We’re getting a little closer to a clear CIAC football playoff picture. Though no one clinched a playoff spot from Tuesday’s nine-game slate, eight teams were eliminated from contention for the 32 spots.
So… Six teams have clinched a ticket to the Class LL playoffs, with five teams alive for the other two. Four Class L teams are in, with seven fighting for four spots. Three are in the Class M field already, with seven teams left for the other five. And in Class S, three teams are in, and 10 still have a chance.
We could see nine of the remaining 16 available spots secured on Wednesday, with the big slate still to come on Thursday.
Before we go all big-picture below, here’s what can happen Wednesday night:
- Ridgefield clinches a playoff spot with a win over Danbury OR a New London win over NFA OR an Amity win over North Haven
- NFA clinches a playoff spot with a win over New London
- Newtown clinches a home game with a win over Masuk
- New Canaan clinches a playoff spot with a New London win over NFA OR a Newtown win over Masuk
- Wethersfield clinches a playoff spot with a win over Newington OR a Newtown win over Masuk
- Newington clinches a playoff spot with a win over Wethersfield OR a Newtown win over Masuk
- Masuk clinches a playoff spot with a win over Newtown
- Rockville clinches the top seed with a win over Ellington
- Waterford and New Fairfield clinch playoff spots if ANY of Crom/Port, Ellington or Windsor Locks lose OR if BOTH Stafford and Coginchaug lose.
- Granby clinches a playoff spot if BOTH Stafford and Coginchaug win; OR if Stafford wins and Crom/Port loses.
- Killingly clinches a home game if any TWO of Brookfield, Capital Prep or New London win
- Woodland clinches a playoff spot with a win over Seymour
Now… with two days left in the regular season, here’s a team-by-team look at where everyone stands. You can follow the point accumulations live on the CIAC’s realtime qualifying pages here: CLASS LL | CLASS L | CLASS M | CLASS S
THE BIG PICTURE
These are all ranked by points accumulated, whether or not they’ve played eight, nine or 10 games, because pretty much everyone will play 10 games by Thursday. Ranking by points percentage is great if you need a midseason waiver order or you’re all playing different numbers of games at the end of the year, but… (Naturally, one team in contention is playing only nine games. We’ll worry about it when we get to it.)
Teams’ records are in parentheses, along with the points they’ve already accumulated and their maximum points. (That is, Darien is 9-0, has 1270 points already and can max out at 1530.) Teams with an ‘x’ have clinched a playoff spot. An ‘x’ in one set of parentheses means that team has clinched a first-round home game, and an ‘x’ in double parentheses means the team has clinched a top-two finish. The “range” represents their possible finishing spots. That is, Darien could be first through fourth. Ridgefield could finish as high as fifth or be out of the top eight.
(x)-DARIEN (9-0, 1270-1530)
This week: Thursday vs. New Canaan, 10 a.m.
Darien clinches the top seed with a win and one bonus vs. Cheshire, or a win and a Southington win. With a loss, it could drop as low as 4 if Newtown wins (won) and a breathtaking number of bonuses really go against it. (Though it doesn’t pop on the standings, Darien has clinched a home quarterfinal. The Cheshire-Southington loser can’t match Darien’s 1270, and though Greenwich could, the Cardinals share several bonuses with Darien, so the Blue Wave would be above 1270 if Greenwich gets there.)
x-SIMSBURY (9-1, 1260-1270)
This week: def. Avon 47-10
They won’t hold off the Cheshire-Southington winner, but a Newtown loss could keep the Trojans in second with a lot of help. Their final total will be in with the Amity-North Haven game.
x-NEWTOWN (9-0, 1230-1430)
This week: Wednesday at Masuk, 6 p.m.
Clinches at least second with a win and a Southington win over Cheshire, or a win and enough bonus points to stay ahead of Cheshire, which would win a tiebreaker. Should Newtown lose to Masuk, it could finish as high as second if crazy things happen on Thursday, or it could drop as low as sixth (which would require a Southington win over Cheshire).
x-CHESHIRE (8-1, 1200-1440)
This week: Thursday vs. Southington, 10 a.m.
The Rams clinch the top seed with a win and losses by Darien and Newtown. They could be as high as third with a loss if they catch Newtown in bonus points.
x-SOUTHINGTON (8-1, 1180/1360)
This week: Thursday at Cheshire, 10 a.m.
A perfect storm would drop the Blue Knights to seventh, under Ridgefield. It’s no lower than third with a win over Cheshire and could be first, if Darien and Newtown lose. All the Blue Knights’ bonuses are in, so they’ll be at 1180 points or 1360.
x-GREENWICH (8-1, 1090-1270)
This week: Thursday at Staples, 10 a.m.
A home game becomes a tall task after Simsbury’s win, but a win over Staples and enough help can get them past the Southington-Cheshire loser (just the win would get them past Southington with a Blue Knights loss). A Newtown loss as well plus the right bonus combinations could get them as high as third.
RIDGEFIELD (7-2, 970-1180)
This week: Wednesday vs. Danbury, 6 p.m.
The Tigers and NFA both play Wednesday, which could seal up the bottom two spots simply; win and they’re in. A Wednesday loss for either NFA or North Haven would secure the Tigers’ spot, too. Getting to fifth would require Southington and Greenwich losses and a lot more help.
CONARD (7-3, 940-960)
This week: Season complete
Needs NFA to lose and to earn fewer Thursday bonuses than the Chieftains, because NFA probably wins a tiebreaker; also needs to hold off Shelton and Ludlowe.
NFA (6-3, 930-1100)
This week: Wednesday vs. New London, 1 p.m.
Win and they’re in. Lose and they’re sweating out a whole bunch of bonus points. Could catch Greenwich with a win and a near-perfect FCIAC Thursday.
SHELTON (6-3, 860-970)
This week: Thursday at Derby, 10:30 a.m.
NFA is one of Shelton’s bonus points, so coincidentally, if NFA loses, that’s the only team Shelton can catch for a playoff spot. Numbers are cold. Derby’s move to the NVL is not kind to Shelton, which would get just 90 points for a victory at Ryan Field. Shelton’s fate could be sealed by then. Or it could take the field with a not-unreasonable chance at clinching with a win.
LUDLOWE (6-3, 750-950)
This week: Thursday vs. Fairfield Warde, 10:30 a.m.
Beat Warde and get a whole lot of help. Could be out by gametime if Ridgefield and NFA both win Wednesday.
((x))-ST. JOSEPH (9-0, 1370-1600)
This week: Thursday vs. Trumbull, 10:30 a.m.
((x))-HAND (9-0, 1360-1570)
This week: Wednesday at Guilford, 7 p.m.
The Cadets and Hand are 10 points apart, and 13 different games will play a ha… play a part in deciding the top seed in Class L. (Fairfield Prep-West Haven and Norwalk-McMahon are both swing bonuses; both St. Joseph and Hand have Notre Dame-West Haven.) Well, 15 different games: Those bonuses will only matter if both St. Joseph and Hand win, or both lose.
x-MALONEY (8-1, 1170-1350)
This week: Thursday at Platt, 10:30 a.m.
Win, and the Spartans are the third seed. Lose, and they risk falling behind New Canaan (with a win over Darien) and the Wethersfield-Newington winner. They’ll have the tiebreaker against Wethersfield, though not against Newington, in a one-on-one tie.
x-BERLIN (8-2, 1120-1140)
This week: Season complete
Berlin will be fifth if New Canaan loses to Darien, sixth if the Rams win. (The Newington-Wethersfield winner will pass the Redcoats.)
NEWINGTON (7-2, 1000-1190)
This week: Wednesday at Wethersfield, 6 p.m.
Unlike Wethersfield, because it beat Maloney, Newington can catch Maloney, with a win and a Spartans loss and at least even bonuses. (Whether that’s for third or fourth depends on New Canaan.) Also unlike Wethersfield, Newington doesn’t have a tiebreaker against Wilton and needs at least a 10-point bonus swing to ensure a finish ahead of the Warriors. (Again, a Masuk loss gets Newington in.) With a loss, it’ll slot sixth to ninth.
NEW CANAAN (7-2, 990-1260)
This week: Thursday at Darien, 10 a.m.
New Canaan only needs 10 more points for, or 10 points lost for Windsor, to clinch a spot. A win Wednesday for either New London or Newtown does it. With a win, a Maloney loss and the right set of bonuses, New Canaan could be third. With a loss, the Wethersfield-Newington winner will pass it, and Masuk could, too, with a win over Newtown.
WETHERSFIELD (7-2, 990, 990-1190)
This week: Wednesday vs. Newington, 6 p.m.
Wethersfield will probably win a tiebreaker against Wilton and has enough bonuses in common that it has already clinched a finish ahead of Windsor, so it’d take about 12 different games to go against the Eagles to knock them out. (A Masuk loss will also get them in.) Wethersfield can’t catch Maloney, because of common bonuses, but it could be fourth with a win and a New Canaan loss. With a loss, it finishes anywhere from sixth to ninth.
WINDSOR (7-3, 940-990)
This week: def. Middletown 35-21
It needs a Masuk loss and enough bonuses to stave off Quinebaug and Wilton (or losses for Quinebaug and Wilton) to hold onto eighth.
MASUK (6-3, 840-1080)
This week: Wednesday vs. Newtown, 6 p.m.
Clinch and will finish sixth (with a New Canaan loss and enough bonuses) or seventh with a win vs. Newtown on Wednesday. Out with a loss.
WILTON (6-3, 820-1000)
This week: Thursday at Trinity Catholic/Wright Tech, 10 a.m.
Needs a win and the right bonuses and a Masuk loss to get in (or an absolute perfect storm of bonuses), plus hold off Windsor and Quinebaug. With all of those, it could be seventh.
QUINEBAUG (6-3, 780-970)
This week: Wednesday at Thames River, 5 p.m.
A win, a Masuk loss, enough bonus points to hold off Windsor and Wilton, and they’re in. Simple.
Fitch, Middletown and Notre Dame-West Haven were eliminated Tuesday.
((x))-ROCKVILLE (9-0, 1350/1480)
This week: Wednesday at Ellington, 6 p.m.
Rockville is the top seed unless it loses to Ellington AND Waterford beats East Lyme AND Waterford goes 3-for-3 on bonuses AND the opponents’ wins-ties tiebreaker shifts by three. (Rockville is more or less the top seed. All its bonuses are in.)
x-KILLINGLY (9-1, 1280-1330)
This week: Season complete
ATI, Waterford and Weston can pass Killingly with wins and the right swing of bonus points. None of the three can catch the Red Hawks with a loss. Tiebreakers right now don’t favor Killingly. But it can secure a home game as early as Wednesday.
x-ATI (8-1, 1190-1290)
This week: Thursday at MCW United, 10 a.m.
A win guarantees no worse than fifth. ATI can pass Killingly with a win over winless MCW United AND with none of five Killingly bonuses coming through. Waterford and Weston both have higher ceilings but, if ATI wins, can’t catch ATI if they lose.
WATERFORD (8-1, 1160-1350)
This week: Thursday at East Lyme, 10 a.m.
No, really, top seed (see Rockville for the path) or done (hard, requiring Weston and Watertown to win and a highly improbable swing in bonuses). But Waterford can clinch a playoff spot before it plays if any one of three SMSA bonuses don’t come through on Wednesday. With a win on Thursday, it’d secure a home game and could be a tiebreaker away from second.
NEW FAIRFIELD (8-2, 1160-1190)
This week: def. New Milford 20-6
The Rebels’ victory leaves them 10 points away from clinching, which could happen Wednesday in a few different ways. A whole lot of strange would have to happen for the Rebels to get to third. Unfortunately for fun but fortunately for point-sorting, Weston and New Fairfield can’t tie, so the Rebels’ tiebreaker can’t come into play. Fourth would be a surprise, too. But now they’re in the middle of that 1160-point fun, watching the scoreboard the rest of the week.
GRANBY/CANTON (8-2, 1130-1170)
This week: Season complete
The new co-op could get a home game, if Waterford, Weston and Watertown all lose and the bonuses go their way. If those teams all win and the bonuses don’t go their way, the new co-op could be out. Three of their four bonus games are Wednesday, so they’ll have an idea where they stand by Thursday morning. They can clinch Wednesday if those bonuses go right and enough of SMSA’s go wrong. For example, Coginchaug beating North Branford would almost assure them a spot.
SMSA CO-OP (8-2, 1120-1160)
This week: Season complete
So many things need to go right for SMSA to be the fourth seed, like 12 game results, that it’s almost not worth mentioning. Hanging onto playoff position will be interesting: Watertown can catch them with a win and bonuses. Weston can pass them with a win. Waterford and New Fairfield just need one bonus apiece, as mentioned. Maybe fun: Granby and SMSA have one bonus in common, Ellington, but are on opposite sides of two, including Morgan-OSW. It’s not impossible that a playoff spot could come down to SMSA and Granby bonuses, and maybe even straight-up OSW vs. Morgan on Thanksgiving morning.
WESTON (8-1, 1100-1320)
This week: Thursday vs. Barlow, 10 a.m.
Weston is in with a win and could get as high as second with the right bonuses; it has six possibilities, three Wednesday, three Thursday. A loss, and all those bonus points come into play. Just for fun (fun for us, I mean, not them), let’s say Waterford and Weston both lost. There would be six teams with point ceilings between 1160 and 1190, at least as the week begins, battling for five spots, or “battling,” as their battling would mostly be done by other teams.
WATERTOWN (7-2, 980-1180)
This week: Thursday vs. Torrington, 10:15 a.m.
A win alone won’t be enough, but it will puts Watertown into the heart of the fun. A loss, and they’re out.
THAMES RIVER (7-2, 940-1120)
This week: Wednesday vs. Quinebaug, 5 p.m.
A win, a Watertown loss, and a Weston loss with a big bonus swing, and they’re in. Simple. They can also catch SMSA, conceivably, but would need the tiebreaker to swing.
East Haven, Wolcott and Barlow were eliminated Tuesday. (East Haven shares bonuses with Weston so can’t actually catch the Trojans.)’
((x))-BULLARD-HAVENS (10-0, 1560)
This week: Season complete
((x))-ANSONIA (9-0, 1380-1600)
This week: Thursday at Naugatuck, 10 a.m.
Ansonia will be first with a win, whether on points or on the tiebreakers. Tech will be first if Ansonia loses, and Bloomfield second.
x-BLOOMFIELD (10-0, 1500-1540)
This week: def. Glastonbury 40-3
The win clinched at least third. (Corrected: Thanks to the comments)
PLAINFIELD (8-1, 1150-1330)
This week: Thursday at Griswold/Wheeler, 10 a.m.
In with a win. Where… it’s interesting in that Nos. 4-6 right now, Plainfield, Woodland, Sheehan: They each have 1140 points, each get 160 points with a win this week, and have point ceilings of 1320, 1340 and 1340, respectively. And none of their bonuses are in common.
WOODLAND (8-1, 1140-1340)
This week: Wednesday at Seymour, 6 p.m.
Also in with a win. Woodland is the only one of this little middle trio that plays on Wednesday, so it could breathe a bit on Thursday. But all four of its bonuses play Thursday, so it’ll be waiting for its number.
SHEEHAN (7-2, 1140-1340)
This week: Thursday vs. Lyman Hall, 10:30 a.m.
In with a win. Sheehan likely has any tiebreaker it’d likely be in, but a loss opens doors.
HOLY CROSS (7-2, 1080-1270)
This week: Thursday at Wolcott, 10 a.m.
A win and losses for Plainfield, Woodland and Sheehan, and the Crusaders have a home playoff game. A win and they’re in, more importantly. Holy Cross can’t catch any of the three teams ahead of it that may win, but with a win it will certainly hold off everyone behind it. Of the teams that can catch the Crusaders, only Plainville plays on Thursday, so they could, actually, already be in by the time they play.
STAFFORD CO-OP (7-2, 990-1180)
This week: Wednesday at Windsor Locks co-op, 6 p.m.
Stafford is in for sure with a win and a Holy Cross or Plainville loss. It can climb the ladder if Plainfield, Woodland or Sheehan lose, depending on bonuses. Even if they all win, if Stafford wins, the only team behind the Bulldogs that they have to worry about is Plainville. Bonuses could come into play, and they’re on opposite sides of one, Crom/Port (Stafford’s points) vs. Rocky Hill.
PLAINVILLE (7-2, 980-1170)
This week: Thursday vs. Farmington, 10 a.m.
Exactly like Stafford, but coming from 10 points behind: In with a win and a Holy Cross or Stafford loss; a win for Plainville and a loss for Plainfield, Woodland or Sheehan, and bonuses will matter.
NORTH BRANFORD (7-2, 940-1130)
This week: Wednesday vs. Coginchaug co-op, 6 p.m.
A win and losses for Stafford and Plainville is enough for the Thunderbirds. A win and a loss one of those two plus a Holy Cross loss, and North Branford would need just one bonus to go its way.
WCA (7-3, 990-1010)
This week: def. Gilbert/Northwestern 38-14
The Spartans got their win and the best season yet for the young program. They still need everyone behind them and ahead of them up to Stafford to lose, and even then, Stafford and Plainville bonuses could work against them.
SEYMOUR (7-2, 860-1080)
This week: Wednesday vs. Woodland, 6 p.m.
WCA’s win put seventh out of reach for Seymour (If Holy Cross loses, Seymour doesn’t get its 10 points for beating Holy Cross). So the Wildcats need Stafford, Plainville and North Branford to lose while they beat Woodland.
GRISWOLD/WHEELER (6-2, 833*-1066*)
This week: Wednesday vs. Plainfield, 10 a.m.
Couldn’t resist with the range: G/W is the only team in contention playing nine games, which means LONG DIVISION. Or ALGEBRA. Algebra is probably easier. We’ll show our math if you make us, but basically, for Griswold to get in as the eighth seed, it needs to win to get to 1033 “points”; needs losses for Stafford, Plainville and North Branford; and would be better off if Seymour loses, though it could come down to bonuses if Seymour wins and all that other stuff happens.
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.