If you’ve attended a postseason football game this year hoping for some last-minute drama, chances are you’ve gone home disappointed.
Only 34 of the 180 games (18.9 percent) in this year’s Iowa high school playoffs — from the first round through the semifinals — have been decided by fewer than 10 points.
More than three-fifths of the contests (109 out of 180) featured margins of victory of 20 points or more.
Even the semifinal round failed to provide a majority of nail-biters. Half of the 12 matchups saw the winning team prevail by at least three touchdowns.
Those numbers would seem to support some fans’ belief that Iowa’s playoffs are too inclusive, with too many mediocre teams in the mix. The Iowa High School Athletic Association doubled the size of the playoff field to 192 teams in 2008.
Class A has been the least competitive division, with only three of 30 games decided by fewer than 10 points.
The average margin of victory in first-round games was 24.5 points. The average dipped to 24.0 in the second round, 19.4 in the quarterfinals and 19.0 in the semifinals.
Lopsided scores are not a new phenomenon in Iowa’s playoffs. Last year, the average margin of victory in opening-round games was 28.7 points. In 2010, it was 24.6.
In 2007, the final season before the playoffs expanded, the average victory margin in the opening round was 20.1 points.
This week’s championship games could be a different story, however, if last season’s final round is any indication. The 11-man title contests in 2011 were decided by 2, 3, 4, 7 and 10 points.