Region 7-AAA’s subregion system is playing itself out to be the poorly conceived notion that is was from the beginning.
Not the fact that it divides the region in half, but the way it determines who goes to the playoffs and who sits at home.
For those not already familiar with the playoff selection system, in Region 7-AAA the top two teams from Region 7A-AAA and Region 7B-AAA qualify for the playoffs. That fact in itself doesn’t seem too controversial.
But how are those top two teams picked? The top two teams are selected on how the teams play their subregion opponents.
For example, Gainesville’s playoff fate is based exclusively on how itfares against Region 7B-AAA opponents West Hall, Johnson, Flowery Branch and Pickens. As far as the playoffs are concerned, it doesn’t matter how the Red Elephants fare against North Hall, Chestatee, Lumpkin County, White County, Gilmer and East Hall.
Win all six non-subregion games and it really doesn’t help your playoff chances. Lose them all, and that doesn’t come into consideration as a primary selection factor either. Playoff seeding is based on the month-long blitz we’re seeing right now to conclude the regular season.
Chestatee (5-2, 1-1) is a perfect case-study of why the subregion system doesn’t make any sense. The War Eagles started the season red-hot, winning five of their first six games. But with a loss to White County (4-3, 1-1) last Friday night, Chestatee took a serious hit to its playoff chances.
The War Eagles will still probably lose one more game in the regular season to put themselves on the brink of missing the playoffs with two loses. White County could lose one more game and still beat out the War Eagles because of the head-to-head tiebreaker.
In this example, the War Eagles would have the better overall record. The Warriors would receive the playoff bid.
And this example doesn’t take into account that Lumpkin County (5-2, 2-0) is still undefeated in the subregion.
If the season ended today, North Hall (7-0, 2-0) and Lumpkin County (5-2, 2-0) would be going to the playoffs.
Johnson (3-4, 1-0) also is another example on the other end of the spectrum with how the subregion system is flawed. Not to take anything away from the Knights, but a four-game losing streak in the first half of the season isn’t going to have any bearing on their playoff future.
The Knights won their first subregion game against West Hall last Friday night. Johnson could still win the subregion championship and conceivably earn a No. 2 seed in the playoffs with wins against Gainesville, Flowery Branch and Pickens to end the regular season. Did I already mention they had a four-game losing streak?
So why not go with the most sensible solution? Play the same 10-game schedule in Region 7-AAA with no out-of-region games scheduled.
The top four teams make the playoffs. Seeding based on overall record. Tie-breaker, if needed, is head-to-head result.
It’s just that easy. Even a sports writer can figure it out.