Computerized seeding system aims at leveling the playing fieldHigh school football has changed a lot through the years, but now it’s changing in a computerized way.
By: Jeff Papas, Pine Journal
High school football has changed a lot through the years, but now it’s changing in a computerized way.
According to the Minnesota State High School League, this fall 41 of the 52 sections of Minnesota high school football will seed their playoffs using a computerized system known as the Quality Results Formula, or QRF.
Under that system, invented by the owners of the website minnesota-scores.net, a victory for a team earns a predetermined number of points based on the class in which the opponent plays. This is to reflect strength of schedule. But then it gets interesting.
A team also gets points for every win their opponents earn during the season based on the average of the classes that team plays. In that way, a team also earns points for losing through strength of the opponents’ schedule.
Winning a game earns a team approximately three times more points per opponent win than losing to them does.
The reason that’s important is because many sections, including Section 7AAAA in which Cloquet plays, are made up of teams from more than one conference. Cloquet, Hibbing and Hermantown play in the Sea Range Conference, Princeton and North Branch play in the Mississippi 8 and Grand Rapids plays in the Central Lakes Conference.
All Section 7 tournaments are seeded using the QRF.
“I think the QRF system is as good as we are going to get,” Cloquet Coach Tom Lenarz said. “In my 20 years of coaching football, I’ve seen several different systems and they are all flawed in some way. There used to be a points tie-breaker and a lot of teams would get drilled in games where you were playing for section seeding, and we were on the receiving end of some of those early on. That didn’t work.”
“We’re all playing on Friday,” Lenarz said. “I don’t get to scout Princeton or Grand Rapids and have no sense of how good they are week in and week out. It doesn’t make sense for us as coaches to vote on this year’s seedings based on Princeton being good for the last 10 years.”
Some sections still use coaches’ voting to seed.
“A coach vote in a section like ours that is split north-south, it can work but obviously you will have a human element and politics,” Lenarz said. “You see that in hockey a lot.”
Cloquet’s situation after Wednesday’s game, where a win might see a 7-1 ’Jacks team seeded behind a 6-2 Princeton team, would be based on rankings that show Princeton’s Mississippi 8 as a better top-to-bottom conference than the Sea Range. Many prep observers believe the Mississippi 8 is the stronger conference.
“I think it does take into account the strength of your schedule, how the teams you beat and lost to did, and it does a good job of getting people where they are supposed to be,” Lenarz said. “If [Princeton] is 6-2 and we are 7-1 I won’t feel jilted if they are the second seed.”