Playoffs by the numbers

A new era of almost-all-inclusive football playoffs begins in earnest tonight, so it’s time to get used to some changes, including intradistrict first- and second-round games (which were introduced to poor reviews last year), semi-random district-vs.-district matchups and all the confusion you can handle.

To add to that confusion, here are a few numbers of note relating to this postseason:

  • 288 — Minutes of football that will be played in the six championship games Dec. 7-8. (If there’s no overtime and no mercy-rule games.) And in between some of those minutes will be a record 18 appearances by Nat Guard.
  • 186 — The total number of playoff games, 31 in each class. There were 124 games played last year under the four-class system, and only 60 before the last major playoff overhaul in 1991.
  • 96 — The number of first-round games, up 50 percent from last year. Two of those games were played Thursday night, leaving a mere 94 for tonight.
  • 86 — Percentage of teams qualifying for the playoffs, up from roughly 60 percent last year.
  • 66 — Teams with losing records in the playoffs, accounting for 34 percent of the field.
  • 23 — Districts (out of 48) with four teams, meaning 92 of the 192 playoff teams qualified simply by showing up every week.
  • 5 — Winless teams still playing (Butler, Clinton County, Iroquois, Fort Knox, West Jessamine). Butler and Iroquois must play 10-0 teams, St. Xavier and John Hardin. Three other 0-10 teams (Adair County, Bishop Brossart, East Ridge) were left out.
  • 3 — Teams that finished at .500 or better that failed to qualify (6-4 Grant County, 5-5 Central Hardin, 5-5 Madisonville-North Hopkins).

* * *

There are a few good matchups buried among a massive amount of bad games tonight, and you could make a strong argument that the state’s best first-round matchup might be right here in our area.

The Mercer County-Lincoln County game, a rematch of a 12-7 Lincoln victory on Sept. 7, is about as intriguing as they come. Other gems amid the rocks include Hopkinsville-Christian County and Dixie Heights-Covington Catholic.

* * *

The Central Record of Lancaster reports this week that three Garrard County starters will be suspended for the Golden Lions’ game tonight at Wayne County due to “off-the-field incidents.” The players were not named, and the report said a fourth player will make the trip but may not play.

* * *

Now for the first-round of playoff picks (and remember, the first round is never the time to go out on a long limb):

  • Danville over Fort Knox.
  • Wayne County over Garrard County.
  • Boyle County over East Jessamine.
  • Lincoln County over Mercer County.

Last week: 2-1. For the regular season: 40-15 (.727).

And while I know I should bury the past — especially when it comes to my predictions — I just had to take a look back at my preseason picks, which appeared along with those of the entire Advocate sports staff in an Aug. 22 Vaught’s Views column, to see how they held up:

  • Boyle County: Picked 4-6, finished 4-6. Got all 10 games right, so it’s all downhill from here.
  • Casey County: Picked 3-7, finished 3-7. A win over Adair County made this possible after the Evangel Christian game was dropped and Trimble County was added.
  • Danville: Picked 8-2, finished 8-2. Thought the Ads would lose to George Rogers Clark and Bardstown, not Madison Central and Frankfort.
  • Garrard County: Picked 4-6, finished 4-6. Missed a win over Bethlehem and a loss to Pendleton County.
  • Lincoln County: Picked 5-5, finished 8-2. The accuracy rate takes a big hit here. I thought the Pats would lose games they won over Bardstown, Mercer County and Hopkinsville, but this is a team that’s fooled a lot of us this season.
  • Mercer County: Picked 9-1, finished 5-5. And this would be the biggest miss of the bunch. I forecast a loss to Hopkinsville, but not the losses to Lincoln, Pulaski County, Watertown (Tenn.) and South Laurel.

How did you do? What were the surprises of this season that you didn’t see coming? Feel free to tell us about them in a comment.

One Comment on Playoffs by the numbers

  1. Daniel Hopkins
    November, 10th 2007 at 1:06 am

    Nice work on the blog all season. You’re predictions for the opening round were very fair. I don’t think anyone expected Garrard County to pick up a win in Monticello, especially after the issues at school over the last couple of weeks.

    While it is fun to look back at predictions from earlier, they must always be taken with a grain of salt. No one really has a clue what type of team a school will field. Lincoln County has definitely been a surprise, but then so has Mercer County. The Titans just never seemed to get off the ground. They were as good on opening night as closing night – and that ain’t a good thing!

    Lincoln County, on the other hand, has to be one of the bigger shocks this area has seen in a while. I’m not necessarily surprised that they had a nice season because Larry French can flat out coach, but no one would have expected the Patriots to finish 8-2 and be on the top five teams in Class 5A. Its too bad they have to travel to Highlands (assuming wins over Pulaski and Montgomery/Johnson Central), but no matter what happens French has to be coach of the year.

    As for the second round, the odds suggest a 50% drop-off in area teams. Danville will have their hands full with Bardstown, but I think the Ads advance; Lincoln should be able to move on as well. Boyle will give Catholic a good game (the Rebels have made big strides this year), but I can’t see this Boyle County team winning on Clays Mill. And finally, I would love to see the Golden Lions win down at Somerset. The Jumpers laid the wood to Garrard back in September (65-20) and it will take a herculean effort to reverse that this week. I’m rootin’ hard for GC but the Jumpers should pick up the win.

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