Soucie: Week 4 playoff projection

Slowly the projected playoff field is starting to come into focus.

But there are multiple conferences that seem dead set on making the process as difficult as possible to figure out. Leagues such as the Cahokia, Three Rivers, South Suburban and South Seven are extremely hard to figure out a pecking order. Each week seems to be providing more wrinkles and less clarity. Eventually something will have to give, but the projection in those leagues and the perceived upsets that keep popping up are making things rough.

There are 21 teams that are in the field that weren’t last week. Waubonsie Valley, Dunlap, Erie, Riverside-Brookfield, St. Laurence and Lawrenceville were the schools that saw the biggest improvement for this week. But every last one of them has serious work to do if they want to stick around.

The group of 4-5 teams projected to make the field expanded once again and is back up to 13 teams, just short of the high point of 15 projected in Week 2. Due to the fact that larger schools tend to play stronger schedules, the majority of the at-large four-win qualifiers come from the largest classes. A whopping six 4-5 projected schools make the field this week in Class 7A.

This number has been stable enough and large enough to start to make the potential of four-win at-large squads more than just a distinct possibility and more like an inevitable reality. Something to keep in mind though, 4-5 teams with 45 projected points were projected in. And teams that play in locked conferences can’t get past 41 points as four-win teams unless they were forced to pick up an opponent from outside the conference due to a forfeit result.

Here’s a look at all eight classes with the final five weeks projected to make up the 256-team playoff field. Maps are provided for Class 1A through 6A to see where the north/south dividing line could break. Class 7A and Class 8A are not divided into geographic groups.

Class 8A

Class 8A Playoff Projection
(32) Minookaat(1) Loyola
(17) Homewood-Flossmoorat(16) Marist
(25) Oswegoat(8) Lockport
(24) Rich Townshipat(9) Naperville Central
(29) Downers Grove Southat(4) Oswego East
(20) Bartlettat(13) York
(28) Huntleyat(5) Lincoln-Way East
(21) O’Fallonat(12) Bolingbrook
(31) Plainfield Southat(2) Glenbard West
(18) Glenbrook Southat(15) Neuqua Valley
(26) Lyonsat(7) Maine South
(23) Taftat(10) Palatine
(30) Edwardsvilleat(3) South Elgin
(19) Barringtonat(14) Hinsdale Central
(27) East Auroraat(6) Warren
(22) Waubonsie Valleyat(11) New Trier

New Teams in Class 8A Field

East AuroraFifth spot in Upstate Eight is there for the taking.
Waubonsie ValleyDuPage Valley results have proven to be all over the map.
LyonsSlight changing of the guard going on in West Suburban.

Class 7A

Class 7A Playoff Projection
(32) Genevaat(1) Batavia
(17) Collinsvilleat(16) Prospect
(25) Hoffman Estatesat(8) Brother Rice
(24) Willowbrookat(9) Plainfield North
(29) Downers Grove Northat(4) Normal Community
(20) Glenbard Northat(13) Glenbard East
(28) Lincoln-Way Westat(5) Wheaton North
(21) Reavisat(12) Libertyville
(31) Wheaton Warrenville Southat(2) Hersey
(18) St. Charles Northat(15) Buffalo Grove
(26) Bradley-Bourbonnaisat(7) Mount Carmel
(23) Thornwoodat(10) St. Rita
(30) Rolling Meadowsat(3) Hononegah
(19) Jacobsat(14) Moline
(27) Highland Parkat(6) Plainfield Central
(22) Whitney Youngat(11) T.F. South

New Teams in Class 7A Field

Bradley-BourbonnaisPoints are quite low, but they can get to five.
ReavisFiguring out the middle of the South Suburban is not an exact science.
GenevaOne of a large pack of projected four-win teams.
Hoffman EstatesVernon Hills win is a big one.
Plainfield NorthWas in 8A.

Class 6A

Class 6A Playoff Projection
North Bracket
(16) Riverside-Brookfieldat(1) Cary-Grove
(9) Lake Forestat(8) St. Ignatius
(13) Kennedyat(4) Wauconda
(12) Machesney Park Harlemat(5) Kenwood
(15) Grayslake Centralat(2) Belvidere North
(10) Deerfieldat(7) Antioch
(14) Lake Zurichat(3) Prairie Ridge
(11) Crystal Lake Centralat(6) Vernon Hills
South Bracket
(16) Danvilleat(1) Lemont
(9) Glenwoodat(8) Rock Island
(13) Bremenat(4) Washington
(12) Bloomingtonat(5) Normal Community West
(15) East Moline Unitedat(2) Richards
(10) Pekinat(7) Simeon
(14) Blue Island Eisenhowerat(3) Crete-Monee
(11) Springfieldat(6) East St. Louis

New Teams in Class 6A Field

BloomingtonMiddle of the pack in Big Twelve is tough to parse.
Lake ZurichWas in 7A.
BremenSouth Suburban Conference shake up.
Riverside-BrookfieldStill some work to do, but Aurora Christian win was pivotal.
PekinWas in 7A.

Class 6A North/South Map

Class 5A

Class 5A Playoff Projection
North Bracket
(16) Prosserat(1) Amundsen
(9) Kanelandat(8) Rockford Boylan
(13) Nazarethat(4) Glenbard South
(12) Marmionat(5) Sterling
(15) Morgan Parkat(2) Sycamore
(10) Lakesat(7) Evergreen Park
(14) Freeportat(3) Goode
(11) Brooksat(6) Fenwick
South Bracket
(16) Hillcrestat(1) Mascoutah
(9) Providenceat(8) Morton
(13) Triadat(4) Marion
(12) Dunlapat(5) Morris
(15) Centraliaat(2) Metamora
(10) Highlandat(7) Peoria
(14) Waterlooat(3) Kankakee
(11) LaSalle-Peruat(6) Mahomet-Seymour

New Teams in Class 5A Field

LakesWas in 6A.
AmundsenWas in 6A.
DunlapBig win pushes them up Mid-Illini rankings.

Class 5A North/South Map

Class 4A

Class 4A Playoff Projection
North Bracket
(16) St. Laurenceat(1) Joliet Catholic
(9) Wheaton Academyat(8) Stillman Valley
(13) Dixonat(4) Genoa-Kingston
(12) Marengoat(5) Richmond-Burton
(15) De La Salleat(2) Hyde Park
(10) Planoat(7) Phillips
(14) Agricultural Scienceat(3) Wheaton St. Francis
(11) Chicago Sullivanat(6) Coal City
South Bracket
(16) Taylorvilleat(1) Breese Central
(9) Murphysboroat(8) Macomb
(13) Salemat(4) Rochester
(12) Bethalto Civic Memorialat(5) Sacred Heart Griffin
(15) Peoria Notre Dameat(2) Quincy Notre Dame
(10) Cahokiaat(7) Mount Zion
(14) Harrisburgat(3) Carterville
(11) Parisat(6) Freeburg

New Teams in Class 4A Field

St. LaurencePunishing schedule gives them a truckload of points.
Genoa-KingstonWas in 3A.
HarrisburgWas in 3A.
TaylorvilleApollo Conference is a tough read.

Class 4A North/South Map

Class 3A

Class 3A Playoff Projection
North Bracket
(16) Kingat(1) Princeton
(9) Reed-Custerat(8) Peotone
(13) North Booneat(4) Clark
(12) Mendotaat(5) Kewanee
(15) Lisleat(2) Wilmington
(10) Catalyst/Mariaat(7) Julian
(14) Elmwoodat(3) Byron
(11) Carverat(6) Durand-Pecatonica
South Bracket
(16) Paxton-Buckley-Lodaat(1) Tolono Unity
(9) DuQuoinat(8) Piasa SW
(13) Eurekaat(4) Monticllo
(12) Nashvilleat(5) Fairfield
(15) Beardstownat(2) Mt. Carmel
(10) Greenvilleat(7) Carlinville
(14) Newtonat(3) Benton
(11) Prairie Centralat(6) Williamsville

New Teams in Class 3A Field

BeardstownWestern Illinois Valley Conference is really difficult to break apart.
Catalyst/MariaCPL divisions starting to shake out, but this one isn’t very clear.
Piasa SouthwesternRigorous part of schedule yet to come, but in good shape right now.
WilmingtonWas in 2A.

Class 3A North/South Map

Class 2A

Class 2A Playoff Projection
North Bracket
(16) Bishop McNamaraat(1) Bismarck-Henning
(9) Bloomington Central Catholicat(8) Rockridge
(13) Sterling Newmanat(4) Knoxville
(12) Momenceat(5) Clifton Central
(15) Orionat(2) Farmington
(10) North Lawndaleat(7) Tremont
(14) Elgin St. Edwardat(3) Tri-Valley
(11) Erieat(6) IC Catholic
South Bracket
(16) Trenton Wesclinat(1) Pana
(9) Lawrencevilleat(8) Shelbyville
(13) Pittsfieldat(4) Johnston City
(12) Westvilleat(5) Breese Mater Dei
(15) White Countyat(2) St. Teresa
(10) Vandaliaat(7) Athens
(14) Pleasant Plainsat(3) Maroa-Forsyth
(11) Floraat(6) Chester

New Teams in Class 2A Field

ErieHuge win over Rockridge moved them into the field.
LawrencevilleSchedule was front loaded, they survived it well.
Trenton WesclinCahokia Conference is really tough read.
ShelbyvilleTuscola win in Week 4 is a substantial one.

Class 2A North/South Map

Class 1A

Class 1A Playoff Projection
North Bracket
(16) LeRoyat(1) Lena-Winslow
(9) GCMSat(8) Hope Academy
(13) Iroquois Westat(4) Raby
(12) Annawan-Wethersfieldat(5) St. Bede
(15) Galenaat(2) Rushville
(10) Forrestonat(7) Ottawa Marquette
(14) Aurora Christianat(3) Abingdon
(11) Princevilleat(6) Fulton
South Bracket
(16) Tuscolaat(1) Moweaqua Central A&M
(9) Sesser-Valierat(8) Arcola
(13) Greenfieldat(4) Salt Fork
(12) Villa Groveat(5) Cumberland
(15) Warrensburg-Lathamat(2) Brown County
(10) Nokomisat(7) Winchester West Central
(14) Cerro Gordoat(3) Carrollton
(11) Casey-Westfieldat(6) Camp Point Central

New Teams in Class 1A Field

LeRoyHeart of Illinois very congested in the middle.
Warrensburg-LathamWas in 2A.

Class 1A North/South Map

Steve Soucie

Steve Soucie

Steve Soucie has been the Sports Editor at the Joliet Herald News since August of 2018. Prior to that, Soucie worked at the Kankakee Daily Journal and for Pro Football Weekly.