Thursday, November 14, 2013

Football playoffs: What round is it, anyway?

When Divisions II through VII of the Ohio high school football playoffs take the field Friday and Saturday, they will be contesting regional semifinals.

When Mentor, Stow-Munroe Falls and the rest of Division I hit the Field Turf, they will be contesting regional quarterfinals.

It's true. It's also confusing. But this year's OHSAA realignment has brought different names for each round of the Division I playoffs, even though the big-school division has the same number of teams in its bracket as the other six divisions.

Division I was reclassified into two regions of 16 teams. Divisions II through VII remain four regions of eight. So the rounds go like this:

Division I: Regional first round, regional quarterfinal, regional semifinal, regional final, state final

Divisions II-VII: Regional quarterfinal, regional semifinal, regional final, state semifinal, state final

This OHSAA news release has the information for all of them.When referring to the playoffs as a whole, it calls this weekend the second round.

This will take some getting used to. For Division I, it's a departure from the format used since the last expansion in 1999.

I wouldn't be surprised if fans continue using the old round names -- aka current names for D-II through D-VII, if you will -- just because it's what they know. Even Mentor referred to its game against Stow as a regional semifinal in a tweet.

 In the future, perhaps the OHSAA could consider breaking the two Division I regions into four pods after the top 16 teams in each region are set. That way, there are four regional champions as there always have been.

You would also be able to call the Division I final-four games state semifinals. I think that's what a lot of people will call them anyway, even if they're called regional finals under this new format.

-- Howard Primer


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