solved.
        I don’t think LL schools should be matched with S schools on a regular basis. But can’t we get rid of most of those problems with better scheduling within the conferences?
        Just make a rule about playing teams that differ by two classes, and you’re there.
        I understand the point of the district model, and I wouldn’t be upset if it was implemented (not that anyone cares). It’s just that I look at the teams that qualified this season, across all divisions, and I don’t see what would have changed.
        Five of North Haven’s wins were against Class M teams, is anyone arguing they didn’t play enough teams is their own class?

        • Matt Glaszmattglasz says

          Under your proposed cap of 2 teams per league in each Class Southington, the eventual LL Champion would not have been in the field.

          I think we can agree that idea lacks merit.

          The difference is that Xavier and McMahon played a combined 13 Class LL schools in the regular season, going 10-3. Newtown and NFA played a combined 2 Class LL opponents, going 1-1.

          Teams should have to qualify for the playoffs in their respective Classes by beating teams within that Class.

          You’re also incorrect regarding North Haven. They played 4 Class M teams, 4 Class L teams and 3 Class LL teams.

        • ACL says

          You don’t think things would have been different if Platt, Newtown, Gilbert, etc. had played schedules that represented the class they are in? Based on what?

          All of those teams played schedules below their class and, once they got to the playoffs, didn’t fare well against teams in their class. While its not definitive, I think it shows that the body of work by those teams was overvalued because of the type of teams they played during the regular season.

          Looking at Newtown in the district model and using the schedule Matt put together, Newtown does no better than 5-5. Platt goes 4-6, maybe 5-5 if they get lucky. So, in my opinion, things would have been VERY different.

          It may be over simplified and/or flawed but most opinions are (especially mine…lol).

          • Dr. Von Nostran says

            ACL,
            Based on the schedule Matt put together, Newtown would compete in every game, but I wouldn’t argue with 5-5, but more likely 6-4.
            But…what if you gave them New Miford’s “theoretical” schedule? Would you argue with 10-1, or 9-2? They were every bit as good as Ridgefield. Should Ridgefield have been left out?
            I did not see Platt play. However their “district” schedule gives them 5 of the top 10 Class L teams. I think it’s fair to say that in Class L you have NC, Darien, Hand, North Haven, maybe Middletown, and then everyone else. Platt, as a program, is right there in the next tier. Based on the make-up of their schedule I would see them as a borderline playoff team (but again..I didn’t see them play).
            As I said, I understand the reasoning. It’s just my opinion that if Platt gets in, playing their current schedule, over Bristol Eastern, it’s not that big of a deal. Bristol Eastern lost to two teams above them. Platt has to prove themselves against the big boys in the post-season. Is it fair they get in, maybe not? But the next team has already shown they are not beating two of the team ahead of them.
            If only four teams qualified, and teams that absolutely belonged in the playoffs were being left out, I would be right there with you. As it stands right now, with 8 teams, the best teams are getting in, and the borderline teams that just miss all had a chance to prove themselves.
            I could actually go either way on the district issue. I just STRONGLY disagree with the notion that playing larger schools = playing a more difficult schedule.

  24. Rob (OCEC) says

    I love the argument Matt. It doesn’t have anything to do with 1 team, 1 conference or 1 county. It’s a system that serves to even out the competition for all the teams State Wide. Then provide a more meaningful selection of playoff teams that should, in theory, provide substantially more competitive playoffs and championships at the various levels.

    Every time I hear someone say, “Well that isn’t going to work well for [Insert Team Name Here] I just imagine some snotty debutant not getting the correct color Lexus on her 16th Birthday.

  25. JB says

    Trinity can compete … ask NC and Joes the last few years! But overall, I agree that Trinity doesn’t always post strong teams. To me they consitently play at least on an M level and can easily compete with the likes of Barlow, Brookfield and Weston year-in and year-out. Joes can compete with anyone, as they proved last year beating Prep and going toe-to-toe with NC. Joes should play up in at least L if not LL in the hypothetical district model.

    Again, Matt, I applaud your leaderhsip in assessing this district model and I do agree with you that state-wide this would really improve the regular season competition. I just don’t know how altruistic those FCIAC AD’s are going to be given the traditions, league title game and travel demands. But you never know. In Iowa, there was one league that did not go along initially and somehow was conviced. Maybe there was something good in that compromise that could be studied.

  26. JB says

    Rob – the attitude you demonstrate with the Lexus comment isn’t going to help. The FCIAC plays football just like the rest of the state … has nothing to do with money or status. Has everything to do with competition, achievement and fun. None of our teams wins a Lexus for the league title … just one of those standard banners that the winner can hang in the gym. Pride isn’t about money.

    • Rob (OCEC) says

      JB, you’re a writer I figured someone like you could handle a “Metaphor”. Imagine a scene from the old TV show Beverly Hills 90210 where some spoiled brat girl doesn’t get her way. That’s the image I’m shooting for. I didn’t reference any team or conference so I am not sure why you think I was talking about the FCIAC unless there is a “Guilty Conscience Syndrome” afoot. I was really focused on the Branford / Guilford commenter about having the woeful duty of having to add Hand and North Haven to their schedule. No argument regarding pride, but a false sense entitlement is also devoid of earning power/potential.

      Go back and read my post again with a less critical eye, I think you’ll see I made no harmful words to anyone in particular, except for the “whiners”; wherever they reside and regardless of their income.

  27. JB says

    DR V, that is the issue in a nutshell … folks are not sure the district model is worth the league upheaval. If we just add a strength of schedule adjustment to the CIAC point system, go back to 10 game regular seasons, in 4 classes with 8-team playoffs … we achieve virtually the same state playoff outcome as the district model.

  28. JB says

    Xavier would have been included at the expense of NFA had we used a simple adjustment for strength of schedule. An undefeated Newtown wouldn’t have been replaced by McMahon.

    My view on Hall is that they got lucky in 2013 with an array of very poor LL teams on their schedule, so it would be hard to bounce them from a district model standpoint given the schedule was all LL … however, the CalPrep model would have ranked them 10 and out of the playoffs. So even with a district model type schedule, Hall could have ended up as a wildcard team based only on the CIAC points and in the district model playoff. The District Model alone doesn’t solve the issue of schedule strength. There are too many LL programs that can’t compete either.

    My view is we can get 95% of the District Model benefit if we just: (1) expand the Challenge-type, well matched crossover games to a required 2 games per season and (2) add a strength of schedule adjustment from CalPrep to the CIAC point system for the selection and seeding of the eight teams – that will force certain leagues to schedule better matchups rather than “feeding cupcakes to their glamor programs”.

    Just my opinion.

    • Matt Glaszmattglasz says

      Who will determine these well matched crossover games?

      I think you’ll find it’s more complicated than it sounds to schedule these out of conference games, especially in years without the extra 11th game.

      There are drastic differences in the number of teams in each league, and the Classes they represent. The FCIAC-SCC challenged worked, in large part, because they both have 19 football programs.

      • Just a thought says

        I agree that scheduling is a bit more complicated than people make it out to be, in football you get one game per week. There could be a number of teams you are willing to play but if the other team’s schedules open dates don’t match up then you obviously can’t do it (talking out of conference games). And let’s be honest, every year teams get better and worse aka Ansonia was matched with Masuk who was down a little this year compared to past few years and people tried to make Ansonia at fault for having an “easy” schedule. Scheduling doesn’t always work out perfectly because football games can be tough to schedule having one game per week plus as mattglasz stated, most conferences can’t do full crossover games bc of differing number of teams. FCIAC/SCC were lucky to have same number of teams in their conferences, this is a rarity.

  29. Guilford Pride! says

    I am the coach at Guilford and I don’t mind playing North Haven and Hand! My only current beef with my schedule is that I am a division 2 scc school and I haven’t played current d2 opponent Sheehan in the past 3 years and one year our schedule came out and we didn’t have D2 Sheehan or D2 Foran on the schedule until we filled our bye week with them but I have played LL West Haven 4 years in a row, and LL Shelton 3 of the last 4 years. We were actually up on West Haven at the half the past two years but I need to do more to get us over that next hurdle. I do like challenging our players and our coaches to work our tails off to compete week in and week out. I also love convincing them to play to win no matter who the opponent is, that wasn’t always the case when I played or first coached here years ago. I love the district model because even with Hand and North Haven on our schedule I’m not playing a school with a much bigger enrollment than we have. In the SCC the D2 schools play 2 crossover games against D1 opponents each year. A problem for us at Guilford is that our game against D1 hand doesn’t count as one of our D1 crossover games. The SCC is a great league but if we don’t go to the district model I would like to see our league restructure the divisions, to 3 and allow for movement from D1-D2-D3 depending on success over a given period of time.

    Short version, North Haven is a great game, great coaches, and encourages me because it didn’t happen overnight there, they took a little bit of time to get to where they are now. And Hand is a tough one for us 5 – 37 – 1 lifetime record but it is a challenge I’m willing to accept, it becomes difficult to handle when we have to play up to LL’s also. Thanks Matt for looking for a solution that can be equitable for all teams across the state.

    Tom Unger

    • ACL says

      Very well put Coach Unger. I am sure you speak for all the D2 coaches in the SCC (I know for a fact that Coach Bevino is in lock step with you). The crossover games are killers for the D2 schools and completely unnecessary. They do not benefit any of the teams (other than giving the D1 schools two extra bye weeks). As a Foran fan, parent, and PA announcer, I hope that this movement will affect some change to the current system. Good luck in the off season!

    • Dr. Von Nostran says

      I think it is up to the conferences to best match their programs to create competetive regular season match-ups. For the most part the “crossover” games do not achieve that.
      During the regular season Foran’s games vs. FCIAC opponents were both against LL schools. While there is no perfect match in the FCIAC, based solely on size better match ups would have been Darien, New Canaan or SJ. The conferences matched “programs” in the challenge and I think it worked out pretty well.
      Certainly moving to a district model “levels the playing field” for some schools. Guilford at 551 boys will not have to play WH at 794 boys (difference of 243). But Norwalk at 770 boys gets to play Greenwich every year at 1,366 boys (a difference of 596…more than double the Guilford/WH difference).
      I know everyone doesn’t share my opinion, but conferences should have the flexibility to match programs based on more than just enrollment. There are many factors that go into the success of a football program, and they should all be considered when scheduling the regular season.

      • ACL says

        @Dr. V – Actually, Foran played one LL FCIAC game (Warde) and one S (Trinity). Their SCC crossover games were Shelton (for the 2nd year in a row with one more this coming season) and WH (also for the 2nd time in a row).

        As far as your comparison, are you arguing that their should be another division? LLL for example? Or are you saying that it isn’t fair for a LL school that is smaller than another LL school?

        Conferences do have the flexibility to schedule schools by size but they obviously don’t, otherwise we wouldn’t be having this discussion right now. What other factors should be considered?

        • Dr. Von Nostran says

          My mistake…I looked at the schedule quickly and read “Law” as “Ludlowe”. I was confused by the L’s and W’s.

          I was only pointing out that the district model fixes the inequity of WH/Guilford, but perpetuates the larger problem of Norwalk/Greenwich.

          Each program has a given set of resources, and the # of male students enrolled at a school is one of those resources. But there are other equally important factors that go into the success of a program.
          I used Bassick/New Canaan as an example because the differences are so extreme, but I just wanted to make a point. Sure, the # of students is “objective”, but what is the makeup of those students? How many speak english or are new to the country? How many have to work and are not available for anything extracurricular? How many eat their best meal of the day in school? Are there any “feeder” football programs in town? Does one Pop Warner team get split between three high schools?
          From a coaching standpoint, look at New Canaan and SJ. They are extremely well coached teams. They also have as many coaches on their sidelines as some teams seem to have players on the field (or fans in the stands). Not every team has a head coach, two coordinators and a bunch of position coaches.
          Many programs don’t have the funding to compete with that.
          Consider off season lifting programs, 7 on 7 leagues, and camps. Plus, what % of suburban athletes now attend “BAD”, “Connecticut Speed School”, or “Blue Streak”. These are all advantages that some schools have over others.

          The only point I’ve ever tried to make is that when you match schools based solely on size, no other factors are considered.

          I agree that there are scheduling inequalities that need to be addressed. It’s just my opinion that virtually all of this can be accomplished within each conference using a little common sense where necessary. It will never be perftect, but neither is the district solution.

          • ACL says

            The factors you are talking about can’t be taken into account. There are way too many variables (as you listed). If socioeconomic factors start to influence how high school sports build their schedules, the conferences would be even more isolated than they are now.

            Schedules have to be built objectively, not subjectively. The only objective constants that can be considered are size and geography.
            That’s is in black and white and can’t be disputed. The factors you mention can be influenced and interpreted in a number of different ways, which would involve even more bureaucracy than we already have. Can you imagine if local or state politicians got involved in this process? The kind of scheduling you are talking about would drag them into it whether we like it or not. There are always going to be teams with greater resources than others, in multiple ways and at multiple levels (in every sport). That will never change and scheduling won’t change it either.

            Your idea is noble and will intentioned, just not realistic.

          • Sean Patrick BowleySean Patrick Bowley says

            Then change districting to ‘divisioning’ like hockey. Divisions I, II, III, IV and classify our schools that way. Do it by class, then allow teams to lobby where they belong, or something.

  30. Dr. Von Nostran says

    I’m not saying that we need to go the hockey route.
    In fact, I don’t think the system is all that broken. People keep pointing to Newtown’s schedule. If Newtown plays Masuk, Bunnell, Pomperaug, New Milford, and maybe Stratford, plus whoever the top M teams happen to be, then I’m happy. go back 5 years and that is a tough schedule. If they beat those teams…in my opinion…they deserve a shot in the post season. Coaching turnover took a bite out of the top of the league. In two years the complaint will be about New Milford. The problem arises when the SWC puts Immaculate Newtown’s schedule.
    The SCC doesn’t need to put Shelton and West Haven on Foran’s schedule. Let the AD’s and conference presidents do their job and schedule games that make sense….that’s my only “idea”.
    I’m not advocating for anything “noble”, just pointing out that the district model, while “objective”, is not “equitable”.

    I may have missed this, but is this a football proposal, or for all sports? All sports pull from the same pool of athletes, but travel becomes a real concern for sports that play three times a week and have to finish before dark.

  31. Dr. Von Nostran says

    No need to apologize…this is fun.

    Not equitable in that it levels out the playing field for M and L, but does nothing to help the teams that fall into the bottom of LL. The most extreme example is Wilby and Danbury, who fall into the same division. Danbury has 1,468 boys, while Wilby has 702.
    The example in an earlier post was that West Haven was much bigger than Guilford, and the difference there was only 243.

  32. ACL says

    Now I understand. Unfortunately, I don’t there is anyway around it, short of going to a fifth division. To my knowledge, there aren’t enough teams for another division but I could be wrong.

    Not only that, there are always going to be differences in each class. The only reason the disparity is so big in LL is because it is the largest division with no ceiling. How many teams are we talking about?

  33. Dr. Von Nostran says

    Eight teams > 1,000 and 16 teams < 800.

    LL sorted by male enrollment:

    Danbury 1468 1,468
    Greenwich 1366 1,366
    New Britain 1338 1,338
    Glastonbury 1077 1,077
    Norwich Free Academy 1071 1,071
    Trumbull 1049 1,049
    Stamford – Westhill 1039 1,039
    Southington 1009 1,009
    Stamford 989 989
    Westport – Staples 953 956
    Hamden 944 944
    Bridgeport Central 923 923
    Ridgefield 906 906
    Newtown 905 905
    Fairfield Prep. 896 896
    Manchester 889 889
    Middletown – Xavier 870 870
    Woodbridge – Amity Reg. 844 844
    East Hartford 836 836
    Simsbury 832 832
    Cheshire 798 798
    West Haven 794 794
    Norwalk – Brien McMahon 793 793
    Shelton 779 779
    West Hartford – Conard 773 773
    Norwalk 770 770
    Hartford Public 750 750
    Waterbury – Crosby 746 746
    Fairfield Ludlowe 737 737
    Fairfield Warde 726 726
    New Milford 726 726
    West Hartford – Wm. Hall 725 725
    South Windsor 723 723
    Newington 719 719
    Waterbury – Kennedy 717 717
    Waterbury – Wilby 702 702

    • ACL says

      Admittedly, its more teams than I thought. That being said, I don’t think there is any way around it, whether its conference (the AD’s will change the way they schedule) or district model (there aren’t enough teams over 1000 for their own division). Not only that, where should the cutoff be? Regardless of the number, there will always be teams that are just above or just below that number that won’t be happy (the teams just under will be in L so the L teams won’t be happy and the teams just under won’t be happy because they are in LL). So what’s the answer?

      As we know, there is no perfect system. The best system will be equitable to the vast majority of teams, across all divisions and will be based on objective data (enrollment, geography, etc.).

      In my role as a league director for a travel basketball league, I have to make decisions that will not be popular with everyone but will be fair to as many teams as possible. When I get complaints on a decision I have made, I know I have done my job because it is impossible to make everyone happy, as long as an argument can be made that it is fair and objective.
      Can we really ask anything more than that?

      Please know that while I disagree, I don’t think you are wrong (if that makes any sense). I am looking at this globally, and in my opinion, the district model adversely affects the least amount of teams.

  34. Dr. Von Nostran says

    It’s on the list as Stamford-Westhill. I copied from the tournament package, sorted, and pasted.

  35. Rob (OCEC) says

    I see your point, but by the “inequity” model then it would also be unfair that Southington has to play Danbury; a population difference of 459 in 2013. The current system falls short of qualifying the fields for each class. By that I don’t mean that Newtown didn’t belong in the playoffs, rather that they played a schedule that failed to evaluate or prepare them for the Class LL post season. If they had played all their games against LL, or large L school, competition with a similar record then it couldn’t be said that their schedule provided them with an unfair advantage to the post season over say Xavier who finished 7-3 with losses to North Haven (L-9w), West Haven (LL-9w), Fairfield Prep (LL-9w). Substitute those 3 teams with 3 Class M or Class S schools and X gets in and someone else gets the short end of the stick. The same could be, and has for that matter, said about Platt. Good school, won every game put in front of them but came up short in the playoffs. Look at their schedule and you see conference/league matches with M and S schools. It’s not fair to them nor to the other Class L schools that play a season at their class level but fall short of the playoffs due in part to another team having played a beneficial schedule. The District model eliminates the “inequity” of the regular season schedule. Will there still be some resentment toward a particular team because their district at a particular level is not a tough as a different district? Sure but at least the teams are all within the same Class and not playing down 1-3 levels to pad their Win column.

    As for the size of the LL schools, it’s seems to be a no win situation at the top since the span from the top to the bottom of LL is 766 students. That is how it’s drawn up right now though and you wrote in an earlier post that you thought things were fine with minor adjustments needed Doc V. If that were the case then the size disparity in Class LL in a District model shouldn’t change your opinion. At least I wouldn’t think it would. ACL stated that maybe 5 classes would be appropriate, I don’t disagree if the separation brings the top and bottom numbers closer in each class.

  36. JB says

    All excellent points. But some LL schools are just not football schools. Not to pick on any one school, but Danbury is a case in point. Track? maybe best in the state. Wrestling? maybe best in the state. Football? rarely fields a team better than .500 in the FCIAC … which is very odd for a school with the some of the fastest, most agile and toughest kids in our state.

    But these historic program differences are up and down each division. Compare Immaculate and Ansonia … both S but so different in football. In other sports? Immaculate and Ansonia are probably equal.

    That is why I believe the most important thing is some sort of objective measure for strength of schedule when it comes down to seeding the playoff teams … doesn’t matter if we have a district model or not. The key to more competitive playoffs is that darn strength of schedule adjustment to each team’s CIAC point total. Every state makes an adjustment, why can’t we do that? Would be easy to implement something this year while the district model debate continues.

    • Rob (OCEC) says

      Using your mentioned teams JB, I would say that Ansonia probably doesn’t care in what system they play. They’ll win their games and get to the playoffs. Where the district model shines is for a team that is above average within their class but gets scheduled against teams that are larger or historically good at football or both. Then another team in a different part of the state gets a relatively easy rout to the playoffs. That is the adjustment the district model brings. It shouldn’t tear down any storied program nor should it stymie a program like Danbury that has had a lack of success in the past with regard to football. More importantly, it’s not the trees that should be considered, it’s the whole forest. It’s entire playoff picture entering argument is that each team played an adequate representation of teams to qualify for the playoffs. In the current system that is not always a true statement. If the regular season consisted of like sized opponents, or at least the opponents in your Class, then the next level is to look at every teams record and reward the teams that are able to schedule other successful programs and deter teams from trying to put cupcakes on theirs. Admittedly hard when graduation and other factors change the landscape of a team every year, but if you were a Class S team along the Housatonic and you scheduled 2 or more years to play against Ansonia, I think your in for a fight every year.

      As for the “Not a Football School”; so does there need to be another “special circumstance” so that a school with a large student population can feel included in the post season? If a school plays within it’s class, then they either make it to the payoffs or they don’t. I know it sounds harsh but if the folks in Danbury had the support system in place for football the way they do for Wrestling, they’d start moving up that FCIAC ranking board. It has a lot to do with how well the youth program is coordinated and the players are grown. It might also have to do with the private schools pilfering the talent. I hear it all the time from friends in Durham how some of the better players end up going to Xavier from their youth league.

  37. Dr. Von Nostran says

    Rob,
    I get it. There is no perfect method and there are mismatches no matter how it is done. I just don’t believe that the size of the program necessarily = the strength.
    Here is my position in a nutshell:
    If, for the sake of safety, the playoffs could only be two rounds, I would be right there with you. Four districts for each class with the winner of each district going to the post-season.
    But, if we are going eight teams deep, personally I would leave things alone…with maybe a change to account for strength of schedule.
    X lost to three teams, they didn’t get in. If they were 10-1 and didn’t qualify it would be an issue.

  38. H-Eck Yeah! says

    Speaking of Danbury, if they hire who we hear they are going to hire, then give it a year and the rest of the FCIAC will be whining that they are too big of a school and they should form their own league by themselves.

  39. JB says

    I agree with Dr V. When you get down to selecting the 3 “wildcard” teams under the district model and also properly seeding the 8 teams teams for the brackets, the CIAC points alone are not going to be good enough. There could be 5+ teams with the exact same record vying for the 3 spots … on what basis will the “wildcard” teams be determined? There could be material differences between district strength in any given season and the head-to-head situations won’t be broad enough. Every other state uses the SoS adjustment to make it’s playoff selections as equitable as possible. Why not CT? The most important thing for the playoffs to be a success, even if we go to a district model, is to add a strength of schedule adjustment for seeding teams. Simple fix, even for this year.

    • Rob (OCEC) says

      JB I think you are providing false data when you say ” Every other state uses the SoS adjustment to make it’s playoff selections as equitable as possible”. It’s easy for me to say I do not believe that statement because I doubt that you, or anyone for that matter, went through the trouble to detail what every state does for their playoffs. However, in saying that I will also state that Strength of Schedule adjustments are useful, and should continue to be used and modified until they provide a better assessment of the playoff teams competing.

      With regard to “selecting” wildcards, the District Model shouldn’t be any more broken than the current CIAC playoff determination system. Under the current system a team is rewarded for playing a cupcake schedule and winning every game. I hold fast to the idea that if a team goes undefeated, they belong in the playoffs regardless of what “Public Opinion” of their schedule might be. Rather than continuing to try and fix the determination criteria, why not provide every team with regular season competition within their class size? At the end of that road you at least have a solid position with which to base your decision on who is in or not in the playoffs. Not like now where if you are a quality team by Pequot or CSC metrics and go undefeated in those leagues, it’s post season time at the expense of a 8-3 team from a more fierce conference like the SCC or FCIAC. Simply adding the CalPreps factor to the CIAC’s current system will still have an uneven process for qualification based on the various league/conference schedules. Those league and conference schedules are the virus that needs the cure. Over and over again, people criticize teams like Platt for playing their schedule but refuse to recognize that Platt (Newtown, or CapPrep) did exactly what they were supposed to do; win every regular season game they played. I say Matt’s District model takes away the “Blame Game” and lets the merits of each team be recognized as they play teams that are of like size which in turn makes the playoff selection more definitive. Will there still be outliers? Sure, but they are at least played on a level metric rather than trying to determine if a near-perfect team that played a weak schedule gets a playoff spot over a good team that probably deserves a spot falls short because they played an SCC Div-I schedule.

      Doc-V, you wrote “X lost to three teams, they didn’t get in. If they were 10-1 and didn’t qualify it would be an issue.” I would say it isn’t that Xavier didn’t qualify with a 7-3 record, it’s that Xavier played a much tougher schedule than say Newtown. They played a schedule of teams of like size whereas Newtown played a schedule of teams that were mostly smaller. If those two teams played the exact same schedule, or even faced each other during the season which team would you pick to have a better record at the end? That is the question that I see the District Model answering since each like sized school will play teams within it’s class rather than a regular season full of smaller schools.

  40. JB says

    Rob – I think we are agreeing with you. The only point we are making is that the same end-of-season situation will prevail … which is, how do you equitably select the “wildcard” teams and then seed the 8 playoff teams into competitive brackets? The CIAC point system does not have a strength of schedule adjustment. So even within a district model, there will be years when one district might have 3 strong playoff-caliber teams … and they just beat each other up on during the regular season and only the district champ (on points) gets into the playoffs. Now if we could expand the playoffs to 16 teams, then it probably wouldn’t matter. The challenge with a 4 or 8 team playoff is deciding who on the bubble is most deserving … that has always been the biggest challenge with a 4 or 8 team playoff.

    For the district model to work as everyone wants it to, we would need to eliminate T-day and expand the playoffs. I would argue for 8 districts per class with 6 teams in each district. That would mean 5 regular season district games and 4-5 well matched crossover games plus a 16-team playoff. To me, that is the only way the district model works as advertised.

    Otherwise, we should just stick with the leagues, T-day, 4 classes and 8-team playoffs but add a strength of schedule adjustment to the playoff qualification and seeding system.

  41. Dr. Von Nostran says

    Rob –
    The way I view Class LL is that every team has an opportunity to win their way in. Be the best team in your league, and you should qualify. X was not, and they didn’t.
    I agree that Newtown had an easier schedule. I agree that if their schedules were reversed, Newtown would have been out and X would have been in. I also agree that while the district model alleviates some of this, it doesn’t completely go away.
    But what I know, based on results, is that X was not the best LL team. Prior to the playoffs, I did not know that about Newtown. I’m willing to take a spot from a 3rd SCC or FCIAC team to see how NFA and Newtown compete. In class LL, win your games and you should get in. Where I would have a problem is if the SCC teams beat each other up and NOBODY gets in. But by going 8 teams deep that shouldn’t happen. The BEST team from each league should get in.
    What I do think is unfair is that a school like Foran is handed WH and Shelton. They may have been the second best Class M team in the state, but they were denied the opportunity to show it (they weren’t beating SJ this year). That, however, can be corrected within the SCC schedule, rather than a complete upheaval of the system.

    • Rob (OCEC) says

      Doc V – Regarding your Foran example, I agree with the thought that their schedule was unfair. It had then play a schedule far more competitive than some of the qualifiers. By recognizing this, you can assume that there are other “Forans” out there, playing against larger football programs and coming up short. That’s why I think that while taking into account a better Strength of Schedule modifier would help, it wouldn’t level out the competition being faced the way that Matt’s District Model would. Also, it appears that you are standing by the sentiment, that I agree with but is part of this current system flaw, of “Win your games and you’re in the playoffs”. The problem with that, despite my agreement with it, is that some teams, like Foran last year or Stonington for that matter, played a tougher schedule than say Ellis Tech. So while the Ellis Tech’s, Prince Tech’s, Platt’s or Capital Preps are in the playoffs and the teams that played a difficult and honest regular season are not. Strength of schedule will not fix that without creating a big flak when a 10-0 or 9-1 team gets ousted by an 8-2 team.

      For the record, 8-3 Hand got into the playoffs last year while 9-2 Naugatuck and Bristol Eastern stayed home. This illustrates that strength of schedule is at work in the current playoff determinations. Whether or not it’s completely effective is what I believe everyone is really talking about.

  42. ACL says

    Ya know, if the CIAC paid attention to this thread, they may learn something. I think we should just show up on their door step and force a meeting? Any takers? Who’s with me?

  43. Dr. Von Nostran says

    I think this may be a record breaking thread that goes way back to the “other” site.
    We are now over 110 comments, and each one uses both upper AND lower case letters.

  44. ACL says

    I think there was a thread during the season that went over 130. Can the moderator confirm? This is history in the making here!

    • Dr. Von Nostran says

      I’m sure some of the threads were longer, but they all feature posts with all capital letters.

  45. JB says

    Every school can play only the teams set in front of them. However, if we can somehow reward teams for the degree of difficulty in their schedule, as opposed to ignoring it, then there wouldn’t be a need to change even the SCC crossover scheduling. Historic matchups can go on, but a team like Foran shouldn’t get penalized fully for losing to a much higher level opponent in regards to it’s M level playoff qualification. To me, the integrity of the playoffs is compromised when teams like Platt, Newtown or NFA don’t compete enough at the same class level yet get full point value for their S level wins. And vice-versa. I recall a year when a 7-3 Weston in teh SWC did not qualify for states due to Masuk and Newtown losses. I don’t think a break-up of the leagues is needed … just change that darn point system so that it rewards more appropriate league scheduling and room for well-matched out-of-league crossover games. Foran should have been in the M playoffs. So why not change the point system so the deserving are rewarded? Its a simple fix.

    Here is Ohio’s approach … http://ohsaa.org/sports/ft/boys/rankcalc.htm

    • Matt Glasz says

      I’m glad this topic is continuing to generate healthy discussion. Hopefully the CIAC football committee will give legitimate consideration to the pros and cons of a District model.

      With additional changes to CTHSFB likely after the 2014 season there is a real opportunity to implement change and create an objective system that is equitable for all teams.

  46. ACL says

    That’s an interesting approach. I may try to convert this for our purposes. If work doesn’t get in the way that is.

  47. Andy says

    Even if the CIAC followed this thread your playing into their hands, Matt came up with a great system to get a fair schedule and representation into the playoffs. Playoffs are designed by Class, so the schedule should also be designed that way, to get the top 8 from each class. Do not reduce the number of teams in playoffs, look how many get in from all other sports. All the what if’s can be endless. Play the teams in your class by conference, have a better point system and go from there. Make prep schools play each other and allow any team to move up but never down. Done.

    • ACL says

      If it were only that easy, we wouldn’t be here. The conferences do not schedule to class. For evidence of that, look at the schedules for Valley Regional, Platt, Newtown, etc. If the point system worked properly (meaning that strength of schedule was a factor), teams like Foran would have (NH the year before, Law a few years ago) been in the playoffs.

      The district idea eliminates the soft scheduling teams making the playoffs and puts less importance on the current point system.

      You are correct that it should as easy as you say but it never is.

    • JB says

      Like Andy’s approach … just add two well-matched mandatory intra-league crossover games state-wide in week 1 and week 6. That way teams like Newtown and NFA wouldn’t have to leave their conference to get enough playoff points to qualify. But they will need to schedule solid LL opponents in the SCC and FCIAC … like Xavier and Greenwich. This would also help eleviate the D2 teams like Foran in the SCC getting too many really hard LL opponents … they would pickup M level teams in the crossovers and reduce the SCC D1 crossover matchups.

      • Matt Glasz says

        I don’t mean to be dismissive JB but this is far too simplistic. It’s easy to say “have this team play that team, boom done” but when put into practice it’s exceedingly difficult to schedule representative competition for every team in the state. Try it and you’ll see.

        Also, where is the incentive for these schools to schedule top-tier opponents? Are we supposed to trust that NFA would schedule Xavier when in years past they’ve scheduled Stamford?

        The issue isn’t Newtown getting enough playoff points (they were the #1 seed in Class LL). The issue is why does a school like Newtown play a schedule of almost exclusively M and S schools.

        Let’s take a hypothetical scenario using your suggestion and say Newtown picked up two LL opponents, West Haven and Staples. Newtown would still play their usual 8 games against M and S schools and then have just two games against feloow Class LL opponents. Meanwhile West Haven and Staples who already play predominantly Class LL schools drop Foran and Wilton respectively and pick up ANOTHER LL team to add to their already loaded LL schedule?

        That’s still not equitable because the teams that are already playing LL schools are simply playing a full schedule of like-sized schools while teams that play well below their Class only have to play two like-sized schools a year.

  48. JB says

    Matt, I definitely see your point and actually applaud you for your leadership with the district model. I think it is very well thought-out and gets right at the heart of what we all want … better regular season matchups and more equitable playoff qualification and seeding.

    I just think the leagues will not go for it … so I am only trying to suggest a compromise that incorporates some of your ideas and allows the leagues to stay in place.

    I really like the well-matched crossover games you suggest. But without the district model, the incentive to schedule better matchups has to come via the strength of schedule adjustment in the point system. If the CIAC used the Ohio ranking approach, then a team like Newtown would have to drop two in-league S/M opponents and pick up to two top-quality LL opponents in the mandated crossover weeks … otherwise their point potential isn’t high enough to make states. And why would Staples be at all interested in Newtown for one of its crossover dates? Well, same reason. A quality win against Newtown would be worth big points where a win against Wilton wouldn’t help much. So it is likely worth the risk to take on the additional LL teams in the crossover weeks. And, by the way, this notion is nothing against Wilton … they are always a strong challenger. But now Wilton will be looking for a quality same-level opponent were their chances for a win are higher.

    Also, the adjusted point system will give further incentive for leagues to consider better regular season matchups so that their teams have enough point potential for states. Hopefully, there we be much less of a problem with “feeding cupcakes to the glamor programs” … because wins from poorly matched teams will no longer count much for state points.

    Not to pick on the SWC, but there are plenty of quality matchups for Newtown in league if there are also two mandated intra-league crossover weekends. Newtown could then play 3 LLs, 4 Ls and 3 Ms versus last year they played just 1 LL, 2 Ls, 6 Ms and 1 S.

    • Matt Glasz says

      Thanks JB. Indeed that is the goal and you’re correct that a District model may never be approved. But personally I would be disappointed if there was a change that didn’t go all the way. Why settle for implementing something that’s merely a small improvement than what we have now? Especially when it’s possible to level the playing field for all teams across the state.

      I’m fully supportive of a strength of schedule component in any format. However, I don’t think that adding S.O.S. along with two games that are in-Class but out-of-conference would be enough to fully even the scales.

      I understand Newtown’s incentive to try and schedule a top-tier LL team. But what is Xavier’s incentive? They already play a schedule filled with highly competitive LL schools so why add another highly competitive LL program like NFA if they didn’t have to?

      • Dr. Von Nostran says

        Or, Newtown could simply play NFA.
        Crosby, Kennedy and Wilby could all use LL games as well. You could remove Bethel, Brookfield and Barlow. However I don’t think that “strengthens” their schedule, but they would be annual matchups for them in a district model….

  49. JB says

    Shame they couldn’t have done more as it relates to the 2014 playoffs. I feel bad for the players caught up in the middle of this … if you win a state title this coming year, there will always be that asterisk on it.

  50. Rob (OCEC) says

    I don’t think that any player that wins a State Championship will consider their title this year, or any other for that matter, as an “Asterisk” championship.

  51. FtballFan90 says

    I agree, there will be no “asterisk” by any champion this year….players/coaches will be just as proud to win a state championship this year as they would be any other year…every team has the same opportunity and it will still be very difficult to obtain a title

  52. Rob (OCEC) says

    Okay, the story about Jim Bransfield and the Fairfield Prep student’s response is getting too many responses.

    Anyone know when the 2014 season schedules are going to be up on the CIAC site?

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