The pairings for the upcoming high school football playoffs will have a much different look this season. Gone is the format from the past few years where the entire bracket is released for all six classes and instead the pairings will be put together after each round. Todd Tharp of the Iowa High School Athletic Association says the new format is designed to limit travel.
He says school administrators were worried about having to travel so far and they talked with it and decided they needed to go back to the 125 mile limit for travel.
Tharp says the new system won’t change the pairings when it comes to seeding but there could be district rematches in the first two rounds. Tharp says the district champion will still play the 4th place team and the district runner-up will still play the 3rd place team. “Unfortunately in some areas of the state there might be some district rematches on that first Wednesday night,” Tharp says.
Tharp says they will no longer be automatically matching teams from neighboring districts. He says there could be combinations of 3 or 4 different districts to get the games in for the first round.
Tharp says they should have all 192 qualifiers and their seeding on the association website before midnight. It will then take a couple of hours to complete the pairings, and he says it could be between 2 or 3 a.m. by the time they have all the pairings posted.
The first round for all six classes is Wednesday night.