Commentary and Theory with a yinzer slant #year9

2016 Pittsburgh Playoffs Under 2017 System

Last year’s brackets would have looked a lot different.

2017 Playoffs

In case you forgot, the realignment from D1/D2 to AAA/AA has changed the playoff structure. The top four teams in each section advance to the postseason. Four of those teams will get a bye to the second round. The expectation is that the three section winners and an at large team will earn the byes. If you sorted the 2016 season like the 2017 season, the playoffs would have looked much different for two very obvious reasons:

  1. More teams participating
    1. A good thing if you value new teams getting a chance to experience the post season for the first time
    2. A bad thing if you value the intensity of the college football regular season prior to the playoffs
  2. Vastly different seeding if the WPIAL uses RPI or LaxPower power ratings now hidden behind a pay wall

2017 Alignment

Section 1

Baldwin, Bethel Park, Canon Mac, Central Catholic, Mt. Lebanon, Peters, Upper St. Clair, Taylor Allderdice

Section 2

Fox Chapel, Franklin Regional, Hempfield, Latrobe, Norwin, Penn Trafford, Plum, Shady Side

Section 3

Butler, North Allegheny, North Hills, Pine Richland, Seneca Valley, Sewickley, Shaler

2016 RPI Rankings

Thanks to LaxPower switching to a paywall, we relied on RPI to seed the remaining teams. Given the paywall, it will be curious to see how the WPIAL chooses to seed teams. Does the WPIAL decide to pay for premium LaxPower? Do they seek the council of coaches?

RPI is based on the record of opponents and the record of the opponents’ opponents. For your consideration, we’ve posted teams ranked 1-22 which includes D1 and D2 teams plus non WPIAL affiliate Kiski Prep.

   1 Mount Lebanon       1  0.6791   41   0      5   2   15  8  0  5  1  0  3  3  0  7  4  0
   2 Kiski Prep          2  0.6765   36   0     35   0   16  6  0  5  4  0  2  1  0  9  1  0
   3 Shady Side Academy  3  0.6575   20   1      6   2   10  8  0  5  4  0  1  4  0  4  0  0
   4 Mars Area           4  0.6534   39   0     14   1   19  1  0  9  0  0  1  0  0  9  1  0
   5 Pine Richland       5  0.6460   16   1     41   0   14  6  0  8  1  0  0  2  0  6  3  0
   6 North Allegheny     6  0.6439    4   2     38   0   13  9  0  6  6  0  3  2  0  4  1  0
   7 Erie Cathedral Pre  7  0.6239   28   0      9   1   16  5  0  4  1  0  5  2  0  7  2  0
   8 Fox Chapel          8  0.6157    9   1     28   0   10  4  0  4  2  0  0  0  0  6  2  0
   9 Peters Township     9  0.5831   44   0     40   0   10  8  0  5  5  0  0  0  0  5  3  0
  10 Seneca Valley      10  0.5795   19   1     42   0    8  5  0  2  3  0  0  0  0  6  2  0
  11 Erie-McDowell      11  0.5757   29   0     10   1   13  7  0  6  3  0  1  1  0  6  3  0
  12 Moon Area          12  0.5627   40   0      2   3   11  8  0  5  5  0  0  1  0  6  2  0
  13 Quaker Valley      13  0.5575   18   1      3   3   13  6  0  6  5  0  0  1  0  7  0  0
  14 Canon-McMillan     14  0.5494    7   1      4   2   13  6  0  7  4  0  0  0  0  6  2  0
  15 Hampton            15  0.5416   11   1     33   0   13  7  0  7  3  0  1  0  0  5  4  0
  16 Butler Area        16  0.5401    6   1     25   0    7 10  0  2  5  0  0  0  0  5  5  0
  17 Shaler Area        17  0.5202   21   1     20   1   11  7  0  4  5  0  0  0  0  7  2  0
  18 Latrobe            18  0.5156   38   0      1   3    7  6  0  3  2  0  0  0  0  4  4  0
  19 Upper St Clair     19  0.5144   47   0     46   0    6  7  1  3  2  0  1  1  1  2  4  0
  20 Penn-Trafford      20  0.5138   15   1     17   1   11  4  0  4  2  0  0  0  0  7  2  0
  21 Sewickley Academy  21  0.5072    5   2     19   1    5 11  0  0  8  0  0  0  0  5  3  0
  22 Bethel Park        22  0.5051    2   2     24   0    7 11  0  4  6  0  0  0  0  3  5  0

2017 Top 4 Seeds

  1. Section 1 Champs: Mt. Lebanon
  2. Section 3 Champs: Pine Richland
  3. Section 2 Champs: Fox Chapel
  4. At Large: Shady Side

Top 3 seeds ordered by RPI with the at large team earning the 4th seed.

It will be very interesting if the WPIAL chooses to not award the top 3 seeds to the section champs.

Based on the above teams earning the first round bye and the stipulations that the top four teams from each section advance to the playoffs, the following teams would advance:

5. North Allegheny (Section 3)

6. Peters Township (Section 1)

7. Seneca Valley (Section 3)

8. Butler (Section 3)

9. Latrobe (Section 2)

10. Upper St. Clair (Section 1)

11. Penn Trafford (Section 2)

12. Bethel Park (Section 1)

While Sewickley checks in at 21, one seed above, Bethel Park, there are already four teams from Section 3 in the playoffs.

2017 First Round

#5 North Allegheny vs. #12 Bethel Park

#6 Peters Township vs. #11 Penn Trafford

#7 Seneca Valley vs. #10 Upper St. Clair

#8 Butler vs. #9 Latrobe

2017 Second Round

#1 Mt. Lebanon vs. Butler/Latrobe

#2 Pine Richland vs. Seneca Valley/Upper St. Clair

#3 Fox Chapel vs. Peters/Penn Trafford

#4 Shady Side vs. North Allegheny/Bethel Park

Under this format, the 2016 title game would have been different with Mt. Lebanon and North Allegheny being on the same side of the bracket.


D2 Playoffs

We’ve already discussed who could be the favorite to win the 2017 title D2/AA here. What would the 2016 playoffs have looked like under the new system?

2017 Playoffs

The lower class isn’t as complicated thanks to an even number of sections. The top six teams in each section make the playoffs. We can assume the top four teams will earn a bye. Let’s assume the section champs with a receive a bye and the next two best teams by RPI will earn at large byes.

2017 Alignment

Section 1: Chartiers Valley, Gateway, Moon, Quaker Valley, Seton LaSalle, South Fayette, Trinity, Winchester Thurston

Section 2: Aquinas Academy, Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic, Freeport, Greensburg CC, Hampton, Indiana, Knoch, Mars, Vincentian

2016 RPI Rankings

23 Indiana Area       23  0.4949   35   0     12   1    6  9  0  4  3  0  0  0  0  2  6  0
  24 Chartiers Valley   24  0.4821    3   2      8   1    8  6  0  2  4  0  0  0  0  6  2  0
  25 Norwin             25  0.4738   14   1     16   1    9  5  0  6  3  0  0  0  0  3  2  0
  26 Trinity Area       26  0.4736   23   1     21   1   10  6  0  3  4  0  0  0  0  7  2  0
  27 Fairview           27  0.4705   30   0     11   1    4 10  0  1  5  0  0  1  0  3  4  0
  28 Meadville-Crawfd C 28  0.4673   12   1     36   0    6  7  0  2  4  0  0  1  0  4  2  0
  29 Knoch              29  0.4663   37   0     13   1    4  5  0  3  2  0  0  0  0  1  3  0
  30 Baldwin            30  0.4622    1   3     23   0    6 11  0  2  8  0  0  0  0  4  3  0
  31 Central Catholic   31  0.4539    8   1     26   0    2 10  0  1  4  0  0  0  0  1  6  0
  32 North Catholic-Wue 32  0.4524   13   1     15   1   11  6  0  7  5  0  0  0  0  4  1  0
  33 Franklin Regional  33  0.4425   10   1     29   0    2 12  0  0  6  0  0  0  0  2  6  0
  34 Gateway            34  0.4319   32   0     31   0    8  8  0  3  4  0  0  0  0  5  4  0
  35 Freeport Area      35  0.4160   31   0     30   0    5  7  0  3  4  0  0  0  0  2  3  0
  36 South Fayette      36  0.4010   22   1     44   0    1  3  0  1  2  0  0  0  0  0  1  0
  37 North Hills        37  0.3919   43   0     39   0    5 12  0  2  7  0  0  0  0  3  5  0
  38 Aquinas Academy    38  0.3839   26   0      7   1    4  5  0  1  3  0  0  0  0  3  2  0
  39 Hempfield Greensbu 39  0.3801   34   0     34   0    3  8  0  2  4  0  0  0  0  1  4  0
  40 Greensburg Cath Ce 40  0.3700   33   0     32   0    1  6  0  0  4  0  0  0  0  1  2  0
  41 Plum               41  0.3499   17   1     18   1    3 10  0  2  5  0  0  0  0  1  5  0
  42 Seton LaSalle      42  0.3450   45   0     43   0    1 12  0  1  5  0  0  0  0  0  7  0
  43 Conneaut           43  0.3395   27   0     27   0    1 14  0  0  6  0  0  0  0  1  8  0
  44 Vincentian Academy 44  0.3290   24   1     22   1    2 11  0  0  7  0  0  0  0  2  4  0
  45 Winchester Thursto 45  0.3243   25   1     47   0    2  9  0  2  2  0  0  0  0  0  7  0
  46 Taylor Allderdice  46  0.2905   46   0     45   0    0 14  0  0  7  0  0  0  0  0  7  0
  47 New Castle         47  0.0000   42   0     37   0    1  6  0  0  3  0  0  0  0  1  3  0

2017 Top 4 Seeds

Because there was so much movement with realignment, we are just taking awarding the top four seeds based on RPI.

  1. Mars (Section 2)
  2. Moon (Section 1)
  3. Quaker Valley (Section 1)
  4. Hampton (Section 2)

There are remaining slots for four teams from each of the sections. The following squads earn the remaining playoff births:

5. Indiana (Section 2)

6. Chartiers Valley (Section 1)

7. Trinity (Section 1)

8. Knoch (Section 2)

9. North Catholic (Section 2)

10. Gateway (Section 1)

11. Freeport (Section 2)

12. South Fayette (Section 1)

2017 First Round

#5 Indiana vs. #12 South Fayette

#6 Chartiers Valley vs. #11 Freeport

#7 Trinity vs. #10 Gateway

#8 Knoch vs. #9 North Catholic

2017 Second Round

#1 Mars vs. Knoch/North Catholic

#2 Moon vs. Trinity/Gateway

#3 Quaker Valley vs. Chartiers/Freeport

#4 Hampton vs. Indiana/South Fayette

Under this format, the 2016 title game would have been different with Mars and Hampton being on the same side of the bracket.


FYI via WPIAL website:

In the event of a multiple team (two or more teams) tie for a playoff position head to head competition will be the first determinant. If head-to-head does not break the tie, the following tie-breaking system will be used. If three or more teams are tied for third place and the tie breaking system identifies one team as the third place team, the remaining teams will then be tied for fourth place and the process begins all over with head-to-head competition being the first determinant for establishing the fourth place team. If a tie cannot be broken all tied teams will enter the playoffs.


Could have been. 2017 will be fun.

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