How the stats would’ve picked this year’s (theoretical) 2020 NCAA Tournament

BIG OL’ EDITOR’S NOTEEverything you are reading, as follows, is a hypothetical simulation. The 2020 NCAA Tournament obviously did not happen, but I’ve pieced together a field that A. seems realistic and B. helps me waste more time by thinking about it.

So, here we are. I don’t know how much everyone reading this has changed their lives to reflect our global issues, but I do think we all should. The NCAA certainly did, and it’s tough to be rational about it, but we have to. That said, this is our time.

Something I’ve done just about every year since I knew what statistics were was create a mock NCAA Tournament bracket before the real one. This bracket would reflect how I would pick every game when the time came simply because I like being prepared. For the 2019 Tournament, I created a Google Doc that had stats for every seed line. All of this, objectively, would sound purely ridiculous to someone who spends less than ~2 months of the year thinking about college basketball. And yet: I got three of the four Final Four teams right and you didn’t. I’m sorry, that’s a ridiculous brag, but I had to fit it in somewhere.

Anyway, that’s a long way of saying that in the midst of the NCAA Tournament uncertainty on Thursday, I decided to create a fake bracket on my lunch break at my day job. The Google Doc for this one is titled “Let’s have some fun,” because it should be. Here’s how I made my field of 68:

  • For the most part, I just took the highest-rated conference champion for the Big Six and assumed no bid thieves. Cincinnati technically won the AAC due to the cancellations, so I let them in without a further simulation.
  • For the other 26 conferences, I ran RAND() functions in Excel based on the likelihood that the best team in each conference would win it. This was to reflect that upsets frequently happen in conference tournaments. As such, we ended up with 11 non-first-place conference tournament winners, which is actually a little lower than you’d expect, but makes sense given our restrictions. To save time, every conference that had a team at >50% to win the conference tournament was given a pass into the field. Seemed fair and seemed realistic; I am not God.
  • At-larges made the field on a combination of their Bracket Matrix average seed and Bart Torvik’s projected average seed. This shifted the field a small amount, but 66 of the 68 teams that would’ve made the Matrix’s field of 68 as an at-large made mine. (Xavier and NC State are in my field, while UCLA and Stanford are not. Sorry to all Pac-12 fans; I can create a contingency bracket if you want.)
  • Lastly, the field was seeded 1-68 on said seeding combination. It feels right, and I like how it turned out.

Enough wailing. Here’s your field. Where necessary, I’ve included an asterisk* where the conference champion was someone other than the 1 seed.

The 2020 Will Warren Invitational Field of 68

  • 1 seeds: Kansas, Gonzaga, Baylor, Dayton
  • 2 seeds: San Diego State, Florida State, Villanova, Michigan State
  • 3 seeds: Creighton, Duke, Maryland, Seton Hall
  • 4 seeds: Oregon, Kentucky, Louisville, Ohio State
  • 5 seeds: Wisconsin, Butler, BYU, West Virginia
  • 6 seeds: Michigan, Auburn, Penn State, Iowa
  • 7 seeds: Virginia, Illinois, Arizona, Houston
  • 8 seeds: Colorado, St. Mary’s (CA), Providence, Marquette
  • 9 seeds: Rutgers, LSU, Florida, Oklahoma
  • 10 seeds: USC, Texas Tech, Indiana, Arizona State
  • 11 seeds: Utah State, Wichita State/Xavier, Cincinnati, East Tennessee State
  • 12 seeds: Richmond/NC State, Yale, Stephen F. Austin, Liberty
  • 13 seeds: Vermont, New Mexico State, Belmont, Western Kentucky*
  • 14 seeds: Bradley*, Hofstra, Northern Colorado*, North Dakota State*
  • 15 seeds: Texas State*, Winthrop*, Northern Kentucky*, Ohio*
  • 16 seeds: UC Santa Barbara*, Boston University*, Siena/North Carolina Central, Robert Morris/Jackson State*

First four out: Stanford, Texas, UCLA, Mississippi State
Next four out: Northern Iowa, Purdue, Arkansas, Oklahoma State

A quick Q&A session, based on questions I would imagine people asking:

  • Why is Baylor the third overall seed? By Kansas winning the Big 12 Tournament here, we’re assuming Baylor now has four losses on the season, which, in my mind, would elevate Gonzaga to the second overall seed. I don’t know, dude, I just did it because I felt like it.
  • Explain Creighton and Duke as 3 seeds. Creighton was white hot down the stretch of the season; Duke was not, but they are named Duke, so we all rightfully expect them to win the ACC. Again, in our simulation, Florida State won it, so a 3 seed feels accurate. Meanwhile, Creighton did win the Big East in this simulation, but Villanova ranked ahead of them. Why? 1. Ask someone who does this for a living I really don’t know. 2. It actually isn’t that absurd; by Wins Above Bubble, Villanova ranks 7th and Creighton 9th.
  • Kentucky as a 4??? Hater! Correct! I do not like Kentucky. Anyway, this is a team that didn’t crack the KenPom top 20 after January and closed the season 12th in WAB. I’m gonna guess that the teams in actual good conferences would’ve gotten the nod ahead of them. Everyone really undersold how awful it was to watch SEC basketball this season.
  • Explain the Last Four In. Again, not God, but a very white guy who’s drinking coffee out of a Charleston Rainbow Row cup as I type. Anyway:
    • Wichita State ranked 31st in WAB, had good metrics across Torvik and KenPom, and, in our simulation, wins at least one AAC Tournament game.
    • Xavier only ranked 46th, but they had no true bad losses (16-2 against Qs 2-4) and had a true marquee win: their 74-62 road victory over Seton Hall in early February.
    • Richmond: 38th in WAB, made the A10 championship game in our simulation. Xavier got the 11 seed nod only because they were in a significantly stronger conference.
    • NC State: On first run, this was Stanford, but then Stanford totally blew it to Cal in their lone Pac-12 Tournament game…which pushed NCSU just over the edge. They ranked almost exactly the same in metrics averages, but NCSU had a slightly better WAB with one additional Q1&Q2 win. I don’t like either team, to be honest.
  • Explain those who got left out. Just discussed Stanford. UCLA had a worse WAB than any of the four who got in and farted around for half the season. Texas did have a good-enough WAB at 39th but left an awful impression on the committee with a Big 12 quarterfinals loss to Texas Tech, another bubble team. Mississippi State lost to Florida in the SEC quarterfinals and had a worse WAB than the four who got in. The only team in Next Four Out that had a realistic case to me was Northern Iowa, who ranked 41st in WAB, but I simply couldn’t imagine a committee rewarding a blowout MVC quarters loss to Drake with even a First Four Out nod, sadly.

Okay! That’s a lot of words! You came here for a bracket.

The Will Warren 2020 Invitational Bracket

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2019 Tennessee high school football championship game projections

Finally, after 16 weeks, we’ve made it. This weekend, the TSSAA high school football championships take place in Cookeville. I want to thank everyone who has read, shared, discussed, or noted in some fashion the work I’ve done with these this season. It was a huge leap of faith to assume anyone would be interested in a 342-team analytical preview of Tennessee high school football; it was an even bigger leap of faith to assume anyone would read a Week 7 preview of 100+ games. And yet: we made it. Thank you, everyone, for your support. I don’t know what this will look like in 2020 yet, but I’m hoping it’ll be even better.

There are nine games this week; there were 12 last week. The projections went 8-4 (66.7%) in said games, right along with the expectation. The playoff record is currently 168-42 (80%); the overall record is 1586-389 (80.3%). That’s a good year, and it somehow bested the King of Picks, Donovan Stewart, which I am fairly proud of. (However, Donovan has forgotten more about high school football than I will ever know, so listen to him more than me.)

In order of date and time, the games are listed below, with a short preview for each. All times listed are Central, so games start at 12 PM ET/11 AM CT, 4 PM ET/3 PM CT, and 8 PM ET/7 PM CT each day.

II-A

Thursday, December 5, 11 AM CT

  • (W #3) University School of Jackson 22 vs. (W #2) Davidson Academy 21

Odds of USJ making final: 25.8%
Odds of Davidson Academy making final: 55.8%
Combined odds of this being eventual title game: 14.4%; third-most likely title game

These two schools have taken fun routes to get here. USJ demolished its first two Playoff opponents before drawing Nashville Christian in the semifinal round, a team they lost to 28-27 in the regular season. USJ jumped out to an early lead and never relented, getting into the title game with a 28-7 win. Davidson’s season can be divided neatly into Pre-Nashville Christian and Post-Nashville Christian. A home loss to Franklin Road in Week 1 parlayed itself into a tough road loss to Nashville Christian in Week 3 for an 0-2 start. Davidson is undefeated since, with their latest accomplishment being a relatively easy 27-10 win over Friendship in the semifinals. The system very slightly favors USJ, but Davidson beat USJ 21-12 in the regular season at home.

II-AA

Thursday, December 5, 3 PM CT

  • (W #1) Evangelical Christian 22 vs. (M #1) Christ Presbyterian Academy 20

Odds of Evangelical making final: 69.8%
Odds of CPA making final: 49.4%
Combined odds: 34.5%; most likely title game

No real surprise here as these have been the two best teams in II-AA for most of the season. Evangelical beat everyone but Houston on their schedule and only had serious struggles with Lausanne (21-14 win, regular season) and Battle Ground Academy (quarterfinal round) in the process. CPA, however, took the most challenging route possible to get here for their title defense. Losers of their first four games, it wasn’t until Region play started that they got rolling. When they did, it was over quickly: four Region games plus three Playoff games have resulted in a total margin of 229-63 in their seven wins. CPA lost to Evangelical 30-6 in Week 1, but a lot has changed for CPA since then.

II-AAA

Thursday, December 5, 7 PM CT

  • (W #3) Montgomery Bell Academy 20 vs. (E #1) McCallie 22

Odds of MBA making final: 13.7%
Odds of McCallie making final: 58.1%
Combined odds: 8%; not in top five of most likely title games

MBA getting here feels like a surprise. None of their four losses this season were by more than eight points, but several of their wins – by scores of 17-14, 15-7, 10-7, 12-7 – were just as close. And yet: here they are. McCallie, meanwhile, has shaken off a two-loss streak to end the season and has looked the part of a title contender in their two Playoff games. It’s not quite the McCallie/Baylor showdown once promised, but this should be one of the three best title games of the weekend.

1A

Friday, December 6, 11 AM CT

  • (R7 #1) Lake Co. 32 vs. (R2 #1) Greenback 28

Odds of Lake Co. making final: 48.9%
Odds of Greenback making final: 24.7%
Combined odds: 12.1%; fourth-most likely title game

It shouldn’t be stunning that either of these teams are here; there were a clear top four teams in 1A this season, and both of these teams belonged to the pack. However, it was a bit surprising to see these two edge out their opponents in the fashion that they did. Lake County hasn’t been touched by anyone since Week 2 against Crockett County, but I expected Huntingdon to be a tougher opponent than they were; Lake won 30-20. Greenback continued their remarkable turnaround from an 0-2 start into a 12-0 run, beating the South Pittsburg team that battled Huntingdon for the #1 spot for the entire season in my ratings. Both teams score lots of points, and I’m hopeful that we get a shootout to start Friday.

3A

Friday, December 6, 3 PM CT

  • (R5 #1) Pearl-Cohn 20 vs. (R2 #1) Alcoa 24

Odds of Pearl-Cohn making final: 76%
Odds of Alcoa making final: 76.1%
Combined odds: 57.8%; most likely title game

Here’s another one the system nailed with ease. These were the two best teams in 3A from wire-to-wire, with the only battle being between which team ranked atop my weekly 3A poll. The system initially favored P-C by a tiny amount to start the playoffs, but Alcoa’s been more impressive in dispatching their overwhelmed opponents. P-C’s had a couple of strugglefests, and for that reason, it projects Alcoa to win its fifth straight 3A title. It’s the only remaining title streak above one right now.

5A

Friday, December 6, 7 PM CT

  • (R5 #3) Summit 23 vs. (R2 #2) Central 25

Odds of Summit making final: 3.6%
Odds of Central making final: 1.3%
Combined odds: 0.04%; not in top five, top ten, or top 20 most likely title games

This is the stunner of the year. Both schools enter the game 12-2, but Summit got demolished by Shelbyville late in the season and finished third in their own Region. Meanwhile, Central also got demolished by South-Doyle and lost their final game to Gibbs. This was after some lackluster outings against Fulton (13-12 win) and Hardin Valley (16-7) in a title defense that didn’t meet my expectations. Summit had to win three road games to get here. Central just had to win one, but it was a rematch with South-Doyle that they escaped with a 20-16 win. This wasn’t a final anyone saw coming, even if you were much higher on Central than I was. The nice thing about high school athletics is that it often provides us unexpected events that make little-to-no sense, yet are worth celebrating. Let’s enjoy the weirdness of either of these schools winning.

2A

Saturday, December 7, 11 AM CT

  • (R7 #1) Peabody 25 vs. (R2 #1) Meigs Co. 23

Odds of Peabody making final: 74.8%
Odds of Meigs Co. making final: 49.5%

Combined odds: 37%; most likely title game

No real surprise here, as, again, these were the two best teams in 2A for most of the season. Last year’s champion Peabody could reasonably not be here, though: after a season full of blowouts, they very nearly took a home loss in the quarterfinals to Fairley as a massive favorite…before Fairley’s quarterback threw an interception and fumbled a snap on a kneeldown in the final three minutes. Meigs suffered one loss all season, a 27-16 toughie to South Pittsburg, and mostly blew out the rest. It had to fight for a full 48 against Trousdale County last week, the third-best team in 2A, but managed to get here. Peabody obviously won last season and in 2014, but Meigs has never won; this is their first title game appearance since 1995. History may be in the making.

4A

Saturday, December 7, 3 PM CT

  • (R5 #1) Springfield 11 vs. (R1 #1) Elizabethton 35

Odds of Springfield making final: 4.4%
Odds of Elizabethton making final: 29.7%

Combined odds: 1.3%; not in top ten most likely title games

Elizabethton was the expected winner of the top half of the Class and comes out as the clear best team in 4A; when you beat Greeneville and demolish Nolensville, you’ve clearly earned that right. Springfield feels like such a random title game entrant, having gone 7-3 in the regular season with the fourth-best point differential in its own Region. And yet: they are massively clutch in close games. Springfield went 5-1 in games decided by a touchdown or less this season, including back-to-back overtime wins over Hardin Co. and Haywood to get here. They have a little bit of the Team of Destiny vibe, certainly. But Elizabethton feels clearly better, as would’ve any of the Big Three from East Tennessee.

6A

Saturday, December 7, 7 PM CT

  • (R6 #2) Ravenwood 25 at (R2 #1) Maryville 26

Odds of Ravenwood making final: 35.2%
Odds of Maryville making final: 42%

Combined odds: 14.8%; most likely title game

I’ve been hoping for this one ever since the system pinpointed Ravenwood as the best team in Regions 5-8 in this class in August. They struggled at times, certainly, but two resounding demolitions of Brentwood (34-6) and Houston (42-21) make them a clear, formidable foe for the almighty Maryville. The Rebels have been tested at times this year, but have passed every challenge: 17-3 over Alcoa, 35-24 over a surprisingly tough Farragut team, 12-0 over Oakland in the semifinal. Ravenwood’s path has been tougher, but I still give the very slight edge to Maryville.

Best of luck to all teams this week, and thank you to the fans of all 342 teams covered this year for a great season.

Credit to The Daily Times.

2019 Tennessee high school football Semifinals projections

Hello! We’re in the next-to-last week of these projections. Analysis is limited, as I’m out of town at family Thanksgiving. Last week’s picks went 21-9 (70%), or one below the expected record of 22-8. Overall playoff record is now 160-38 (80.8%), which is solid and fine. Here are the games. (Remember, private schools are off this week.)

1A

  • (R3 #1) South Pittsburg 31 at (R2 #1) Greenback 26
  • (R7 #1) Lake Co. 30 at (R6 #1) Huntingdon 33

2A

  • (R4 #2) Trousdale Co. 21 at (R2 #1) Meigs Co. 23
  • (R7 #1) Peabody 32 at (R6 #3) Riverside 10

3A

  • (R3 #1) Loudon 17 at (R2 #1) Alcoa 30
  • (R7 #3) Covington 16 at (R5 #1) Pearl-Cohn 29

4A

  • (R4 #2) Nolensville 17 at (R1 #1) Elizabethton 28
  • (R7 #1) Haywood 29 at (R5 #1) Springfield 23

5A

  • (R3 #2) Knoxville West 26 at (R2 #2) Central 21 (7:00 PM ET, WVLT-TV)
  • (R7 #2) Dyer Co. 24 at (R5 #3) Summit 30

6A

  • (R3 #1) Oakland 23 at (R2 #1) Maryville 34
  • (R7 #1) Houston 24 at (R6 #2) Ravenwood 31

No new playoff odds on Twitter this week – I ended up being way too busy to get them done in image form, but they do exist. Regardless, you can…pretty easily figure out the projected title games. Next week’s title game analysis, obviously, will be much more robust, as I will not be traveling to three cities in two days.

Best of luck to all teams this week!

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!

2019 Tennessee high school football Round of 16 projections

The second round has arrived! Last week, these projections went 91-17 (84.3%), an excellent start. That brings these projections to 1509-364 (80.6%) on the full season, which, again, is a little above what I’d hoped for. Not bad.

This week on Twitter, I posted the updated TSSAA playoff odds, which, as far as I know, aren’t affected by the latest Powell allegations. In order, the current BlueCross Bowl game projections are listed by class. The favorites come first, then the runner-ups, with each team’s most recent title in parentheses:

  • 1A: South Pittsburg (2010) over Huntingdon (2003)
  • 2A: Peabody (2018) over Meigs Co. (never; made final in 1980, 1995)
  • 3A: Alcoa (2018) over Pearl-Cohn (1997)
  • 4A: Elizabethton (1938) over Haywood (never; made final in 1994, 1995, 2018)
  • 5A: Powell (never; made final in 1991, 2011) over Henry Co. (2013)
  • 6A: Maryville (2017) over Ravenwood (2015)
  • II-A: Nashville Christian (2015) over Davidson Academy (2018)
  • II-AA: Evangelical Christian (2005) over Christ Presbyterian Academy (2018)
  • II-AAA: McCallie (2001) over Baylor (1973)

If you have a complaint about these, please post them on the CoachT message boards, because I enjoy the grammar.

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 29 at (R1 #1) Cloudland 15
  • (R2 #3) Coalfield 16 at (R2 #1) Greenback 34
  • (R3 #4) Whitwell 22 at (R4 #3) Gordonsville 28
  • (R4 #2) Clay Co. 7 at (R3 #1) South Pittsburg 40
  • (R5 #2) Cornersville 9 at (R6 #1) Huntingdon 43
  • (R6 #2) McEwen 24 at (R5 #1) Huntland 21
  • (R7 #2) West Carroll 21 at (R8 #1) Middle College 33
  • (R8 #2) Memphis Academy of Science and Engineering 8 at (R7 #1) Lake Co. 49

2A

  • (R2 #2) Oneida 19 at (R1 #1) Hampton 25
  • (R1 #2) South Greene 14 at (R2 #1) Meigs Co. 33
  • (R4 #2) Trousdale Co. 25 at (R3 #1) Tyner Academy 24
  • (R3 #2) Bledsoe Co. 13 at (R4 #1) Watertown 31
  • (R6 #3) Riverside 16 at (R6 #1) Waverly Central 24
  • (R5 #3) Eagleville 14 at (R5 #1) Forrest 29
  • (R7 #2) Union City 21 at (R8 #1) Fairley 33
  • (R7 #3) McKenzie 9 at (R7 #1) Peabody 39

3A

  • (R2 #3) GPittman 10 at (R2 #1) Alcoa 40
  • (R2 #4) Kingston 16 at (R2 #2) Austin-East 32
  • (R4 #2) Smith Co. 11 at (R3 #1) Loudon 38
  • (R3 #2) Red Bank 20 at (R4 #1) Upperman 21
  • (R5 #4) Giles Co. 20 at (R5 #2) Stratford 25
  • (R5 #3) East Nashville 11 at (R5 #1) Pearl-Cohn 32
  • (R7 #3) Covington 24 at (R7 #1) South Gibson 23
  • (R7 #2) Milan 22 at (R8 #1) Wooddale 25

4A

  • (R1 #2) Greeneville 30 at (R2 #1) Anderson Co. 26 (7:00 PM ET, WVLT-TV)
  • (R1 #3) Sullivan South 12 at (R1 #1) Elizabethton 35
  • (R3 #2) DeKalb Co. 14 at (R4 #1) Marshall Co. 33
  • (R4 #2) Nolensville 17 at (R3 #1) Livingston Academy 26
  • (R5 #2) Creek Wood 16 at (R6 #1) Hardin Co. 29
  • (R6 #2) Lexington 21 at (R5 #1) Springfield 23
  • (R7 #3) Ripley 13 at (R7 #1) Haywood 38
  • (R7 #2) Crockett Co. 29 at (R8 #1) Millington Central 19

5A

  • (R1 #2) Daniel Boone 17 at (R2 #1) South-Doyle 32
  • (R2 #4) Gibbs 25 at (R2 #2) Central 29
  • (R3 #4) Oak Ridge 14 at (R3 #2) Knoxville West 33
  • (R4 #2) Rhea Co. 13 at (R3 #1) Powell 35 
  • (R5 #2) Shelbyville Central 25 at (R6 #1) Beech 24 (7:00 PM CT, WUXP-TV)
  • (R5 #3) Summit 22 at (R5 #1) Page 24
  • (R7 #3) Clarksville 14 at (R7 #1) Henry Co. 34
  • (R7 #2) Dyer Co. 32 at (R8 #1) Southwind 27

6A

  • (R1 #2) Farragut 14 at (R2 #1) Maryville 37
  • (R1 #3) Bearden 16 at (R1 #1) Dobyns-Bennett 33
  • (R3 #2) Blackman 25 at (R4 #1) Hendersonville 24
  • (R4 #2) Mount Juliet 13 at (R3 #1) Oakland 41
  • (R6 #2) Ravenwood 31 at (R5 #1) Cane Ridge 20
  • (R6 #3) Independence 17 at (R6 #1) Brentwood 27
  • (R8 #2) White Station 17 at (R7 #1) Houston 33
  • (R8 #3) Memphis Central 7 at (R8 #1) Whitehaven 29

II-A

  • (E #3) Donelson Christian Academy 14 at (W #2) Davidson Academy 29
  • (W #5) Fayette Academy 17 at (W #1) Nashville Christian 37
  • (W #3) University School of Jackson 33 at (E #2) King’s Academy 21
  • (W #4) Columbia Academy 20 at (E #1) Friendship Christian 29

II-AA

  • (W #2) Lausanne Collegiate 20 at (M #2) Franklin Road Academy 31
  • (M #4) Lipscomb Academy 23 at (E #1) Grace Christian 25
  • (E #2) Chattanooga Christian 19 at (M #1) Christ Presbyterian Academy 27
  • (M #3) Battle Ground Academy 17 at (W #1) Evangelical Christian 29

II-AAA

  • (W #4) Christian Brothers 16 at (E #1) McCallie 34
  • (E #3) Ensworth 25 at (W #2) Briarcrest Christian 24
  • (E #4) Knox Catholic 22 at (W #1) Memphis University 31
  • (W #3) Montgomery Bell Academy 14 at (E #2) Baylor 24

Below are the best games by class, per my Game Score metric, along with how each team ranks in my Class Ratings. The parentheses is their region and seed; the number directly to the left of the team name is how they rank in their given class.

  • 1A: (R6 #2) #8 McEwen at (R5 #1) #9 Huntland
  • 2A: (R4 #2) #3 Trousdale Co. at (R3 #1) #5 Tyner Academy
  • 3A: (R7 #3) #4 Covington at (R7 #1) #7 South Gibson
  • 4A: (R1 #2) #1 Greeneville at (R2 #1) #3 Anderson Co.
  • 5A: (R5 #2) #4 Shelbyville Central at (R6 #1) #6 Beech
  • 6A: (R3 #2) #11 Blackman at (R4 #1) #14 Hendersonville
  • II-A: (W #4) #5 Columbia Academy at (E #1) #4 Friendship Christian
  • II-AA: (M #4) #5 Lipscomb Academy at (E #1) #6 Grace Christian
  • II-AAA: (E #3) #3 Ensworth at (W #2) #6 Briarcrest Christian

Various notes:

  • There’s a decent chance a title favorite loses. I have the nine favorites as collectively possessing a 40% chance of coming out of the second round unscathed. In order, the most likely upsets: Battle Ground Academy over Evangelical Christian (23.7% chance of happening), Christian Brothers over McCallie (14%), Fayette Academy over Nashville Christian (11.8%). As a bonus, the most likely public school upset: Rhea Co. over Powell (10%).
  • Also, plenty of other upsets! Favorites are expected to go 45.5-14.5 this week. In less silly terms: they’ll win about 75.9% of their games. You can expect 14-15 upsets, which would be 2-3 less than happened last week despite 48 fewer games. These games are much better.
  • Most vulnerable 10%+ championship contenders in each class:
    • 1A: South Pittsburg (2.5% chance of losing to Clay Co.)
    • 2A: Meigs Co. (13.7% chance of losing to South Greene)
    • 3A: Pearl-Cohn (10.6% chance of losing to East Nashville)
    • 4A: Greeneville (40.1% chance of losing to Anderson Co.)
    • 5A: South-Doyle (17.5% chance of losing to Daniel Boone)
    • 6A: Ravenwood (26.8% chance of losing to Cane Ridge)
    • II-A: Friendship Christian (30.5% chance of losing to Columbia Academy)
    • II-AA: Christ Presbyterian (30.6% chance of losing to Chattanooga Christian)
    • II-AAA: Ensworth (47.7% chance of losing to Briarcrest Christian)

Best of luck to all teams involved this week!