In what’s become a yearly tradition, after the ninth week of the high school football season, folks immediately started coming up with new suggestions about ways the MSHSAA district seeding system could be better.
I’m not going to sit here and say the current system is perfect, though it’s far better than the +/- 13 point, four-team setup of previous years.
Instead, the focus needs to be on how you make sure the best teams in the state end up at the state championship game. This of course assumes the best two teams aren’t in the same district and are dispersed throughout the state.
What the current system doesn’t allow in Class 1-5 (Class 6 only has four districts so there is no quarterfinal round) is for two teams from the same area of the state to potentially make it to even the state semifinals or finals.
My suggestion is this: reseed the playoffs after the district championship round.
Take the point total from each team and seed them off of that, it’s an arbitrary way to apply the teams’ performances from across the state instead of the eye test or looking at records.
This does two things. It encourages the teams to play as tough of a schedule as possible in the regular season in order to get their district point number as high as possible. In all but Class 6, the benefit of playing up, even if you lose, outweighs a game in your own division (see Academy, University and Skyline.)
Second, it removes some potential games in the quarterfinals that would be better suited for the semifinals or the Show-Me-Bowl.
The biggest complaint about this system by many is travel. In reality this would impact just 20 teams across the state, the same amount who are traveling anyway. The games are on a Saturday and the balance this provides would make it more appealing. Often times these games are more than two hours apart anyway.
Take Class 4 for example. Let’s say all the top seeds make it to the quarterfinal round this season.
Looking at the points of each, one side of the bracket right now would be 2,4,5, and 6 teams and the other side is 1,3,8 and 7.
If you reseeded it, two teams would travel further but others would have a shorter drive.
It’s not a perfect solution, but it takes into account some level of teams’ performance versus the random numbering of districts.