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Colorado FB Coaches Call for Playoff Ranking Reform

Courtney Cameron

After a new ranking system produced an unlikely playoffs roster, high school coaches across the state of Colorado are looking to the Colorado High School Activities Association for revision in 2017.

For the 2016 playoffs, Colorado high schools relied upon a new Ratings Percentage Index, a computer-generated ranking system that quantifies a team’s strength largely based upon the strength of its playing schedule in the regular season. The RPI is weighted to consider 25% the team’s winning record, 50% its opponents’ record, and 25% opponents of opponents’ record.

The general murmur amongst Colorado coaches is that the RPI needs to be recalibrated to lend more weight to a team’s wins. Most do not feel that this year’s playoffs are representative of the best 16 teams in each class, and they are frustrated by the difficulty of trying predict a regular season schedule that will give their team an advantage under the current system.

“It’s been terrible. For our seniors, it’s not good,” said Wayne McGinn, football coach at Loveland high school, where players are nursing disappointment after losing their spot in the playoffs to teams with a lower winning percentage. “They had an unbelievable season, they’re 9-1 and they don’t even get to go to postseason play.”

Loveland is not the only Colorado team feeling hard-done-by, as 13 of the 16 teams in the 4A playoffs had fewer than nine wins, and in class 5A, two teams with a record of 3-7 made playoffs while Doherty with 8-2 and Fossil Ridge with 7-3 did not.

Bert Borgmann, assistant commissioner for the CHSAA, told USA Today High School Sports, “We knew there would be growing pains with RPI. We knew that we needed to continue to monitor and work on it so that we can continue to tweak and adjust so that it becomes a stronger qualifying format for each of our sports.”

If the coaches get their way, a proposal for a new formula would have to be approved by majority vote by the CHSAA’s legislative council in order for a new system to be in place by next season. The council will meet in January and April of 2017.

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