I've been working on a project throughout the summer that involves predicting the overall and conference records of every team in the state and using that data to predict division placements for the playoffs. For some reason, I keep finding that the cutlines for each division are much higher than in previous years despite how much I comb through it and revise some things. Maybe I somehow favored the larger schools in each conference by accident, but to be this far off is still quite odd.

Divisions 1 and 2 really aren't that bad. I have the smallest D1 school being Sussex Hamilton (1435). In D2, Badger (1407) is the largest with Ashwaubenon being the smallest (1008). D3 is where it starts to get chaotic. West De Pere would be the largest at 980, and it is definitely a possibility that they do get placed down in D3. However, the smallest team in D3 is - get this - Jefferson at 628. That means that Luxemburg-Casco (620) along with CATHOLIC MEMORIAL (603) would be placed down in D4. G-E-T rounds out the bottom of D4 with 423, meaning that teams like St. Catherine's (421), Platteville (416), and Northwestern (413) are all in D5. Stratford, with an enrollment of 306, is the smallest D5 team. In D6, Aquinas (which might be a longshot including them in this list, but it could happen) at 299 is the largest school, and right under them is Saint Mary's Springs (293). Mineral Point becomes the smallest group in D6 (223). This would place teams like Mel-Min (219), Regis (212), Pec/Argyle (210), and Black Hawk/Warren (208), who gained a decent amount of players adding Warren IL, all in D7.

Right now I have a theory that this is in part due to how many smaller teams have switched to 8-man and/or co-op'ed with another school. You have multiple teams dropping out of 11-man in the MONLPC and CWC (though the net loss for the CWC is only 1 as Menominee Indian returns). Instances such as the Benton/SM/Shulls co-op and Black Hawk/Warren co-op bring a couple more teams higher in enrollment, causing some interesting cutlines.

Last season doing this exact same thing, I was only maybe 2 or 3 teams off from the actual cutline. There is absolutely no way that 8-man football alone would cause senarios such as Catholic Central moving to D4 and completely screwing up the post season. It could all be up to chance and this might be more likely than I think it is, who knows. I'd like to hear your guys' opinions on the slight possiblity that we might see a completely skewed postseason this year. I'm thinking the more likely thing is that I, without even thinking about it, selected larger schools of a conference to get in the playoffs over smaller schools.
Also, do you think the growing shift towards 8-man could influence the WIAA to go back to 6 11-man divisions in the near future?
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D7 has become redundant.

The basis for creating it back in 2002 was four-fold:
  • combat the perceived crowded field due to the WISSA schools joining in 2000
  • throw a bone to smaller schools that were making noise about conference realignment
  • minimize the enrollment gap within a division once the playoffs started
  • allow every team with a winning/.500 conference record to qualify
17 years later there are now less teams playing 11-man than in '01 (≈430), the last year of 6 divisions. (not to mention the dozens of "in name only" programs)
The WFCA 2020 (don't call if a district plan) re-alignment speaks for itself.
Rural school enrollment evaporating has played a much bigger role in any disparity than in the past.
I believe 3 teams with winning records didn't qualify in '01, something similar would probably still happen.

Do we really need to qualify 32 mediocre at-large teams statewide (cough City) to accommodate a few teams that went 3-2 or 3-3?

Now that the WIAA has 8-man playoffs, it makes little sense to keep D7 around. You would think they would want to encourage struggling small schools to make the transition. Making playoff qualification a bit more difficult would do just that.
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With fewer and fewer 11-player teams, it certainly will continue to impact the cutlines and divisional placements, but I still would be quite surprised if the lines move as much as you project. In the last decade, low D3 has never been above 575. Low D6 has never been above 202. It certainly is possible, I just would be a bit surprised to see it play out that way.
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