When I heard the NCISAA was drastically changing its football playoff format for this season, I didn’t like it.
But since it has grown on me and should give teams a better shot to win a championship and avoid some first-round – which in private school football is the semifinals – blowouts that seemed unavoidable this year if things weren’t changed.
So here’s the basics. The NCISAA took away classifications (Division I, II and III) and grouped all teams together before reseeding them into those divisions.
The results have Charlotte Latin and Country Day, typically Division I teams, playing in the Division II bracket.
The Bucs, who fell to 5-5 with a loss last week, would have played at Charlotte Christian, the overall No. 1 seed and the favorite to win the Division I playoffs.
Now Country Day is a No. 5 seed and will play 8-2 and No. 4 seed Metrolina Christian in an intriguing matchup.
With Latin and Country Day out of the Division I brackets, Christ School and High Point Christian, which are traditionally Division II schools, move up to Division I.
Christ School, which is 8-1 and lost earlier this year to Charlotte Christian, gets the Knights in the first round. High Point Christian, which is 9-1, moves up to play at No. 2 seed Providence Day.
All of those changes helps shift the competitive balance and gives teams like Charlotte Latin a real shot at winning a state title when they had little hope of winning it at Division I.
The concern of the reclassification was that schools with 30-something players would be playing some with 50 or more, but that doesn’t seem to be the case all that much in the re-seeding.
But the new formula has some flaws.
I realize private schools have smaller roster sizes, but I’ve always hated their playoffs are just two weeks long whereas NCHSAA playoffs go on for five weeks.
I’d much prefer the NCISAA go to two divisions and have more teams competing. This is the case for the first time this year in Division II and III, which both have eight teams and will add an extra round.
Division III may be unnecessary. Of the eight teams competing for the Division III title, only one – 6-4 Village Christian – has a winning record this year.
Why not move eight teams into Division I, keep eight in Division II and either eliminate Division III or have the smaller, four-team bracket there?
That would give us an extra week of football and a truer feel of a state tournament.
But overall, I like the changes. I hope they seed more sports like this.