The CIAC football committee met Wednesday to discuss, among other things, the impending move of its championship games to Central Connecticut State.
There was nothing official to report on that matter as of Thursday. But, make no mistake, it’s going to happen. And soon.
Update: It just happened.
We’re told that the football committee wants to move. All that’s left is crossing crossing the ‘Ts’ and dotting the lowercase ‘Js’ on a contract that will free the CIAC from the shackles of the oppressive money pit that is Rentschler Field and send championship weekend to newly refurbished Arute Field in New Britain.
So, once they agree to a deal, we’ll get four games in a confined venue to make the 5,000-plus who show up look like it’s the Super Bowl (satisfying some of the Rent detractors).
There’s plenty of space for the growing media coverage. Plus, if inclement weather finally rears its head in December, Central has a turf field to handle it. Oh, and the CIAC will be satisfied by making a better profit.
But that’s not what’s making waves today. (Update: Not in the morning, at least)
What is officially being bandied about, according to Ned ‘Polecat’ Griffen of The Day, is discussions over tweaking the state playoffs to create a Tech and Co-Op school division or (are you ready for this?), adding an Open Division in hopes of creating a true champion.
Granted, this was all just talk for now. Don’t expect changes anytime soon. The CIAC is committed to the current system until 2015, Ned reports. And these kinds of things need to be discussed, and debated and re-debated and all of the logistics need to be hammered out before it becomes reality.
And, yes, even Hand coach and committee member Steve Filippone conceded that a potential Tech schools division was a more attainable goal in the near future. “I know we’re not going to get both,” he told Ned.
But they’re thinking about it.
Be still your beating hearts, football fans.
The idea is that that a BCS-styled (ugh) rankings system using the polls and computer rankings, would select the top eight programs that year and automatically place them into the open division for the state championship.
Teams could not opt out of playing for the open/overall title.
While an open division is — in theory — an awesome prospect and would settle once and for all the annual No. 1 debate, there are few criticisms.
First, the selection process might be flawed from the start. You can create all the computer and ranking models that you want, but someone’s going to be upset over its methodology. Anyone who followed college football’s BCS rankings will certainly understand.
Second, an open division would render the four other state championships utterly meaningless. Who would care about the Open Division castaways? What would that title mean?
But Filippone addressed those criticisms in Ned’s story:
“The arguments against the proposal is that picking the top eight teams is subjective,” Filippone said. “I don’t know if that’s legitimate.
“The other is it would water down the four divisional championships. My answer to that is a young football player in the state of Connecticut can say that he’s a state champion and is going to feel very proud of that. When he’s getting dressed for that game, he isn’t thinking, ‘Oh, well, Xavier (of Middletown) is playing in the open division, they’re in our division, and we’d get our butts kicked if we played them. He’s not thinking about that. He’s thinking of playing for a state championship.”
But I’d also argue as much as players might believe that, there will be an overwhelming contingent of fans, media folk and peers who’ll say: “Nobody cares, kid. Get lost.”
Another argument working for Filippone is that, in the debate over who’s No. 1, one or two divisions are usually disregarded anyway. What’s one or two more divisions?
Also, consider that winning championships are the end-all, be-all for all high school football coaches. The less titles they win with what they may believe are legitimate teams, the more antsy they get.
In conversations I’ve had, there already has been grumblings among a few coaches that four divisions aren’t enough to satisfy the overwhelming desire to have better odds at winning a tittle — if for nothing else but the sake of their careers. The pressure on some of these guys to win championships is overwhelming.
Now that many of them might annually be stuck an open division, would there be a desire to (ahem) tank a game or relinquish style points to avoid it if they believe their teams don’t have a legit shot at winning an open title?
We allegedly saw signs of such shenanigans when the CIAC created its infamous divisional structure in boys basketball a few years back. That arrangement lasted all of three seasons from 2004-2006. It might be a little harder to swing in football, but don’t rule it out. Besides, it’s not that hard to influence the outcome of a football game.
Yea, so there are some issues to debate. We’re a long way off from figuring this out.
But deep within the monotonous and uneventful offseason (hardly), it’s at least great discussion.
Read Ned’s story and discuss.