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Cheshire — The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Football Committee announced it will crown eight state champions in 2014 under a new playoff format adopted Tuesday, playing just a semifinal round and championship game after Thanksgiving.
Unlike last year, when eight teams qualified in four divisions and played three rounds of playoffs, the 2014 format will still feature 32 qualifiers, but only four teams will qualify in each of the eight enrollment-based divisions.
The CIAC voiced concerns about safety because programs reaching the state finals were forced to play three games within a 16-day period — and four games in a 21-day period for those playing on Thanksgiving Day.
The new format will allow a minimum of one week between each game, “which is in accordance with the strong recommendation of the Connecticut State Medical Society,” the CIAC said in a release announcing the change.
The CIAC will still divide schools prior to the season into four enrollment-based divisions. The top eight teams based on the current CIAC point system will qualify for the postseason, but once the qualifying teams are determined, the eight in each division will be divided into two groups of four by enrollment and seeded into two separate brackets based on the point system.
The CIAC also said additional decisions on sites and schedules for the semifinals and finals will be decided at a later date.