First of all, let me explain the title of my commentary this week. Picking the field of 16 really is easy – with the system used by the WVSSAC the field of 16 really picks itself! There is no guess work – it is simply based on points and it even uses a very elongated formula to decide ties! And, let me state, I feel it is absolutely the best way to decide the field of 16…..coaches and athletic directors decide on their team’s schedule and they then proceed to play the schedule trying to win as many games as possible. The more you win, the more points you receive and consequently making the field of 16 takes care of itself!
Now, let’s say you have your field of 16 in each class and the 1st round of the playoffs are ready to go. Here is what we don’t have……we don’t know which team is really number one. Oh, we know what the numbers say, but what makes an undefeated #1 team better than an undefeated #2 team, or for that matter, even an undefeated team checking in at #3? For you see, because of the way our state is geographically split up, very few teams play against each other during the regular season. And, that is why we will probably have more than just one undefeated team in each class, yet only one will be ranked at the top. To prove my point, if the playoffs began this weekend, we would have three undefeated teams in AAA….two undefeated in Class AA and, five undefeated teams in Class A. In Class AAA, we have Huntington (6-0), Martinsburg (7-0) and University (7-0). In Class AA, we have Bluefield (7-0), Liberty Harrison (6-0) and Mingo Central (6-0). In Class A, we have East Hardy (7-0), Madonna (6-0), Midland Trail (7-0), South Harrison (6-0) and St. Marys (5-0). What are the chances of each class finishing with this number of undefeated teams? Well, in Class AAA Huntington, Martinsburg and University do not play each other…..so, there is a chance we could have three undefeated teams there. In Class AA, Bluefield, Liberty Harrison and Mingo Central do not play each other the rest of the season, however, Liberty Harrison does play undefeated South Harrison on November 3rd. But, the scenario does change in Class A! Of the five remaining undefeated teams, South Harrison will play St. Marys on October 20 and turn around the very next weekend and play East Hardy. So, of those three teams in Class A, at least one of them will fall from the unbeaten ranks and it is probable all three could end up with at least one loss. And, speaking of South Harrison, check out the remaining schedule for the Hawks: Sherman at home, then on the road at St. Marys, East Hardy and Liberty Harrison. The remaining four teams for Brad Jett’s Hawks currently have a combined record of 23-1. If South Harrison finishes their regular season at 10-0, they will be my undisputed #1 team regardless of what the numbers say! Now, here is something else to remember, just because the other undefeated teams in each class do not play against each other, there is no guarantee they will end the season without a blemish. They all have several tough opponents remaining on their schedules and only time will tell how many finish unbeaten.
So, with seven weeks of the eleven week regular season in the books, let’s check on some exciting games to look forward to in week number eight: In Class AAA, Martinsburg (7-0) is at Hedgesville (5-2), Huntington (6-0) is on the road at Hurricane (4-2), University (7-0) is visiting Buckhannon-Upshur (3-3) and Parkersburg (4-2) is at Cabell Midland (3-3). In Class AA, Wayne (5-1) is at Chapmanville (4-2), Nicholas County (4-2) is at Westside (4-2) and Sissonville (5-1) is at Winfield (4-2). In Class A, Clay-Battelle (5-1) is at Cameron (5-1), Fayetteville (5-1) is at Midland Trail (7-0), Sherman (5-1) is at South Harrison (6-0) and Doddridge County (5-2) is on the road at Ravenswood (4-2).
Make sure you get out this Friday night and take in a high school football game in your area and then after the game, be sure and tune in High School GAMENIGHT…..we will have all of the scores, stories and interviews. Talk with you then!!