It’s time to take a look at the postseason pairings for football, and we’ll attempt to explain them here.
First off, you can find the complete brackets online. The brackets for each classification can be found on the WIAA website. Of course, there is one final step between the end of the regular season and the final brackets, and that’s the week 10 pairings. Those can be found here.
Now for the explanation. It might seem straightforward, and it probably is for many, but just it can be confusing to those who are new to the process. Let’s start with 4A. The week 10 games (Nov. 7/8) decide where teams are seeded into the bracket. Let’s take a look at a couple examples.
Narrows #4 at Wesco #1 (Winner = D1 #1)
SPSL North #3 at Wesco #2 (Winner = D1 #2)
SPSL South #4 at KingCo #1 (Winner = D2 #1)
GSHL #3 at KingCo #2 (Winner = D2 #2)
Those are just a few of the 4A games, but they’ll do for an example. The winner of the games are slotted into the bracket where it is assigned (so the first game is the District 1 first seed). Where it can get confusing is through what I like to call stealing seeds. Let’s say the Narrows #4 seed goes up north and knocks off the Wesco champion. Then you have a Narrows team stealing a District 1’s bracket spot. If the top two Wesco teams lose in week 10, you could conceivably have: A, no Wesco teams in the state bracket, or B, Wesco teams slotted into the bracket via another district’s “spot.”
Another outcome of this type of pairings system is that upsets create a possibility that two teams from the same league could face each other in the first round of the bracket. For instance, if KingCo #4 beats the SPSL South winner, it would advance to face the top KingCo seed (assuming it won, as well).
You can muddle your way through the brackets and week 10 pairings and if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or tweet at me (@jlieb24).