• Is the five-peat possible? Never in the history of the FHSAA playoffs has a team been able to win five-straight state championships. The record is four with Miami Central and Booker T. Washington having joined the exclusive club last year that had originally consisted only of Suwannee, which was the first team to accomplish the feat from 1987-1990 in Class 3A and North Florida Christian, which accomplished the feat between 1998 and 2001 in Class A. So why did neither team, get to the five-peat? For Suwannee they failed to reach the playoffs in 1991, which was still in a district champion-only format at the time. For North Florida Christian they made the playoffs in 2002, but was eliminated in the Class A regional semifinals by Jay, 19-14. Needless to say, history is not on the side of either team if you look at it this way, but times have changed over the last 15 years and with student-athletes more freely to choose the school they attend, there is a great chance this record could fall this season.
• Drive To December to stay in Orlando, but who will make it?: After months of what seem liked to be an agonizing process, the FHSAA finally worked out a new agreement with the Central Florida sports commission that kept the state championship games at Camping World Stadium through the 2018-19 school year. The format will still be held in it’s traditional two-weekend format, but will see it consolidate to a one-weekend format in 2017 and 2018, which means fans will be able to watch all eight state championship games in a span of three days. What is not known is which teams are going to get to Orlando this season. We will get the first taste of teams that will separate themselves from the pack at the end of the month.
• New playoff format likely coming: Although this won’t take place for this season, the new playoff proposal could be presented in a final draft as early as September. When that happens it will be presented to the FHSAA Board of Directors for presentation, where a vote will be taken to see if things go forward. FloridaHSFootball.com has talked to a lot of coaches over the last few months discussing the proposal and so far a majority of coaches have appeared to favor the potential changes, but have offered their thoughts of tweaks that could be considered. You will hear some of those thoughts in our future podcast that we will be launching very soon!
• 142 coaching changes: According, to our The Original Coaches Moving VanTM, we have documented 142 coaching changes have taken place since the start of last season. That means over a quarter of teams have new head coaches entering the season. Some of the changes have come as a shock which include changes at Oxbridge Academy, Chaminade-Madonna and Flanagan. How many will come out of the gate running and leading their team to the playoffs? How many will find the challenge difficult in building a team? We will find out over the next few weeks as the season gets started. We will take a look at the Top 5 coaching changes of this off-season as part of our preview guide this week.
• Will parity be present this season?: There was a lot of parity present last season in most parts of the state where some teams that hadn’t reached the playoffs or teams reaching the playoffs for the first time. The question will be if parity can still exist despite the fact that some transfer rules were loosen up by the state legislature with the rest of the rules to take effect next summer. While some teams have been easy to project possibly winning their district or even winning a state championship, there will still be some districts that will be tough to navigate this season.
What’s next: We will look at storylines from each classification going into the season, take a dive into district projections and more team previews as part of our 2016 Preview Guide.