Archive for Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tiebreaker system can create dilemmas

October 24, 2007

The last three weeks of the high school football season can put coaches in tough situations.
Coaches turn into mathematicians. They look at numbers that can range from -13 to +13 and hope they add up up to a playoff spot. They hope their team's number is greater than the other teams' in their district.
The 13-point tiebreaker system is in place where a team can get a plus or minus 13 points in a given week. The tiebreaker system is used if more than two teams are tied for the same position.
The system prevents the need for massive blowouts by a team, but doesn't always prevent a situation from getting murky.
Last week, Basehor-Linwood led Bishop Ward by 12 points in the fourth quarter. There was little chance Bishop Ward was going to come back in the game.
Basehor-Linwood kept trying to score. They needed to put one more point up on the board. They had to get the maximum number of points possible, which is 13.
Coach Steve Hopkins said he felt bad doing it, but under the system, his team needed to get every point possible.
He didn't know the score of Piper game and wasn't sure how many points he needed to score.
The last thing he would ever want to do is run up the score. From speaking with him after games, that much is always clear.
After the game, Hopkins spoke with coach Greg Duggins about it. He apologized. Duggins understood. He knew what they were doing and trying to win by 13 points. He would have done the same thing.
Every point counts in this format.
Piper eventually lost to St. James Academy, and so Basehor-Linwood at 2-0 and a plus 26 is a lock to make the playoffs.
Meanwhile, Bishop Ward and St. James Academy will play a play in game tonight.
The tiebreaker system is a necessary evil in it all. I am not sure there is a better way to decide a playoff spot, but it can create tough situations for coaches and players.
Hopkins and Duggins should be credited for the way they handled the situation. They played it by the rules and did what was best for their teams.
They played for the playoffs.
The win also continues a nice turnaround for Basehor-Linwood.
The Bobcats were 1-4 after five games, but have since won three consecutive games. The team has outscored opponents by 52 points the last three games.
While tonight's game is not meaningful in the big picture for the state playoffs that start Tuesday, a win would help this team finish with a winning regular season. It also would ensure a No. 1 seed entering districts.
It is exciting to see this program back in the state playoffs. They pushed through some tough losses early in the season and are reaping the benefits of hard work.
Hopkins is a no-nonsense type of coach whose message seems to be resonating with his players.
They are finding ways to win games and the defense is playing well.
Following tonight's game, the team will play again on Tuesday against a to-be determined opponent. At this point, it probably doesn't really matter to them too much. The Bobcats are simply happy to be playing again.
They are probably also glad that they don't have to worry about any tiebreakers tonight.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.