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Message from the CIF-SS Commissioner: Are you ready for some football?

Today, we released playoff divisions for our Fall Sports. I want to take this opportunity to inform you of some significant changes that will be forthcoming in the sport of Football for 2019 and hopefully, 2020. With the full support of the CIF
Southern Section Football Coaches Advisory Committee, we plan to implement the following…

2019 – You will notice that we have a larger group of schools in a combined Divisions 1 and 2. The reason for that is at the end of the regular season, similar to what we have done in Basketball, Volleyball, Water Polo and Tennis, we will have a Football Selection Committee choose the top 8 schools after Week 10 games have been played and place them into Division 1. There will be an 8-team bracket for that division and the schools involved will have a Bye Week before beginning the Division 1 Playoffs. The remaining schools from the combined Divisions 1/2 who are not selected for Division 1 will be placed into Division 2, which will be a 16-team bracket. Also, since the Division 1 bracket is 8 teams, we will create another division, meaning we will increase from 13 divisions to a total of 14 divisions next season. The Football Selection Committee will utilize our At-Large selection criteria: head-to-head results from teams under consideration, overall won-loss record, strength of schedule, using the overall won-loss record of their opponents, strength of league, strength against common opponents, etc., to choose the 8 teams for Division 1. Understand that competitive equity playoffs are not about filling brackets with teams who do not belong, which is what we have seen in the Division 1 Playoffs recently, resulting in non-competitive games and lopsided scores. In this new format, the Division 1 bracket will contain only those teams whose power rankings justify their placement into that division using the most accurate information we have available to do so.

2020 – I have been clear since the beginning of competitive equity playoffs that this system will continue to evolve in the time ahead. The most significant step moving forward in determining the strength of programs is to apply the results of the current regular season to the previous two years power rankings, so we may develop new power rankings at the end of the regular season and create playoff divisions at that time. This would truly enable us to have divisions that are as accurate as possible and would allow, specifically in the sport of Football, for every school who is guaranteed entry from their league to enter the playoffs. As you know, with fixed brackets of 16 teams, unlike other sports that can expand their brackets to include wild-card games, there have been instances where some 3rd place teams did not get into the Football Playoffs in the past 3 years because we had too many teams that automatically qualified from their leagues resulting in some teams being left out. Therefore, in the sport of Football, we would like to use the 2019 season as a testing period for the possibility of including current regular season results and potentially creating playoff divisions at the end of the regular season in 2020. The only way that will be possible is if our member schools enter into CIFSSHome every score of every game that is played in the 2019 regular season by November 2, 2019. If that happens, we would be able to create updated power rankings and determine divisions at the end of the regular season for the first time. That is the effort we would like to make this upcoming season, so we can review this process and see what playoff divisions would look like following that process.

Thank you very much for your help and support, it is truly appreciated.

This article was written by Rob Wigod, CIF-SS Commissioner.