I am not ripping on the Illinois High School Association, but its football seeding system is a joke.
I’ve been thinking about this for years and I can’t come up with a better way to seed teams that would be fair. The state is just too big and diverse to be able to have a committee seed the teams the they NCAA does for its basketball tournaments. There would be major outrage.
So what the IHSA does is set up a system based on wins and losses and number of victories for all nine opponents.
That’s about as fair as it can get. But it still produces some very strange-looking numbers and matchups in the first round because some teams play a better brand of football than others.
The IHSA decided to seed Class 7A and 8A schools from 1 to 32 regardless of geography this year. Combine that with the way it seeds team and there is what looks like a whopper of a mismatch in 7A. Chicago Public League Power Whitney Young (9-0) drew the number 2 seed and will play 31st seed Niles North (5-4).
Judging by the seeding, some might view it as a shock if Niles North wins. I would view it as a shock if North doesn’t win by at least two or three touchdowns.
Young never ventured out of the Public League and ran the table.
The Dolphins went 9-0 outscoring their opponents 381-33.
They beat Roosevelt, 63-0, Lake View, 54-0, Schurz 42-0. We have some freshmen teams in our area that might be able to beat Roosevelt, Lake View and Schurz by similar scores.
Niles North opened the season whomping on Shepard, 63-32 and broke even the rest of the way. The Vikings pretty much beat who they were supposed to and lost to who they were supposed to although a tight 34-30 loss to 8-1 Glenbrook North showed they can be dangerous.
So what we have is a so-so team from the Central Suburban North taking on one of the best teams from the Public League. I’ll take the so-so team in a heartbeat.
Over in Class 5A, where they seed from 1-16 in two brackets, St. Laurence fans should have been turning cartwheels and kissing their TV sets after the pairings were announced on Saturday night.
Even though the Vikings picked up the fifth seed, their road to the final four is not all that daunting.
They open with Rich Central and a second-round showdown with either King or DuSable awaiting.
I would be stunned if the Vikings didn’t total up at least 100 points in those two games.
The top seed in the bracket is Westinghouse, who I am sure will fall to 16th-seeded Glenbard South. St. Laurence could face Glenbard South or Tinley Park in the quarterfinals. Neither team strikes a lot of fear in me.
Meanwhile, in the lower part of the bracket, defending Class 6A champ Nazareth, Sycamore, 13-time state champ Joliet Catholic, Marian Central and Belvidere are some of the eight teams who will be fighting it out for a spot in the final four.
Is that fair?
But that’s as fair as it’s going to get right now.
And until we can come up with a better system, it’s going to stay that way for a long time.