It's playoff time in Texas once again. It's not quite as exclusive as it used to be as 576 UIL and TAPPS 11-man high school football teams are preparing for a shot at glory. Obviously some of them have no chance to be champions, but let the kids believe for a week longer.
The high school pages are now updated at AdjustedStats.com, so you can now access updated EWP Ratings, Power Ratings, and team and district pages through the site, along with a high school matchup analyzer. As always, many thanks to Jerry at PigskinPrep.com for his fine work collecting scores data across the state. If you see any errors, let me know, particularly on this week's games as I looked those up myself. And no, Austin High being in the playoffs with a 2-8 record is not a mistake. Well, not my mistake at least.
And away we go.
5A Division I
Odds-on Favorite: Allen
The 5A Division I bracket is as ridiculously loaded as ever, with four of the top 6 power teams in the state in Regions I and II. Lurking in Region IV is a Harlingen squad that defeated Abilene in overtime earlier in the year and should have a cakewalk through the first two rounds. Harlingen is the #9 power team in the state so following their progress should be interesting. Their strongest challenger in the region should be Converse Judson, whom they would meet in the regional final if they can avoid an upset loss.
On the other hand, Regions I and II are each slated to have a heavyweight bout in the second round. Euless Trinity and Allen should meet on the second weekend in Region I unless Duncanville or Keller Central can spring the upset.
Meanwhile in Region II, Dallas Skyline and DeSoto are on their own second round collision course. The computer says right now that there is a slightly greater than 62% chance that the state champion comes from Allen/Trinity/Skyline/DeSoto.
Region III is unusually weak in this bracket overall, with only a 16% chance of the state champion advancing from the region only one year after Pearland's state title. The forecast shows a greater than 75% chance of a Cy-Fair versus Cy Falls rematch in the regional final. Cy-Fair won the first matchup 24-17 and the analyzer would currently predict a 17-16 win in a closely fought rematch if it occurs.
5A Division II
Odds-on Favorite: Katy
Unlike Division I, Division II sees a powerful second round matchup in Region III. The numbers predict a 40% chance of a Region III state champion, and an 85% chance of the Region III champion emerging from a second round tilt between Katy and Cy Woods. Langham Creek and Port Arthur Memorial are the two most likely teams to advance to the regional final from the other half of the bracket.
Longview is the clear favorite to advance from Region II. The strongest challengers from the bottom half of the bracket figure to be Lufkin and Copperas Cove. Over in Region IV, while both Cibolo Steele and San Antonio Reagan should receive stern tests from San Antonio Brandeis and McAllen Memorial, respectively, they figure to meet for the regional championship.
4A Division I
Odds-on Favorite: Lake Travis
The Cavaliers are heavier favorites in this bracket than any other bracket in the state has with the sole exception of TAPPS Division III. The three main challengers, each with less than a 15% chance of winning the matchup, are Cedar Park in the regional final, Pearland Dawson in the state semifinal, and Highland Park in the state championship. Cedar Park fell 24-21 last week and would be looking to reverse last year's result where they won the district championship but lost to Lake Travis in the playoffs.
4A Division II
Odds-on Favorite: Aledo
This is the first bracket that has the computer looking forward to the big matchup in the state championship game. Aledo would be one representative in that game if they can survive a competitive Region I headlined by Stephenville and then a state semifinal matchup against a Region II champion that figures to be one of either Corsicana or Frisco Centennial, with Wylie East also having a good chance.
The other half of the potential state title matchup is a Manvel squad that has blistered their competition this year. Manvel's biggest obstacles in Region III are a La Marque team that they beat 29-14 earlier this year and an undefeated Brenham group. The Region IV champion figures to be either Port Lavaca Calhoun or Corpus Christi Calallen, with Austin Vandegrift and Kerrville Tivy having punchers' chances.
3A Division I
Odds-on Favorite: Alvarado
The favorite here is a little surprising as Tyler Chapel Hill has been #1 in the rankings all year long. Alvarado's primary challenges before the potential championship slugfest are Seminole in the regional final and Lindale in the state semis. Chapel Hill's two biggest obstacles are both in their region as Waco La Vega presents a tough second round test while Navasota could be waiting in the regional final.
3A Division II
Odds-on Favorite: Coldspring-Oakhurst
Another Class 3A surprise favorite as most would peg Gilmer as the team to beat in this bracket. The computer is not as confident of this matchup actually coming to fruition as the Division I dream title bout above, though. Wimberley is predicted to advance out of Region IV and offer Oakhurst a challenge in the state semis, but they face a competitive region themselves with Ingleside and Gonzales as big time roadblocks.
West Orange-Stark offers the greatest challenge to Oakhurst from within Region III while Gilmer should be tested by one of Argyle, Prosper, and Carthage in the Region II final. Region I does not figure to take home the trophy in this bracket, with less than a 7% cumulative chance at a championship. Snyder is the regional favorite with Lubbock Estacado not too far behind.
2A Division I
Odds-on Favorite: Godley
Godley is the favorite here without the benefit of the first round bye. Eastland should be their biggest threat in Region I and is favored to meet them in the final. The Region II winner should come from the New Boston, Melissa, Grandview trio.
2A Division II
Odds-on Favorite: Refugio
Refugio has been steamrolling the competition this year, but that competition hasn't been very stiff. That being said, they have been taking care of business in impressive fashion so they are the rightful favorites in this bracket. Region IV's biggest challenge comes in a possible regional final showdown against Sonoroa. Region III appears to be another three horse race with Franklin as the favorite but Rogers and Lexington promising to make it difficult.
1A Division I
Odds-on Favorite: Mason
Second most likely winner Clarksville is closer to the favorite than any other bracket sees, and the teams would not meet until the title game. Region III favorite Garrison is next most likely to win it all while the competitive Region I winner figures to be Albany, Sundown, Sunray, or Canadian.
1A Division II
Odds-on Favorite: Tenaha
Tenaha is basically a coin flip against the field in this bracket and is the second heaviest UIL favorite behind Lake Travis. Chilton stands to be the biggest upset possibility from within Region III but Tenaha is a 1-to-4 favorite to advance to the state semifinal. That state semifinal matchup is most likely to be against Burton, but Granger, Milano, and Falls City all have reasonable hopes of getting to the final four.
But Tenaha is not the only powerful team in this bracket. Windthorst is actually computed to have a better chance to win state than six of the nine overall favorites in the other UIL brackets. Standing most in the way of a Tenaha/Windthorst championship game on this half of the bracket are Munday from within Region II and overwhelming Region I favorite Wellington.
Division I Odds-on Favorite: Fort Worth Nolan Catholic
Division II Odds-on Favorite: Midland Christian
Division III Odds-on Favorite: Bullard Brook Hill
Division IV Odds-on Favorite: Muenster Sacred Heart
If Bullard Brook Hill doesn't win TAPPS Division III, I will eat my hat twice. Considering Bishop Lynch beat Nolan Catholic earlier this year, I'm a little surprised by how heavy of a favorite they are in Division I, but then again Texas Tech beat Oklahoma this year. No offense to Bishop Lynch and Nolan Catholic alums that may be reading this.