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Column

Playoffs have too many rematches

When information came out about the high school football playoffs, one of the points mentioned by the Iowa High School Athletic Association was that it would try to avoid repeat matchups.

The IHSAA said it wouldn’t guarantee it, but it would try to avoid them.

My question is, how hard did it really try?

I spent about 30 minutes Sunday looking up matchups to see how many repeats there were. While I don’t know the exact number, it’s much more than I expected to see.

There are at least five repeat matchups in Class 8-Man.

In Class A, Earlham and Wayne and West Monona and Woodbury Central played just last week. So not only did the IHSAA not avoid a repeat matchup for those four schools, it put them against each other for the second straight week.

In 1A, Mount Ayr, Pleasantville and Central Decatur are all in the same pod. And all three teams were in the same district this season.

The same goes with OABCIG, Missouri Valley and East Sac County. All three teams played each other and are in the same pod in 1A.

I counted 13 repeat matchups in 2A. In fact, Chariton and Centerville face off against each other after playing this past Friday.

PCM has a bye in the first round. But its 2A pod includes Clarke and Saydel. Those three teams are in the same district and played each other this year.

Newton and Grinnell faced each other this season. And the Cardinals and Tigers will play again on Friday.

I counted 10 repeat matchups in 3A so Newton and Grinnell aren’t the only one.

To me, it’s an easy fix. The IHSAA could have just put Newton with Nevada and had Perry come to Grinnell. There are some other pods that could have been mix and matched with each other, too.

Webster City will face either Mason City or Gilbert in Round 2. Webster City faced both teams this season.

West Delaware and Waterloo East just played each other this past Friday and will meet again this week.

And Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley, Storm Lake and LeMars are in the same pod in 3A after playing each other this season.

In 4A, Pleasant Valley, Davenport Central and Davenport West were all grouped together. And they all played each other this year.

Cedar Rapids Washington and Cedar Falls will play for the second time after facing off on Oct. 1.

Sioux City West and Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson will play again. As will Muscatine and Bettendorf.

I understand the IHSAA will always consider travel. I just don’t know why. I don’t think schools care as much about travel in today’s world than some think.

If you want to pair up as many rematches as they did, that’s also OK with me. Just don’t tell us that you tried to avoid them. Just don’t say anything or tell us that geography is the main factor.

I understand that Sioux City and Council Bluffs are forever locked when it comes to this stuff because of how far away they are to other 4A schools.

But there had to be other options for Bettendorf and Muscatine, who live right down the road from one another. Same goes for Pleasant Valley and the two Davenport schools.

I really don’t get matching teams up who just played this past weekend. You can’t avoid that at least?

The folks at the IHSAA have tough jobs. And it will never be a perfect system.

But when you match up teams in the first round of the playoffs who just played in the final week of the regular season, it’s hard for me to think you are paying attention to the games.

Everyone gets to play in the postseaon this year. Good luck to Newton, Colfax-Mingo, Lynnville-Sully and Baxter in their first-round matchups on Friday.

PCM will wait a week before playing a postseason game. The Mustangs should be playing for a while though.

Contact Troy Hyde at thyde@shawmedia.com

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