Analysis | Friday Night Drive

What we learned in Week 5: CCL/ESCC schedules are minefields for all

If you manage to get through the regular season with two losses, you are virtually locking in a home playoff game

St. Viator’s Jayden Franzen catches Carmel quarterback Johnny Weber in a football game in Arlington Heights on Friday, September 16, 2022.

Since it requires an above .500 record to become playoff eligible at the end of the season, it is always interesting to monitor how many programs remain above that threshold as the season develops.

There are 252 teams that currently have records of 3-2 or better in the state of Illinois, and the group of 3-2 teams rests at 115. To achieve playoff eligibility that second group of teams needs to go at least .500 the rest of the way. Most of them will. Some of them won’t.

There’s also a group of 100 teams that are currently 2-3. Those teams will need at minimum a run of 3-1 to make the playoff eligibility threshold. A small handful of those will. Most of them won’t.

On the flipside there are 51 teams that still haven’t recorded a victory. That also likely ends the playoff hopes for each of those teams, excused from the remote possibility that any of those teams wins the rest of their games has a treasure trove of playoff points and there’s a need for four win at-large teams to fill the field.

Let’s take a look at some of the biggest storylines of Week 3:

CCL/ESCC membership has its drawbacks

After losses from Carmel and Joliet Catholic, just two of the 22 teams in the CCL/ESCC stand without a loss.

And since those two remaining undefeated teams, Mount Carmel and Loyola, square off in Week 9 the maximum number of undefeated teams the league can produce this year is one.

That speaks to the depth. But what also speaks to, in an unforgiving way in regards to playoff qualification, is the number of losses that are being spread out among the league’s membership.

17 of the league’s members have at least two losses already and the group of team’s with three losses have some heavy hitters among them.

In the end, it ultimately means some very, very good football teams, if they manage to reach playoff qualification will find themselves on very low seed lines because of the losses they accumulated in regular season play.

On the plus side, they’ll be playoff ready....if they get there.

Parity keeps showing its face

Don’t believe that IHSA football is more wide open than ever this year?

Another 20 teams dropped off the list of undefeated teams this week, to 54, which is believed to be the lowest number of undefeated teams ever through five weeks of play.

Additionally, there’s only 137 teams in the state with one loss or fewer and we’ve still got four weeks of regular season to play. That’s also very low. And it means long term that if you manage to get through the regular season with two losses, you are virtually locking in a home playoff game. And it won’t be out of the realm of possibility that more than a few teams will entertain an opponent in the opening round of the playoffs with three regular season losses.

Fracas in the Chicago Public League

It has appeared to be a breakout season for the some of the upper echelon schools in the CPL this year.

But a marquee game in the league between Morgan Park and Kenwood ended with a huge fight and an estimated 20 ejections of players from both sides.

Morgan Park was declared the winner of the contest that wasn’t able to reach its full conclusion, but the suspensions and the forthcoming disciplinary actions will likely have a substantial impact on both school’s rosters for the immediate future.

Morgan Park has already achieved playoff eligibility as it was the Mustangs fifth victory. Kenwood, however, dropped to 3-2 with the loss and still has remaining games with Simeon and Phillips on its schedule, so further missteps with a potentially short-handed roster could prove extremely perilous to the Broncos postseason hopes.