Before I go, I apologize for not picking the New England-Baltimore Monday night game. Maybe it was my god-awful 2-13 record on Thursday and Sunday that caused me to have amnesia, but it won’t happen again.
Therefore, here’s tonight’s pick.
Chicago (+3) over WASHINGTON
Now to the eagerly anticipated rant, one of a series of rants about the state of high school football here in California. The first thing I want changed is the rampant coin-flipping that goes on to decide home field in post first-round games.
The logic behind this is pretty simple – the best teams get home field advantage while the worst teams get the disadvantage of playing on the road. This seems like a pretty elementary concept, as it is the basis for how playoffs in professional leagues are set up (except the World Series of course). In college, neutral sites are often used, but the highest seeds tend to go to neutral sites that are in the vicinity of their respective campuses.
However, there’s no rhyme or reason to the playoff situation here. Whichever part of a coin flips up, that’s where the game is played. Redlands East Valley, who had fought through a schedule of two former CIF champions, an SAL champion in Colton and a 9-1 Miller team to go 11-0 and grab the No. 3 seed in the Inland Division, gets rewarded by having to go on the road to play a 9-2 Norco team because a coin flip told it to. Why did REV, who had done everything that was asked of them, have to go on the road and play in a hostile environment against a team seeded lower than them? Why did Miller, a 10-1 who’s only loss was a one-point setback to REV, have to go to Chaparral to face an 8-3 Pumas team? Why did Colton, the No. 3-seed in Central Division, have to play on the road in the muddy Moreno Valley quagmire against unseeded Canyon Springs when they did the work necessary to get the game on the mud-free Colton High School FieldTurf? Why has the No. 1 seed in that division, Colony, had to play its last two games on the road?
It’s completely illogical. What is the point of having seeds? The whole concept of seeding teams is to give the higher-seeded teams advantageous matchups in friendly confines as a reward for a job well done in the regular season. If being seeded just gets you a first-round home game and nothing else, then why seed teams at all? In the Inland Division, Corona Centennial should be at home the entire time as the No. 1 seed while the No. 16 seed Carter, should have to be on the road if you insist on playing on campus instead of neutral sites. There’s no point in evaulating the regular season otherwise.
Coin flips should also be banned as a primary tiebreaker. I think its absolutely ridiculous that its the second tiebreaker behind head-to-head in deciding playoff teams or seeds out of a league. In a multiple team tie, there are other factors that can be considered before jumping blindly into dumb luck. The one I like is point differential between the teams that are tied.
For example, lets take the three-way tie for the Baseline League title between Etiwanda, Los Osos and Upland. All three teams finished 4-1 in the league, with Etiwanda beating Los Osos, who in turn beat Upland, who beat Etiwanda. Because of coin flips, Etiwanda got the No. 1 seed, Los Osos the No. 2 and Upland the No. 3. Pretty random. However, this is way it would have went down with point differential.
Etiwanda: def. Los Osos 29-26, lost to Upland 34-10. Point diff: -21
Los Osos: def. Upland 24-21, lost to Etiwanda 29-26: Point diff: 0.
Upland: def. Etiwanda 34-10, lost to Los Osos 24-21: Point diff: 21
In this scenario, Upland and Etiwanda would have flipped their seeds with Los Osos staying second. But it would have been based on something that happened on a Friday night on the field of play, not in the bathroom of the Rancho Cucamonga Fatburger.
To prevent running up the score, we could cap the maximum point differential that can be used at a reasonable number such as 20. Therefore, if Los Osos had beaten Etiwanda 55-14, it’d get the same credit they would have gotten for beating the Eagles 34-14. That would take out the motivation to leave the starters in and breach the boundaries of good sportsmanship.
Another tiebreaker to use if this tiebreaker somehow didn’t work would be strength of non-league schedule. Shoot, I’d rather use number of touchdowns by the backup quarterback over a coin flip.
Anyway, that’s my rant for today. Next will either be about the California bowl system or cheerleaders not knowing their role during a football game. Stay tuned.