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Super Govs

New playoff format could have major implications for William Blount

_MG_9612Governor senior Joel Graham makes the turn after the catch at the Maryville College 7-on-7 camp last month. Photos by Jolanda Jansma

By Stefan Cooper
Blount Press Row

Had the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association’s new Super 6 plan been in place last season, William Blount (2-8) makes the playoffs.

The Governors actually went 2-9 with a bowl game loss at Hardin Valley, but that contest would never have been played. William Blount, with a hot enough finish, could have ended the year at 7-8 and state champions — in the state’s highest classification.

That’s not picking on the Governors, far from it. There are schools all across the state hoping they’re one of the 32 biggest when 2014-15 enrollment figures are submitted next month.

If you can go 0-10 and still make the playoffs, why play the season?

Why not just wait until November, draw straws and have at it?

Are we really ready for a 5-10 state champion!

It’s possible now.

In a move that’s going to take some time to sink in, the TSSAA’s Board of Control voted in a new playoff system on Monday in Hermitage. Beginning with the 2015 season, the state’s 32 largest schools will comprise a new Super 6A classification, with all 32 of its teams automatically qualifying for postseason.

Classes 5A and below will largely continue with the format now in place: the top four teams from each of eight regions statewide comprising the 32-team playoff field. Even in the smallest of regions, you have to win at least a game or two to get in.

Under 2012 enrollment numbers, William Blount (1,722) ranks 31st statewide and is the only Blount County school that would qualify for the Super 6. Heritage (1,570) and Maryville (1,445) would be on the outside looking in at Nos. 42 and 50, respectively.

Schools can opt into the Super 6 if someone wants to move down.

Would you move down to play Maryville?

Then there’s the argument bigger schools equal bigger, better football teams, so the whole thing works out.

The Rebels aren’t favorites to defend their 2013 state championship because they’ve got 150 players out for football this fall. Maryville has become one of the state’s preeminent programs because of its coaching staff, specifically, the guy at the top, head coach George Quarles.

The Rebels win because of him, not the size of the school or the number of players.

Of the 32 teams who would have qualified for the Super 6 last season, nine of them — Warren County (1-9), Bartlett (3-7), Bearden (3-7), Mt. Juliet (4-6), Bolton (1-9), Riverdale (4-6), LaVergne (3-7), Jefferson County (4-6) and William Blount – would have entered postseason with losing records.

That’s almost a third of the teams.

When word of the Super 6 began to circulate, we thought they were kidding. Schools in the lower classifications that still had to qualify for postseason would never go for it. The possibility of a 10-0 team losing one or more of its better players to a 0-10 team in a first-round game would turn the big schools against it, too.

Live and learn, only it remains to be seen what we learn from this.

Go Govs!


The Super 6A
(Based on 2012 enrollments)
1, Wilson Central High School (1714)
2, William Blount High School (1722)
3, Sevier Co High School (1727)
4, Farragut High School (1728)
5, John Overton High School (1744)
6, Franklin High School (1747)
7, Houston High School (1788)
8, Warren Co High School (1821)
9, Bartlett High School (1848)
10, Cordova High School (1851)
11, Hardin Valley Academy (1851)
12, Dobyns-Bennett High School (1856)
13, Siegel High School (1873)
14, Bearden High School (1897)
15, Mt Juliet High School (1903)
16, Ravenwood High School (1906)
17, Oakland High School (1919)
18, Antioch High School (1920)
19, Bolton High School (1952)
20, Collierville High School (1978)
21, Smyrna High School (1998)
22, Riverdale High School (2028)
23, Germantown High School (2038)
24, Whitehaven High School (2076)
25, LaVergne High School (2133)
26, Jefferson Co High School (2147)
27, McGavock High School (2159)
28, Cookeville High School (2163)
29, Science Hill High School (2207)
30, White Station High School (2263)
31, Arlington High School (2315)
32, Blackman High School (2381)

Station Camp High School (1433)
Rossview High School (1442)
Maryville High School (1445)
Morristown East (1445)
Brighton High School (1458)
McMinn Co High School (1472)
Dickson Co High School (1473)
Stewarts Creek High School (1505)
Hendersonville High School (1527)
Walker Valley High School (1565)
Heritage High School (1570)
Hunters Lane High School (1586)
Brentwood High School (1596)
Cane Ridge High School (1603)
Memphis Central High School (1619)
Coffee Co Central High School (1626)
Lebanon High School (1638)
Centennial High School (1655)
Bradley Central High School (1664)
Southwind High School (1702)

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