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New "Open Division" proposal


Dr. D

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3 hours ago, THAT S--T WAS FUNNY said:

If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around, does it make a sound?

If you didn’t see something happen then how do you know it really happened? People lie. If you weren’t witness to it then you don’t know for sure. 
 

I told my son when he is in history class and they ask a question like “What country did Napeoleon Bonaparte invade in 1812?”
 

His answer should be “I don’t know, I wasn’t there!”

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  • 1 month later...

Looks like the FHSAA board of directors did vote earlier this week (12 for vs 1 against) to enact the open or championship division based on the season end rankings of the top 8 teams.  That is great news to stick all the powerhouses regardless of class enrollment into that championship bracket.  I would like to see this expanded to the top 16 teams in the upcoming years to include more of the schools that "Attract Talent".  Maybe Dr. D can expand more on this developing story but it surely will relieve many of the lopsided scores witnessed in previous championship games. 

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This development was underreported, given the hoopla surrounding the NIL adoption.  The 8-team "open" division bracket will feature the top 8 teams, regardless of class, as ranked by MaxPreps at the end of the regular season.  As an aside, it was adopted for all FHSAA team sports, not just football (I guess to be seen as "we're not picking on the football elite only", although that is clearly who is being targeted).  The teams will be seeded #1-8 and placed into two brackets.  Within each bracket, there is a double elimination format, until the state semifinals, where it becomes single elimination.  Somewhat confusing, so here is a visual depiction, https://fhsaa.com/documents/2024/5/29/59_61.pdf .  Several things: 1) Does not appear to be an "opt-in" or "opt-out" feature; if you're in the top 8, you go to the "open" bracket.  2) Teams will lose some home games that they would otherwise potentially host if they remained in their original class; not sure how revenue will be distributed, but some teams will be upset.  #3) Travel could be an issue, although realistically there is very little chance that a team from the panhandle would ever qualify; more likely to be an issue in the other team sports.  4) The logic of the double-elimination format was stated that top 8 teams "deserve" a second chance based on their season-long performance; let's be realistic - more games = more revenue.  5) Implementation was delayed until 2026, presumably because teams have just been reclassified for 2024 and 2025 from Metro-Suburban to school enrollment; may also give some elite teams a chance to rethink their future in the FHSAA.  It will be interesting to see if this move meets the intended goal of making the playoffs in all the classes more competitive.  And it should certainly create some great matchups in the open division bracket.  As always, there are winners and losers as a result of this decision.      

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I hope as many teams secede from the FHSAA as possible. This open division makes one division great and 7 divisions sorry as hell. Basically you are taking away every elite team from the other divisions. What’s sad is a lot of coaches support any move that makes it easier to win a title. Regardless the of how watered down and pathetic the product is. 

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2 hours ago, nolebull813 said:

I hope as many teams secede from the FHSAA as possible. This open division makes one division great and 7 divisions sorry as hell. Basically you are taking away every elite team from the other divisions. What’s sad is a lot of coaches support any move that makes it easier to win a title. Regardless the of how watered down and pathetic the product is. 

Some divisions will be watered down significantly. Some may lose, at the most, one team. As long as this new development is transfer neutral, I don't think, overall, that the division state title games will be any more watered down than what we recently saw in the Suburban/Metro classification. In fact, the state title games may well be at least as competitive as the last two years were. 

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2 hours ago, nolebull813 said:

I hope as many teams secede from the FHSAA as possible. This open division makes one division great and 7 divisions sorry as hell. Basically you are taking away every elite team from the other divisions. What’s sad is a lot of coaches support any move that makes it easier to win a title. Regardless the of how watered down and pathetic the product is. 

Totally agree 

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5 hours ago, THAT S--T WAS FUNNY said:

In my opinion, 8 teams should be the max. Wonder how the FHSAA will deal with the 8 team open division playoff format. Open division will have 3 post season rounds compared to the other classes that will have 5 rounds. These situations is usually when the fhsaa SHINES....LOL

Open division will be 5 rounds as well. First 2 rounds are round robin, round 3 is the elimination round, with the winner of the first 2 rounds having a bye round 3, round 4 is semifinal round and round 5 is the State title game

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1   Chaminade-Madonna (Hollywood)    

8    Buchholz (Gainesville)

4    Norland (Miami)    
5    Mainland (Daytona Beach)    

3    Cocoa   

6    Lakeland    

2    St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale)    

7    Columbus (Miami)    

last years final top 8.

likely to be an awesome tournament

cant say I dislike it
 

 

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Y'all can fill in the blanks when this happens a few years from now:

The FHSAA reportedly is investigating _____________ High School.  Going into the final game of the regular season, __HS was ranked 8th in the state according to MaxPreps, just ahead of [insert the names of two or three other high schools].  In the final game, __HS head coach, ______________, elected to rest the vast majority of his starters, which had two effects:  first, __HS lost its final game of the season and, second, __HS dropped to 9th in the MaxPreps poll.   As a result, the [fill in the name of the __HS mascot] will not be part of the Open Division playoffs and will avoid a first-round match-up with national powerhouse Lake Chamanade-Aquinas, currently ranked second in the country behind IMG.  However, __HS will go into the Class 6 state playoff series as the definitive favorite to win a state championship title. 

When asked about his decision to rest players, Coach ___________ replied:  "Gosh, darnit, these kids have been working their tails off all season and, quite frankly, they were getting tired and needed a little rest.  And since more than half of them transferred in this past summer, it took us a while to gel as a team.  Heck, I'm just now learning all their names.  But by the end of the season, we'd gotten pretty darn good.  A little too good.  But not good enough to beat teams like Lake Chamanade-Aquinas or CoColumbus in the Open Division playoffs.  I felt like I owed it to my boys to give them a legitimate shot at being a state champion and that just wasn't going to happen if we stayed in the top 8."

The FHSAA issued the following statement:  "We try to make good decisions, but we've never been real good at anticipating the consequences of our actions.  When implementing the Open Division, it never dawned on us that borderline teams might want to avoid getting their butts kicked by perennial powers in the Open Division playoffs and, instead, might just want to try to win a regular state title.  To overcome our embarrassment, we've decided to "investigate" __HS and Coach ______________.   Of course,  nothing will come of our investigation and it won't even happen until sometime next Spring (long after the football playoffs are over), but based on recent legislation, that's all we can really do."

B)

 

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6 hours ago, Perspective said:

Y'all can fill in the blanks when this happens a few years from now:

The FHSAA reportedly is investigating _____________ High School.  Going into the final game of the regular season, __HS was ranked 8th in the state according to MaxPreps, just ahead of [insert the names of two or three other high schools].  In the final game, __HS head coach, ______________, elected to rest the vast majority of his starters, which had two effects:  first, __HS lost its final game of the season and, second, __HS dropped to 9th in the MaxPreps poll.   As a result, the [fill in the name of the __HS mascot] will not be part of the Open Division playoffs and will avoid a first-round match-up with national powerhouse Lake Chamanade-Aquinas, currently ranked second in the country behind IMG.  However, __HS will go into the Class 6 state playoff series as the definitive favorite to win a state championship title. 

When asked about his decision to rest players, Coach ___________ replied:  "Gosh, darnit, these kids have been working their tails off all season and, quite frankly, they were getting tired and needed a little rest.  And since more than half of them transferred in this past summer, it took us a while to gel as a team.  Heck, I'm just now learning all their names.  But by the end of the season, we'd gotten pretty darn good.  A little too good.  But not good enough to beat teams like Lake Chamanade-Aquinas or CoColumbus in the Open Division playoffs.  I felt like I owed it to my boys to give them a legitimate shot at being a state champion and that just wasn't going to happen if we stayed in the top 8."

The FHSAA issued the following statement:  "We try to make good decisions, but we've never been real good at anticipating the consequences of our actions.  When implementing the Open Division, it never dawned on us that borderline teams might want to avoid getting their butts kicked by perennial powers in the Open Division playoffs and, instead, might just want to try to win a regular state title.  To overcome our embarrassment, we've decided to "investigate" __HS and Coach ______________.   Of course,  nothing will come of our investigation and it won't even happen until sometime next Spring (long after the football playoffs are over), but based on recent legislation, that's all we can really do."

B)

 

That's a very realistic scenario. The only fault I can find with the coach of the 8th ranked team is that he ran his mouth too much after resting his starters. As such, to maintain even a shred of credibility, the FHSAA may be forced to sanction the program, the effects of which would not be felt till the subsequent year. 

An appropriate punishment, if this team is perpetually good but not great, would be to force them to play in the elite 8 in the subsequent year even if their final ranking placed them somewhere between 9 and 15. 

This will likely end in hilarity. If they are going to have an open division, to avoid such a situation, it may make sense to determine the teams based on their rankings at the end of the prior year. Yes, I know that this will be unfair to some teams. But it will likely be to a minority of teams as recent history suggests that 4-6 of the elite 8 will likely be constant from year to year. 

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16 hours ago, KeemD321 said:

Open division will be 5 rounds as well. First 2 rounds are round robin, round 3 is the elimination round, with the winner of the first 2 rounds having a bye round 3, round 4 is semifinal round and round 5 is the State title game

You can't have a round robin format with 8 HS football teams in a two week period. Round robin means you play everyone in your bracket. FHSAA does it with seeding and single elimination. 1 vs 8 and so on. That would be only 3 weeks of post season for the open bracket. 

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2 hours ago, THAT S--T WAS FUNNY said:

You can't have a round robin format with 8 HS football teams in a two week period. Round robin means you play everyone in your bracket. FHSAA does it with seeding and single elimination. 1 vs 8 and so on. That would be only 3 weeks of post season for the open bracket. 

It's a semi round robin format with the higher seeds getting a bye. It's really a minimum of four rounds and not five as losers get a second shot in the first round.

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2 hours ago, THAT S--T WAS FUNNY said:

You can't have a round robin format with 8 HS football teams in a two week period. Round robin means you play everyone in your bracket. FHSAA does it with seeding and single elimination. 1 vs 8 and so on. That would be only 3 weeks of post season for the open bracket. 

The bracket is split so it's round robin between the 4 teams on each side of the bracket. Making it 2 rounds of that. With the 3rd round being the elimination game with the undefeated team of the round robin having a bye in round 3. Round 4 is the state semis and round 5 is the championship

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17 hours ago, MC Rockets said:

The fact that a team with no losses can be eliminated by a team with one loss and no chance to get their payback....IS JUST STUPID!!!

isnt, doesnt, that happen all the time in the playoffs?  1 loss team vs no loss team, 1 loss team wins in a dramatic comeback win with 7 seconds left and there isnt any chance at payback.....

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13 hours ago, h8r said:

isnt, doesnt, that happen all the time in the playoffs?  1 loss team vs no loss team, 1 loss team wins in a dramatic comeback win with 7 seconds left and there isnt any chance at payback.....

All I'm saying is have a way for the no loss team to get redemption or just make it single elimination across the board. 

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7 hours ago, MC Rockets said:

All I'm saying is have a way for the no loss team to get redemption or just make it single elimination across the board. 

Your post raises an interesting question:   I'm just wondering, on average, and under the existing (or even past) playoff system, how many teams go into the playoffs undefeated, only to suffer a season-ending first loss at some point in the playoffs?  Obviously, none of those teams would have a shot at redemption.  Again, just wondering.

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Right now some of the more elite teams will schedule each other during the regular season in another class knowing that a loss will not eliminate them or cost them a high seed in the state playoff. What incentive is there now for the elite teams to schedule each other if they may be playing later in the playoffs in the open division. Why would a Miami Central schedule a Chaminade, St. Thomas schedule a Cocoa when they could face each other again with the season on the line?

I personally look forward to watching some of these higher level match ups during the regular season. I think the delay in the new open division allows existing contracts to continue without the schools backing out because a later season rematch could be possible.

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Eight is too small of a tournament, particularly given they are using double-elimination. It assumes that they DEFINITELY and always can get exactly the best 8 teams, that a 9th and 10th team don't have a claim etc. A five-round tourney for football should involve 32 teams. Since when has the sport of football- at any level- had series or double-elimination? Those only make sense in other sports that are both less physically demanding and are more impacted by an outlier event (an ace pitcher; an off or on shooting night etc).

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1 hour ago, Longtime Observer said:

Eight is too small of a tournament, particularly given they are using double-elimination. It assumes that they DEFINITELY and always can get exactly the best 8 teams, that a 9th and 10th team don't have a claim etc. A five-round tourney for football should involve 32 teams. Since when has the sport of football- at any level- had series or double-elimination? Those only make sense in other sports that are both less physically demanding and are more impacted by an outlier event (an ace pitcher; an off or on shooting night etc).

Don't like the double elimination and byes and only 8 teams.  As I previously stated, I think that 16 teams would be my vote with 4 rounds, lose and you are done.  There are about a dozen teams each year that have the ability to compete with the top elite so 16 would cover the margin of error you properly point out for the 9th, 10th, etc... ranked team being left out.  I don't believe we have 32 teams in our state that would all be competitive at this level.  Just my take but it would certainly crown the best team in the state each year.  My gut tells me the very top elite teams won't like this open division as they prefer to just kick the little guys ass.  Hope they prove me wrong. 

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Hopefully they won't play these open division games in Tally. Let's face it in most years seven or all eight teams are going to come from near or south of the I-4 corridor and most will be from south Florida. If one of the goals is to generate revenue via admissions and tv rights to fill FHSAA's coffers then keep the games close to where the teams are coming from. My first choices would be Drive Pink in FLL, FAU in Boca, UCF in Orlando or the new USF stadium when it is ready.

Play it the week after the other final games and let the media focus on just that game.

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13 hours ago, Ray Icaza said:

Don't like the double elimination and byes and only 8 teams.  As I previously stated, I think that 16 teams would be my vote with 4 rounds, lose and you are done.  There are about a dozen teams each year that have the ability to compete with the top elite so 16 would cover the margin of error you properly point out for the 9th, 10th, etc... ranked team being left out.  I don't believe we have 32 teams in our state that would all be competitive at this level.  Just my take but it would certainly crown the best team in the state each year.  My gut tells me the very top elite teams won't like this open division as they prefer to just kick the little guys ass.  Hope they prove me wrong. 

A 16 or even 20 team(top 4 seeds get bye) single elimination bracket would be great! Any of those is better than what is about to come...

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On 6/11/2024 at 1:47 PM, flabuck said:

Right now, some of the more elite teams will schedule each other during the regular season in another class knowing that a loss will not eliminate them or cost them a high seed in the state playoff. What incentive is there now for the elite teams to schedule each other if they may be playing later in the playoffs in the open division. Why would a Miami Central schedule a Chaminade, St. Thomas schedule a Cocoa when they could face each other again with the season on the line?

I personally look forward to watching some of these higher-level match ups during the regular season. I think the delay in the new open division allows existing contracts to continue without the schools backing out because a later season rematch could be possible.

As has been pointed out here previously, the more elite teams often have no choice but to schedule other elite teams to fill out their schedule.  With only 3-4 district games guaranteed, teams must find 6-7 non-district games.  Unless more mediocre teams are willing to step up to take on Central, STA, Chaminade, etc., the more elite teams may have no choice but to schedule one another to fill out a 10-game schedule, regardless of the possibility of meeting again in the postseason.  

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How do they fill the open playoff spot when a team gets moved up to the open division, assuming they take the top two in a district for the playoffs, does the team with the third best record in the district slotted in by default?  If the top two are not automatic qualifier system is not used, then is it based on rankings?

Take a look at the new district 4A-15, it is completely possible that both Miami Norland and American Heritage Plantation both make the top eight, do the other two teams make it by default even though one of teams may have not won a single district game.  This could push them toward a ranking system for selection.They have a few years to work through the details but will be something to watch.

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