Almost there. Really.
We ran through each team’s CIAC football playoff picture Tuesday night… OK, Wednesday morning, a deeper look at where everyone stood. (And missed a couple. Apologies to Stafford.) Wednesday’s games clarified things:
- NFA and Ridgefield won to clinch Class LL playoff spots and round out the eight-team field.
- Wethersfield, New Canaan and Newington are secure now in Class L, Wethersfield with a win over Newington.
- Waterford, New Fairfield and Granby/Canton all got into the Class M field.
- And Woodland and Stafford both won to clinch Class S tickets.
There are 26 teams already in, with six spots left: one in Class L, two in Class M and three in Class S.
The last spots come down to musical chairs, really.
Here’s what’s left to decide today, the last day of the regular season:
The field is set, sorry Shelton. Just comes down to seeding.
For seeding: Darien, Newtown and whoever wins the Cheshire-Southington game have clinched home games.
Darien will be first with a win over New Canaan. If not, it’d be Newtown if Southington beats Cheshire, or it will come down to bonus points between Newtown and Cheshire (games won Thursday by teams that Newtown and Cheshire already defeated; see the bottom of the post for a fuller explanation) if Cheshire beats Southington.
Simsbury will be no better than fourth, but it would take a great run of Greenwich bonus points for Simsbury to fall to fifth.
Greenwich will be no worse than sixth with a win at Staples, passing Ridgefield for sure and maybe the Cheshire-Southington loser, but unlikely based on bonus games — likely sending the defending champs to Simsbury.
It’d be hard for Ridgefield to catch Southington even if the Blue Knights lose, needing all six bonuses to come through and the tiebreakers to go its way.
NFA needs a Greenwich loss and bonus help to get out of eighth. Not happening.
If Wilton beats Trinity Catholic/Wright Tech, then the eighth playoff spot likely comes down to bonuses between two sets of Warriors, Wilton and Windsor.
If Wilton defeats Trinity, it has the more favorable bonus games: The Warriors can get points from Fitch (over Ledyard), Stamford (over Westhill) and Bunnell (over Stratford), Warde (over Ludlowe), Staples (over Greenwich) and McMahon (over Norwalk).
Windsor is finished and has four teams it hopes to win: Farmington (over Plainville), RHAM (over Bacon), Hartford Public (over Bulkeley) and Platt (over Maloney).
Both teams will start at 940. Since three of Wilton’s games are likely winners, Windsor will need to match that. But it probably won’t get all four. If Wilton gets more bonuses, it’ll be in. A tie will be tricky and come down to a tiebreaker and it’s close at the moment.
If absolutely everything goes wrong for those teams (not bloody likely), Quinebaug has a number posted and, at least at the moment, has the tiebreaker. But it would require both being stuck at 940 or MCW pulling off a monumental upset over ATI. Again, not bloody likely.
For seeding: If St. Joseph beats Trumbull, then first place comes down to a bunch of bonuses between the Hogs and Hand. St. Joseph have eight teams that can help, while Hand has six. We’re projecting St. Joseph will get just enough. If New Canaan wins, then the Hogs are likely to get the No. 1. It’ll be close.
New Canaan can pass Maloney into third place if the Rams beat Darien, Maloney loses and enough bonuses come through for them. Maloney will definitely stay ahead of Wethersfield, though, whether that’s for third or fourth.
Berlin will be fifth if New Canaan loses, sixth if the Rams win.
Wilton, if everything went right, could catch up to Newington. But it’s not favorable. Neither is Newington catching New Canaan. It might tie the Rams if Maloney wins the Stoddard Bowl, but the Rams have a firm edge in tiebreaker points, and Newington should fall to No. 7 and make a trip to the Surf Club.
Weston clinches a spot with a win over Barlow, and it could get a home game depending on bonuses and, even better, if Waterford loses to East Lyme.
With a loss, Weston sweating bonus games. The Trojans are rooting for Hillhouse (over Cross), ND-Fairfield (over Pomperaug) and Stratford (over Bunnell). Two are favored to come in. It’ll all be moot if Watertown were to lose to Torrington. In that case, it would clinch spots for both the Trojans and SMSA.
Watertown gives itself a great chance with a win over Torrington, though it’ll come down to bonus games. The Indians are counting on Crosby (over Kennedy), Derby (over Shelton) and Naugatuck (over Ansonia). In other words: they absolutely need Crosby to win to get an edge on SMSA.
SMSA is in a bit of trouble if both Weston and Watertown win, though it looks like SMSA has a tiebreaker against them both should it happen. SMSA only has one bonus game, and that’s Morgan beating OSW to get them to 1140 points. If it doesn’t happen, then they’re rooting for Watertown to either lose or Crosby to lose (or Naugy or Derby winning, which… yeah.)
For seeding: Rockville has clinched first, and Killingly has secured a home game.
Waterford would get one as well with a win. The other, then, would come down to Weston and ATI, who’d be separated by 10 points if they both won, though Weston has three bonus possibilities to try to come from behind.
That 2-3-4 seeding could be tight if both Weston and Waterford win. New Fairfield has three bonus possibilities to clinch a finish ahead of Granby/Canton, wherever that might fall.
There’s a lot of seeding that could be tight, really: If Waterford and Weston were to lose and Watertown to win, there would be six teams between 1120 and 1160 points before you start sorting out bonuses (with only five of them qualifying).
Sheehan (vs. Lyman Hall), Plainfield (vs. Griswold) and Holy Cross (vs. Wolcott) are all in with wins or just a Plainville loss.
A loss for any of them opens the door for Plainville (vs. Farmington) with a win.
If Holy Cross and Plainville both win, and Sheehan and Plainfield both lose, the seventh and eighth spots will come down to bonuses, and it’ll be close between Sheehan, Plainfield and Plainville.
Sheehan is counting on three bonus wins from Hamden (NDWH), Barlow (Weston), and Branford (East Haven). They could get between all three or none. So it’s favorable to stay ahead of the pack.
Plainfield is counting on two bonuses: Stonington (over Westerly-RI) and Bacon over RHAM. They’ll probably get one to reach 1150. In that case, Plainville would be in great shape. A Law win over Foran would put them in over Plainfield with 1160 points. A tie at 1150 will come down to tiebreaks and Plainville is far ahead in the tiebreaker p
For seeding: Ansonia is first with a win, third with a loss. Bullard-Havens is first if Ansonia is not. Bloomfield is second if Ansonia loses, third if the Chargers win. If Sheehan and Plainfield both win, then fourth through sixth will come down to bonuses in a close battle with Woodland. (Same, for fourth and fifth, obviously, if only one of them wins.) Holy Cross will be no worse than seventh with a win and can pass either Sheehan or Plainfield if they lose. Stafford is in the clubhouse at 1170: It’ll definitely be ahead of Plainville, as well as ahead of Holy Cross or Plainfield if they lose. A Sheehan loss, and their position against Stafford comes down to bonuses.
HOW IT WORKS
For the uninitiated, here’s how the CIAC’s state playoff formula works:
- Teams get 100 base points for a victory.
- Teams 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 ‘guaranteed.’)
- Now, while all league wins equal 100 base points, non-league wins over schools from lower divisions are less: One class lower and you subtract 10 from the base 100 (or just add 90 base points). Two lower classes, subtract 20 (or just add 80), three lower classes subtract 30 (or just add 70).
- ALL schools from lower classes defeating higher classes get 10 points added for each higher class, regardless of whether it’s a league game or not: One class higher, add 10 (or just add 110 base points), two classes higher add 20 (or 120 base points), three classes higher add 30 (or 130 base points).
- Last year, Connecticut Football Scheduling Alliance successfully petitioned the CIAC to remove the penalty for large schools beating out-of-league smaller schools. So, for example, Cheshire beating Masuk is 100 points, not 90.
- 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.
- TIEBREAKERS are determined by head-to-head, if just two teams. Then it goes to tiebreakers points, which is the accumulated number of wins by all of your opponents (not just the ones you defeated). …the third tiebreaker is who beat the highest-ranked team in the playoff standings, then winning percentage, then by lot — which is predetermined.