There are a few things in life I've resigned myself to never fully understanding — skinny jeans, the appeal of the Kardashians and how my son loses one sock, every single day, just to name a few.

You can add the way CHSAA's RPI system works to that list.

The Ratings Percentage Index — RPI for short — is the formula the CHSAA uses to determine postseason qualifiers in all team sports. According to the website, "it is a way to measure a team's strength relative to other teams, based largely on the strength of their schedules."

CHSAA even offers a link to a Wikipedia page that explains how RPI works, if you care to do some research into the subject.

I'll be honest, I read about two lines and then decided there were better things to occupy my time, like the latest on the whole Kanye-Kim robbery in Paris fiasco. Apparently she has a travelling jewelry box worth over $4 million. Seriously?

But I digress.

So the RPI rankings for prep football came out for the first time this season on Monday, and it left me scratching my head.

The top 16 teams based on the final RPI rankings will be placed into the postseason bracket. If a conference champion finishes outside the top 16, they will replace the lowest ranked team that is not a conference champion in the bracket.

Makes sense, right? It's when you take a look at the rankings that some of the confusion starts to set in.


One thing I've always liked about team sports is that you know who wins and loses by the final score. It's cut and dried.

But not with the RPI. It seems like who you play is almost as important, if not more so, than actual results.

For example, in Class 5A Regis Jesuit (5-1) leads all teams with RPI score of 0.688. Valor Christian, which sits at 3-3, is third with a 0.653 score. That's one spot ahead of 5-1 Pomona, which beat Valor Christian 23-16 on Sept. 23 and hasn't lost to an instate opponent.


OK, I guess I can live with that. Valor Christian is easily one of the top teams in the state, and the rest of 5A's top 16 makes sense. There are three other 3-3 teams in that mix, and they all are squads that are deserving.

Locally, Legacy is 11th and Fairview, which lost for the first time last week, is No. 12.

Fountain-Fort Carson is just outside that group at No. 17, despite a 2-4 record, one spot ahead of 5-1 Arvada West. The 1-5 Westminster Wolves are 21st. Boulder, which hasn't won a game yet but has played an extremely difficult schedule, is 26th, one spot ahead of the 5-1 Doherty Spartans.

Horizon, at 4-2, is 31st while the 5-1 Aurora Central Trojans are 35th, behind three teams that haven't won a single game this year.

Class 4A , which finds Broomfield third in RPI rankings, doesn't have anything that egregious but it does have it's own perplexing situation featuring a local school. Skyline, which started the year 5-0 before falling to Monarch last Friday, would miss the playoffs if they started this week, sitting at No. 20. There are three schools with a 2-4 record and three teams with a 3-3 mark, including No. 9 Monarch, ahead of the Falcons.

Class 3A's standings make sense, in that all but one of the top 16 teams has at least four wins. Five BoCo-area teams are in the top 16 (No. 4 Mead, No. 5 Erie, No. 8 Silver Creek, No. 12 Longmont and No. 14 Holy Family). Centaurus, which missed out on the playoffs last season despite a 7-3 mark, is the first team out at No. 17.

Proponents of the RPI system say not to panic, that it will all make sense when the regular season comes to an end. That the most deserving teams will make the playoffs.

I hope so. I can understand when league champions with lesser records are awarded playoff spots — that's why you have leagues. But it bothers me to think that teams can go 8-2 or 7-3 and won't make the playoffs, while a team that goes 6-4 or worse will get in because of some kind of formula.

I guess I'll hold judgement until the season is over. Until then, I can worry about other things, like where in the heck my kid's socks go.

News and notes

• Another thing I struggle figuring out sometimes is how decisions are made considering where certain CHSAA events are scheduled. I understand the want to spread out state championships around the state, so I'm fine with 4A tennis being in Pueblo, and 5A golf in Grand Junction. But next week's cross country regionals leave me perplexed.

We have five area teams  that have to travel more than two hours to Yuma for a Class 2A "regional." How is that remotely in the "region?"

• Speaking of cross country, Silver Creek pulled off an impressive feat last week as the Raptors won the boys title at the Northern League championship, sweeping the top three spots. Brock Dykema finished first at 15:53, followed by teammates James Lee (16:09) and Logan Simmington (16:12).

Centaurus, paced by fabulous freshman Riley Geldean's second place finish (18:53), won the girls team title.

• CHSAA announced last week that the state basketball tournaments will move to new sites this spring. The semifinals and championship games in 4A and 5A will no longer be played at the University of Colorado, instead moving to the Denver Coliseum. The University of Denver will host 3A, while the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland will be the home of 2A. Greeley and the University of Northern Colorado will host 1A.

• Remember to check out the podcast where each week we break down the area's biggest stories. New episodes are uploaded every Thursday and you can find it, along with past podcasts, at

Feel free to contact me with questions, suggestions or story ideas at 303-473-1315 or