And by “dance,” we mean the state football playoffs.
And by “craze,” we mean “WHAT ARE YOU CRAZY?” with the new state playoff format of 32 teams but just two rounds.
CPTV Sports and WFSB anchor Joe Zone (without partner John Holt who was on assignment) devoted half of the Game Time show to the craze, which has elicited a spectrum of thoughts and opinions from across the state since last week’s announcement.
Zone did a fine job playing the role of Deney Terrio by introducing two of the latest contestants: New Haven’s Dr. LeRoy Williams of the CIAC football committee and some unkempt dude who runs this website for the New Haven Register and Digital First Media.
This particular debate really got us nowhere. The decision of the CIAC and the football committee is only two weeks old and still sinking in.
This was more like the set up of a poker match. “The flop” has been dropped and we’re weighing its meaning as we await the turn. “The turn” will the next CIAC football committee meeting in February to will set up this wacky football system.
And, no matter how they cut it, with 32 teams and just two playoff rounds to figure it out, it’s going to be wacky on an unprecedented scale.
We’re looking at eight state champions, but the state is probably going to stick with four divisions and that means get ready for Class LL-A (seeds 1-4) and Class LL-B (seeds 5-8) champions.
But what got us here? Why did we need such drastic action? And what of the future? This is just a stopgap, but this nuttiness can’t continue in further playoff seasons, right?
Dr. Williams, who was interviewed by phone, mentioned the safety issue as the driving factor behind the decision. He told Zone he didn’t believe the playoffs would be diminished any more praised the CIAC football committee for making the tough decisions on this matter.
On the subject of Thanksgiving, Williams gave an endorsement for keeping the century-old holiday tradition, at least for this year. But his phrasing of that endorsement seemed to indicate a discussion of Thanksgiving Day’s future would be on its way.
Then it was my turn.
Eight state championships in a state that has only 148 teams is “asinine,” I said. “Anybody who thinks eight state champions doesn’t diminish (the playoffs) is fooling themselves and is trying to butter it up and make it a lot better than it really is.”
Granted, that’s not the issue any more. We’re past the point of no return on this season. The coaches were forced to do this and they didn’t want to give up the 32 teams they have qualify. It’s a fair number, I should add.
So, we’ll have eight state champions in 2014 and nothing will get settled. I’m almost of the mind that we just eliminate the whole playoffs rather than play down to co-champs.
After acknowledging that playing ‘The Gauntlet’ of Thursday/Tuesday/Saturday games, Zone asked the important question: What’s the solution for the future?
I turned back to my original statement on this matter. If we’re only allowed two weeks after Thanksgiving and just two games, we either go back to six divisions of four — once again running the risk that deserving, 9-1 teams get a chance to prove themselves in the playoffs — or we devalue or eliminate Thanksgiving as we know it in this state by beginning the state playoffs one or two weeks earlier.
[Also joining the show, segments on East Hartford boys basketball and No. 5-ranked South Windsor girls basketball]
See how it all went down on CPTV Sports. Our segment begins at 9:30 on the YouTube channel above.