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.
|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|
|Milwaukee Riverside/Golda Meir||2595||1||Milwaukee City-Richardson|
|Sun Prairie||2447||1||Big Eight|
|Kenosha Indian Trail||2439||1||Southeast|
|Madison West||2249||1||Big Eight|
|Milwaukee Marshall/Carmen Northwest/Juneau/Languages||2172||1||Milwaukee City-Richardson|
|Green Bay Preble||2128||1||FRCC|
|Madison Memorial||2086||1||Big Eight|
|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|
|Eau Claire Memorial||1653||1||Big Rivers|
|Madison La Follette||1599||1||Big Eight|
|Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln||1541||1||VFA-West|
|Milwaukee King||1537||1||Milwaukee City-Richardson|
|Milwaukee Reagan||1351||2||Milwaukee City-Blackbourn|
|Hartford Union||1326||2||North Shore|
|Menomonee Falls||1325||2||Greater Metro|
|Brookfield East||1298||2||Greater Metro|
|Brookfield Central||1246||2||Greater Metro|
|Waukesha West||1178||2||Classic Eight|
|Green Bay Southwest||1166||2||FRCC|
|La Crosse Central||1120||2||Mississippi Valley|
|Wilmot Union||1042||2||Southern Lakes|
|West Bend East||1041||2||North Shore|
|River Falls||1038||2||Big Rivers|
|Union Grove||986||3||Southern Lakes|
|West De Pere||980||3||Bay|
|Whitefish Bay||959||3||North Shore|
|New Richmond||917||3||Middle Border|
|New Berlin Eisenhower||801||3||Woodland-West|
|New Berlin West||744||3||Woodland-West|
|Fox Valley Lutheran||655||3||North Eastern|
|Hayward/La Courte Oreilles||638||3||Heart O’North|
|Catholic Memorial||603||3||Classic Eight|
|Saint Francis||530||4||Midwest Classic|
|Martin Luther||524||4||Metro Classic|
|Little Chute||503||4||North Eastern|
|Obama SCTE||487||4||Milwaukee City-Blackbourn|
|Sheboygan Falls||482||4||Eastern Wisconsin|
|Black River Falls||475||4||South Central|
|Saint Croix Central||450||4||Middle Border|
|University School of Milwaukee||426||4||Midwest Classic|
|Racine St. Catherine’s||421||4||Metro Classic|
|Lake Country Lutheran||373||5||Midwest Classic|
|Prairie du Chien||373||5||SWC|
|New Holstein||353||5||Eastern Wisconsin|
|Elk Mound||345||5||Dunn-St. Croix|
|Saint Croix Falls||332||5||Heart O’North|
|Saint John's NW Military Academy||332||5||Midwest Classic|
|Brookfield Academy||314||5||Midwest Classic|
|Cedar Grove-Belgium||309||5||Big East|
|Saint Mary's Springs||293||5||Flyway|
|Winnebago Lutheran Academy||283||6||Flyway|
|Racine Lutheran||264||6||Metro Classic|
|Benton/Scales Mound IL/Shullsburg||259||6||Six Rivers|
|Kenosha St. Joseph Catholic||255||6||Metro Classic|
|Random Lake||252||6||Big East|
|Spring Valley||231||6||Dunn-St. Croix|
|River Ridge||190||7||Six Rivers|
|Black Hawk/Warren IL||187||7||Six Rivers|
|Wauzeka-Steuben/Seneca||180||7||Ridge & Valley|
|Riverdale||177||7||Ridge & Valley|
|De Soto||156||7||Ridge & Valley|
|Ithaca||135||7||Ridge & Valley|
|Catholic Central||127||7||Metro Classic|
|Highland||87||7||Ridge & Valley|
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.