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Gaze upon our second-to-last attempt to explain the four CIAC playoff races as simply as possible.
(Lawd, we'll be glad when this is over with.)
1. These predictions are not to be taken as gospel. They were done in four seconds.
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."
We cannot stress enough that YOU MUST 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.
We also IMPLORE you to follow all the craziness the next three daze at Twitter at #cthsfb and @MetalNED.
Before we proceed, a quick explanation about "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.
YOUR top seed.
Norwich Free Academy (8-1)
It will be seeded no worse than third if it beats New London (8-2) on Thanksgrabbing. It would need three of its four bonuses to clinch the two-seed, which looks possible. It would fall no lower than sixth if it lost.
West Haven (9-1)
Its situation mimics NFA's. It would be seeded no lower than third if it wins at Fairfield Prep (8-2) on Thanksgrabbing. A win ensures it at least a three seed. A loss drops it no lower than sixth.
Its regular season is over, and it's waiting to see whom it'll host in next Tuesday's quarterfinals.
It finished its regular season last weekend. It could be seeded as high as third if both NFA and West Haven lost. It could be seeded as low as sixth if both win.
It plays at Cheshire (4-6) on Thanksgrabbing. A win would seed it anywhere between third and sixth. It would need two of the four to lose if it lost — Ridgefield, Fairfield Prep, Staples, or Trumbull.
It plays host to Danbury (3-7) tonight. A win would give it a 114.54-point average.
It would have a 119.09 average if it beats West Haven.
It plays host to Greenwich (7-3) on Thanksgrabbing. A win gives it a 117.27 average.
It plays at St. Joseph (9-2) on Thanksgrabbing. A win gives 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 122.73. Three of its six bonuses look good. One of its bonuses is Danbury, which plays Ridgefield.
Trumbull's max average is 120.91. Four of its six bonuses aren't good. One of them is Greenwich, too.
Ridgefield's max average 120. Four of its six bonuses look promising.
All four 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.
It's regular season ended on (Nov. 16), and it needs three of the four teams to lose. — Ridgefield, Prep, Staples or Trumbull. Five bonuses would give it a 113-point average. Three of its said bonuses look promising. It cannot pass Southington.
McMahon, and Greenwich (7-3).
No. We're not doing this.
FORECAST (ALL-NEW-NEW — NOW WITH MORE SOUTHINGTON)
No. 1 Newtown vs. No. 8 Staples; No. 2 NFA vs. No. 7 Fairfield Prep; No. 3 Glastonbury vs. No. 6 Southington; No. 4 Hall vs. No. 5 West Haven.
• • • •
New Canaan (11-0)
Earns the top seed with a win over fellow L contender Darien (9-1) on Thanksgrabbing. Even a loss might not be enough to keep it from hosting a quarterfinal.
It would be seeded no lower than second if it beat Maloney (1-8) on Thanksgrabbing.
It finished its season last night. It would earn a home quarterfinal if either Darien or Naugatuck lost.
A win gets it a home quarterfinal.
It plays host to Ansonia (11-0) on Thanksgrabbing. It would be No. 4 if it won and Darien lost.
It would get a home quarterfinal with a win and losses by Darien and Naugatuck. It wouldn't be seeded lower than sixth.
It plays at Plainville (4-5) on Thanksgrabbing. A win and its five bonuses will give it a 123.64 average.
Bristol Eastern (8-2)
It plays Bristol Central (4-5) on Thanksgrabbing. A win and six bonuses will give it a 121.82 average.
It plays at Guilford (5-5) tonight. A win and five bonuses will give it a 120 average.
North Haven (8-2)
It visits Amity (5-5) on Thanksgrabbing. A win and five bonuses will give it a 120.91 average.
BONUSES would likely sort out this group.
No. 1. New Canaan vs. No. 8 Naugatuck (edges North Haven on tiebreaker points); No. 2 Platt vs. No. 7 Bristol Eastern; No. 3 Middletown vs. No. 6 Hand; No. 4. Darien vs. No. 5 Farmington.
• • •
Valley Regional/Old Lyme (11-0)
It's YOUR top seed.
St. Joseph (9-2)
Already earned a home quarterfinal. A win would seed it no worse than third.
It earns a home quarterfinal with a win at Bethel (8-2) on Thanksgrabbing and would be no worse than third. A loss could drop it as low as eighth.
It gets a home quarterfinal with a win at Weston (3-7) on Thanksgrabbing and would likely be seeded fourth.
Gilbert/Northwestern Regional (8-2)
It plays host to winless Housatonic Regional/Wamogo on Thanksgrabbing. Looks like it's taking a road trip during the quarterfinals unless Barlow and Bethel both lose. It can use a Ledyard loss, too, but can beat the Colonels on bonuses. It got a boost from Enfield when it won last night, which is one of its three bonuses.
It plays host to Fitch (4-6) on Thanskgrabbing. It would qualify tonight if Woodland beat Seymour (one of Wolcott's bonuses) IF the game is played.
The Colonels would also qualify if two of the three lost — Putnam/Tourtellotte/Ellis Tech, Stonington or Wolcott lost on Thanksgrabbing.
A loss doesn't ruin Ledyard, either. It would need three bonuses to beat Stonington and two to edge Wolcott.
Finally, it caught a bad break last night when Enfield beat Sports Medical/University last night. G/NR would have 1,320 points if it won. Ledyard would have 1,310. G/NR has two bonuses. Ledyard has five, but they aren't promising — Waterford over East Lyme, Killingly over P/T/E, Woodstock over Windham, New London over NFA, or Plainfield over Griswold.
If it lost, then it will need its two bonuses to hold off Stonington (Derby over Shelton, and Bunnell over Stratford)
Putnam/Tourtellotte/Ellis Tech (8-2)
It plays at Killingly (4-6) on Thanksgrabbing. A loss means that it would need Stonington and Wolcott to lose.
It plays host to Westerly (3-7) on Thanksgrabbing. It needs a win and a P/T/E loss, or a win, a Bethel loss, and beat the latter on bonuses. Bethel has two. The Bears have five. We'll get to those bonuses in a moment.
It plays host to Holy Cross (7-3). It and Stonington would both have 1,130 points if both won, so bonuses would come into play.
Stonington has a maximum of five bonuses — Griswold (5-4) over Plainfield (5-5), Killingly over P/T/E, winless Woodstock over Windham (6-4), Ledyard over Fitch, and Bacon Academy (2-8) over RHAM (3-7).
Wolcott has three bonuses — Crosby (1-9) over Kennedy (2-8), Derby (5-5) over Shelton (6-4), and Seymour (6-4) over Woodland (9-2).
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 two bonuses.
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.
• • • •
YOUR top seed.
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 wins at Northwest Catholic (7-3) on Thanksgrabbing. Its maximum is 143.64 with eight bonuses.
It gets a home quarterfinal with a win. Its max is 140.91 with five bonuses.
It plays host to Old Saybrook/Westbrook (5-5) on Thanksgrabbing. Its max is 132.73, so the only way it gets a home quarterfinal is if Rocky Hill or Woodland lost.
Prince Tech (9-2)
Its regular season is over. It would need two of the three to lose to have a chance at a home quarterfinal — Rocky Hill, Woodland or Morgan. It'll be seeded no lower than sixth.
All it needs is one of its seven bonuses. A Berlin (5-5) win over New Britain (3-6) tonight would do the trick.
It plays at Cromwell (4-6) on Thanksgrabbing.
Holy Cross, Canton (7-3), Montville (7-4), and Northwest Catholic (7-3).
All four need to win, Coginchaug to lose, and to cash in on bonuses (Holy Cross could mathematically catch Bloomfield, but won't).
Holy Cross has the best chance of this group — it has four bonuses for a 111.82 max.
Canton has two bonuses for a 105.45 max.
Northwest has seven bonuses for a 106.36 max.
Montville has the worst chance of them all. It has four bonuses for a 100.91 max. That's also Coginchaug's minimum. So if even if the Blue Devils lost to Cromwell, all they'd need is one of its four bonuses to eliminate Montville.
No. 1. Capital/Classical/Achievement vs. No. 8 Coginchaug; No. 2. Ansonia vs. No. 7 Bloomfield; No. 3. Rocky Hill vs. No. 6 Prince Tech; No. 4. Woodland vs. No. 5 Morgan.
• • • •
YOU are so lucky to live in a world where you can follow dozens of games no matter where you go (or don't go) on Thanksgrabbing Eve or Day.
Here's a list of games that will be broadcast. Have your smartphone apps at the ready:
6 p.m., WATR (1320-AM) — Woodland at Seymour.
7 p.m., WELI (960-AM) — George DeMaio's Rocking Thanksgrabbing Eve Super Happy Fun Time. The lovable and perpetually excited George will keep you abreast of all that goes on tonight. Consider it you're football Headline News. We don't know if Wally will be his co-host.
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.com — West Haven at Fairfield Prep.
10:30 a.m., WATR (1320-AM) — Ansonia at Naugatuck.
10:30 a.m., MSGVarsity.com — Darien at New Canaan.
10:30 a.m., WINY (1350-AM) — Putnam/Tourtellotte/Ellis Tech at Killingly.
You're a goofball if you don't watch WFSB-3's Friday Night Football — on THANKSGRABBING DAY — during its 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 that the delightful Paget "Sadie Doyle" Brewster is watching.
ONE LAST TIME — keep your eye on Twitter at #cthsfb and @MetalNED.
• • • •
■ Marc Allard and Brian Girasoli, Norwich Bulletin: NFA, New London renew rivalry on Thanksgiving.
■ Bob Birge, Norwalk Hour: McMahon's Petridis gets a kick out of football.
■ Gentleman Jim Bransfield, Middletown Press: His area Thanksgrabbing previews and picks.
■ Kountry Kyle Brennan (SOLO), Waterbury Republican-American: His weekly look at the Top 10 polls; 10 local teams with best seasons to date; Nine top games of 2013 (so far); Seven area teams with postseason chances; Six of the best Thanksgiving rivalries; and, Three bold predictions.
■ Kountry Kyle Brennan and Remmington, NVL Blog: Their Thanksgrabbing predictions.
■ Owen Canfield, JRC Amalgamated: Thanksgiving football makes for good spirits.
■ Bryant Carpenter, Meriden Record-Journal: Heavy favorites stand on guard (he's talking about Platt vs. Maloney); 'Do your best and leave no regrets' (Lyman Hall vs. Sheehan); Carini Case Study: Sheehan's Jordan Lytle; and, area notebook.
■ Jon Chik, Heasrt Inc.: New Canaan and Darien prepare for critical Turkey Bowl.
■ Gerry deSimas Jr., Collinsville Press: Area previews.
■ Mike DiMauro, TEAM DAY: Area previews.
■ Scott Ericson, Hearst Inc.: FCIAC-SCC challenge an overwhelming success. INDEED.
■ Tom Evans, Norwalk Hour: LaRusso brothers leave mark on Norwalk's 'O' line.
■ David Fierro, Hearst Inc.: Greenwich, Staples continue Thanksgiving football rivalry.
■ John Holt, WFSB: Profile of Alyn Strums of Capital/Classical/Achievement. Dude wants to be a pilot.
■ Chris McNamee, Hearst Inc.: Thanksgrabbing previews.
■ Pooch Diggity Dog, JRC Amalgamated: Foran trying to play way into Class M field.
■ Kevin D. Roberts, Bristol Press: Bristol Eastern football finds itself in situation that is "eerily similar" to 2010.
■ Dave Ruden, The Ruden Report: The Blitz.
■ Joe Ryan, Norwalk Hour: Trinity Catholic's Dictum has been one of the city's gridiron bright sides.
■ Tom Yantz, Hartford Courant: Undefeated Newtown High Plays For Green And White.
• • • •
Thanks for reading. More later.
Vaya con dios....
East Lyme returned just five players with any varsity experience and lost its first four games. It's made gradual improvement and downed Woodstock Academy last Friday, 42-7, its second-straight victory.