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).
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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.
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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.
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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.