Football practice opens on Monday and in addition to the two-year cycle of realignment and classification moves, the 2018 season brings with it many changes. First and foremost, there are changes to the playoff formats across all divisions.
League races and RPI standings will still be utilized to determine which teams advance to the playoffs. 24 teams will qualify for the post-season in Class 5A and the remaining divisions will send 16. Conference champions will earn automatic bids even if they don’t finish in the top 16 of RPI. At large berths will again be determined by RPI results, but now a seeding committee will lay out the bracket and use more data than just RPI to formalize the pairings. Common opponents, strength of schedule and head-to-head competition are other factors that can be used.
Higher seeds will continue to host first round playoff games but future game site decisions are also altered a bit for the 11-man divisions. In past years, a coin flip was used to determine the game site if both teams had played the same number of home games. But for this season, if both teams have played the same amount of home games, then the higher seed will host. And in Classes 2A-5A, if conference teams face off in the playoffs and have the same amount of home games, then the club that finished higher in the league standings will host. As it stands right now, coin flips will still be utilized in the six and eight man divisions.
State championship games for Classes 2A and 3A have also reverted back to a neutral site. As of this writing, these sites have not been determined. Classes 4A and 5A will again crown their champions at Mile High Stadium. Classes 1A, 8man and 6man state championship games will continue at home sites.
Another change in the championship round involves the six-man classification. The title game has been pushed back a week and is set for November 24th; the same championship date for eight-man, Class 1A and Class 2A. In past years, the six-man finals were played a week prior to the other three.
The state championship games for Classes 3A, 4A and 5A will conclude the season on December 1st.
Regular season scheduling also gets a small change this year. Zero week has been eliminated so schools do not need permission from CHSAA to play “a week early”. With the slight change, all teams could now receive a bye during the regular season. Classes 3A and 4A play a 10-game regular season and will have 11 weeks to do so. The remaining divisions can play up to nine regular season games and will have 10 weeks to compete. Opening games can take place until August 23-25th.
Two new programs offer a varsity football program for the first time this Fall. Riverdale Ridge will be included in Class 2A and compete in the Colorado conference. Northfield is also a new member of the 3A North Metro conference.
Calhan also resurfaces with a football program in eight-man and will compete in the Southern division. The school combined with nearby Peyton for football the past two years.
Teams changing classifications include:
Defending State Champions
- 6man: Peetz
- 8man: Sedgwick County
- Class 1A: Strasburg
- Class 2A; Bayfield
- Class 3A; Palmer Ridge
- Class 4A: Pueblo South
- Class 5A: Pomona
A complete list of conference alignments in all classifications can be seen here.
Colorado Preps will continue in-depth coverage of each division with our weekly classification reports. Season previews will be produced the week of August 20th. Our network will also present stories on top returning players until then. The Friday Night Scoreboard Show is again presented by Colorado Farm Bureau Insurance and will present complete coverage beginning Friday August 24th.