Analysis

Soucie: Week 8 playoff projection

Is your team in or out?

The wildcard element of the projection operation always comes in the run-up to Week 9 courtesy of the Chicago Public League.

The CPL doesn’t release its Week 9 schedule for any of its playoff-eligible teams until after the conclusion of Week 8, making any attempt to figure out what the CPL will do a futile exercise in arbitrary guesswork. The CPL has never publicly announced how it formulates the CPL playoff structure and trying to figure it out after the fact doesn’t reveal many answers.

Playoff-eligible CPL schools can go one of two ways in Week 9. They can be invited to the 16-team CPL playoff bracket that culminates with one of its entrants heading to the Prep Bowl or the remaining teams are paired off, seemingly at random, from the remaining pool of teams not in the 16-team bracket.

This process had a 2-6 team qualify for the 16-team bracket and left a few five- and six-win teams outside of it. It caused even more chaos for the six teams that entered the week with 4-4 records and needing a win to earn a spot in the IHSA playoff field. It would stand to reason that those teams would probably draw teams with a similar record, but only one of the six received an opponent with a better record and none of the 4-4 teams are slated to play each other.

And then there’s Von Steuben, which enters the week with a 4-4 mark and is slated to play Urban Prep-Bronzeville, which comes in at 3-5. A win likely cements a playoff spot for Von Steuben, but oddly enough a win also might earn UP-Bronzeville a slot because it has one of the highest playoff point totals in the state, partly due to a nonconference schedule that included Richmond-Burton and Aurora Christian.

This is essentially a playoff game to qualify for the playoff games. Adding another layer of intrigue, UP-Bronzeville is a 2A team while Von Steuben is a 6A team. If the projection is wrong, Von Steuben would force its way into the field, knocking multiple teams riding the bubble down in classification into a lower class. There are heavy hitters on each of these bubbles right now.

Also, we won’t get any resolution on this one early either. That game is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday, the absolute last time you are allowed to kick off games on the final Saturday.

But what does this all mean for the entire field? The additional CPS qualifiers means less 4-5 teams are likely to earn positions in the field. That projection bumped down from 14 potential teams to just six and could fall even farther. It has a remote chance of disappearing all together if enough teams currently at 4-4 rise up and beat teams with better records in Week 9.

The previous teams projected to make the field at 4-5 almost exclusively came in larger classifications and those teams were replaced largely by small schools that punched their way into the field with upset wins. Schools such as Monmouth United, Hoopeston and the aforementioned Urban-Prep Bronzeville are projected in without putting anyone else’s bid in jeopardy in the process. As such, their slots need to be created in the field, pushing schools, especially in the middle classifications, up into larger classifications than previously expected.

Rochester is the most notable of these moves as the Rockets now find themselves in spot 130, two spots deep into the Class 5A draw. A week ago, Rochester was in spot 125.

Here’s a look at all eight classes with the final one. 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) Rich Townshipat(1) Loyola
(17) Glenbard Eastat(16) Taft
(25) Palatineat(8) Glenbard West
(24) Sandburgat(9) Lincoln-Way East
(29) Bartlettat(4) Warren
(20) Evanstonat(13) Bolingbrook
(28) New Trierat(5) Lockport
(21) O’Fallonat(12) Glenbrook South
(31) Edwardsvilleat(2) Neuqua Valley
(18) Maristat(15) Hinsdale Central
(26) Minookaat(7) York
(23) Naperville Northat(10) Oswego
(30) Downers Grove Southat(3) South Elgin
(19) Naperville Centralat(14) Glenbard North
(27) Barringtonat(6) Maine South
(22) Oswego Eastat(11) Plainfield North

New Teams in Class 8A Field

TeamReason
BarringtonNeeded to come up big against Conant in Week 8 and certainly did.
Glenbard EastWas in 7A.
Glenbard NorthWas in 7A.

Class 7A

Class 7A Playoff Projection
(32) Rolling Meadowsat(1) Batavia
(17) Mt. Carmelat(16) Thornwood
(25) Shepardat(8) Moline
(24) Downers Grove Northat(9) Hersey
(29) Blue Island Eisenhowerat(4) Wheaton North
(20) Jacobsat(13) St. Rita
(28) Hampshireat(5) Hoffman Estates
(21) Larkinat(12) Brother Rice
(31) Plainfield Eastat(2) Hononegah
(18) Whitney Youngat(15) Pekin
(26) Lincoln-Way Westat(7) Prospect
(23) Willowbrookat(10) Collinsville
(30) Lake Zurichat(3) Normal Community
(19) Libertyvilleat(14) T.F. South
(27) Genevaat(6) Machesney Park Harlem
(22) Buffalo Groveat(11) Plainfield Central

New Teams in Class 7A Field

TeamReason
Blue Island EisenhowerWas in 6A.
HampshireWas in 6A.
Machesney Park HarlemWas in 6A.
Plainfield EastBig win over district rival Plainfield South gets it in.
ShepardWas in 6A.

Class 6A

Class 6A Playoff Projection
North Bracket
(16) Rockford Eastat(1) St. Ignatius
(9) Vernon Hillsat(8) Prairie Ridge
(13) Matherat(4) Amundsen
(12) Crystal Lake Centralat(5) Deerfield
(15) Lakesat(2) Cary-Grove
(10) Grayslake Centralat(7) Belvidere North
(14) Crystal Lake Southat(3) Wauconda
(11) Antiochat(6) Lake Forest
South Bracket
(16) Kennedyat(1) Lemont
(9) Springfieldat(8) Glenwood
(13) Bremenat(4) East St. Louis
(12) Riverside-Brookfieldat(5) Richards
(15) Dunlapat(2) Kenwood
(10) Normal Community Westat(7) Rock Island
(14) Centennialat(3) Crete-Monee
(11) Simeonat(6) Washington

New Teams in Class 6A Field

TeamReason
AmundsenWas in 5A.
AntiochWas in 5A.
DunlapWas in 5A.
LakesWas in 5A.
Prairie RidgeWas in 5A.
SimeonMassive win over Kenwood.

Class 6A North/South Map

Class 5A

Class 5A Playoff Projection
North Bracket
(16) Noble/Bulls Prepat(1) Glenbard South
(9) Morgan Parkat(8) Fenwick
(13) Paytonat(4) Sycamore
(12) Marmionat(5) Sterling
(15) Boganat(2) Goode
(10) Evergreen Parkat(7) Noble/Comer
(14) Nazarethat(3) Brooks
(11) Rockford Boylanat(6) Rochelle
South Bracket
(16) Hillcrestat(1) Mahomet-Seymour
(9) Peoriaat(8) Morton
(13) Carbondaleat(4) Rochester
(12) Highlandat(5) Mascoutah
(15) Waterlooat(2) Morris
(10) Metamoraat(7) Triad
(14) Decatur MacArthurat(3) Kankakee
(11) LaSalle-Peruat(6) Marion

New Teams in Class 5A Field

TeamReason
BoganClear benefactor of CPL Week 9 scheduling.
Decatur MacArthurWin over Springfield helps it inch closer to a bid.
Evergreen ParkWas in 4A.
HillcrestWin over Richards seemed to be overlooked, huge for Hawks.
RochelleWas in 4A.
RochesterWas in 4A.
WaterlooWas in 4A.

Class 5A North/South Map

Class 4A

Class 4A Playoff Projection
North Bracket
(16) Urban Prep Bronzevilleat(1) Joliet Catholic
(9) Dixonat(8) Coal City
(13) Marengoat(4) Phillips
(12) Planoat(5) Stillman Valley
(15) St. Laurenceat(2) Richmond-Burton
(10) Wheaton Academyat(7) Wheaton St. Francis
(14) Hyde Parkat(3) Genoa-Kingston
(11) Peoria Notre Dameat(6) Chicago Sullivan
South Bracket
(16) Effinghamat(1) Breese Central
(9) Macombat(8) Paris
(13) Columbiaat(4) Murphysboro
(12) Olney East Richlandat(5) Quincy Notre Dame
(15) Cahokiaat(2) Sacred Heart Griffin
(10) Civic Memorialat(7) Mount Zion
(14) Salemat(3) Carterville
(11) Harrisburgat(6) Freeburg

New Teams in Class 4A Field

TeamReason
Genoa-KingstonWas in 3A.
HarrisburgWas in 3A.
Urban Prep-BronzevilleHas a toss-up game they need to win, but has a path.
Olney East RichlandLittle Illini has been bunched in the middle all season.

Class 4A North/South Map

Class 3A

Class 3A Playoff Projection
North Bracket
(16) Julianat(1) Kewanee
(9) Monmouthat(8) Lisle
(13) Peotoneat(4) Princeton
(12) Mendotaat(5) Durand-Pecatonica
(15) Catalyst/Mariaat(2) Byron
(10) Carverat(7) Clark
(14) Poplar Grove North Booneat(3) IC Catholic
(11) Kingat(6) Reed-Custer
South Bracket
(16) Newtonat(1) Tolono Unity
(9) Paxtonat(8) Monticello
(13) Eurekaat(4) Williamsville
(12) Beardstownat(5) Fairfield
(15) Piasa Southwesternat(2) Mt. Carmel
(10) Elmwoodat(7) Prairie Central
(14) St. Joseph Ogdenat(3) Benton
(11) Hoopestonat(6) Carlinville

New Teams in Class 3A Field

TeamReason
Catalyst/MariaAnother benefactor of CPL Week 9 scheduling.
HoopestonYet another narrow victory puts it in the mix.
Poplar Grove North BooneClaimed Week 8 showdown win against Winnebago.

Class 3A North/South Map

Class 2A

Class 2A Playoff Projection
North Bracket
(16) Clifton Centralat(1) Wilmington
(9) Erieat(8) Tremont
(13) Sterling Newman Central Catholicat(4) Farmington
(12) Bishop McNamaraat(5) Knoxville
(15) Rockridgeat(2) Tri-Valley
(10) Mercer Countyat(7) Momence
(14) El Pasoat(3) Bismarck-Henning
(11) North Lawndaleat(6) Deer Creek Mackinaw
South Bracket
(16) Shelbyvilleat(1) St. Teresa
(9) Chesterat(8) Westville
(13) Arthurat(4) Johnston City
(12) North Macat(5) Vandalia
(15) White Countyat(2) Pana
(10) Floraat(7) Maroa-Forsyth
(14) Mendon Unityat(3) Breese Mater Dei
(11) Lawrencevilleat(6) Nashville

New Teams in Class 2A Field

Team
Sterling Newman Central CatholicNeeded win over Mendota and got it.

Class 2A North/South Map

Class 1A

Class 1A Playoff Projection
North Bracket
(16) Annawan-Wethersfieldat(1) Abingdon
(9) Rabyat(8) Forreston
(13) Ridgeviewat(4) St. Bede
(12) Monmouth Unitedat(5) Fulton
(15) Princevilleat(2) Lena-Winslow
(10) Aurora Christianat(7) Iroquois West
(14) Galenaat(3) Ottawa Marquette
(11) Hope Academyat(6) Rushville
South Bracket
(16) Warrensburg-Lathamat(1) Camp Point Central
(9) Nokomisat(8) Winchester West Central
(13) Brown Countyat(4) Cumberland
(12) Salt Forkat(5) Arcola
(15) Villa Groveat(2) Carrollton
(10) Moweaqua Central A&Mat(7) Greenfield
(14) Macon Meridianat(3) Athens
(11) Casey-Westfieldat(6) Sesser-Valier

New Teams in Class 1A Field

TeamReason
Monmouth UnitedWin over Rushville was huge.
RabyWeek 8 win, coupled with CPL schedule in Week 9 helps it in.

Class 1A North/South Map