I’m sure there are a number of varying reactions to the new power ratings system being implemented in Class A in the coming year.
Confusion, I think, would be one of them. Or, perhaps, minor irritation.
Not for me, though. Only one word can sum up my reaction: Excitement. After all, what are sports without a little bit of controversy?
Yes, what the Georgia High School Association really needs at the end of every year are angry parents calling in to figure out why their son or daughter’s team finished second in the region, but was not awarded a spot in the state playoffs.
As reported in Sunday’s edition of The Times, the state’s lowest classification will utilize a system to select and seed non-region champions for the state’s postseason tournaments.
Now, not only will a team’s record be important, so will the record of the teams they are playing. In addition, football teams across the state will also get credit for playing teams in a higher classification. The other sports will not receive this credit.
Also, teams can only play seven of the 25 games outside the state, which is particularly detrimental to a team like Towns County that resides on the Georgia-North Carolina border.
All of this is to reward teams that play in more difficult regions.
And that’s fine.
The best teams are, after all, the best teams, and should have the opportunity to prove as much at the end of the season.
But I can’t shake the inherent problems that go along with such a ratings system in place.
For one, with the public and private split in Class A, how do we expect to adequately rate teams like Commerce and Towns County, which play in a region made up primarily of private schools?
Those two teams will spend their seasons playing against private competition, and then will be rated amongst other public schools for playoff berths and seeding.
It reminds me a little of college football pollsters trying to correctly rank a team like Boise State against national competition when the Broncos play a vastly different level of teams.
And then there’s the question of why football teams will get credit for playing a higher classification, but the other sports will not. The lack of credit in the other sports destroys the incentive of playing in high-profile tournaments like Lanierland.
And while Lakeview Academy coach Seth Vining said that his team has no intention of withdrawing from the tournament, it does sort of leave a bad taste in your mouth that the Lions could beat Gainesville, but get no more credit than they would for beating a Class A team with a similar record.
Sure, I understand the opposing argument to these points.
The goal of every team should be to win the region. That way, there will be no question at the end of the season.
But there’s just something about taking away from the emphasis placed on the scoreboard in favor of the teams on the schedule that I can’t get totally behind.
Some schools just don’t play in a difficult region. And, to no fault of theirs, they may constantly be left out of the playoffs despite doing the only thing they do have control over — winning games.
Like it or not, though, that’s the reality of the future for high school sports.
Can you tell I’m excited?
David Mitchell is a sportswriter for The Times. Follow him on Twitter at @gtimesdmitchell.