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The Lonesome Polecat: WERDS about six divisions

“If there’s a new way/I’ll be the first in line/But it better work this time”

— “Peace Sells”, Megadeth’s 1986 magnum opus

Howdy,

The CIAC’s Board of Control recently expanded football to six divisions next season with eight teams qualifying in each.

The proposal was made by the Connecticut High School Coaches Association because it wanted to expand the number of participants to 48 from the current 32 (four divisions, eight teams). Others were rankled by it believing that six divisions were too many.

Personally, we think four divisions is perfect for our tiny state (the 48th "largest" state in The Union, if you're keeping score at home). ... but our opinion is moot. What’s done is done, it won't ruin the environment, and players won't care how many divisions there were if they win one of them.

We're just pleased to avoid expanding to eight divisions like 2014, though.

All that written, we got to wondering what a six-division format would've looked like this season.

What follows is a breakdown using 2021 enrollment figures. There are 138 teams, so they’d break up evenly into 23 per division.

Note that we moved both Killingly and St. Joseph up, as they are now, based on the “success in tournament” formula.

“What is this ‘success in tournament’ formula,’” you ask? Whelp, here’s the explanation via the CIAC’s football packet:

“The ‘success in tournament’ formula will be applied to all schools of choice as defined by CIAC rules (more than 25 gender-specific students attend from out-of-district).

“‘Success in tournament’ is defined as having reached the semifinals for the last two years that a state tournament was held. If a school has reached the semifinals in those two years that school will be moved up one division. No team would move more than one division beyond its original enrollment number.”

Got it?

Okay, St. Joseph was moved up from Class M to Class L this season while Killingly went from Class S to Class M.

We elevated both up two divisions here because we didn't believe them moving up just one division in a six-division format made enough of a difference. We'll see how the power brokers within the CIAC’s various committees will settle that issue.

Here, then, is the six division format:

CLASS LL: Crosby; Danbury; East Hartford; Enfield; Fairfield Ludlowe; Fairfield Warde; Glastonbury; Greenwich; Hall; Hamden; Manchester; McMahon; New Britain; Norwalk; Norwich Free Academy; Ridgefield; Southington; Stamford; Staples; Trumbull; Westhill; West Haven; Wilbur Cross.

CLASS L: Amity; Bridgeport Central; Cheshire; Conard; Darien; Fairfield Prep; Farmington; Harding; Hillhouse; Kennedy; Maloney; Middletown; Naugatuck; New Canaan; New Milford; Newington; Newtown; Shelton; Simsbury; South Windsor; Wilby; Wilton; Xavier. That's quite a division.

CLASS MM: Bristol Central; Bristol Eastern; Bunnell; Cheney Tech; East Lyme; Fitch; Guilford; Hand; Hartford Public; Masuk; New London; Northwest United; Platt; Pomperaug; Quinebaug Valley; x-St. Joseph; Stratford; Thames River; VG Techs; Wethersfield; Wilcox/Kaynor; Windsor; Woodstock Academy.

CLASS M: Abbott Tech/Immaculate; Avon; Bassick; Berlin; Bethel; Brookfield; Bullard/Kolbe; Coginchaug/East Hampton/Hale-Ray; Coventry/Windham Tech/Bolton/Lyman Memorial; East Haven; E.O. Smith; Granby/Canton; x-Killingly; Lyman Hall; North Haven; Notre Dame-West Haven; Platt Tech; RHAM; Rockville; Sport and Medical Sciences Academy; Torrington; Watertown; Windsor Locks/Suffield/East Granby.

CLASS SS: Bacon Academy; Barlow; Branford; CREC; Cromwell/Portland; Ellington; Foran; Gilbert/Northwestern/Housatonic; Law; Ledyard; Lewis Mills; New Fairfield; O’Brien Tech; Plainville; Prince Tech; Rocky Hill; Sheehan; Tolland; Valley Regional/Old Lyme; Waterford; Weston; Windham; Wolcott.

CLASS S: Amistad; Ansonia; Bloomfield; Capital Prep/Achievement First; Derby; East Catholic; Griswold/Wheeler; Haddam-Killingworth; Holy Cross; Montville; Morgan; North Branford; Northwest Catholic; Notre Dame-Fairfield; Old Saybrook/Westbrook; Oxford; Plainfield; St. Paul; Seymour; Stafford/East Windsor/Somers; Stonington; Waterbury Career Academy; Woodland.

x-"success in tournament" formula.

Another contentious topic about the playoff format are tech schools. Techs have played within their own conference during the regular season and none have won a playoff game. There's been all sorts of debates about what to do with them. Windsor thrashing Cheney Tech in last week's Class L quarterfinals, 62-0, fueled more conversation.

There was talk years ago about creating a playoff division with just co-ops and tech programs. Co-ops have had slightly better luck than the techs in states. They don't have great numbers because, well, they're co-ops. Capital Prep/Achievement First and Valley Regional/Old Lyme are the only two co-ops to play for a state title (both won in 2014).

We're not sure if the majority of coaches (or players) from the co-ops and techs would want to be separated into their own division. Former Valley/Old Lyme head coach Tim King didn’t like the idea when it was being floated around because he wanted to compete against all like-sized schools in the playoffs.

An anonymous coach of a co-op program was asked about the the idea. He was all for it believing that his program doesn't have much of a chance against traditional non-cooperative powerhouses.

Here, then, is what it would look like if the co-ops and techs were moved into one division (Class S).

There are only 22 co-op and tech programs, so there are 24 in Class SS. Teams other than Killingly and St. Joseph that moved are in bold:

CLASS LL: Crosby; Danbury; East Hartford; Enfield; Fairfield Ludlowe; Fairfield Warde; Glastonbury; Greenwich; Hall; Hamden; Manchester; McMahon; New Britain; Norwalk; Norwich Free Academy; Ridgefield; Southington; Stamford; Staples; Trumbull; Westhill; West Haven; Wilbur Cross.

CLASS L: Amity; Bridgeport Central; Cheshire; Conard; Darien; Fairfield Prep; Farmington; Harding; Kennedy; Maloney; Middletown; Naugatuck; New Canaan; New Milford; Newington; Newtown; x-St. Joseph; Shelton; Simsbury; South Windsor; Wilby; Wilton; Xavier.

CLASS MM: Avon; Bassick; Bethel; Bristol Central; Bristol Eastern; Bunnell; East Lyme; E.O. Smith; Fitch; Guilford; Hand; Hartford Public; Hillhouse; x-Killingly; Masuk; New London; North Haven; Platt; Pomperaug; Stratford; Wethersfield; Windsor; Woodstock Academy.

CLASS M: Bacon Academy; Barlow; Berlin; Branford; Brookfield; CREC; East Haven; Ellington; Foran; Law; Lewis Mills; Lyman Hall; Notre Dame-West Haven; Plainville; RHAM; Rockville; Sheehan; Sport and Medical Sciences Academy; Tolland; Torrington; Waterford; Watertown; Weston.

CLASS SS: Amistad; Ansonia; Bloomfield; Derby; East Catholic; Haddam-Killingworth; Holy Cross; Ledyard; Montville; Morgan; New Fairfield; North Branford; Northwest Catholic; Notre Dame-Fairfield; Oxford; Plainfield; Rocky Hill; St. Paul; Seymour; Stonington; Waterbury Career Academy; Windham; Wolcott; Woodland.

CLASS S: Abbott Tech/Immaculate; Bullard/Kolbe; Capital Prep/Achievement First; Cheney Tech; Coginchaug/East Hampton/Hale-Ray; Coventry/Windham Tech/Bolton/Lyman Memorial; Cromwell/Portland; Gilbert/Northwestern/Housatonic; Granby/Canton; Griswold/Wheeler; Northwest United; O’Brien Tech; Old Saybrook/Westbrook; Platt Tech; Prince Tech; Quinebaug Valley; Stafford/East Windsor/Somers; Thames River; Valley Regional/Old Lyme; VG Techs; Wilcox/Kaynor; Windsor Locks/Suffield/ East Granby.

x-Moving the co-ops and techs down into Class S would elevate St. Joseph into Class M and Killingly into Class SS, and were then moved up two divisions based on "success in tournament."

This format isn’t without flaws. Notre Dame of West Haven, a school of choice with a championship tradition, may seem out of place in Class M (although it was in that division this season).

One could also argue that the CIAC should put more emphasis on past success than enrollment which has been done withthe boys’ basketball tourneys.

Hell, you could seed all the schools 1-through-138, start the regular season with a single elimination tournament and the winner gets all-expenses paid trip to Costa Rica for a week, a fabulous home theater showcase, and a lifetime supply of Rice O’Roni (the San Francisco Treat!)

We've already spent enough time sorting out two potential formats and that’s as far as we’re going to go because we're tired. You’re of course welcome to do your own.

We'll have YOUR state championship previews posted online soon.

We'll predict the finals, too, even though we should be banned for the rest of season after our disgraceful 4-4 performance during Sunday's semifinals. Shameful.

Thanks for reading.

Adios....

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