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Post Season

Listen To The Podcast!     Coach L. Albaugh      DBLITY

We’re getting there. Post season, playoffs, whatever your state calls it, we’re getting there. Heck, maybe your state has already started or maybe you’re still a few weeks away. Either way, it’s that time of year and certainly the most exciting. Well, opening weekend is pretty exciting too. But playoff time – man, that’s fun IF you’re in the playoffs. Here in Illinois you’ve got to qualfy. How does it work in your state?

I like our system in Illinois, there are no pre determined regionals, districts, or sectionals that put you in a small group for the first round or two. In some states, you know who you’re gonna play just about all year. There’s about 550 teams that play football in Illinois. 256 make the playoffs. By dividing into 8 classes that’s 32 per class. Any team that goes 6-3 or better or is a conference champ, is automatically in the field. Now there is room left for about 2/3rds of the 5-4 teams. A system called playoff points is used to determine which 5-4 teams qualify. A team gets 1 point for every one of their opponents wins. So, if your season opponents won a whole bunch of games, that means theoretically, you played a tougher schedule. Is that ALWAYS accurate? Probably not, but it’s the most fair way to do it. Coaches are satisfied, they don’t complain. Once you have the 256 teams, now it’s time to put them in classes. The teams are lined up by enrollment smallest to biggest. The bottom 32 are class 1A. The next 32 are class 2A, then 3A and so on until all classes are filled up to 8A, the largest 32. If you’re one of those teams on the enrollment bubble, your enrollment could put you in one of two classes, you don’t know for sure until the pairings come out. But for the most part, teams know what class they’ll be in. OK, now it’s time to seed. Seeding is based on record. 9-0 teams get seeded above 8-1s, 8-1s are seeded above 7-2s and so on. OK, so what do we do with 5 teams that are 9-0? Playoff points. 1 point for every opponent win. The team that has more playoff points, the “tougher schedule” so to speak, gets the higher seed. Same with the 8-1s and on down the line. Basically the 9-0 teams are separated and won’t face each other until the quarters or semis. That’s what the coaches wanted. We used to put teams in 8 team quadrants based on geography which was OK but you could end up with a quadrant of a bunch of 7-2, 6-3, 5-4 teams. Then the next quadrant was full of 9-0, 8-1, and 7-2 teams. Heck we sometimes had two 9-0s facing off in the first round. Coaches hated that. Now at least the best teams are separated and don’t face off til later rounds. Fair enough. Is it possible that a 7-2 team that played in a tougher conference is better than a 9-0 that played in a weaker conference? Yeah! But it’s still a good method, the pairings are done quickly, no arguing, and play football. The coaches think it’s fair, sometimes the fans whine. You can see, in the first round a lot of 9-0 teams are going to get a 5-4 or 6-3 team. And then there will be a lot of 7-2 matchups. 8-1s generally get a 6-3 or 7-2 team. Makes for a great playoff atmosphere. So you don’t know who you’re gonna play until the pairings come out Saturday night on TV. Teams get together for a party and watch the pairings show, just like the NCAA basketball tourney. Your bracket pops up on the screen and you find out who you got. Kids go crazy and cheer, coaches too. It’s really fun.

So that’s how it’s done in Illinois and we’re almost there. Game 9 is Friday night and the pairings come out Saturday night.

I’ve noticed for a long time that what used to be a TD in the old days is no longer a TD. What do I mean by that? It used to be that when your knee hit the ground the ball was spotted where the ball lands on the ground. So, you could kind of stretch it out a half yard. The play happened too quick in real time for a ref to say – Oh, your knee was touching and the ball was still not over the line. Now through slow motion and stop action we call plays that looked like an easy TD get reviewed and moved back 1/2 yard. I hate it. Did you see Melvin Gordon of the Chargers Sunday. He scored what would have been a clear TD in the old days, called back after review. The Chargers never did score and lost the game. And games now are replay, replay, replay, challenge, challenge, challenge. Boring. But I guess that’s just the way it is now.

A new PSA is attracting lots of attention after comparing the dangers of tackle football to those of smoking. Meaning the longer you play tackle football the more your chances go up of having CTE problems as you get older. This is why their campaign encourages parents to hold-off on letting children play tackle football before the age of 14, suggesting they steer kids to flag football instead. OK, I think flag football for young kids is great but I think the analogy is flawed. And does that include ALL tackle football? Can kids go to their backyard and play pick up games of tackle football with no pads? That’s all I did every fall as a little kid. If someone would’ve come and told us that was illegal we’d have run em off. So I sure hope they’re not talkin about that.

My Illini beat Wisconsin on the last play of the game 24-23. Game winning field goal. They were due for a big win against a good team. I heard someone on ESPN say  – Well, how excited can you be for playin a team like Illinois? Hey, too bad. You better be ready and excited to play every week no matter who the opponents are.

In my last podcast The Cardinals had just ripped the Braves in game 5 to win that series and advance to the NLCS. I said I will not boast or gloat because the same thing could happen to the Cards in the very next game. Well…the Cards practically got no hit for 3 games then got ripped in game 4 by the Nationals. Baseball is crazy. Always keep your mouth shut – that’s what I learned many years ago. Now the Nats have won 8 in a row in the post season by downing the Astros 2 in a row. Let’s not forget the Nats started the season 19-31 but since that time have been on a tear. They’re pretty darn good. They lost Bryce Harper and folks thought  “Oh – Oh, they’re not gonna be very good now”. Yeah right. They just replaced him with a 20 year old kid named Juan Soto that might be better.

The last few years I’ve heard this term – Steal a game. What does it mean to steal a game? The Nats are going into Houston and steal game 1. Hey, you either win or lose. You EARN your wins. I don’t know what that means.

One more thing…Patrick Mahomes might play this weekend? Are you kiddin me? His knee cap was dislocated. Give the kid a chance to heal and don’t ruin his career. Drew Brees got hurt and his backup Teddy Bridgewater comes in and the Saints have won all 5 games that Bridgewater started. The NFL rushes players back from injury and I don’t like it. Same thing with Alabama. Tua is hurt and everyone talks like Alabama is history without him. What? Alabama’s roster is stocked with a bunch of future NFL players. Let the kid heal.

Hey join us next week…

The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war. G. Patton

Sweet 16 Countdown: 51. Alaska -9.2   50. Vermont -1.7   49. North Dakota 3.3   48. Wyoming 5.2  47. Rhode Island 8.4   46. District of Columbia 8.4   45. Delaware 14.7   44. South Dakota 15.3   43. New Hampshire 16.7   42. Montana 19.2  41. Maine 19.5   40. New Mexico 20.5  39. Oregon 24.2  38. West Virginia 26.3  37. Nevada 31.2  36. Idaho 32.2  35. Nebraska 32.6  34. New York 33.0  33. Iowa 34.4  32. Minnesota 35.9   31. Kentucky 36.3   30. Hawaii 36.5  29. Connecticut 37.3  28. Massachusetts 38.3 27. Wisconsin 39.9  26. Virginia 40.8  25. Oklahoma 41.5  24. Michigan 41.53 23. Kansas 41.8 22. Tennessee 41.9  21. Washington 42.6 20. Indiana 43.9 19. Colorado 44.4  18. South Carolina 44.61  17. New Jersey 44.63  16. Arkansa 45.0 15. Arizona 45.2 14. Mississippi 45.6 13. Alabama 45.8  12. Utah 46.0  11. North Carolina 46.7  10. Missouri 49.0  9. Pennsylvania 49.9  8. Illinois 50.3  7. Louisiana 51.9  6. Maryland 52.8  5. Georgia 57.2  4. Texas 60.8 3. Ohio 61.0  2. Florida 62.5  1. California 69.4

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Coach Albaugh coached high school football in Illinois for 28 years. During that time he coached at every level and on both sides of the ball. He was the offensive and defensive line coach for four undefeated teams and was a defensive coordinator in his last 11 years, twice reaching the semi finals of the Illinois state playoffs.