CHSAA revamps playoff seeding process, again

More elements to be factored in, including coaches poll


Which teams make the postseason and which don’t, and where teams are seeded, is always one of the hot-button topics of debate in prep sports.

While no one can ever seem to completely agree, and probably never fully will, that debate is part of what makes the emotionally-charged world of prep sports so much fun. Starting with football this season, the Colorado High School Activities Association is attempting to clarify the playoff seeding debate a bit by adding more criteria to the seeding process.

A single seeding committee will seed all classifications from 1A through 5A based these four equally-weighted (25 percent each) criteria: final RPI rankings, final rankings, final Packard rankings and a poll of all head coaches in each classification being seeded. This new system is intended to create a more unified and consistent approach to playoff seeding.

Frederick quarterback Jake Green scrambles away ...
Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer
Jake Green and the Frederick Warriors were one of four local 3A teams to make the 16-team playoff field in 2018. The introduction of new criteria for seeding in all classifications is something the CHSAA hopes creates the best possible brackets, according to assistant commissioner Adam Bright.

It also relies on Colorado’s football coaches to remain objective in their voting. So, will they be?

“I think there’s been issues for the last few years of some teams making the playoffs and with seeding as well,” Erie head coach Chad Cooper said. “CHSAA is always trying to make it better and I think it’s good that they’re involving the coaches because who knows the teams better than all the coaches in a classification?

“You just hope that the coaches can remain objective. At the end of the year, the CHSAA poll usually reflects pretty accurately where the teams stand so if the voting is a little off, it would be easy to tell right away if people aren’t being truthful. But I don’t think we’ll have a problem because we’re all in this together and we’re all motivated to be objective because you always want other coaches to treat your team fairly and that starts with how you treat them.”

Cooper’s belief that giving the coaches themselves more say in playoff seeding is likely to be a good thing, seems to be the prevailing sentiment among Colorado’s football coaches. Adam Bright, the new CHSAA assistant commissioner in charge of football, agrees. He also thinks the addition of other criteria like rankings and the Packard rankings — created by Erik Packard, an associate professor of mathematics at Colorado Mesa — will help create a more effective system.

“In an effort to strengthen our football seeding, it was determined by our football committee that three additional data sources were necessary,” Bright said. “While conducting research in how to better seed our playoffs, this new seeding process matched up very closely with the actual outcomes on the field in the previous seasons.

“The coaches have some of the best information necessary for greater accuracy, and we wanted to make sure their voices were heard in the seeding process. The key aspect to the new seeding process will be the integrity of all data points and people involved, and the Association trusts its coaches.”

(Final regular season record in parentheses)
5A — 1. Valor Christian (10-0); 2. Columbine (10-0); 3. Cherry Creek (9-1); 4. Eaglecrest (9-1); 5. Grandview (9-1); 6. Ralston Valley (8-2); 7. Pomona (6-4); 8. ThunderRidge (8-2); 9. Fairview (9-1); 10. Arvada West (6-4); 11. Cherokee Trail (7-3); 12. Mullen (4-6); 13. Arapahoe (5-5); 14. Castle View (7-3); 15. Highlands Ranch (3-7); 16. Regis Jesuit (6-4); 17. Smoky Hill (10-0); 18. Doherty (5-5); 19. Fountain-Fort Carson (5-5); 20. Lakewood (3-7); 21. Legacy (4-6); 22. Poudre (4-6); 23. Legend (5-5); 24. Denver East (8-2).
4A — 1. Pine Creek (9-1); 2. Loveland (10-0); 3. Greeley West (8-2); 4. Broomfield (8-2); 5. Ponderosa (8-2); 6. Montrose (9-1); 7. Fruita Monument (8-2); 8. Pueblo West (8-2); 9. Skyline (7-3); 10. Grand Junction Central (7-3); 11. Dakota Ridge (6-4); 12. Longmont (7-3); 13. Chatfield (7-3); 14. Standley Lake (7-3); 15. Rampart (7-3); 16. Heritage (8-2).
3A — 1. Palisade (9-1); 2. Pueblo East (8-2); 3. Erie (10-0); 4. Palmer Ridge (8-2); 5. Harrison (10-0); 6. Green Mountain (8-2); 7. Discovery Canyon (8-2); 8. Evergreen (6-4); 9. Mead (7-3); 10. Frederick (8-2); 11. Thomas Jefferson (8-2); 12. Holy Family (7-3); 13. Pueblo South (5-5); 14. Durango (6-4); 15. Lewis-Palmer (6-4); 16. Fort Morgan (8-2).