It’s the most wonderful time of the year in Connecticut high school football season. It’s a week until Thanksgiving — the greatest day on the Connecticut sports calendar. Do not argue with us on this point. You will lose.
Not only does it mean family, friends, and loads of turkey and stuffing. It also means it’s time to figure out who’s in and who’s out of the state playoffs.
That means it’s time break out your slide rules, beakers and Bunsen Burners and dabble in some playoff formulas. Amaze your your teachers. Stun your parents. Impress your friends. Figure out what you need to get into the state playoffs or one of the coveted home quarterfinals and semifinals.
So, with a handful of Week 11 games on the docket beginning Thursday, and then the motherlode on Thanksgiving, it’s time to start rolling these out.
Here’s how the CIAC’s state playoff formula works:
- Teams get 100 base points for ANY league victory, or an out-of-league victory against a team of the same class.
- Out-of-league wins against schools from lower divisions are -10 from the base for every lower level. (So a Class LL school defeating an out-of-league Class L school is worth 90 points, Class M is 80 points and Class S is 70 points. A Class L school defeating a Class M school is 90 points, defeating a Class S school is 80 points, and so on.
- Conversely, ALL victories for schools in lower divisions over higher divisions are given +10 points for each level higher, regardless of whether they’re in the same league or not. (So A Class S school beating a Class M school is 110 points, beating a Class L school is 120 points, beating a Class LL school is 130 points. A Class M school beating an L school is 110 points, beating an LL school is worth 120 points, and so on.)
- After the victory points are decided, teams then get 10 points for every defeated opponents’ victory. These are called ‘bonus points.’ When a team has beaten both teams of a Thanksgiving matchup, those 10 points are deemed ‘guaranteed.’ (i.e. they get 10 points no matter who wins because the team beat them both.)
- The total points are divided by the number of games played to get your average.
- Top eight averages reach the state playoffs. Top four averages get home quarterfinal games.
We’ll break down all of the available points for your viewing pleasure (or displeasure) after this week. For now, you can see the point potentials here.
Top 8 are in. Everyone else can start thinking about hockey, basketball or wrestling. Or whatever.
The points don’t become official until the CIAC football committee meets the day after Thanksgiving. The quarterfinals begin Tuesday, November 29 at 6:30 p.m.
As always, if you see anything off about these, let us know.
The Playoff Picture
as of November 16, 2016
[aesop_image imgwidth=”720″ img=”http://www.gametimect.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/2016-Playoff-Graphic-1112b.jpg” credit=”Graphic by Sean Patrick Bowley” align=”center” lightbox=”on” caption=”The State of the CIAC Playoffs heading into Week 11 (November 17, 2016)” captionposition=”left”]
Darien, Newtown, West Haven and Southington
It’s weird that all of the home quarterfinal games are accounted for. I can’t ever recall that happening. But anyway, Darien, Southington, Newtown and West Haven are all hosting quarterfinal games.
If they all win, it’ll be Darien No. 1, West Haven No. 2, Newtown the No. 3 (although Newtown has a chance to catch West Haven at 1470 if Barlow beast Weston. and Southington No. 4. If any of these teams lose, they’re looking at the No. 4 seed, with a chance to move back up if other teams lose, too.
They’re (almost) In
Shelton and Ridgefield
They haven’t qualified yet, but Shelton and Ridgefield should have no problems beating their Thanksgiving foes and grabbing the No. 5 and No. 6 seeds.
So two spots will remain…
Win and In
Norwich Free Academy, Fairfield Prep
Easier said than done, here. NFA must topple unbeaten New London and Fairfield Prep must stun unbeaten West Haven. They’ll both close out this class if they can do it.
Prep’s done with a loss.
NFA, however, will still have a chance.
The Wildcats would need Cheshire or Fairfield Prep to lose and then Greenwich lose to Staples (which would give NFA needed bonus points). NFA’s chances will be helped greatly if Hall loses to Conard this week, too.
Win and Wait
Cheshire, Hall, Greenwich, Wilbur Cross
Cheshire is in if it beats Southington and if NFA or Fairfield Prep lose.
Hall and Greenwich need that plus Cheshire to lose. Then it would come down to bonus games between them, Hall has the edge since it would start at 960 and get at least to 970. Greenwich would start at 940 and can get as high as 970, maybe even 980 if Trumbull beats St. Joseph.
If Greenwich loses, Hall will squeak in. If Hall loses, the door’s open for Greenwich.
Wilbur Cross is a longshot because it would have to beat both Xavier and Hillhouse. But if it somehow does that, the world will open for the Governors to usurp both Hall and Greenwich in their scenarios. But let’s cross that bridge first.
Win and Pray (or just Pray)
Xavier, Trumbull, Glastonbury
Xavier’s season wraps up vs. Wilbur Cross, and and the Falcons’ max with a win is a 93.0 average. Glastonbury’s nine-game season is over and it’s max is a 93.11 average. Trumbull has to beat St. Joseph on Thanksgiving, an it could surpass both with just one bonus game (maybe Westhill over Stamford, Trinity over Wilton).
Regardless, it’s going to take a complete LL collapse reminiscent of 2014 for any of these teams to get into position.
But it’s not quite dire for that scenario — frankly, all of the teams above these three could possibly lose. We’ll know more by Saturday night.
New Canaan, Windsor, New London
New Canaan will be the No. 1 seed if it beats Darien. It won’t drop further than No. 3 with a loss.
New London will likely capture the No. 2 if it wins both of its final games vs. Waterford and NFA. If New Canaan loses, the Whalers can capture No. 1.
If both New Canaan and New London lose, Windsor is next in line for No. 1 if it beats Middletown. NC would be the No. 2 and New London the No. 3.
Middletown, Platt/Maloney winner
Middletown is looking at the No. 3 seed and a home quarterfinal with a win over Windsor. It could get as high as No. 2 and has a slight chance at No. 1 if New London and New Canaan lose. If it loses, it’ll likely be the No. 4 unless — say — Masuk wins.
The winner of the Stoddard Bowl between Platt and Maloney will likely be the No. 5 seed.
Win and In
Masuk, Notre Dame-WH, Naugatuck
If Masuk beats Newtown, it will qualify and get as high as the No. 5 or No. 6 seed depending on how many bonus points the Platt/Maloney winner gets.
Should Masuk lose, the Panthers will qualify if Naugatuck loses to Ansonia and if it gets just enough bonus help (20 will do the trick) to stay ahead of Harding.
Masuk would be counting on Brookfield (over Bethel), Stratford (over Bunnell), New Milford (over New Fairfield). The Panthers might get one to reach 970…
A win and Notre Dame-WH is looking at the No. 6 seed. If Masuk wins, it will probably drop to No. 7. If Naugatuck wins, it’ll probably drop to No. 8. Loss and, welp, they didn’t deserve it anyway.
Naugatuck is in with a victory over Ansonia (and as high as the No. 6 seed). A loss and sayonara.
The Platt/Maloney loser
The Platt v Maloney Stoddard Bowl loser is in decent shape to qualify — especially if it’s Platt — and will do so if Naugatuck loses to Ansonia, which is most likely (Naugy has beaten Ansonia just once since 2001).
In the scenario that Naugatuck actually beats Ansonia, then it would be a matter of outpointing Masuk (assuming a loss to Newtown) and Harding (even assuming a win over Central).
The good news for Platt is that it starts at 960 with a loss and has favorable bonus games compared to Masuk and Harding.
For Platt, that will happen if it gets two of Bristol Eastern (over Central), E.O. Smith (over Tolland), Hartford Public (over Bulkeley), Hall (over Conard), South Windsor (over Rockville) to get to 90.
Masuk and Harding will both have trouble getting that high.
Update: If it’s Maloney that lost, the road to outpoint Masuk or Harding will be much tougher than Platt. The Spartans would start at 940 and would need all three of its bonus games to reach 970: NWC over East Catholic, Farmington over Plainville, Hartford Public over Bulkeley. That’s certainly possible, but Maloney will certainly be sweating for it.
If it somehow tied Masuk, it would come down to tiebreakers points (the total wins by all of a team’s combined opponents).
Win and pray
First off, Harding must beat Central. Then the Presidents need both Masuk and Naugatuck to lose, since just getting one merely helps the Platt/Maloney loser. So Harding must outpoint Masuk for the final spot.
Harding, with a win over Central, will start with 950 with 60 bonus games on the table. Sadly, many of them are unfavorable: Bassick over Bullard-Havens; Danbury over Ridgefield, Prince over Captial Prep, Platt Tech over O’Brien Tech are among the less likely.
Abbott Tech/Immaculate beating Cheney Tech would get Harding to 960, so they’d need at least two more to get to 980 and possibly usurp Masuk (and Maloney, if it lost) for the final spot. Three more and it’s virtually guaranteed they will.
Wait ’til next year
Wilton and Cheney Tech
Wilton and Cheney have remote chances which would require getting all of their bonus games just to have a shot at tying Masuk (with a loss). They’d need Harding to lose to Central, too, most likely.
Nobody’s clinched a quarterfinal yet, but here’s who will with victories: St. Joseph, Valley Regional/Old Lyme, Hillhouse and Killingly.
St. Joseph, Valley Regional/Old Lyme
St. Joseph gets the No. 1 seed with a victory over Trumbull.
Valley gets the No. 2 with a victory over Haddam-Killingworth.
They’re (just about) in
Hillhouse, Killingly, Bunnell, Wolcott
Hillhouse is on the cusp of qualifying and it doesn’t even need to beat Wilbur Cross for that to happen, just Berlin and/or Waterford to lose this week. A victory over Cross will get them the No. 3 seed. A loss will drop the Acs as far as No. 6.
Killingly should beat Quinebaug, so they’ll get in as the No. 4 seed, most likely.
Wolcott and Bunnell are in with losses by Waterford or Berlin this week. Wins by Wolcott (over Holy Cross) and Bunnell (over Stratford) will make them Nos. 5 and No. 6, respectively, unless teams above them lose.
Win and In
New Fairfield, Waterford
New Fairfield is in with a victory over New Milford, otherwise they’ll need worry beads.
Waterford has two games left and one of them is New London. Win both and the Lancers are in.
Of course, that’s a tall hill to climb. Beating undefeated New London will drastically help their cause since Gilbert/NW or Foran won’t be able to catch them. The Lancers would then qualify if Berlin or New Fairfield lost. They woudn’t even have to beat East Lyme.
But in a likely scenario where Waterford loses to New London, then they’ll have hope Berlin loses and beat East Lyme to have their hopes rekindled.
In that case, it would be a scramble for bonus points with Gilbert/NW and Foran for one spot. If New Fairfield also loses, the Rebels would join a four-way race for two spots along with Waterford, Gilbert and Foran.
Win and Pray
Berlin, Gilbert/Northwestern, Foran
Berlin will get in with a victory over New Britain, and a loss by New Fairfield or Waterford. They lose and they’re out.
Both Gilbert/Northwestern and Foran must both win out (Foran has two games) and then get Waterford to lose to New London and Berlin to lose to New Britain to have any shot.
If that happens, and Waterford beats East Lyme, it’ll be a bonus race for one spot between Foran, Gilbert/NW and Waterford. A second spot could open up if New Fairfield loses to New Milford, then it would be four teams for two spots.
Here’s what that disaster might look like:
Gilbert/NW would be ahead of the game because it would start with 1000 points. But its bonuses aren’t favorable. They’ll probably only get one to reach 1010. It is possible they get none of them, keeping them at 1000.
Foran would start at 980 and might get two, but that will only get it to 1000. So it’ll need three of its five — and that means they’d be hoping Hamden or Amity to win. Good luck with that.
Waterford, by beating East Lyme, would also start at 980. It would only have four available bonuses. They’d need Windham to beat Woodstock and Stonington to beat Westerly just to reach 1000.
If New Fairfield loses, they’d also start at 1000 and could only get to 1010 if Masuk upset Newtown.
So, potentially, we could have a four-way tie for the final spots. Yay!
Capital Prep, Ansonia, Cromwell/Portland-Rocky Hill winner
Barring any upsets or catastrophes, Capital Prep (just nine games) will get the No. 1 seed by beating Prince Tech if they get at least half of their bonus games. Ansonia will get the No. 2 seed by beating Naugatuck.
The Chargers will drop to No. 4 with an unlikely loss.
The winner of Cromwell/Portland vs. Rocky Hill will get a home game, that is if Cromwell/Portland defeats North Branford this week.
Assuming Cromwell/Portland does and then goes on to beat Rocky Hill, the Panthers could reach as high as No. 3 or higher if one of the teams above them lose. A Rocky Hill win over Cromwell/Portland likely make them the No. 4.
A loss and Rocky Hill is in danger of missing out entirely. More on that in a second.
They’re (almost) In
Bloomfield should beat Enfield, which would get the defending champions a playoff berth and the No. 3 seed, most likely.
Win and In
Bullard-Havens, Seymour, OSW/Stafford winner
Bullard-Havens is in with a victory over Bassick, most likely as the No. 5 seed (They’re out with a loss).
Seymour is in with a likely victory over Woodland, most likely as the No. 6 seed.
The winner of this week’s game between Old Saybrook/Westbrook and Stafford/Somers/East Windsor would then merely need to win on Thanksgiving get in. OSW plays Morgan. Stafford plays Windsor Locks.
If OSW is the loser, it will get dumped into a desperate group that includes Oxford and Trinity Catholic. If Stafford loses, it’s likely finished. Let’s get to that now…
Wins and prayers or just prayers
Oxford, OSW/Stafford loser, Trinity Catholic
The last spot depends entirely on Rocky Hill’s game with Cromwell. If Rocky Hill wins, then the eighth and final spot will most likely go to Oxford, if it beats St. Paul, with Trinity and, perhaps, the OSW loser.
If Rocky Hill loses, then there will be two spots open.
Oxford will gain the upper hand over all of them if it beats St. Paul. It’ll start at 1160 points, and will most likely qualify for the final spot with 1170 points over Trinity and the OSW/Stafford loser. If Rocky Hill loses, consider Oxford in, maybe as high as the No. 7 seed.
Trinity is next in line. The Crusaders will start at 1140 get most likely around 1160 points from two bonuses (it would need upsets to get any higher). That won’t catch Oxford, so Trinity’s best chance with one spot remaining would be if Oxford somehow lost to St. Paul.
Failing that, Trinity will be hoping Rocky Hill loses to Cromwell/Portland, which would drop the Terriers into a fierce bonus race with the Crusaders.
Rocky Hill would start at 1130 and has a decent chance to get to 1160 with half of its 60 bonus points. Trinity will be praying they don’t.
Of course, Bullard-Havens could make it easier on everybody by losing to Bassick, opening up another spot.
The OSW/Stafford loser would be behind all of these teams. As mentioned, Stafford has virtually no shot to catch up. If it’s OSW, however, the Rams will make this a mess. Their bonus games are iffy, but they’d start at 1150. So even if they get one bonus — say, Gilbert/NW over Waterbury Career — they’ll get to that magic 1160.
Confused? Don’t worry: This will all be cleared up by Saturday night.
Wait ‘Til Next Year
Prince Tech, Ellington, St. Paul, Morgan, North Branford
These teams will need everybody to collapse, and collapse spectacularly.