By Bruce Monnin
Many local racing fans watched this week as the 26-race NASCAR "regular season" ended and the drivers ranked in the top 10 in the point standings qualified to move on to contend for the Nextel Cup title.
These drivers who qualified essentially have their regular season results wiped clean (I know, the regular season results count for a little, but not that much), and they start fresh in a 10-race playoff to determine the champion.
The Ohio high school football playoff system is very similar. Each region consists of approximately 30 teams. These teams compile computer points during the regular season as they win and as the teams they defeat win other games.
Teams who finish in the final eight of their region qualify for the playoffs and essentially start on an even level with the other playoff teams no matter who had the better regular season. The only advantage of finishing higher in the regular season is that the top four teams in each region get to host the first round playoff game.
Now that there are three games in the books, we can start to scoreboard watch a little to see how the victims of local teams fare in their subsequent games as this affects each team's total computer points. Starting next week, we will start to keep an eye on the other teams in each region who will be competing with area teams for one of those coveted eight playoff spots.
So, here is a listing of how all the MAC and WBL teams stand in the computer rankings after the third week.
Team -- Ranking (Computer Points)
Wapakoneta -- 20th (2.27)
Celina -- 21st (2.17)
Fortunately for both of these teams this does not appear to be the toughest region around, as evidenced by only five teams still sporting undefeated records. Celina fans might be surprised to see Greenville is currently 3-0 and in fourth place in the region.
St. Marys -- fourth (6.88)
Elida -- 11th (4.20)
Kenton -- 16th (2.57)
Defiance -- 18th (2.33)
Van Wert -- 22nd (1.50)
Lima Shawnee -- 22nd (1.50)
St Marys is in a tough fight in this region, which still has nine undefeated teams. Fortunately only three other teams have a 2-1 record so only these 12 (and probably 1-2 Chaminade-Julienne) look like playoff contenders. The Roughriders also benefited from Celina's win over Van Wert this week.
Ottawa-Glandorf -- first (6.77)
Coldwater -- 7th (5.25)
Lima Bath -- 26th (0.00)
Ottawa-Glandorf is currently king of this region (and Minster fans would probably be surprised to see Ben Logan right behind in the number one spot). Coldwater gained little for now by defeating winless New Bremen, but holds in the top eight thanks to wins by Kenton and Marion Local. Being the biggest school in a conference can help compile the wins but can cause these wins to be needed to gain the necessary computer points for playoff qualification.
Versailles - second (5.88)
St. Henry - 19th (1.52)
Parkway - 25th (1.17)
Versailles struck triple gold, as not only did they beat Lehman, but prior victims Oakwood and Minster also scored wins. Fortunately for St. Henry and Parkway, this region looks slightly less formidable than last year, so an 8-2 record ought to still be good enough, but both squads better start running off the wins because 7-3 looks like a borderline at best record for playoff qualification.
Delphos St. John's - third (5.03)
Marion Local - seventh (3.25)
Minster - 11th (2.73)
Fort Recovery - 22nd (0.00)
New Bremen - 22nd (0.00)
St. John's gained a few points by defeating Parkway, but received no help from its prior victims. Marion Local moved up a little with its big win over St. Henry, a result which should yield more points as the season wears on. Minster received an unexpected boost as Fort Loramie defeated an undefeated division five school for its first ever varsity win. With ten winless teams and another ten teams with only one win in this region the top eleven teams have to like their chances, but that also means there is room if a team like New Bremen or Fort Recovery goes on a winning streak.