Kreager: Six football playoff classes best for entire state

Kreager: Six football playoff classes best for entire state

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Kreager: Six football playoff classes best for entire state

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MURFREESBORO

The rumors have been circulating in recent days regarding what the TSSAA’s Board of Control will do today when it meets and finally discusses and votes on football reclassification.

Some of it has caused a chuckle.

Some of them regard different districts or regions than what was already released. Sure, some may be changed slightly depending on what the enrollments of schools are after schools resume. But some simply want to create conflict I guess.

And then there was one theory as to why the TSSAA pushed back its meeting from its original schedule day of July 12 to today. The theory was that the TSSAA staff didn’t have enough votes to stay at six classes so they pushed it back a few days to have more time to sway board members. In reality, the decision to push back the meeting was that two board members — Ike White and Chuck West — had administrative meetings and couldn’t attend.

This is a decision where all nine members need to attend.

Next thing you know we’ll start hearing more rumors as to how much longer it will take to move the TSSAA office from Hermitage to Murfreesboro. After all, TSSAA executive director Bernard Childress resides here in the ‘Boro along with two members of his staff — Matthew Gillespie and Trina Melton.

I guess I could see that theory except the TSSAA’s office has been having a huge makeover. New flooring throughout the office is the latest improvement. And that was much needed.

But I digress.

One thing we know is that the TSSAA decision makers must choose between a five-class football playoff system or keep it at six like the past three seasons. One thing is certain. It will not be a unanimous decision. Folks, this board is torn and it may prove to be torn as close to right down the middle as ever.

There are a couple that are locked in at five classes and have been since before the plans were unveiled last month. Others have gone on record to say the current six class system is the best thing since sliced bread.

The majority of coaches in Rutherford County want a return to five classes. I’m just not yet a believer that five classes are the best thing for Tennessee.

Four years ago when it was decided that six classes were the future in Tennessee I would have agreed that it was too early. But each year adds more teams due to growth in different portions of the state.

Rutherford County has not been immune to that growth. Stewarts Creek is slated to open for the 2013-14 school year, which will be the first under the next classification plan.

Six classes help travel for the majority of schools. Sure, Rutherford County needs at least one more school, and maybe two more, to make non-conference scheduling doable. I would hope those in the TSSAA office realize that by now as often as I’ve mentioned it over the last couple of years.

There are multiple 10-team regions in the proposed five-class system. Those are too big and is a prime reason there are six classes today.

I’ll admit that the current system needs work. But the tweaks have helped.

Remember the first year in Class 1A when Eagleville hosted a playoff game with a 3-7 record? That same year MTCS had a bye with a 4-6 record.

Looking back, no one can say that was right for Tennessee football. The tweaks have helped fix problems.

However if six classes remain, and my best guess is by a close vote we will keep six classes, more changes are needed.

The TSSAA needs to seriously consider a point system to reward teams that play higher classifications. Teams that win under 50 percent of their games shouldn’t be guaranteed to be playoff bound if they win or finish runner-up in their district.

And there is likely more that should be added.

How do you make it easier to understand? I’m not sure it is difficult. I had my 6A and 1A brackets out by around midnight, a couple of hours after the last Week 10 game was played last year. Both were correct.

Tom Kreager is prep editor of The Daily News Journal. Email him at tkreager@dnj.com. Follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/Kreager.

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