Shattering the image of the CIAC football playoffs as Thanksgiving week approaches

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WEST HARTFORD – As the sun set over Hall’s 21-15 victory over Conard and, therefore, his best regular season since 2013, we asked Hall coach Frank Robinson III what he thinks of the upcoming playoffs.

He didn’t want to hear it. Not now, at least. Not before having had the chance to enjoy his team’s first victory in the Mayor’s Cup since 2018 and the first participation in the annual match in two years.

“My God, I can’t even think of that stuff right now,” he said. “You’re talking to a guy who literally doesn’t watch that stuff. I’m a guy a week at a time.

“My staff say stuff, but they know not to talk about it around me because I don’t want to know it. Maybe tomorrow I’ll take a look.

It is not uncommon for head coaches, who are spokespersons for their program, to declare their indifference to the future, especially with the need to focus on games that are still in the lead.

But you can bet someone on the staff is watching it. After all, who will be willing to put together a playoff scouting report in just one week?

Hall’s assistants knew that for sure. When the AP announcer wondered aloud if Hall would get a home game, one of Hall’s coaches – whose voice was lost in the din of the players – rightly said, yes, they had indeed won a home game.

RANKING OF THE ACIC Playoffs: CLASS LL | CLASS L | CLASS M | CLASS S

Just knowing this is quite an achievement, considering how the CIAC determines its state playoff entrants. In the absence of a universal schedule and organization to determine it on the ground, the CIAC uses a 45-year-old formula to designate the eight participants in each of the four tournaments.

(Yes, yes Sean. We know all of this. Where are the play-off scenarios? By all means, go ahead, impatient reader.)

For the uninitiated: teams get 100 points for a victory, then 10 points for each of these opponents’ victories – which are called here “bonus points”. There are some modifications, like if a team beats a team in a higher playoff class they get 10 extra points (i.e. S class beats an LL class is worth 130).

Added up, the total is divided by the number of games played to get an average. The eight best averages qualify.

This year, the CIAC has agreed to add a new wrinkle: five extra points for each victory achieved by each opponent on your calendar, whether you beat them or not.

This is actually a schedule strength modifier added to appease teams and leagues involved in the Connecticut High School Football Scheduling Alliance who would otherwise take a big risk playing tough crossover matches.

The added points have already helped a bunch of schools on the bubble this year, especially Newtown and Greenwich in LL class. Both teams have three losses, but both gained an additional 270 and 265 strength points, which keeps them in contention going into the final week.

Hand’s 300 strength points are second in the state and have helped the Tigers stay in the game in a competitive Class L field despite going 6-3.

To determine where your team stands, you need to calculate the range of points your team can rack up with a win and a loss, and then compare your potential range to the potential points of other teams.

The added calendar points have made determining much more difficult this year, as has the threat of COVID mucking with the play of certain games. So nothing is certain.

But by just saying stay in the regular season, we can finally say we have a good idea of ​​the situation.

We’re going to simplify this as much as possible for now as there might be some math nuances we’re missing.

Hats off to Ned Griffen of The Day of New London for checking our calculations. There were a lot of mistakes to correct.

Keep in mind that this is all unofficial until the CIAC Football Commission meets and approves the points the day after all Thanksgiving week games are over.

CLASS LL

CLINCHED – DARIEN (9-0), FAIRFIELD PREP (8-1), NEW CANAAN (8-1), HALL (9-1) and SHELTON (8-2)

Darien and Hall have won home games. New Canaan and Fairfield Prep can take home games with wins.

WIN AND INTEGRATE – WEST HAVEN (8-1)

The Westies are said to be in contention for a home game if they topple Fairfield Prep. The defeat of New Canaan would also help this cause. If West Haven loses, they’re thrown into the squad order below.

WIN AND HELP – SOUTHINGTON (7-2), HAMDEN (7-2), NEWTOWN (6-3), STAPLES (7-2), TRUMBULL (7-2), GREENWICH (6-3).

These are the teams vying for the last three spots – or two if West Haven beats Prep. If either of these teams loses here, they are eliminated, but the winner is also not guaranteed a place until all points have been tallied.

We know Staples are playing Greenwich and the loser is out, but Greenwich will need more help than Staples to simply win the game. If Trumbull beats St. Joseph, the Eagles will go to the front of the line and likely get the upper hand.

The rest will depend on how their opponents play. West Haven’s loss to Fairfield Prep will create an even more bottleneck for the remaining three spots. In short, if you are one of these schools, win and hope enough around you to lose.

We didn’t get Norwalk (6-3) because the Bears need almost everyone to lose over them. If their odds improve before Thursday, we’ll let you know.

CLASS L

CLINCHÉ – ST. JOSEPH (8-1), MALONEY (8-1), CHENEY TECH (9-1)

Both teams can get a home game with victories over Trumbull and Platt, respectively, or at least one of the other losing contenders. Cheney Tech is also up for a home game if Maloney, Naugatuck or Windsor lose – definitely, if two lose.

WIN & IN – WINDSOR (8-1), NAUGATUCK (8-1), BRISTOL CENTRAL (8-1), THAMES RIVER (8-1).

Windsor (vs Middletown) and Naugatuck (vs Ansonia) would put themselves in a great position to get a home game if they win their games. Bristol Central, too, if any of the teams ahead of the Rams lose.

If Windsor, Naugatuck or Bristol Central lose – and Naugatuck hasn’t beaten Ansonia in 10 years – a nightmare scenario exists where anyone could miss out if the teams below them all win. Thames River, however, doesn’t have such wiggle room: it’s about to end in loss.

WIN AND ASSIST – MASUK (7-2), HAND (6-3), FITCH (7-2), QUINEBAUG VALLEY (7-2)

Worst scenario for these teams: there is only one spot left if Thames River beats Quinebaug Valley and qualifies.

Masuk has the inside track if he beats Newtown, Hand could potentially catch up with the Panthers, but an easier path is if Hand wins and Masuk loses. They will both win if Thames River loses to Quinebaug. Fitch would need both or one and Thames River to lose to claim last place.

But, since Quinebaug Valley is also in contention, a victory over the Thames puts Pride back in place. They won’t catch Masuk or Hand (unless they lose), but with enough bonus help, Quinebaug could qualify against Fitch and sneak out the back door.

CLASS M

CONNECTED – KILLINGLY (8-0), GRANBY / CANTON (7-2), ROCKVILLE (7-2), ELLINGTON (7-2).

Killingly won a home game and nearly locked the seed. Granby / Canton and Rockville win home games with victories. Ellington, who is barely off the hook, can get a home game by beating Rockville.

WIN AND INTEGRATE – BRAFORD (7-2), AVON (6-2), TORRINGTON (6-3) or WATERTOWN (6-3)

Branford plays 1-7 East Haven and Avon plays 4-5 Lewis Mills. The last home game goes to Branford or Avon depending on the bonus points. If one of them loses, the other wins with a victory.

Torrington is playing Watertown and the winner comes in and the loser is about to come out.

WIN AND HOPE – PLAINVILLE (6-3), GILBERT / NW / HOUSATONIC (6-3)

The last place will probably go to Plainville with a victory over Farmington 0-9 and a loss by Gilbert against Granby / Canton or Avon against Lewis Mills. Gilbert will have to win and lose Avon to have any chance of claiming him.

This class is interesting because ATI, Barlow, Platt Tech, Coginchaug, Notre Dame (at 3-6) and North Haven (at 4-5) are all mathematically alive. But they would all need Plainville, Gilbert and Avon to lose and pretty much maximize their point potential to have any type of shot. And this scenario brings the loser of Torrington-Watertown back into play. In other words: don’t count on it.

CLASS S

CLINCHED – BLOOMFIELD (9-0), ANSONIA (9-0), CROMWELL / PORTLAND (9-0), HOLY CROSS (7-2), NEW FAIRFIELD (7-2)

The top three undefeated teams have also locked home games. The last is a draw between Holy Cross and New Fairfield if they both win.

WIN & IN – SEYMOUR (7-2), MORGAN (7-2), NOTRE DAME-FAIRFIELD (7-2).

It’s pretty straightforward here: Morgan plays OSW winless and ND-Fairfield winless Pomperaug. If they lose these matches in one way or another, they are eliminated – perhaps with good reason.

Seymour is 8-9 against Woodland, so that’s no guarantee. A loss and the Cats will sweat a possible challenge from Sheehan and maybe even Ledyard.

WIN AND HELP – SHEEHAN (6-3), LEDYARD (6-3).

Sheehan and Ledyard have little hope if Seymour loses and they both win, but only some serious bonus point help will get them to reach Seymour’s 123.0 low. Tolland and Stafford / Somers / East Windsor just won’t get enough points to challenge either of them.


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