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Six divisions in football could be coming, and here's what it could look like

11/24/2019, 10:00am CST
By Travis Wilson

In a six-division format, Catholic Memorial would move back to a re-formatted Division 3 after dropping to Division 4 this season

As more and more teams make the switch to 8-Player Football, fewer and fewer teams remain in 11-Player Football. There were just 381 teams in 11-Player this year, down from 406 as recently as the 2013 season. Seven more teams are moving to 8-Player next year to make 48, and it is expected that number could rise to 60 within the next two to three years.

As the number of teams remaining in 11-Player Football decreases, the number of teams qualifying for the postseason with records below .500 in conference and overall has continued to rise. 

The 2012 season was the first that teams under .500 in conference made the playoffs, and since then that number has steadily risen. It hit 14 last year, and 20 in 2019. Of those 20 teams this season, none earned victories in Level 1 of the playoffs. 

There were 33 teams that qualified for the playoffs with an overall record under .500. The only one of those 33 teams to win in Level 1 was Neenah, who was matched up with another team under .500 overall, Hudson.

With more and more teams under .500 making the playoffs, and oftentimes faring poorly once in the postseason, there have been more and more people discussing the possibility of reducing the 11-Player playoff field from 224 qualifiers in seven divisions to 192 qualifiers in six divisions.

In fact, we may have moved past the question of "if" there will be a move to six divisions, but "when". The 2022 season, when the next cycle of realignment kicks in, could be a possible launch date for six divisions of 11-Player Football.

So, what would a six division playoff field look like?

Six Division Playoff Field

We re-evaluated the 2019 season to determine a six-division, 192-team playoff field. Reducing the field to six divisions would eliminate all teams that finish below .500 in conference play from making the playoffs. Also eliminated would be Northland Pines, who finished 5-4 as an Independent team. 

Hurley would still qualify as an Independent team with a 7-2 record, and all 178 teams that finished over .500 in conference would get in as well.

That leaves 13 spots for the 24 teams that finished at .500 in conference to make the playoffs. Without going through all the details of tiebreakers we went through, these are the teams that finished .500 in conference and would be left out of the postseason in a six division format: Crivitz, Marshall, Durand, La Crosse Central, Milwaukee Bradley Tech, Obama SCTE, Pardeeville, River Ridge, Wittenberg-Birnamwood, Shawano, and Wisconsin Rapids.

The 32 teams that qualified for the playoffs in 2019 under a seven division format but would miss out in a six division structure are:

Team - Enrollment - 2019 Playoff Division

Madison West - 2249 - 1
Kenosha Bradford/Reuther - 2176 - 1
Milwaukee Bradley/Milw Arts - 2054 - 1
Racine Case - 1800 - 1
Eau Claire Memorial - 1653 - 1
Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln - 1541 - 1
Manitowoc Lincoln - 1532 - 1
Chippewa Falls - 1492 - 1
De Pere - 1357 - 2
Green Bay Southwest - 1166 - 2
Oregon - 1149 - 2
La Crosse Central - 1120 - 2
Cedarburg - 1101 - 2
West Bend East - 1041 - 2
Union Grove - 986 - 3
Shawano Community - 785 - 3
Obama SCTE - 487 - 4
Big Foot - 476 - 4
Campbellsport - 452 - 4
Northland Pines - 444 - 4
Brodhead/Juda - 430 - 4
Spooner - 360 - 5
Wittenberg-Birnamwood - 337 - 5
Marshall - 314 - 5
Durand - 271 - 6
Ozaukee - 248 - 6
Whitehall - 228 - 6
Pardeeville - 221 - 6
Crivitz - 202 - 6
River Ridge - 190 - 7
Webster - 187 - 7
Clear Lake - 176 - 7

Many of the teams that would be removed from the playoffs in a six division format come from large schools. In fact, 12 of the 32 would be Division 1 or 2 teams.

Now that we know which teams will be in and which ones will be out, it's time to take a look at how the cutlines will work in six divisions.

Football Playoff Field & Cutlines with Six Divisions

Team Enroll Conference Division
Milwaukee Riverside/Golda Meir 2595 Milwaukee City-Richardson 1
Sun Prairie 2447 Big Eight 1
Kenosha Indian Trail 2439 Southeast 1
Middleton 2261 Big Eight 1
Milwaukee Marshall/Carmen Northwest/Juneau/Languages 2172 Milwaukee City-Richardson 1
Oak Creek 2142 Southeast 1
Arrowhead 2133 Classic Eight 1
Green Bay Preble 2128 FRCC 1
Madison Memorial 2086 Big Eight 1
Neenah 2077 VFA-South 1
Milwaukee Pulaski/Carmen South/Carmen Southeast 2052 Milwaukee City-Blackbourn 1
Fond du Lac 2006 VFA-South 1
Marquette 1964 Greater Metro 1
Bay Port 1894 FRCC 1
Hudson 1806 Big Rivers 1
Appleton North 1780 VFA-North 1
D.C. Everest 1724 VFA-West 1
Appleton East 1658 VFA-North 1
Verona 1651 Big Eight 1
Muskego 1639 Classic Eight 1
Mukwonago 1637 Classic Eight 1
Madison La Follette 1599 Big Eight 1
Franklin 1566 Southeast 1
Kimberly 1564 VFA-North 1
Milwaukee King 1537 Milwaukee City-Richardson 1
Badger 1407 Southern Lakes 1
Milwaukee Reagan 1351 Milwaukee City-Blackbourn 1
Germantown 1328 Greater Metro 1
Hartford Union 1326 North Shore 1
Menomonee Falls 1325 Greater Metro 1
Homestead 1324 North Shore 1
Superior 1309 Big Rivers 1
Waunakee 1303 Badger-North 2
Watertown 1302 Badger-South 2
Brookfield East 1298 Greater Metro 2
Brookfield Central 1246 Greater Metro 2
Marshfield 1239 VFA-West 2
Kettle Moraine 1229 Classic Eight 2
Waukesha West 1178 Classic Eight 2
Kaukauna 1165 VFA-North 2
Holmen 1152 Mississippi Valley 2
Hortonville 1149 VFA-South 2
Milton 1126 Badger-South 2
Burlington 1109 Southern Lakes 2
Pulaski 1103 FRCC 2
South Milwaukee 1085 Woodland-East 2
Slinger 1080 North Shore 2
Monona Grove 1076 Badger-South 2
Waterford 1068 Southern Lakes 2
Wilmot Union 1042 Southern Lakes 2
River Falls 1038 Big Rivers 2
DeForest 1017 Badger-North 2
Ashwaubenon 1008 FRCC 2
West De Pere 980 Bay 2
Menomonie 975 Big Rivers 2
Stoughton 968 Badger-South 2
Whitefish Bay 959 North Shore 2
Onalaska 929 Mississippi Valley 2
Menasha 920 Bay 2
New Richmond 917 Middle Border 2
Greendale 888 Woodland-West 2
Reedsburg Area 881 Badger-North 2
Pewaukee 872 Woodland-West 2
Whitnall 848 Woodland-East 2
Sauk Prairie 834 Badger-North 3
Sparta 818 Mississippi Valley 3
New Berlin Eisenhower 801 Woodland-West 3
Wisconsin Lutheran 773 Woodland-West 3
Rhinelander 772 Great Northern 3
Plymouth 752 East Central 3
New Berlin West 744 Woodland-West 3
McFarland 738 Rock 3
Grafton 729 North Shore 3
Monroe 723 Badger-South 3
Lakeland 704 Great Northern 3
New London 692 Bay 3
Fox Valley Lutheran 655 North Eastern 3
Medford 643 Great Northern 3
Hayward/La Courte Oreilles 638 Heart O’North 3
Mosinee 637 Great Northern 3
Jefferson 628 Rock 3
Catholic Memorial 603 Classic Eight 3
Kewaskum 598 East Central 3
East Troy 592 Rock 3
Berlin 557 East Central 3
Evansville 555 Rock 3
Freedom 539 North Eastern 3
Saint Francis 530 Midwest Classic 3
Mauston 526 South Central 3
Martin Luther 524 Metro Classic 3
Winneconne 521 East Central 3
Xavier 519 Bay 3
Edgerton 514 Rock 3
Ripon 509 East Central 3
Little Chute 503 North Eastern 3
Osceola 499 Middle Border 3
Sheboygan Falls 482 Eastern Wisconsin 4
Baldwin-Woodville 479 Middle Border 4
Denmark 477 North Eastern 4
Black River Falls 475 South Central 4
Wrightstown 471 North Eastern 4
Lake Mills 457 Capitol-North 4
Saint Croix Central 450 Middle Border 4
Lakeside Lutheran 430 Capitol-North 4
River Valley 427 SWC 4
University School of Milwaukee 426 Midwest Classic 4
Kiel 425 Eastern Wisconsin 4
Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau 423 South Central 4
Racine St. Catherine’s 421 Metro Classic 4
Platteville 416 SWC 4
Northwestern 413 Heart O’North 4
Columbus 408 Capitol-North 4
Horicon/Hustisford 390 Trailways-Large 4
New Glarus/Monticello 390 Capitol-South 4
Bloomer 377 Heart O’North 4
Lake Country Lutheran 373 Midwest Classic 4
Prairie du Chien 373 SWC 4
Chilton 370 Eastern Wisconsin 4
Peshtigo 367 MONLPC-Large 4
Arcadia 367 SWC 4
Lomira 360 Flyway 4
Omro 354 Flyway 4
New Holstein 353 Eastern Wisconsin 4
Kewaunee 347 MONLPC-Large 4
Elk Mound 345 Dunn-St. Croix 4
Spencer/Columbus Catholic 336 Cloverbelt 4
Nekoosa 335 South Central 4
Laconia 332 Flyway 4
Saint Croix Falls 332 Heart O’North 5
Saint John's NW Military Academy 332 Midwest Classic 5
Amherst 329 CWC-Large 5
Oostburg 316 Big East 5
Brookfield Academy 314 Midwest Classic 5
Cedar Grove-Belgium 309 Big East 5
Stratford 306 Marawood 5
Aquinas 299 SWAL 5
Saint Mary's Springs 293 Flyway 5
Bonduel 292 CWC-Large 5
Cumberland 286 Heart O’North 5
Winnebago Lutheran Academy 283 Flyway 5
Osseo-Fairchild 279 Cloverbelt 5
Cambridge 278 Capitol-South 5
Colby 276 Cloverbelt 5
Mondovi 274 Dunn-St. Croix 5
Lancaster 271 SWAL 5
Unity 269 Lakeland 5
Racine Lutheran 264 Metro Classic 5
Markesan 261 Trailways-Large 5
Benton/Scales Mound IL/Shullsburg 259 Six Rivers 5
Palmyra-Eagle 255 Trailways-Large 5
Random Lake 252 Big East 5
Grantsburg 251 Lakeland 5
Auburndale 251 Marawood 5
Manawa 238 CWC-Large 5
Darlington 237 SWAL 5
Spring Valley 231 Dunn-St. Croix 5
Mineral Point 223 SWAL 5
Coleman 220 MONLPC-Small 5
Melrose-Mindoro 219 Dairyland 5
Abbotsford 215 Cloverwood 5
Regis 212 Cloverbelt 6
Lake Holcombe/Cornell 209 Lakeland 6
Johnson Creek 197 Trailways-Small 6
Reedsville 195 Big East 6
Brookwood 191 Scenic Bluffs 6
Potosi/Cassville 190 Six Rivers 6
Edgar 189 Marawood 6
Black Hawk/Warren IL 187 Six Rivers 6
Augusta 186 Dairyland 6
Lourdes Academy 185 Trailways-Small 6
Cashton 184 Scenic Bluffs 6
Eleva-Strum 181 Dairyland 6
Wauzeka-Steuben/Seneca 180 Ridge & Valley 6
Pittsville 180 CWC-Small 6
Bangor 176 Scenic Bluffs 6
Rosholt 175 CWC-Small 6
Blair-Taylor 172 Dairyland 6
Hurley 172 Independent 6
Randolph 167 Trailways-Small 6
Hillsboro 161 Scenic Bluffs 6
Athens 161 Cloverwood 6
De Soto 156 Ridge & Valley 6
Loyal 154 Cloverwood 6
Hilbert 150 Big East 6
Ithaca 135 Ridge & Valley 6
Pepin/Alma 133 Dairyland 6
Turtle Lake 129 Lakeland 6
Catholic Central 127 Metro Classic 6
Almond-Bancroft 123 CWC-Small 6
Greenwood 121 Cloverwood 6
Gilman 114 Cloverwood 6
Highland 87 Ridge & Valley 6

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.

Tag(s): News Archive  News  Travis Wilson  Playoffs