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Sports Dawgs Take Shop: The Losers Bracket

18 November 2019 Sports

November 18, 2019

Welcome to Sports Dawgs Take Shop. Every Monday morning Randy Woodward and Josh Henry will break down a moment or story line in sports that enthralled us from the weekend. Last week, the Sports Dawgs asked if the Alabama Crimson Tide could make the College Football Playoff. This week, the question is: should teams with losing records be allowed in High School Football Playoffs? 

RW: An absolute NO on this one, J-Dog. Not to get political, but this is another by-product of the age we live
in, the “everyone gets a trophy” age. Making the playoffs should be a reward for a great season, at the
very least, a winning season. I get that the VHSL has to fill it’s bracket, and goes by a point system based
on the strength of teams you play and the strength of teams they play, and so on. Well, I don’t have a
math degree from MIT (which is what you need to figure all this out), but when you have 2-8 teams in
the playoffs, it’s not a good look.

Case in point, a 4-6 Preston team played the juggernaut 10-0 Martinsburg Bulldogs this past Saturday in
a first-round (West Virginia) Class AAA playoff game. At the end of the first quarter, the score was Bulldogs: 56, Preston: 0. Let that sink in. 56-0 after one quarter. The score at halftime was a staggering 84-0. The teams
agreed to play 2 six-minute quarters after the break with a continuously running clock. Granted, in West
Virginia, there is Martinsburg and then everyone else, but 84-0 is not playoff football. That’s not even
fun for anyone, including teams, fans and coaches on both sides.

Here’s an idea: make the brackets smaller. Division winners, and maybe several wild cards. And, if you
win your division with a losing record, sorry, someone else takes your place. Or, if you can’t fill the
brackets with winning teams, someone gets a bye.

Let’s come up with a system that rewards winning, and put an end to a watered-down postseason.


JH: I have to admit before hand, Randy you have me outclassed in knowledge on this topic. I went to Fauquier High School, which is much more known for its wrestling program than its performance on a football field. That said, I know about schools with bad records still getting a shot at postseason glory. Do I love that teams with poor records get in? No, not really. But I’m willing to accept that it is sort of a necessary evil.

The division/class/region system has baffled me many times this year when preparing for the High School Football broadcasts for CBS Sports Radio 1450. But much like the electoral college system in the U.S, rules are rules in this case so we have to play by them if we aren’t going to change them. With the schools in this area spread out by all the different categories, someone has to fill the playoff bracket. Even if it was going to be a 2-8 Warren County team likely bound for another beatdown at the hands of a team with eight or more wins.

Could we shorten up the brackets? Sure, but we would inevitably have teams get left out that don’t deserve it. In a way, it’s a lose-lose no matter how you do it eventually, and after thinking about it a little bit, I’d rather see a mediocre or bad team get in and have a chance. At least then there is the miniscule chance that said team gets hot and makes magic happen. Don’t forget, a 7-9 team caused a Beast-quake and inspired an underdog story for ages. Anything is possible.

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