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PROJECTED Football Playoff Qualifying Field heading into Week 9

10/12/2019, 6:45pm CDT
By Travis Wilson

It is that time of the year again, where I feel like an accountant on April 15th trying to crunch numbers and figure out the good and bad news for people. 

I have predicted every game for the last week of the high school football season, thereby determining final conference records for all teams. With these predictions, I can put together a PROJECTED playoff field. To see full WIAA Playoff Regulations, please visit here.

Please note the emphasis on PROJECTED, as things can and will change between now and the end of the final game next Friday night. Even one or two games going differently amongst the nearly 200 I projected could throw things off. This is meant to give an idea of where teams may fall in divisional placement as we head to the busy final week.

Based on my projections, 200 teams finish with a conference record of .500 or better. Hurley and Northland Pines qualify as Independents by going at least .500 overall.

That leaves 22 spots available for teams that finish under .500 in conference. The first tiebreaker, something adjusted a few years ago, is conference winning percentage. This gives an advantage in the tiebreaker to teams from 10-school conferences that play 9 league games. A 4-5 league record (0.444 conference winning percentage) is better than a 3-4 league record (0.429 conference winning percentage).

There are nine teams that I project to finish 4-5 in conference play: Big Foot, Brodhead/Juda, De Pere, Green Bay Southwest, Madison West, Manitowoc Lincoln, Ozaukee, Spooner, Whitefish Bay.

That brings our total to 211 teams, leaving 13 more spots available for teams that finish 3-4 in conference. There are 15 such teams that finish 3-4 in conference in my projections: Badger, Brillion, Campbellsport, Eau Claire Memorial, Ellsworth, Fennimore, Kenosha St. Joseph, Nekoosa, Oregon, Racine Case, Racine Park, Ripon, Riverdale, Union Grove, Whitehall.

To figure out which 13 of those 15 get into the postseason, we follow WIAA criteria.

First is the combined winning percentage of defeated conference opponents, conference games only. Basically, it rewards teams that have beaten some of the better teams in their league. 

Many of the teams had league wins over a team that finished 2-5 in conference, a team that finished 1-6 in conference, and a team that was winless. However, teams that had wins over teams that posted more than the standard three league victories are: Whitehall, Oregon, Racine Park, Ripon, Campbellsport, Badger, Racine Case, and Union Grove. Those eight teams qualify via the first tiebreaker procedure and bring our total to 219 teams

That leaves five spots remaining, with seven teams still in contention.

Head-to-head result (since every team doesn't play every other) and result versus conference champion do not apply to any of those teams.

The next criteria is win/loss percentage against the playoff field as determined initially (steps 1, a-d). Ellsworth had a non-conference win over Loyal, who will be in, and thus becomes team number 220. No other remaining teams beat a playoff team (as determined in steps 1, a-d). 

We now move down to step 3(d), which is "Defeated opponents (conference wins only) overall win/loss percentage". Kenosha St. Joseph, thanks to a win over Milwaukee Bradley Tech, gets in on this step, giving us 221 teams.

This is where it gets a little interesting. You'll notice the criteria is opponent's overall win/loss percentage. Brillion beat Valders, who will play just eight games this year due to Sturgeon Bay canceling its season. Likewise, Riverdale had victories over Kickapoo/La Farge and North Crawford, who played just eight, 11-player games. As a result, even though the teams they beat didn't have more wins than others still in the running, they had fewer overall games and thus a better win/loss percentage, so Brillion and Riverdale get in as teams 222 and 223.

Eau Claire Memorial, Fennimore, and Nekoosa remain tied for the final playoff spot through these tiebreaker criteria.

The next criteria is defeated opponents (all games) overall win/loss percentage. Eau Claire Memorial got non-conference wins over La Crosse Central (who we project to go 5-4 overall) and La Crosse Logan (3-6), and becomes the final playoff qualifier as a result (Nekoosa had no non-conference wins while Fennimore's only non-league win was over Richland Center, which is not good enough to get the Eagles in ahead of Eau Claire Memorial).

Fennimore and Nekoosa get left out of the playoffs as projected 3-4 conference teams based on a number of tiebreakers.

8 PM THURSDAY UPDATE: WSN received word that Milwaukee Vincent will forfeit all games and thus be removed from playoff consideration. As a result, Fennimore does qualify for the playoffs as the final team, thanks to a non-conference win over Richland Center.

Now that we know the 224 teams PROJECTED to be in the playoffs, we can break them into divisions. The full PROJECTED divisional placements are below.

PROJECTED 2019 CUTLINES COMPARED TO PAST SEASONS

Division 2019 * 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008
D1 Low Enrollment 1407 1360 1422 1449 1445 1418 1421 1389 1301 1331 1360 1405
D2 Low Enrollment 1008 957 966 953 937 932 936 922 841 878 878 919
D3 Low Enrollment 598 543 540 571 561 528 531 544 504 508 513 557
D4 Low Enrollment 421 398 367 397 393 345 358 362 352 359 336 353
D5 Low Enrollment 292 271 261 290 279 245 266 253 255 252 238 252
D6 Low Enrollment 197 197 194 196 202 194 197 200 194 184 181 195
* - Projected thru Wk 8

PROJECTED FOOTBALL PLAYOFF QUALIFYING FIELD

Team Football Enrollment Division Conference
Milwaukee Riverside/Golda Meir 2595 1 Milwaukee City-Richardson
Sun Prairie 2447 1 Big Eight
Kenosha Indian Trail 2439 1 Southeast
Middleton 2261 1 Big Eight
Madison West 2249 1 Big Eight
Milwaukee Marshall/Carmen Northwest/Juneau/Languages 2172 1 Milwaukee City-Richardson
Oak Creek 2142 1 Southeast
Arrowhead 2133 1 Classic Eight
Green Bay Preble 2128 1 FRCC
Madison Memorial 2086 1 Big Eight
Neenah 2077 1 VFA-South
Milwaukee Bradley/Milw Arts 2054 1 Milwaukee City-Richardson
Milwaukee Pulaski/Carmen South/Carmen Southeast 2052 1 Milwaukee City-Blackbourn
Fond du Lac 2006 1 VFA-South
Marquette 1964 1 Greater Metro
Bay Port 1894 1 FRCC
Hudson 1806 1 Big Rivers
Racine Case 1800 1 Southeast
Appleton North 1780 1 VFA-North
D.C. Everest 1724 1 VFA-West
Appleton East 1658 1 VFA-North
Eau Claire Memorial 1653 1 Big Rivers
Verona 1651 1 Big Eight
Muskego 1639 1 Classic Eight
Mukwonago 1637 1 Classic Eight
Madison La Follette 1599 1 Big Eight
Franklin 1566 1 Southeast
Kimberly 1564 1 VFA-North
Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln 1541 1 VFA-West
Milwaukee King 1537 1 Milwaukee City-Richardson
Manitowoc Lincoln 1532 1 FRCC
Badger 1407 1 Southern Lakes
Racine Park 1360 2 Southeast
De Pere 1357 2 FRCC
Milwaukee Reagan 1351 2 Milwaukee City-Blackbourn
Germantown 1328 2 Greater Metro
Hartford Union 1326 2 North Shore
Menomonee Falls 1325 2 Greater Metro
Homestead 1324 2 North Shore
Superior 1309 2 Big Rivers
Waunakee 1303 2 Badger-North
Watertown 1302 2 Badger-South
Brookfield East 1298 2 Greater Metro
Brookfield Central 1246 2 Greater Metro
Marshfield 1239 2 VFA-West
Waukesha West 1178 2 Classic Eight
Green Bay Southwest 1166 2 FRCC
Kaukauna 1165 2 VFA-North
Holmen 1152 2 Mississippi Valley
Hortonville 1149 2 VFA-South
Oregon 1149 2 Badger-South
Milton 1126 2 Badger-South
La Crosse Central 1120 2 Mississippi Valley
Burlington 1109 2 Southern Lakes
Pulaski 1103 2 FRCC
South Milwaukee 1085 2 Woodland-East
Slinger 1080 2 North Shore
Monona Grove 1076 2 Badger-South
Waterford 1068 2 Southern Lakes
Wilmot Union 1042 2 Southern Lakes
West Bend East 1041 2 North Shore
River Falls 1038 2 Big Rivers
DeForest 1017 2 Badger-North
Ashwaubenon 1008 2 FRCC
Union Grove 986 3 Southern Lakes
West De Pere 980 3 Bay
Menomonie 975 3 Big Rivers
Stoughton 968 3 Badger-South
Whitefish Bay 959 3 North Shore
Onalaska 929 3 Mississippi Valley
Menasha 920 3 Bay
New Richmond 917 3 Middle Border
Greendale 888 3 Woodland-West
Reedsburg Area 881 3 Badger-North
Pewaukee 872 3 Woodland-West
Whitnall 848 3 Woodland-East
Sauk Prairie 834 3 Badger-North
Sparta 818 3 Mississippi Valley
New Berlin Eisenhower 801 3 Woodland-West
Shawano Community 785 3 Bay
Wisconsin Lutheran 773 3 Woodland-West
Rhinelander 772 3 Great Northern
Plymouth 752 3 East Central
New Berlin West 744 3 Woodland-West
McFarland 738 3 Rock
Grafton 729 3 North Shore
Monroe 723 3 Badger-South
Lakeland 704 3 Great Northern
New London 692 3 Bay
Fox Valley Lutheran 655 3 North Eastern
Medford 643 3 Great Northern
Hayward/La Courte Oreilles 638 3 Heart O’North
Mosinee 637 3 Great Northern
Jefferson 628 3 Rock
Catholic Memorial 603 3 Classic Eight
Kewaskum 598 3 East Central
East Troy 592 4 Rock
Berlin 557 4 East Central
Evansville 555 4 Rock
Freedom 539 4 North Eastern
Saint Francis 530 4 Midwest Classic
Mauston 526 4 South Central
Martin Luther 524 4 Metro Classic
Winneconne 521 4 East Central
Xavier 519 4 Bay
Edgerton 514 4 Rock
Ripon 509 4 East Central
Little Chute 503 4 North Eastern
Osceola 499 4 Middle Border
Ellsworth 488 4 Middle Border
Obama SCTE 487 4 Milwaukee City-Blackbourn
Sheboygan Falls 482 4 Eastern Wisconsin
Baldwin-Woodville 479 4 Middle Border
Denmark 477 4 North Eastern
Big Foot 476 4 Rock
Black River Falls 475 4 South Central
Wrightstown 471 4 North Eastern
Lake Mills 457 4 Capitol-North
Campbellsport 452 4 East Central
Saint Croix Central 450 4 Middle Border
Northland Pines 444 4 Independent
Brodhead/Juda 430 4 Rock
Lakeside Lutheran 430 4 Capitol-North
River Valley 427 4 SWC
University School of Milwaukee 426 4 Midwest Classic
Kiel 425 4 Eastern Wisconsin
Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau 423 4 South Central
Racine St. Catherine’s 421 4 Metro Classic
Platteville 416 5 SWC
Northwestern 413 5 Heart O’North
Columbus 408 5 Capitol-North
Wautoma 402 5 South Central
Horicon/Hustisford 390 5 Trailways-Large
New Glarus/Monticello 390 5 Capitol-South
Bloomer 377 5 Heart O’North
Lake Country Lutheran 373 5 Midwest Classic
Prairie du Chien 373 5 SWC
Chilton 370 5 Eastern Wisconsin
Arcadia 367 5 SWC
Peshtigo 367 5 MONLPC-Large
Lomira 360 5 Flyway
Spooner 360 5 Heart O’North
New Holstein 353 5 Eastern Wisconsin
Kewaunee 347 5 MONLPC-Large
Elk Mound 345 5 Dunn-St. Croix
Wittenberg-Birnamwood 337 5 CWC-Large
Spencer/Columbus Catholic 336 5 Cloverbelt
Brillion 332 5 Eastern Wisconsin
Laconia 332 5 Flyway
Saint Croix Falls 332 5 Heart O’North
Saint John's NW Military Academy 332 5 Midwest Classic
Amherst 329 5 CWC-Large
Oostburg 316 5 Big East
Brookfield Academy 314 5 Midwest Classic
Marshall 314 5 Capitol-South
Cedar Grove-Belgium 309 5 Big East
Stratford 306 5 Marawood
Aquinas 299 5 SWAL
Saint Mary's Springs 293 5 Flyway
Bonduel 292 5 CWC-Large
Cumberland 286 6 Heart O’North
Winnebago Lutheran Academy 283 6 Flyway
Osseo-Fairchild 279 6 Cloverbelt
Cambridge 278 6 Capitol-South
Colby 276 6 Cloverbelt
Mondovi 274 6 Dunn-St. Croix
Durand 271 6 Dunn-St. Croix
Lancaster 271 6 SWAL
Unity 269 6 Lakeland
Racine Lutheran 264 6 Metro Classic
Markesan 261 6 Trailways-Large
Benton/Scales Mound IL/Shullsburg 259 6 Six Rivers
Kenosha St. Joseph Catholic 255 6 Metro Classic
Palmyra-Eagle 255 6 Trailways-Large
Random Lake 252 6 Big East
Auburndale 251 6 Marawood
Grantsburg 251 6 Lakeland
Ozaukee 248 6 Big East
Manawa 238 6 CWC-Large
Darlington 237 6 SWAL
Spring Valley 231 6 Dunn-St. Croix
Fennimore 231 6 SWAL
Whitehall 228 6 Dairyland
Mineral Point 223 6 SWAL
Pardeeville 221 6 Trailways-Large
Coleman 220 6 MONLPC-Small
Melrose-Mindoro 219 6 Dairyland
Abbotsford 215 6 Cloverwood
Regis 212 6 Cloverbelt
Lake Holcombe/Cornell 209 6 Lakeland
Crivitz 202 6 MONLPC-Small
Johnson Creek 197 6 Trailways-Small
Reedsville 195 7 Big East
Brookwood 191 7 Scenic Bluffs
Potosi/Cassville 190 7 Six Rivers
River Ridge 190 7 Six Rivers
Edgar 189 7 Marawood
Black Hawk/Warren IL 187 7 Six Rivers
Augusta 186 7 Dairyland
Lourdes Academy 185 7 Trailways-Small
Cashton 184 7 Scenic Bluffs
Eleva-Strum 181 7 Dairyland
Pittsville 180 7 CWC-Small
Wauzeka-Steuben/Seneca 180 7 Ridge & Valley
Riverdale 177 7 Ridge & Valley
Bangor 176 7 Scenic Bluffs
Clear Lake 176 7 Lakeland
Rosholt 175 7 CWC-Small
Blair-Taylor 172 7 Dairyland
Hurley 172 7 Independent
Randolph 167 7 Trailways-Small
Athens 161 7 Cloverwood
Hillsboro 161 7 Scenic Bluffs
De Soto 156 7 Ridge & Valley
Loyal 154 7 Cloverwood
Hilbert 150 7 Big East
Ithaca 135 7 Ridge & Valley
Pepin/Alma 133 7 Dairyland
Turtle Lake 129 7 Lakeland
Catholic Central 127 7 Metro Classic
Almond-Bancroft 123 7 CWC-Small
Greenwood 121 7 Cloverwood
Gilman 114 7 Cloverwood
Highland 87 7 Ridge & Valley

About the Author

Travis Wilson serves as the WisSports.net General Manager, Football Editor, and contributing writer for other parts of the site. Wilson was selected as part of the Sports 40 Under 40 list by Coach & AD Magazine and the National High School Athletic Coaches Association for 2019. The Wisconsin Football Coaches Association (WFCA) named Travis the 2015 recipient of the Dave McClain Distinguished Service Award. He currently serves on the WFCA Executive Board as the Website and Communications Director and is a member of the Executive Board of the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association. A graduate of Richland Center High School and Mount Mercy College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Travis was a three-sport athlete in high school (football, baseball, basketball) and currently resides in Reedsburg. You can follow him on Twitter at @travisWSN.

For the latest and most up to date football news and recruiting information, follow Travis on Twitter @travisWSN. Email story ideas, recruiting info, etc. to Travis at travis(at)wissports.net.

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