PROJECTING 3A FOOTBALL BRACKET

Official 3A football playoff pairings will be released by CHSAA on Sunday but as always, we try to predict the bracket the day before.  RPI standings have not been made official and we’re using those posted on the CHSAA website as of 2:15pm Saturday.  We believe there are a couple of games not posted that could impact the final few berths but for these purposes we will use the numbers.
Seeding guidelines involve conference championship, league standings and RPI for the most part.  Travel can also be tossed in there as well.  League champions are guaranteed a home game and top eight seed if they finish in the top 16 of RPI.  If not, they can be placed anywhere in the bracket.  This comes into play this year involving Pueblo East as the three-time defending state champions are outside the top 16 but captured their conference title.
Another factor is conference standings.  Basically, a league champion must come off the board and placed in the bracket before the second-place team can be considered.  Then the second-place team must be pulled into the bracket before the committee can look at the third-place squad and so on.  This becomes a factor as well this year as five teams from the Tri Valley could qualify.
With all those factors involved, here is our projected bracket for Class 3A.  We stress projected as these are based on RPI standings that have not been finalized.
 

#1 Mead vs #16 Discovery Canyon

#8 Longmont vs #9 Skyview

#4 Canon City vs #13 Thomas Jefferson

#5 Erie vs #12 Rifle

#3 Roosevelt vs #14 Harrison

#6 Palisade vs #11 Durango

#7 Evergreen vs #10 Pueblo East

#2 Palmer Ridge vs #15 Berthoud

 
Pueblo East is again the wildcard.  We move them to 10th because they must be seeded higher than Durango and Harrison as they beat both opponents and finished higher in their conference standings.  That leaves Durango 11th and Harrison 14th in our bracket.  Berthoud and Discovery Canyon exchange positions to avoid conference matchups with Mead and Palmer Ridge.
Frederick could be the hard luck team.  They were 16th in RPI and normally that would be good enough to get the Warriors in but with Pueblo East behind, they lose out because the Eagles must get in as a league champion.
Our top eight is strictly RPI involving the six conference champions and the two highest rated wildcards (Roosevelt & Erie).
If Pueblo East gets into the top 16, then the bracket will change again as the Eagles will climb all the way to the eighth spot with Erie dropping down to at least ninth.  This bracket could shape up like this.
 

#1 Mead vs #16 Discovery Canyon

#8 Pueblo East vs #9 Erie

#4 Canon City vs #13 Thomas Jefferson

#5 Palisade vs #12 Durango

#3 Roosevelt vs #14 Harrison

#6 Evergreen vs #11 Rifle

#7 Longmont vs #10 Skyview

#2 Palmer Ridge vs #15 Berthoud

 
This bracket lays out nicely but we exchanged Rifle and Durango to avoid a first round pairing between Rifle and Palisade.  This move also shores up some travel issues as well.  Berthoud and Discovery Canyon are again flipped for the same reason as listed above.
 
 

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