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Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014

TSSAA fails to score with state playoff seedings

Monday, October 29, 2012

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One would think that immediately following Dyersburg's 58-23 regular-season-ending victory over Obion County, talk would begin concerning the TSSAA state playoffs.

Actually, the talk began some weeks ago and with good reason.

It seems like long ago now, but a few years ago the who and where concerning the playoffs was a simple process. It was an easy equation and even easier to figure out.

Well Trojan fans, welcome to the present.

Yes, your football team finished a remarkable regular season with a 9-1 overall mark and a No.8 ranking in the latest AP statewide poll. Yes, the lone loss of the season came at the hands of a 10-0 Covington squad in a game Dyersburg led at the half 3-0.

Yes, your favorite Black and Gold squad is in the state playoffs.

No, Dyersburg will not be rewarded for the remarkable accomplishments made throughout the season with at least one home game in the playoffs. The thanks for receiving the shaft goes to the TSSAA.

In what could have been its finest hour, the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association simply dropped the ball when releasing the state playoff bracket on Saturday morning.

Though there isn't enough space to go through all of the this and that concerning how the seedings are finalized, in short it is simply a travesty. I don't think Dyersburg was singled out by any means, but more so simply was caught up in a system that has proven over the last few years to be a bust.

With the current format, there is no benefit to playing a district schedule. Looking at how the playoff seedings are set, I vote to do away with it. This is about geographics, plain and simple, and Dyersburg's opening opponent proves it.

Take a look at how the district is set up and perhaps it will be easy to understand where I'm coming from today. District 13 is made up of 10 teams. Three of those teams, South Gibson, Westview and Milan, are 3A teams and drop out of the district at season's end and fall to where they belong in the current classification.

It would make perfect sense if and when the season is complete and the three teams are removed, that the remaining teams move up. Sorry, it doesn't happen that way. I mean, in a 10-team district, why in the world do all teams not face each other in the first place to determine true district standings?

If this happened, Dyersburg would become an automatic qualifier and finish second instead of third and be at home where they belong after finishing 9-1 and 6-1 in district play. Instead, the Trojans earned an at-large bid to the playoffs. Sorry folks, but my dad taught me a long time ago you just can't fix stupid and that's just what this is.

Further proof of how playing in a 10-team district means absolutely nothing can be seen on the current playoff bracket. For instance, Crockett County is 6-4 and the No.6-seed in Quad 3. The two teams are basically 20 minutes away from each other, yet the Cavaliers aren't in the same quad as Dyersburg. Ridiculous at best.

Personally, it doesn't really matter when and where Dyersburg plays. I take it personally when local teams are done wrong and this, my friends, is just wrong from top to bottom.

As I watched the selection show and listened as TSSAA Executive Director Bernard Childress praised his staff for the wonderful job they did concerning the seedings for the playoffs, I felt sick.

Childress said the process was a lot of fun. Really?

I understand that nothing can be done. In the grand scheme of things it is what it is and sooner or later the cream will rise to the top and things will change. I just hope I'm alive to see it.

However, I can't help but wonder what else the Trojans could have done this season, except beat Covington. Maybe scheduling a different opponent than Fayette Ware may have helped too, but with the current, unexplainable TSSAA format, who knows?

The bottom line is that Dyersburg is in the playoffs. Yes, the team will travel on Friday to face a talented Trezevant team in the first round. No, it isn't right but it is what it is.

The hope here is that the Trojans enter the playoffs with a chip on their shoulders. Hopefully the team will take the approach of champions and have the attitude that will lead them to a deep run into the flawed playoffs.

Let the TSSAA line the teams up, and no matter where the game is played, keep knocking them down, boys, and there will be a big celebration at J.C. Sawyers stadium when it's over.

Now, that would probably be better than hosting a first-round game anyway.

See you in Memphis on Friday.

Your comments are welcome at msmith@ stategazette.com



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