2019 Tennessee high school football quarterfinals projections

Quarterfinals time! Last week’s Round of 16 projections went 48-12 (80%), bringing the playoff total to 139-29 (82.7%) and the season total to 1557-376 (80.6%). That’s the eighth week of the last nine where the projections have nailed 80% or more of the games played. Pretty good, if you ask me.

I posted the updated TSSAA playoff odds on Twitter on Tuesday. For class-wide analysis, head there, as these are mostly just game picks. In order, here are the projected 2019 BlueCross Bowl matchups:

  • 1A: South Pittsburg vs. Huntingdon
  • 2A: Meigs Co. vs. Peabody
  • 3A: Alcoa vs. Pearl-Cohn
  • 4A: Greeneville vs. Haywood
  • 5A: Powell vs. Shelbyville Central
  • 6A: Maryville vs. Ravenwood
  • II-A: Nashville Christian vs. Friendship Christian
  • II-AA: Evangelical Christian vs. Christ Presbyterian Academy
  • II-AAA: Memphis University vs. McCallie

Also, before we get any further, a quick discussion on the following topic: The Four Most Surprising Entrants in the 2019 TSSAA Quarterfinals, from least- to most-surprising.

  • Giles Co. (15.7% to make quarterfinals) in 3A. Giles County is in 3A-5, the toughest region of 3A, so perhaps they were a little undervalued. They pulled off a mild upset of Fairview in the first round and then a real upset of Stratford in the second to get here. The odds of them advancing past Pearl-Cohn are…slim, sure, but this is still a surprising achievement.
  • Riverside (6.5%) in 2A. If you like basketball comparisons, this offered the same likelihood before the playoffs started as UCF making the Sweet Sixteen in the 2019 NCAA Tournament. And yet: here they are. Riverside stunned Lewis County in the first round and then pulled off another, milder upset of Waverly Central. This was a 5-5 team with an expected record of 6-4 based on point differential, so they were a little better than you’d initially think, but still.
  • Gordonsville (3.7%) in 1A. This doesn’t have as much to do with Gordonsville as it did Gordonsville’s second-round opponent, Whitwell, pulling off the biggest upset of the playoffs of Monterey. Gordonsville did beat Copper Basin as a seven-point underdog, but they were favored to beat their second-round opponent. Had they played Monterey, they likely wouldn’t be here.
  • DeKalb County (1%) in 4A. The stunner of stunners; this would’ve been like Iona defeating North Carolina in the first round last season. DeKalb were big-time dogs to first round opponent Tullahoma; they won, 45-34. They were 19-point underdogs to second-round opponent Marshall County; after trailing 24-14 five minutes left, DeKalb scored twice in the final 4:37 to win, 28-24. This week, they draw Nolensville at home, again as a double-digit underdog. No one would be surprised if they pulled another stunner, right?

The games! Every game, unless I’m told otherwise, starts at 7 PM local time. Some games may be on TV; as best as I can, I’ve tried to reflect that. Otherwise, the projection provides all the information you really need. At the tail end of the post, there will be some additional analysis of each class. What games have the most at stake? What’s the highest-quality matchup out there? First, here’s the predictions.

1A

  • (R2 #2) Oliver Springs 17 at (R2 #1) Greenback 31
  • (R4 #3) Gordonsville 7 at (R3 #1) South Pittsburg 47
  • (R6 #1) Huntingdon 36 at (R5 #1) Huntland 16 (Thursday)
  • (R7 #2) West Carroll 14 at (R7 #1) Lake Co. 45

2A

  • (R2 #2) Oneida 13 at (R2 #1) Meigs Co. 31
  • (R4 #2) Trousdale Co. 24 at (R4 #1) Watertown 20
  • (R6 #3) Riverside 11 at (R5 #1) Forrest 26
  • (R8 #1) Fairley 15 at (R7 #1) Peabody 33

3A

  • (R2 #2) Austin-East 9 at (R2 #1) Alcoa 40
  • (R3 #2) Red Bank 20 at (R3 #1) Loudon 25
  • (R5 #4) Giles Co. 7 at (R5 #1) Pearl-Cohn 38
  • (R8 #1) Wooddale 19 at (R7 #3) Covington 28

4A

  • (R1 #2) Greeneville 25.88 at (R1 #1) Elizabethton 25.92
  • (R4 #2) Nolensville 28 at (R3 #2) DeKalb Co. 17
  • (R6 #1) Hardin Co. 24 at (R5 #1) Springfield 18
  • (R7 #2) Crockett Co. 24 at (R7 #1) Haywood 35

5A

  • (R2 #2) Central 22 at (R2 #1) South-Doyle 28
  • (R3 #2) Knoxville West 20 at (R3 #1) Powell 27 (7:00 PM ET, WVLT-TV)
  • (R5 #3) Summit 23 at (R5 #2) Shelbyville Central 25
  • (R7 #2) Dyer Co. 24 at (R7 #1) Henry Co. 29

6A

  • (R2 #1) Maryville 27 at (R1 #1) Dobyns-Bennett 20
  • (R3 #2) Blackman 20 at (R3 #1) Oakland 37
  • (R6 #2) Ravenwood 27 at (R6 #1) Brentwood 19 (7:00 PM CT, WUXP-TV)
  • (R8 #1) Whitehaven 19 at (R7 #1) Houston 24

II-A

  • (W #2) Davidson Academy 22.8 at (E #1) Friendship Christian 23.3
  • (W #3) University School of Jackson 18 at (W #1) Nashville Christian 29

II-AA

  • (M #4) Lipscomb Academy 18 at (M #1) Christ Presbyterian Academy 26
  • (W #2) Lausanne Collegiate 13 at (W #1) Evangelical Christian 33

II-AAA

  • (E #3) Ensworth 23 at (E #1) McCallie 29
  • (W #3) Montgomery Bell Academy 18 at (W #1) Memphis University 20

30 games in all, with the private school finalists being decided this week. Very exciting times! Here’s the best game by class, with their class-wide ranking next to their name.

  • 1A: (R6 #1) #2 Huntingdon at (R5 #1) #8 Huntland
  • 2A: (R4 #2) #2 Trousdale Co. at (R4 #1) #4 Watertown
  • 3A: (R3 #2) #5 Red Bank at (R3 #1) #3 Loudon
  • 4A: (R1 #2) #1 Greeneville at (R1 #1) #2 Elizabethton
  • 5A: (R3 #2) #2 Knoxville West at (R3 #1) #1 Powell
  • 6A: (R2 #1) #1 Maryville at (R1 #1) #6 Dobyns-Bennett
  • II-A: (W #2) #2 Davidson Academy at (E #1) #4 Friendship Christian
  • II-AA: (M #4) #3 Lipscomb Academy at (M #1) #2 Christ Presbyterian Academy
  • II-AAA: (E #3) #3 Ensworth at (E #1) #1 McCallie

Various notes:

  • The 4A and 5A titles feel like they’ll be decided this week. In both classes, the #1 and #2 teams in my ratings play each other, though the 5A winner will likely have to play #3 South-Doyle on the road next week. Either way, we’re about to see a title favorite or #2 contender get knocked out in both classes. Such is the fun of this current system.
  • There will be several upsets. I think my 80%+ streak ends this week. Favorites are expected to go just 22-8, or around 73%, which would be the worst week since Week 1. 16 of the 30 games are projected to finish with a single-digit margin, and I only count four 30+ point blowouts. It’s a tight, tough week, and a lot is up for grabs.
  • A lot of title favorites have really hard games. I already discussed 4A and 5A, so let’s discuss the rest. Ravenwood, the temporary favorite in 6A, has to beat Brentwood on the road (69.8% odds of happening). Maryville has a tough game with Dobyns-Bennett (66.3%). Nashville Christian has to beat USJ (75.8%) to make the title game. McCallie, the best team in Tennessee this season, has just a 62.2% shot of beating Ensworth and making the II-AAA title game. It’s a thin margin, and someone is going to go home very sad on Friday night.
  • Notable streaks or droughts on the line this week, in no order:
    • Maryville has made the state semifinals 19 years in a row, their last quarterfinals loss being to Knoxville Central in 1999.
    • The winner of Nolensville/DeKalb County will be making the state semifinals for the first time in school history.
    • Fairley, West Carroll, and Wooddale have never made the state semifinals. 
    • Dyer County hasn’t made the state semifinals since 1976.
    • Hardin County hasn’t made the state semifinals since 1998.
    • Huntland hasn’t made the state semifinals since 1998.
    • Houston hasn’t made the state semifinals since 2001.
    • Oneida hasn’t made the state semifinals since 2008.

Best of luck to all teams still in the playoffs!

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