1st & 10
Q: Which team will have the biggest argument if its misses the playoffs?
JL: Hate to see a co-champion left out in the cold, and that’s what will happen if there is a three-way tie in Class 4A or in 8-Player. If Cedar Rapids Washington beats Waterloo West, that likely will leave a good Cedar Falls team out. Similarly, a Lone Tree victory over Midland would likely force a three-way tie (Iowa Valley would be the other), and it’s possible in 8-1 Lone Tree team wouldn’t qualify.
Read more: Prep football playoff projections
2nd & Long
Q: Which is the most impressive 8-0 Gazette-area team?
JJ: Anytime you go undefeated this deep, you have had a great regular season. So congrats to Cedar Rapids Xavier and Turkey Valley. But my vote goes to North Fayette Valley. The whole body of work is outstanding. The Tigerhawks beat a pair of good Class 3A programs from Decorah and Waverly-Shell Rock non-district, and have steamrollered through a good, deep district. A 56-21 win over then second-ranked La Porte City Union was icing on the impressive cake.
3rd & Short
Q: Which East team will make it through to face presumably face Valley or Dowling?
KJP: I thought for sure that Cedar Rapids Washington was the best team in the East. A loss to Cedar Falls has shaken that opinion. Bettendorf has become stronger each week, dominating a very good Iowa City High team, 44-7, last week. The Bulldogs may have surpassed the Warriors, who aren’t even locks to make the postseason.
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4th & Goal
Q: What are your thoughts about the Saturday morning playoff show?
KJP: I love the idea. Making the football playoffs is a big deal for players, coaches, schools and communities. Imagine the fun you could have Saturday morning, getting teams, students and fans watching your first-round pairing on a projection screen. Whatever the IHSAA would like to do, I’d say go to levels larger. You can’t make too grand of a display for this. The nuts and bolts would be a concern. Oh, and definitely televise it.
JJ: It’s a very solid idea to help publicize prep football and the playoffs. But I have some questions. Not sure 10 a.m. on Saturday is a good time for it, as it could very well get lost in a big college football Saturday that includes Iowa and Wisconsin an hour later. I would have liked Midnight on Friday better. It’s hard for me to believe the IHSAA couldn’t have pairings figured out by then. The NCAA basketball committee has essentially its entire bracket ready on Sunday, then readjusts quickly according to what happens in conference tournament championships that day. Also, is the IHSAA and the IHSSN prepared for potentially a ton of people trying to get on its website at the same time to watch this? It would be a shame if the site came crashing down because of overload.
JL: I like the concept, but would prefer it be televised rather than online-only. An hourlong show, say on Iowa Public Television, would be viewed on an extremely high level.