Tuesday's playoff (and mental) breakdown HEX-FACTORED

Howdy,

A team that will have a great influence on this year's CIAC playoffs is one that won't even qualify.

Westhill of Stamford had to forfeit four of its five victories after self-reporting a violation to the CIAC, as reported by Dave Ruden of the Stamford Advocate. A fifth-year senior had been starting for the team.

Ruden noted that this is the third time in 14 months that a Westhill team had to forfeit victories due to the use of ineligible players. It has happened to both the boys' soccer and basketball teams, and it makes one wonder why Westhill hasn't been more diligent after the first violation.

The gaffe by Westhill's administration meant that the team gave up victories against Trumbull, Norwalk, Bridgeport's Central and Danbury. That helped some teams, but hurt more.

Using Trumbull as an example, the forfeiture gave it four wins instead of five. Any team that beat Trumbull, then, received 10 more playoff points.

Ridgefield had 840 points Monday. The forfeits bumped it up to 860.

Conversely, anyone that beat Westhill lost 40 points.

Trinity Catholic of Stamford, ranked seventh in Class S, lost 30 points.

It's not fair to punish teams for another team's mistakes. Perhaps the CIAC and its football committee should consider not stripping bonus points away from a team when one of its opponents gets in trouble.

The Westhill players got hosed, too. They were 5-4 and had a chance to give the program its first winning season since 1987 if they beat Stamford (2-7) on Thanksgrabbing. Instead, they're playing for their second win.

Everyone at Polecat HQ was already in a bad mood Tuesday. This did not lighten spirits.

All right, enough grousing. It's time to reexamine the four races after Westhill's hex-factor threw everything out of alignment.

There was one game of importance Tuesday — Bullard-Havens of Bridgeport trounced city-rival Bassick, 49-24. The Tigers (8-2) are on the cusp of qualifying in Class M, and they lowered the playoff odds of Montville.

Thanks to media moguls Kyle Brennan and Bean Patrick Sowley as their work allowed us to cross-check the catastrophe below.

We encourage you to keep track of the playoff points using Matt Fischer's robo-abacus. It updates everything in real time. It's better than yams.

We also advise you to follow today and tomorrow's action on Twitter at #cthsfb. There will be a lot of jibber-jabber going on there. Join in the merriment.

Finally, on to the playoff breakdowns, mental breakdowns, and half-baked predictions.

Please heed the words of David Letterman, "Remember, this is not a competition, it is only an exhibition — please, no wagering."

And away we go….

CLASS LL

Projected cutoff: Two losses.

Qualified: Glastonbury, Greenwich, Newtown, Norwich Free Academy, Southington, Staples of Westport, and Xavier of Middletown.

Teams still alive: Six.

1. Southington (9-0)

Remaining game: Thanksgrabbing v. Cheshire (6-3).

Outlook: Gets a home quarterfinal with a win, or losses by two of the following — Staples, Greenwich, Xavier, NFA and/or Newtown.

2. Staples (8-0)

Remaining games: Thanksgrabbing at Greenwich (8-0).

Outlook: A win gets it a home quarterfinal and the FCIAC title. Lost 10 points to the hex-factor, so its odds of being the top seed got slimmer.

3. Greenwich (8-0)

Remaining games: Thanksgrabbing v. Staples (8-0). Lost 10 points to the hex-factor, so it would have a difficult time beating Southington for the top seed.

Outlook: See Staples.

4. Xavier (8-1)

Remaining game: Thanksgrabbing vs. Middletown (8-1).

Outlook: A win gets it home quarterfinal cooking.

5. Norwich Free Academy (9-0)

Remaining games: Thanksgrabbing at New London (7-2).

Outlook: A win won't get it a home game. It needs either Southington, Xavier or Newtown to lose in order to get said home game. And it won't be playing on campus anyways as its field doesn't have permanent lighting.

6. Newtown (9-0)

Remaining game: Today v. Masuk (9-0).

Outlook: It's in the same situation as NFA. Quick note — quarterback Dan Hebert has been lost to a season-ending injury.

7. Glastonbury (9-1)

Outlook: Its regular season is over and patiently waiting for an opponent.

8. West Haven (7-2)

Remaining game: Thanksgrabbing v. Fairfield Prep (6-3).

Outlook: Lock. In with a win.

9. Ridgefield (7-2)

Remaining game: Today at Danbury (3-6).

Outlook: Unknown. Previously, Prep benefited the most from beating the Westies. The hex-factor now favors the Tigers. A win over Danbury gives them a 1,010-point minimum. The Jesuits would have 980 with a win over the Westies. Prep has four bonuses, Ridgefield three..

10. Manchester (6-3)

Remaining game: Today at East Hartford (1-8).

Outlook: Done. The only reason it's mathematically alive is because quirk.

11. Fairfield Prep (6-3)

Remaining game: Thanksgrabbing at West Haven (7-2).

Outlook: Poor. Needs to beat the Westies and hope Ridgefield loses. The former is possible, the latter is unlikely.

12. Cheshire (6-3)

Remaining game: Thanksgrabbing at Southington (9-1).

Outlook: Done. Like Manchester, it's only alive because of an anomaly. Thanks, for the tip, Kyle (acting as proxy for Bean).

13. Naugatuck

Remaining game: Thanksgrabbing at Ansonia (9-0).

Outlook: Toast. Let's see, the Greyhounds would have to beat the Chargers, hope that Southington beats Cheshire, that Ridgefield flops, that Prep beats West Haven and receives no bonuses, that the Mayans were wrong, etc. Aint' happening.

The ALL-NEW eight: 1. Staples v. No. 8 West Haven; No. 2 Southington v. No. 7 Newtown; No. 3 Xavier v. No. 6 Greenwich; No. 4 NFA vs. No. 5 Glastonbury.

CLASS L

Projected cutoff: Two losses.

Qualified: Avon, Fitch, Hand of Madison, Masuk of Monroe, Middletown, New Canaan and Windsor.

Teams still alive: Four.

1. Hand (9-0)

Remaining games: Today vs. Guilford (5-4).

Outlook: A win earns it the top seed.

2. Windsor (9-0)

Outlook: It finished the regular season and will be no worse than the No. 2 seed.

3. Avon (10-0)

Outlook: Regular season done. Home quarterfinal earned.

4. Masuk (9-0)

Remaining game: Today at Newtown (9-0).

Outlook: A win gets it a home quarterfinal.

5. Middletown (8-1)

Remaining game: Thanksgrabbing at Xavier (8-1).

Outlook: The only way it gets a home quarterfinal is if it beats Xavier, and Masuk loses.

6. New Canaan (8-1)

Remaining games: Thanksgrabbing at Darien (6-3).

Outlook: Only way it gets a home quarterfinal is if Masuk and Middletown lose.

7. Fitch (8-1)

Remaining games: Thanksgrabbing vs. Ledyard (6-3).

Outlook: It would need, like, a lot of things to happen to get a home quarterfinal. DOUBLE WING.

8. Platt (7-2)

Remaining game: Thanksgrabbing at Maloney (3-6).

Outlook: Lock. Win and it's in.

9. Farmington (7-2)

Remaining game: Thanksgrabbing vs. Plainville (3-6).

Outlook: Not good. It must win, Platt must lose, and it must earn 20 bonus points to beat out Darien should it beat New Canaan.

10. Darien (6-3)

Remaining game: Thanksgrabbing v. New Canaan (8-1).

Outlook: Poor. It needs to win, for Platt to lose, and for Farmington to lose and/or collect more bonuses.

11. North Haven (6-3)

Remaining game: Thanksgrabbing v. Amity (4-5).

Outlook: Sadly, awful, as everyone here at Polecat HQ love GOD'S FATHER'S OFFENSE. The Indians need to win, and for Farmington, Platt and Darien to lose.

The eight: 1. Hand v. No. 8 Platt; No. 2 Windsor v. No. 7 Middletown, Part II; No. 3 Masuk v. No. 6 Fitch; No. 4 Avon v. No. 5 New Canaan.

CLASS M

Projected cutoff: Two losses.

Qualified: Berlin and Wolcott.

Teams still alive: 10.

1. Wolcott (8-1)

Remaining game: Thanksgrabbing at Holy Cross (6-3).

Outlook: A win would likely earn it the top seed.

2. Berlin (8-1)

Remaining game: Today at New Britain (3-6).

Outlook: A win gets a home quarterfinal.

3. Ellington/Somers (8-1)

Remaining games: Thanksgrabbing v. Coventry/Windham Tech/Bolton (6-2).

Outlook: Very good. Win and it's in. It would also get a home game. It could also qualify with a loss, but it'll be close.

4. Barlow (8-1)

Remaining games: Thanksgrabbing vs. Weston (7-2)

Outlook: Unknown now that quarterback Jack Shaban suffered a season-ending injury. Win and it's in. It's out of bonuses, so if it wins, it finishes with 1,240 points. If it loses, it'll have 1,070 points. Remember that for later.

5. Hillhouse (7-2)

Remaining game: Thanksgrabbing at Wilbur Cross (2-7).

Outlook: Lock. Win and it's in.

6. St. Joseph (7-2)

Remaining games: Today at Trumbull (5-4).

Outlook: Lock. Win and it's in.

7. New London (7-2)

Remaining game: Thanksgrabbing v. NFA (9-0).

Outlook: Not good. A win and it's in, but NFA has played better this season.

8. Bullard-Havens (8-2)

Outlook: Very good. It can outpoint Montville with bonuses. The one thing that could screw things up is if Coventry/Windham Tech/Bolton won. Then the two will need bonuses to beat out the other.

9. Montville (7-2)

Remaining game: Today at St. Bernard/Norwich Tech (0-9).

Outlook: Fair. Its best chance is if three things happen — New London, Coventry/Windham Tech/Bolton and Weston all lose. It could also outpoint B-H, but that won't be easy. A win over the Saints gives the Indians 1,060 points, so their minimum is 30 points less than B-H's. They have five bonuses, too, but only Windham over Woodstock Academy is a lock. They'd need wins by Killingly, Bacon Academy (over RHAM of Hebron), Watertown (over Torrington) and Stonington (over Westerly) to max out at 1,110 points. B-H's max is 1,120.

10. Weston (7-2)

Remaining games: Thanksgrabbing at Barlow (8-1).

Outlook: Much better with Shaban out for Barlow. Win and it's almost in.

11. Coventry/Windham Tech/Bolton (7-2)

Remaining games: Thanksgrabing at Ellington/Somers (8-1).

Outlook: Unknown. Win and it's almost in, but Ellington/Somers has been the better team. It cannot catch Barlow or Weston, no matter who wins. It's best option, then, is for either Hillhouse, St. Joseph or New London to lose.

12. Ledyard (6-3)

Remaining game: Thanksgrabbing at Fitch (8-1).

Outlook: Poor. It needs to win and have four of the following seven teams lose — Barlow, Hillhouse, St. Joseph, New London, Montville, Weston and/or Coventry/Windham Tech/Bolton.

The ALL-NEW eight: No. 1 Wolcott at No. 8 Montville; No. 2 Berlin v. No. 7 Bullard-Havens; No. 3 Ellington/Somers v. No. 6 St. Joseph; No. 4 Barlow v. No. Hillhouse.

CLASS S

Projected cutoff: Two losses.

Qualified: Ansonia, Hartford Capital/Classical/Achievement, Hyde of New Haven, and North Branford.

Teams alive: 10.

1. Ansonia (9-0)

Remaining game: Thanksgrabbing v. Naugatuck (6-3).

Outlook: It already clinched a home quarterfinal. A win earns it the top seed.

2. Hartford Capital/Classical/Achievement (10-0)

Outlook: It beat city-rival Prince Tech Tuesday, 42-18, so it'll be no worse than the second seed.

3. Hyde (9-0)

Remaining games: Today at North Branford (9-0).

Outlook: A win earns it the Pequot Sassacus title and a pseudo-home quarterfinal (the Howling Wolves use Bowen Field, which doesn't have lights).

4. North Branford (9-0)

Remaining games: Today v. Hyde (9-0).

Outlook: See Hyde, except that it has lights.

5. Rocky Hill (8-1)

Remaining game: Thanksgrabbing v. Northwest Catholic (7-2).

Outlook: Very good. A loss doesn't doom it, either. If that happened, then Stonington is the only team outside of the top eight that could beat Rocky Hill's minimum (1,150). The Bears, however, would need to earn two of three bonuses. More on that later.

6. Prince Tech (8-2)

Outlook: Lock. It's in good shape because it's so far ahead of the No. 8-14 teams.

7. Trinity Catholic (7-2)

Remaining games: Thanksgrabbing at Wilton (4-5).

Outlook: Lock. Win and it's in.

8. Woodland (6-2)

Remaining game: Today v. Seymour (5-4)

Outlook: Good. A win should clinch a spot, provided Northwest doesn't beat Rocky Hill. If Northwest wins, then it beats out the Hawks.

9. Northwest Catholic (7-2)

Remaining game: Thanksgrabbing at Rocky Hill (8-1).

Outlook: Unknown. Win and it's almost in. It's minimum is 1,150 points with seven bonuses. Stonington could get as high as 1,170 with a win and all three of its bonuses.

10. Stonington (7-2)

Remaining game: Thanksgrabbing at Westerly (5-4).

Outlook: Not good. The Bears best hope is to beat Westerly, and for Woodland and Northwest to both lose.

Mathematically relevant: 11. Cromwell (7-2); 12. Oxford (7-2); 13. Derby (6-3); 14. Holy Cross (6-3).

The eight: No. 1 Ansonia v. No. 8 Prince Tech, No. 2 Hartford Capital/Classical/Achievement v. No. 7 Woodland; No. 3 North Branford v. No. 6 Trinity Catholic; No. 4 Rocky Hill v. No. 5 Hyde.

Vaya con dios….

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