Preps Talk

Edgy's Thoughts: Home-field advantage in IHSA Playoffs

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Edgy's Thoughts: Home-field advantage in IHSA Playoffs

So what's the deal with who gets home-field advantage in the IHSA football playoffs?

This could easily be one of the most asked questions I get at this time of the year, especially from casual high school football fans.

The current policy is pretty simple and straight forward. In the first round, the higher seeded team hosts the game. But after that things get a bit more fuzzy. The school that has hosted the least amount of games after Round 1 is awarded the home game in the following round. So if you open up on the road as a 5-4 team and win that first game, odds are you'll get a home game in Round 2. 

So what's the point of going (for example) 9-0 or 8-1 in the regular season, earning a high seed, just to lose any potential home-field advantage as early as the next round? Why not just allow the higher seed to host home playoff games in each round?

[MORE PREPS: IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Show Saturday at 8 p.m. on CSN]

Those in favor of this current policy will point towards avoiding overuse and damage to certain home fields (grass fields). Those same grass fields could become a potential safety hazard if they become torn up. I get that. But with more and more playing surfaces going to field turf, could we get closer to taking a harder look at the current policy?

Simply put, has the time come for the IHSA to take a look at its whole determining process as to who gets to host a state playoff game?

Also, how about giving another slight policy change some consideration. Why not allow higher seeded teams the choice to either: (A) host a first round game or (B) give them the option to play on the road, while keeping the same home-field policy in place?

Controversial? No question, yet under the current home-field playoff policy, the more early road games you play in the state playoffs the better the odds of keeping that earned home-field advantage deeper in the state playoffs. 

Sure I might be nitpicking here a bit, but can't we at least take a look at rewarding teams that earn those higher playoff seeds?

95 Days to Kickoff: Waubonsie Valley

95 Days to Kickoff: Waubonsie Valley

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O'Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting July 30, we'll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: Waubonsie Valley

Head coach: Paul Murphy

Assistant coaches: Ron Griffin, Tom Baumgarnter, Chris Genslinger, Brad Caldwell, Josh Cuttone, Noel Soto, Ryan Voitik, Duane Butts and Ken Anderson

How they fared in 2017: 4-5 (4-4 DuPage Valley Conference). Waubonsie Valley failed to qualify for the IHSA playoff field.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ Oak Park-River Forest

Aug. 31 vs Libertyville

Sept 7 @ Neuqua Valley

Sept. 14 @ Edwardsville

Sept. 21 vs Naperville North

Sept. 28 vs Neuqua Valley

Oct. 5 vs Prairie Ridge

Oct. 12 @ Naperville Central

Oct. 19 @ Metea Valley

[MORE: 96 Days to Kickoff: Jacobs]

Biggest storyline: It's all about the schedule. Can the Warriors survive a challenging lineup --which includes playing Neuqua Valley twice-- and make the playoffs?

Names to watch this season: WR Julian Cain and DL Avante Rogers

Biggest holes to fill: The Warriors will have several new faces on both the offensive and defensive lines in 2018. 

EDGY's Early Take: It's not often that veteran head coach Paul Murphy and his Warriors view the playoffs from home. But that's what happened last year. They were the first Waubonsie team since 2006 to do just that. Look for the Warriors to rely on a strong group of receivers to bounce back this fall. They also feature a good group of underclassmen ready to step up. Also, they will need to get used to life in the newly-realigned DuPage Valley Conference. The 2018 schedule includes two games against big district rival Neuqua Valley and a loaded non-conference slate which includes some heavy hitters. 

96 Days to Kickoff: Jacobs

96 Days to Kickoff: Jacobs

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O'Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting July 30, we'll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: Jacobs

Head coach: Bill Mitz

Assistant coaches: Bubba Smith, Mike Warren, Brian Zimmerman, JM Foote, Ryan Arndt and Bob Mackey

How they fared in 2017: 6-4 (5-3 Fox Valley Conference). Jacobs made the Class 7A playoff field. The Golden Eagles lost to Lincoln-Way West in opening round action. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 Hampshire 

Aug. 31 @ Huntley 

Sept. 7 Dundee-Crown 

Sept. 14 @ McHenry 

Sept. 21 Neuqua Valley 

Sept. 28 Prairie Ridge 

Oct. 5 @ Cary-Grove 

Oct. 12 Crystal Lake South 

Oct. 19 @ Crystal Lake Central

Biggest storyline: Can the Golden Eagles move up in the Fox Valley Conference pecking order in 2018?

Names to watch this season: OT Joacheim Price and OL Nick Zonta

Biggest holes to fill: The Golden Eagles will need to replace its entire starting linebacker group from a season ago.

EDGY's Early Take: Year in and year out, Jacobs is always a factor in the rugged Fox Valley Conference (seven playoff appearances in the last eight years). The Golden Eagles return some starters in several key spots. If the underclassmen group can step up this summer, look for Jacobs to challenge for the FVC conference title and a higher seed in 7A come IHSA playoff time.