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Central Region proposes playoff expansion

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The Central Region athletic directors have taken the first step towards expanding the
regional football playoffs for the first time since the VHSL created divisions in 1986.
The plan under consideration is known as the "8-6 Plan" and would feature a number of
provisos intended to balance the benefits of playoff expansion with concerns about diluting
the field of entrants. Here are the basics:
1. A minimum of six teams qualify for the playoffs each year in both Division 5 and Division 6
2. Up to two additional teams could qualify upon meeting the requisite criteria of a .500 or
better record in games against VHSL schools.
3. If only six or seven teams qualified under this criteria, then the top seed (or two top
seeds) would have byes to the second round of the playoffs.
4. Contrasting with how the playoffs have been seeded for the past decade or so, the new
system would see district champions automatically seeded higher than non-champions
regardless of VHSL rating, the seeding plan used for years prior to the change in the
mid-2000s.
5. All ties will be broken by the VHSL Handbook tie-breaking rules under provision 68-8-6 on
page 104 of the handbook.
If the system had been in place during the 2011 season, the first-round playoff brackets
would have looked like this. Keep in mind the rules above when looking at these
hypothetical brackets.
D-5 first:
#1 Atlee (bye)
#5 John Marshall at #4 Lee-Davis
#6 Monacan at #3 Dinwiddie
#2 Hanover (bye)
And D-6:
#8 Manchester at #1 Hermitage
#5 Meadowbrook at #4 Thomas Dale
#6 Cosby at #3 Varina
#7 Highland Springs at #2 L. C. Bird
To clarify, a team with a losing record (like Monacan this year) would still make the playoffs
if it finished as one of the top six teams in terms of power rating. The provision regarding
non-losing records only comes into play for the “extra” (seventh and eighth) slots.
This proposal is only in the early stages, but it represents the first in a series of necessary
steps that would precede modifying the Central Region playoffs.
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