Changes Coming to High School Football Playoff Format

The Florida High School Athletic Association’s has a new football playoff system that will take effect in 2017.

FHSAA board of directors voted 14-2 on Monday to approve a revamped football playoff format that eliminates districts for small schools, Class 1A through 4A, with teams making the playoffs based on a points system.

The new playoff format will place 1A, 2A, 3A and 4A teams in regions, where they can create their own regular season schedules. The playoff berths will be determined based on wins, losses and strength of schedule.

FHSAA’s director of athletics Frank Beasley says success was based on how many good football players a team had, so this new system would change things up. 

This system was formed after the state of Nebraska’s system. A team will fall into four different categories. If a team beats a Category 4 team, which is a team that has won less than 39 percent of their games, then the winning team will get 35 points. If they lose, they will get 20 points. If a team beats a Category 1 team, which means they have won more than 80 percent of their games, then the winning team will receive 50 points. If they lose, they will receive 35 points.

This system capitalizes on strength of schedule because even if a team schedules really tough teams and they end up with a great record, they will still end up with solid points even if they were to lose.

Beasley says there would have been major issues down the road if the same playoff system was kept in place. 

The new system aims to help grow the game of football and keep it alive. Bonus points will be given out to make sure smaller schools are getting the best teams in the playoffs. These points will be given out if a team schedules to play a team that made the playoffs the previous year.

Beasley says coaches can get wrapped up in trying to figure out the system, but they should just play the game and win. 

The four larger classes (5A-8A) will continue to have districts and champions will receive an automatic bid to the playoffs and a 1-4 seed based on the points system.

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