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No playoff bracket set … yet

No playoff bracket set … yet
By MIKE HUTCHENS
Messenger Sports Editor
Stay tuned.
When trying to decipher what is currently the TSSAA state playoff system, a number of possibilities still exist heading into the final week of the regular season.
And while the official brackets won’t be set in stone until Saturday morning when the state’s governing athletic body releases the pairings for the six Division I classifications and two in Division II, some projections appear more likely than others.
Having spent countless hours exploring all possibilities — and with a disclaimer that nothing is close to being official due to upsets that could/will occur — the most likely of scenarios appear to be as follows for Obion County’s three entries:
CLASS 1A (1A, 2A PLAYOFFS)
It’s a good year to be mediocre.
Because of that, Union City — and South Fulton, unless a handful of upsets keep the Red Devils from qualifying — could be part of a six-team quad that could feature no club with more than seven wins and nary a district champion.
Lake County, West Carroll, Gleason and Memphis Academy for Health Sciences — a charter school — currently would make up the rest of the bracket.
At the other end of the spectrum, and because there will be four teams in the West quad alone with a .500 or worse record, the third quad will be stacked.
Among the teams that would presently make up that bracket are top-ranked Huntingdon and Wayne County, both 9-0; Perry County (6-0 after vacating three wins due to the use of an ineligible player; Clarksville Academy (8-1); Jo Byrns (5-4) and Bruceton (4-5).
The contrast between the two quads is best illustrated by the current cumulative records of the two brackets: Quad 3 — 41-10. Quad 4 — 28-27.
Here’s the present breakdown of the fourth quad:
Should UC (4-5) upset No. 4-ranked Humboldt (8-1), the Tornadoes would be the top seed in the bracket as the 14A titleist, despite not having the best record of the entries in the field.
As of right now, Lake County and West Carroll — both 6-3 — are in and ticketed for the top two seeds that come with a first-round bye if H’boldt beats Union City. Should LC beat 3-6 Halls on Friday and WC lose to 5-4 McKenzie, the Falcons would be the top seed and West Carroll No. 2. If both win or if the War Eagles win and Lake County loses, WC will be the No. 1 seed and West Carroll No. 2.
The fallout for Nos. 3-6 and first-round matchups then begin.
If Gleason beats Bruceton in a battle of 4-6 clubs this week, the Bulldogs will be No. 3. If Bruceton wins, Union City will be third — even if it loses to Humboldt.
The third seed will host No. 6 in a first-round game, that being South Fulton, which must sweat out the final regular season week and its up-in-the-air status with a 4-6 mark. Either of those contests would be a rematch of regular season games, with SF having beaten Gleason and dropped a two-point decision to UC.
If Gleason beats Bruceton and Union City loses to Humboldt, Gleason would be third, UC fourth, MAHS fifth and South Fulton sixth, meaning the Tornadoes would host the Memphis charter school.
Got it?
That information will be null and void, however, should three upsets occur among a seven-team group that could leave the Red Devils out in the cold and drastically alter the bracket.
CLASS 2A (3A, 4A PLAYOFFS)
Obion Central looks as if it will be a victim of the imperfect nature and unexplainable philosophy of this system.
If the Rebels beat 7-2 Dyersburg Thursday night, they’ll finish their best regular season in history with a 9-1 mark and best among the eight teams in the West Quad — yet will be a No. 5 seed and go on the road to Memphis for at Round 1 game against either Kingsbury (2-7) or Frayser (3-6).
The reason? OC would qualify as a wildcard behind District 13AA champion Milan and runnerup Covington, while either of the two Memphis teams would get in as an automatic qualifier after finishing runnerup in District 15.
In fact, barring an upset and despite its best-of-the-projected-field record, Central would not play a home game unless there is an upset of a higher seeded team.
The current setup — which could change after the Week 10 results are figured in — will have Mitchell as the No. 1 seed, followed by Covington, Fairley and either Kingsbury or Frayser. All will be the home team in their respective first round games.
Should Obion Central lose to Dyersburg Thursday, the Rebels would fall to sixth and play at Fairley in Round 1 with D’burg sliding into the fifth spot.
As of now, Bolivar and Hillcrest will be seeds seven and eight.
Again, though, this in pencil — not ink. Published in The Messenger 10.26.11

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