With the release of new Football RPI standings earlier today, Colorado Preps ran through the numbers in each class and came up with some notes to remember as you look forward to the playoffs.

When reviewing notes below, please remember that league champions earn automatic playoff bids and the remaining spots are then determined by RPI.  Once the list of the playoff qualifiers is finalized, more ranking data from MaxPreps, the coaches poll and Packard rankings can be used to seed teams and set pairings.

16 teams qualify for the playoffs in Classes 3A through six-man with 4A and 5A each placing 24 teams into the bracket.




All league champions have been crowned in this classification and all the conference winners are currently in the top 16 and should stay there at the end of the regular season.

A bit surprised to see Eads, with two fewer wins, ahead of North Park in the 16th spot but the Eagles benefit by playing in the Southeast conference which includes Cheyenne Wells, Granada and Cheraw.


Byers is 18th in RPI this week but the Bulldogs have clinched the Central league title so they will be in the bracket regardless of where they end up at season’s end.  If the pairings were announced this week; Hayden would be bumped from the field despite sitting 16th.

Another team to keep an eye on is Rangely.  The Panthers are 21st in RPI but are tied with Vail Christian atop the Northwest division.  Those two clubs face off this week and a Rangely win moves them very close to a league title and automatic bid.  A win pushes the Panthers closer to the top 16 but they could still bump someone from the field as a league champion.

One other note comes from the Ark Valley where Crowley County topped Fowler 26-6 last week but the Chargers are still two spots back of the Grizzlies in the RPI.  Crowley County is 17th and would not get a bid this week; Fowler is 15th and would be in the playoff field.  They have identical records at 5-2.

The Plains conference currently has five teams in the bracket; Haxtun, Dayspring Christian, Akron, Sedgwick County and Merino.  The Southern would also receive four bids if the pairings were released this week as Calhan, Pikes Peak Christian, Simla and Swink are all in the top 15.


Two league races to keep an eye on are the Foothills and Santa Fe as it’s a good bet only the champion gets a bid and both winners could finish outside the top 16.  Bennett and Platte Canyon currently share the Foothills lead and they play this week.  Bennett has climbed to 16th in RPI but Platte Canyon is only 25th but one will get in a league champion.

Over in the Santa Fe, Peyton and Banning Lewis are tied for the lead but are outside the top 16 this week; the Panthers are 18th and the Stallions are 19th.  They play this week and the winner will get into the playoffs but could bump a member of the top 16.

If the bracket was released this week, the North Central league would get the most bids with five as Limon, Wray, Holyoke, Wiggins and Yuma are all in the top 13 of the standings.


All the league leaders are in the top 16 this week and likely will stay there through the regular season so teams in the 15th and 16th spots don’t have to worry about getting eliminated by league champions sitting below them.

Based on the current RPI standings, half of the 16-team bracket would come from just two conferences as the Patriot West would receive five bids in Eaton, Resurrection Christian, Severance, University and Academy and the Western Slope would quality three in Moffat County, Basalt and Delta.

The Tri Peaks has just one qualifier at this point as Classical Academy would be the only entry.  The Titans currently lead that division and have already beaten top challengers Woodland Park and La Junta.


With three weeks left in the regular season, quite a bit can still change in the RPI standings so these thoughts are a bit early.  Concerning champions, maybe the league to watch is the Denver Prep league where co-leaders George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are 16th and 27th in RPI respectively.  There’s a chance the league winner will finish outside the top 16 and bump a team ranked higher but there’s an equal chance the champion wins out and gets to the top 16.  Still a league to keep an eye for teams in spots 14-16.

The playoff field is currently well balanced as all other leagues other than the Denver Prep would get at least two teams in the bracket.  The North Central 1 (Lutheran, Evergreen, Green Mountain), the North Central 2 (Mead, Holy Family, Frederick) and North Central 3 (Roosevelt, Fort Morgan, Northridge) would receive three bids apiece.

One interesting note this week has the top two teams in RPI meeting as Roosevelt tangles with Fort Morgan for the lead in the North Central 3.


Falcon is 17th and Cheyenne Mountain is 24th in RPI this week but only one of those will get into the playoff bracket.  In the expanded 24-team format, the I-25 conference is considered a development league so only the league champion is eligible for the playoffs.  That team will likely be decided this week as Falcon and Cheyenne Mountain collide.  Widefield, which lost to Falcon last week, remains in the chase as well.

With that in mind, Grand Junction Central would be the last qualifier into the field despite being ranked #25 this week.  They again would move ahead of the loser between Falcon & Cheyenne Mountain.

The current playoff field is dominated by three leagues that have 12 of the top 15 teams in this week’s RPI.  The Southern 1 actually has four teams in the top eight this week (Montrose, Palmer Ridge, Ponderosa & Vista Ridge) with the Metro 1 placing four in the top 12 (Chatfield, Bear Creek, Dakota Ridge & Golden).  The Southern 2 has four league members in the top 15 (Pueblo West, Fountain Fort Carson, Fruita Monument and Mesa Ridge).


The Metro 1 and Metro 2 conferences will send only their champion into the playoff bracket this year.  Fort Collins is alone atop the Metro 1 race and the Lambkins are 13th in RPI so they’re in great shape.  Westminster, at #25, is the next highest ranked league member and is just one game back of Fort Collins but their league loss is against the first-place Lambkins.

The Metro 2 is a mess right now with Denver East, Far Northeast, Rangeview and Overland all 2-1 and sharing first place.  No league member has more than three wins overall so there’s a great chance the eventual winner will finish outside the top 24.  If that happens, they of course would bump the 24th ranked team from the field and that club this week is Rock Canyon.

With the two conferenceS getting just one bid apiece, the remaining leagues in the classification will send quite a few clubs.  Right now, the Jeffco would send all six teams to the playoffs as Ralson Valley, Pomona, Columbine, Arvada West, Lakewood and Mullen are in the top 22.  The Centennial would send five in Cherry Creek, Arapahoe, Grandview, Cherokee Trail and Smoky Hill with the South and Douglas County conferences each sending four.  Pine Creek would be the fifth qualifier from the South but they go into Class 4A for the playoffs.

Legacy is the current leader of the North conference and is 14th in RPI.  Fairview and Rocky Mountain are the only other two league members in the top 24.