As we hit the final week of the 11-man and 6-man football seasons, there is some clarity around the playoff scenarios. But, there are plenty of games on Friday that will have an impact on what Saturday morning looks like at the NSAA office in Lincoln. One thing is for certain, football director Nate Neuhaus will have his air mattress in his office on Friday breaking down the points, brackets and tiebreakers if needed
(Shameless plug: We’ll have the breaking matchups live on Saturday morning with our NSAA Playoff Show on Striv Sports. Join Mike Sautter, Eric Allgood and myself at 8:30 as we break down all the brackets live.
Little Drama: Class A sends six district champions, six runner-ups and four wild cards to the playoffs. Right around 14 of these spots are clinched with Kearney and Papillion-LaVista in front of the line for the final two.
Five of the six district champions have been determined: Millard South, Burke, Bellevue West, Elkhorn South and Westside. Four of the runner-ups are confirmed as well: Omaha North, Papio South, Columbus and Grand Island.
Four other teams are in either as district or wild card qualifiers depending on Friday outcomes: Lincoln East, North Platte, Gretna and Lincoln Southeast.
If you need the fun breakdown, please check out temporary staff member Faux Coach Woodard on Twitter. He’s got some great breakdowns of all the scenarios here.
Lucky 7: The smaller Class B (just 25 schools this year) will send five district champions and 11 wild cards to the state playoffs. We feel good about ten teams and we think the top-7 teams are locked, but could switch seedings based on Friday outcomes.
Bennington, Plattsmouth and Scottsbluff are district champions and the winner’s of Omaha Skutt, Elkhorn and Aurora, Seward will also be champions. Those teams — we believe — are locked into the top-seven seeds in the bracket with Bennington nearly assured the top-seed.
The Aurora-Seward winner should pass Plattsmouth for the second seed and the Blue Devils will likely stay there with a win over Class A Bellevue East (2-6). The Elkhorn-Skutt winner could slot in the four.
After That: Next in line are Waverly, Beatrice, Northwest and Norris who should occupy the 8-11 slots, with Waverly controlling their shot at a home game as the 8-seed with a win over Norris. Roncalli can sneak into this group should Waverly win.
The final four slots are still in the air, but the York-Lexington winner will be in and the loser will still have a chance with Gross and McCook having the advantage to get in the bottom of the bracket.
The Best Bracket: Eight district champions and eight wild cards will fill out the 16-team, Class C-1 bracket and this class has shown some great football all season.
The district champions we know heading into the final week include: Milford, Ashland-Greenwood, Boys Town, Boone Central, Adams Central and Kearney Catholic. The Columbus Scotus, Columbus Lakeview winner and the Chadron, Ogallala winner will be the other two champions.
Wild Card: We believe the following teams have locked berths: Auburn, Broken Bow, Wahoo. Either Pierce or Wayne, Battle Creek and Fort Calhoun would all be in with wins. Lakeview (should they lose to Scotus) and the Pierce-Wayne loser could be the final two, with Minden, Mitchell and Platteview possibly causing havoc at the bottom.
Fifty-Fifty: With just 32 teams in their class this year the smallest 11-man class will take half their teams to the playoff via six district champions and 10 wild cards.
Five of the six districts have been settled with Yutan, Fremont Bergan, Hastings St. Cecilia, Ord and North Platte St. Patrick’s are champions. Hartington Cedar Catholic and Norfolk Catholic will settle District Two on Friday night. The loser will be in the playoffs as well as a wild card
Wild Card: We believe the following teams have locked berths: Lincoln Lutheran, David City Aquinas, Gordon-Rushville and Wilber-Clatonia. That gets us to 11 teams. Sutton (at Doniphan-Trumbull), Neumann (at Syracuse) and Centura (vs. GICC) look good with wins. Now 14. Centennial — even with a loss to Yutan seems fairly safe. That’s 15. Anyone want to play Oakland-Craig as the 15 or 16 seed?
Perfect Four: The six-man bracket might not have any drama. We believe the four teams at the top will remain should they stay undefeated. Cody-Kilgore’s matchup with 5-2 Hay Springs is the most interesting on paper for the week.
After that, Sumner-Eddyville-Miller, Franklin, Arthur County and Wallace are best in line for a home game. And, let’s just say this: seeds 9-15 are all going to be GOOD. Like someone is going to have to host likely 7-1, defending champion, McCool Junction next week. Mercy.
Things We Hate: It appears that, barring a Stuart win over Spalding Academy, the final spot will go to Sioux County over Hampton in a tiebreak. It’s not that we don’t love Sioux County, it’s just that we have a soft spot for our alma mater.