The last PLAYOFF UPDATE. We're (finally) free of the bloody thing

Please take a moment today and give thanks for America's greatest hero — Al Bundy. He scored four touchdowns in one game for Polk High.

Howdy,

Welcome to (mercifully) our final attempt to break down this year's bloody playoff races.

We need a hug. Or a bottle of anything. TO GO.

GROUND RULES:

1. These predictions are not to be taken as gospel. They were done in negative-eight minutes.

2. Just because we didn't pick your team to qualify doesn't mean we hate you. Hell, we don't even KNOW you. Should you choose to believe that this is the worst insult you've ever suffered, use it as motivation, and go on to win a state title, then we expect a free meal at your year-end banquet for providing the extra incentive you needed.

3. We plan on being wrong on about half of these and, in fact, look forward to it. To err is human. To laugh at one's self is divine.

Quote David Letterman, "Remember — this is an exhibition, not a competition. Please, no wagering."

YOU WILL follow Matt Fischer's wondrously magical ROBOABACUS. It details every team's potential playoff points, and updates in real time. You're a fool if you haven't checked it out.

Follow all today's craziness at Twitter at #cthsfb and @MetalNED.

ONE LAST TIME — what's a "bonuses"?:

■ A team receives 10 points for every win and five points for each tie earned by any opponent it beat.

■ A team receives five points for each victory and 2.5 points for each tie earned by an opponent it tied.

Remember, kids — the top eight teams in each division qualify.

CLASS LL

IN

Newtown (12-0)

YOUR top seed.

Norwich Free Academy (8-1)

It will be seeded no worse than third if it beats New London (8-2) today. It needs two of three bonuses to clinch the second seed — East Lyme (5-5) over Waterford (4-6), Stonington (7-3) over Westerly (3-7), or Killingly (4-6) over Putnam/Tourtellotte/Ellis Tech (8-2). A loss drops it no further than sixth.

West Haven (9-1)

It would be seeded no lower than third if it wins at Fairfield Prep (8-2) today. A loss drops it no lower than sixth.

Glastonbury (10-1)

It's waiting to see whom it'll host in next Tuesday's quarterfinals.

Hall (9-1)

It could be seeded as high as third if NFA and West Haven lost. It would be seeded as low as fifth if both win.

WIN-AND-IN

Southington (8-1)

It would be seeded fifth if it won at Cheshire (4-6). It would need two of the three to lose if it lost — Fairfield Prep, Staples, or Trumbull.

MAD SCRAMBLE

Ridgefield (8-2)

It beat Danbury last night and has a 114.55 average (we have to use averages as some teams only played 10 games).

Fairfield Prep

It would have a 119.09 average if it beats West Haven.

Staples (8-2)

It plays host to Greenwich (7-3). A win would give it a 117.27 average.

Trumbull (8-2)

It plays at St. Joseph (9-2). A win would give it a 115.45 average.

BONUSES would decide who qualifies if all four teams win.

Prep has the biggest maximum average — 123.64. Three of its five bonuses don't look good, though.

Staples' max is 121.82. Two of its five bonuses look good.

Trumbull's max average is 120. Three of its five bonuses aren't good and one is a toss-up (Greenwich).

Ridgefield's max average is 120. Four of its six bonuses look promising. It cannot catch Southington. It might be cooked if both Prep and Staples win.

All four teams are also relying on some of the same bonus games:

■ Fairfield Warde (3-7) at Fairfield Ludlowe (6-4): Ridgefield and Staples need Ludlowe. Trumbull needs Warde.

■ Harding (3-7) at Bridgeport Central (0-10): Staples and Trumbull need Central to win. Ridgefield needs Harding.

■ Norwalk (4-6) at McMahon (7-2): Staples and Trumbull need Norwalk.

■ Stamford (2-8) at Westhill (5-5): Prep and Ridgefield need Stamford.

■ Wilton (3-7) at Trinity Catholic (0-10): Ridgefield, Staples and Trumbull all need Wilton.

Xavier needs Prep, Staples and Trumbull to lose. It cannot catch Southington or Ridgefield.

SEND HELP

McMahon

Beat Norwalk. Max out on bonuses. Losses by Prep, Staples, and Trumbull and hope neither collects many or any bonuses. Hope that Xavier doesn't collect any of its four bonuses. EEP.

FORECAST (ALL-NEW)

No. 1 Newtown vs. No. 8 Staples; No. 2 NFA vs. No. 7 Fairfield Prep; No. 3 Glastonbury vs. No. 6 West Haven; No. 4 Hall vs. No. 5 Southington.

• • • •

CLASS L

IN

New Canaan (11-0)

Earned a home quarterfinal. It would be No. 1 if it beat fellow contender Darien (9-1).

Platt (10-0)

It would be seeded no lower than second if it beat Maloney (1-8).

Middletown (10-1)

It finished its season Tuesday night. It would earn a home quarterfinal if either Darien or Naugatuck lost.

Darien

A win gets it a home quarterfinal.

WIN-AND-IN

Naugatuck (9-1)

It plays host to Ansonia (11-0). It would be fourth if it won and Darien lost. It's best option to qualify if it lost would be if two of the four lost — New London, Farmington, Bristol Eastern, or North Haven.

New London

A win ensures it'll be seeded between fourth and sixth. It would earn a home quarterfinal with a win and losses by Darien and Naugatuck.

A Whalers loss would put them at the mercy of others. They'd need two of the three things to qualify — Plainville (4-5) over Farmington (8-2), Bristol Central (4-5) over Bristol Eastern (8-2), or Amity (5-5) over North Haven (8-2). It couldn't catch Naugatuck even if the latter lost.

MAD SCRAMBLE

Farmington (8-2)

A win would give it between 1,320 and 1,350 points depending on its three bonuses — E.O. Smith (4-6) over Tolland (1-9), RHAM (3-7) over Bacon Academy (2-8), and Maloney.

Hand (8-3)

It beat Guilford last night and has 1,270 points. Five bonuses gets it to 1,320 — Prep, Notre Dame-W.H. (4-6) over Hamden (3-7), Shelton (6-4) over Derby (5-5), Cheshire, and North Haven.

Bristol Eastern (8-2)

It plays Bristol Central (4-5). A win would give it between 1,280 and 1,320 points depending on its four bonuses — Hartford Public (5-5) over Weaver (2-8), Northwest Catholic (7-3) over Rocky Hill (9-1), E.O. Smith, and Maloney.

North Haven

It visits Amity. A win would net it between 1,280 and 1,320 points depending on its four bonuses — Bridgeport Central, Foran over Law, Sheehan over Lyman Hall, and Hillhouse over Wilbur Cross.

BONUSES would likely sort out this group.

FORECAST (ALL-NEW — and OH, MY LAWD)

No. 1. New Canaan vs. No. 8 Bristol Eastern (it and North Haven finish with 1,300 points, Eastern wins on tiebreaker points); No. 2 Platt vs. No. 7 Naugatuck (finishes tied with Eastern on playoff and tiebreaker points, gets the seed based on beating the highest rated team using the CIAC point system, in this case, Holy Cross ); No. 3 Middletown vs. No. 6 Hand; No. 4. Darien vs. No. 5 Farmington.

• • •

CLASS M

IN

Valley Regional/Old Lyme (11-0)

It's YOUR top seed.

St. Joseph (9-2)

Already earned a home quarterfinal. A loss drops it no lower than third.

Brookfield (9-2)

It earns a home quarterfinal with a win at Bethel (8-2) and would be seeded second or third. A loss could drop it as low as eighth.

Barlow (8-2)

It gets a home quarterfinal with a win at Weston (3-7) and would seeded between second and fourth. It could plummet to eight with a loss.

Gilbert/Northwestern Regional (8-2)

It plays host to winless Housatonic Regional/Wamogo. It'll take a long road trip during the quarterfinals unless Barlow and Bethel both lose. It could use a Ledyard loss, too, but can beat it on bonuses.

WIN-AND-IN

Ledyard (8-2)

It plays host to Fitch (4-6). It would also qualify if the following happened:

■ It earned two of four bonuses — Waterford over East Lyme, Killingly (4-6) over Putnam/Tourtellotte/Ellis Tech (8-2), Plainfield (5-5) over Griswold (5-4), or New London.

■ Westerly (3-7) beat Stonington (7-3), and Holy Cross (7-3) beat Wolcott (7-3).

■ Stonington loses two of three bonuses — Griswold over Plainfield, Killingly, or Bacon Academy(oddly enough, the Bears would lose their other bonus if Ledyard lost). The Colonels would also need Wolcott to lose one of its three bonuses — Crosby (1-9) over Kennedy (2-8), Seymour (6-4) over Woodland (9-2), or Derby.

Bethel

If it lost, then it will need its one bonuses to hold off Stonington — Bunnell over Stratford, or Derby.

Putnam/Tourtellotte/Ellis Tech

It would need Stonington and Wolcott to lose it it lost to Killingly.

MAD SCRAMBLE

Stonington (7-3)

It plays host to Westerly (3-7). It could qualify with:

■ Losses by P/T/E and Wolcott.

■ A P/T/E loss, and beating Wolcott on bonuses.

■ A Bethel loss, it earning neither of its two bonuses, and beating Wolcott on bonuses. That's a long shot, though.

The first option is the Bears' best chance.

Okay, say Stonington and Wolcott both won. They'd each have 1,130 points. The Bears have four bonuses, Wolcott three. And one of Wolcott's bonuses won't be decided until Friday.

Wolcott (7-3)

We covered it already.

SEND HELP

Foran (7-3)

Foran needs to beat Law, collect all of its bonuses, have P/T/E, Stonington AND Wolcott lose, and hope that P/T/E doesn't collect its only bonus.

FORECAST (NO CHANGE)

No 1. Valley Regional/Old Lyme vs. No. 8 Stonington; No. 2 St. Joseph vs. No. 7 Bethel; No. 3 Brookfield vs. No. 6 Ledyard; No. 4 Barlow vs. No. 5 Gilbert/Northwestern Regional.

• • • •

CLASS S

IN

Capital/Classical/Achievement (11-0)

YOUR top seed.

Ansonia

It's clinched a home quarterfinal. A win gets it the No. 2 seed.

Rocky Hill (9-1)

It would earn a home quarterfinal if it beats Northwest Catholic. Its maximum is 1,570 with five bonuses.

Woodland (9-2)

It gets a home quarterfinal with a win. Its max is 1,540 with four bonuses.

Morgan (9-1)

It plays host to Old Saybrook/Westbrook (5-5) today. Its max is 1,460, so the only way it gets a home quarterfinal is if Rocky Hill or Woodland lost.

Prince Tech (9-2)

It would needs two of the three to lose to get a home quarterfinal — Rocky Hill, Woodland or Morgan. Rocky Hill could still beat it on bonuses, though. It'll be no worse than sixth.

Bloomfield (9-2)

It'll be seventh or eighth, depending on its bonuses and if Coginchaug wins and its bonuses.

WIN-AND-IN

Coginchaug (7-2)

It plays at Cromwell (4-6).

SEND HELP

Holy Cross, Montville (7-4), and Northwest Catholic (7-3).

All four need to win, Coginchaug to lose, and to cash in on bonuses.

Holy Cross would finish between 1,190 and 1,320 depending on its three bonuses — Kennedy, Woodland and Weston.

Northwest would finish between 1,120 and 1,160 depending on its four bonuses — Plainville, Rockville, Tolland, and Weaver.

Montville has the worst odds of them all. It needs ALL of the following:

■ All four of its bonuses — Bacon Academy, Fitch, Plainfield, and Stonington.

■ Cromwell, Rocky Hill AND Wolcott to ALL win.

■ Coginchaug failing to earn any of its three bonuses — Lewis Mills (2-8) over Nonnewaug (3-7), Old Saybrook/Westbrook, and Housatonic Regional/Wamogo.

FORECAST (ALL-NEW)

No. 1. Capital/Classical/Achievement vs. No. 8 Bloomfield; No. 2. Ansonia vs. No. 7 Coginchaug; No. 3. Rocky Hill vs. No. 6 Prince Tech; No. 4. Woodland vs. No. 5 Morgan.

• • • •

Make sure you have either your computer, radio, or smartphone at the ready so that you can listen or watch the following today:

10 a.m., WJJF (94.9-FM)Fitch at Ledyard.

10 a.m., WGCH (1490-AM)Greenwich at Staples.

10 a.m., WELI (960-AM)North Haven at Amity.

10 a.m., WWRX (107.7-FM)Waterford at East Lyme.

10 a.m., MSGVarsity.comWest Haven at Fairfield Prep.

10:30 a.m., WATR (1320-AM)Ansonia at Naugatuck.

10:30 a.m., MSGVarsity.comDarien at New Canaan.

10:30 a.m., WINY (1350-AM)Putnam/Tourtellotte/Ellis Tech at Killingly.

10:30 a.m., gogreenknights.comThe GREEN BOWL: Notre Dame-W.H. at Hamden.

You're a pencil-neck geek if you don't watch Friday Night Football tonight during WFSB's 11 p.m. news. John Holt and Joe Zone are the best at what they do. They'll also have a Polecat Worldwide gofer on Friday night at 11:15 p.m. to analyze the playoffs. We dearly hope the delightful Paget "Sadie Doyle" Brewster is watching.

• • • •

Thanks for reading. More later. And HAPPY THANKSGRABBING.

Vaya con dios....

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