Earlier this week, the only high school rankings that truly matter came out when CHSAA released the first RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) of the fall season.
And for several local teams, it was good news.
Chief among the clubs celebrating the initial release was the Skyline football team.
Rewind back to last fall, and you'll recall that the Falcons were among a handful of teams that people pointed to as examples of what was wrong with the RPI. Skyline enjoyed it's best season in more than a decade, finishing with a 7 -3 record. But the Falcons didn't come close to making the playoffs, finishing 26th in the standings while the top 16 made the 4A postseason.
Rubbing salt in the wound was that a dozen of the 25 teams that finished ahead of Skyline didn't have as many wins, including five that made the postseason.
But it wasn't even the most egregious example of what was wrong with the RPI in 4A football, where Loveland went 9-1 and didn't make the playoffs, finishing one spot outside the postseason cutoff. (Four of the five teams that finished directly ahead of the Indians ended the regular season with a 6-4 record).
The problem was the initial formula used to determined the RPI rankings was that who you played was as important, if not more so, than actual results.
Teams could lose a game and move up in the rankings based on who they lost to. And teams could win a game and drop in the rankings for the same reason.
That's why a club like Sklyine, which admittedly didn't play the toughest schedule in the state but did beat the teams put in front of them, never seriously contended for a playoff spot.
It honestly was maddening, and a little ridiculous.
To it's credit, CHSAA recognized there was a problem and adjusted the formula, giving greater value to actual wins and losses, heading into the 2017 season.
And so when the initial football standings came out this week, they made a lot more sense.
Skyline, which is playing the same teams it did in 2016 because schedules are made in two-year cycles, is off to a 3-0 start, and enters the rankings at No. 3 in 4A.
That is a huge change from last year when the Falcons where 5-1 when the initial rankings came out, and yet found themselves 20th in the standings.
Monarch, also off to a 3-0 start, is 10th while Broomfield, which has played the toughest schedule of the local schools to date, sits at 29th because the Eagles have started 1-2.
And the good thing about the way the formula works this year is that Skyline will have to probably go 7-3 again this year to get in the playoffs. But if they do, they'll get in and they'll have earned it.
Despite being low on the list now, there's not doubt Broomfield can earn it's way into the posteason with a strong showing in league play.
Teams will be rewarded for winning games, and punished for losses.
That's the way sports should be.
News and notes
• In other RPI news, Fairview (3-0) football was second in Class 5A while Legacy (2-1) was 21st and Boulder (1-2) was 27th.
• Holy Family (3-0) topped the 3A poll, and was quickly followed by No. 2 Silver Creek (3-0). Mead (3-0) was ninth, Erie (3-0) was 12th and Frederick (2-1) was 17th. Despite not having a win yet this season, Centaurus (0-3) was 25th while 1-2 Longmont checks in at 29th.
• A couple of local cross country clubs had great showings at the Woodbridge Cross Country Classic in California last Friday. The Peak to Peak girls finished sixth in the Sweepstakes division of the three-mile race, the event's top race. Quinn McConnell crossed the line in fourth place with a time of 16 minutes, 1 second, bettering her best time by half a minute. Teammate Anna Shults was 15th in 16:35.
The Centaurus boys won the varsity rated-race, the second biggest race at the event.
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