By MURPHY FAIR
By the time you read this column, we’ll be just a few days short of the announcement of bracket pairings for the playoffs. Many fans feel as though it’s the most important time of the year.
These fans have two burning questions on their minds. First – “Who has qualified for the playoffs?” Second – “Who’s paired against each other in opening round play?”
With the need for wild card selections, there’s actually a third important question. “What quadrant are we playing in?” Here in middle Tennessee, teams have the potential to travel east or west in the post season, depending on the makeup of the brackets.
The creation of quadrants by T.S.S.A.A. came about to help reduce travel in the playoffs, especially in early round action. It was hoped that schools would not have the big expense of transporting teams, cheerleaders and sometimes bands in the first couple of weeks of the post-season event.
When you look at playoff possibilities, it’s obvious that administrators are already having to consider a three or four hour bus ride in early November.
Keep in mind that such considerations are based on playoff possibilities that were posted last week, prior to the completion of Week 9 games.
Class 1A – Cloudland High School, located in Roan Mountain, may very well wind up in the same quad with either Copper Basin and/or Lookout Valley. Either way, it’s more than a four-hour bus ride from Roan Mountain to both Copper Basin and Lookout Valley.
Class 2A – Hampton and Boyd Buchanan will both likely wind up in the same quad.
If they do, one will experience a 230-mile trip to the other’s campus. According to mapquest, that’s more than 4 hours.
Class 3A – At least three different possibilities of a three-hour bus ride exist for various teams here. It’s 173 miles from Westmoreland to Tyner Academy in Chattanooga, 171 miles from Ashland City (Cheatham County) to Tyner and 161 miles from Lewis County to Memphis Manassas. All three trips are estimated to take about three hours.
Class 4A – The longest potential early round trip is 200 miles. That’s how far it is from Greeneville to DeKalb County High School in Smithville.
Class 5A – Two possibilities of more than a three-hour bus ride exist in 5A. Those trips include journeys from Columbia to Lenoir City (204 miles) and Columbia to Walker Valley (190 miles).
Class 6A – The longest possibility here involves Memphis Whitehaven and Dickson County. That’s a three-hour trip of 183 miles.
(Murphy Fair has published Tennessee High School Football for 25 years. His syndicated radio show, Murphy’s Matchups, can be heard Monday evenings at 8 o’clock on WGNS, AM-1450 & FM 100.5. His website, murphyfair.com, gives high school football fans further insight into the prep football scene).