We’re moving closer to where power rankings matter and teams start combing through possible scenarios, but it’s worth noting that Division III is going to see an extra shakeup between this week (Week 9) and next (Week 10).
The rankings will be frozen after next week’s are released, and Higley is going to be a wild card.
That’s because the Knights’ appeal to have their first two games of the season re-instated (both wins) was denied after using what turned out to be an ineligible player against Yuma and Desert View.
The appeal was denied by the AIA Executive Board on Monday, but the power rankings were pretty much done since all results were accounted for, so while Higley is sitting at No. 9 at 7-1, the reality (starting next week) is the Knights are going to be 5-1 and their “ranking” will be based out of eight games.
This might be the point where folks cry foul.
Yuma (No. 39 at 1-7 in Div. II) and Desert View (No. 33 at 1-7 in Div. II) have been of no help to Higley in its strength of schedule, so instead of 10 games counting and those two becoming “losses,” they’re erased from the books, which means Higley’s ranking will be based on eight games.
Most of us don’t really know how to project these rankings week-to-week, but there’s a reasonable chance that Higley actually moves up a spot or two in the rankings because the attrition could actually boost its “strength of schedule.”
Conversely, Higley’s now-eight opponents (Williams Field, Queen Creek, Saguaro, Phoenix Christian, Cactus Shadows, McClintock and Apache Junction) could conceivably see a small reduction in their own power rankings’ strength of schedule because Higley’s wins against Yuma and Desert View can’t be used to enhance the Knights, which trickles down to Higley’s opponents’ ranking.
Higley’s resumé will be enhanced naturally in the next two weeks (at No. 2 Saguaro on Friday, vs. No. 3 Williams Field next Friday), so (win or lose) by the time playoff seeding is unveiled, it may be difficult to decipher how much of an effect the forfeits will leave on both Higley and its opponents.
Unless you know every single digit and equation behind the seeding formula, it may be near-impossible to know exactly how much of an effect Higley’s forfeits will have on itself or the rest of Division III as the final two weeks unfold
But a scenario in which Higley gains a spot or two and its opponents suffer — even to a small degree — exists.
Mark Heller is the East Valley Tribune sports editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (480) 898-6576.