CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Coaches, don't let your players read this. I'm pretty sure it's contradictory to what you're telling your guys this week.
As the 2013 high school football regular season reaches its official midpoint this week, it's a pretty safe bet that roughly 26 of the 48 spots for the playoffs have already been sewn up.
So much for the "We take 'em one game at a time," philosophy, huh?
Obviously there's much more for teams to play for than the opportunity to simply reach the playoffs. If past performances are taken into consideration since the SSAC expanded the playoff field to 16 teams in each class back in 1991, though, there's a few things that can be taken for granted. Such as:
If your team starts 5-0, it's almost impossible for it to miss out on the SSAC's postseason tournament. So many bonus point opportunities have already been piled up for the SSAC's playoff rating formula that it will be hard to stop the momentum. That said, we can go ahead and punch the "unofficial" playoff tickets for Class AAA Huntington, Class AA Summers County and Class A Meadow Bridge.
In fact, the odds of a 4-0 team missing the playoffs are extremely low as well. There is not a team in Class AAA or Class AA with such a mark that also possesses a remaining schedule so formidable that getting two or three more wins would be too much to expect.
George Washington, Capital, Point Pleasant, Wheeling Park and Oak Hill should see the Class AAA promised land. In Class AA, Fairmont Senior, Frankfort and two-time defending state champion Wayne
If your team has played five games and has managed to win four of them, you're also pretty much good to go. Teams like Morgantown, Martinsburg, Cabell Midland and University are sure shots to play into mid-November, although Martinsburg's situation is suddenly in flux (See story, this page) in Class AAA. Likewise, fans of Sissonville, Bridgeport, Lincoln, Ritchie County and Wyoming East should start making football arrangements for the weekend of Nov. 15, when the opening round of the postseason takes place.