Prep Football

Revisiting the 2017 4A football season, with the new RPI format

Western Dubuque would have made the playoffs with a 5-4 record

Cedar Rapids Prairie's Braxton Zimmerman dives into the end zone for a touchdown in the Hawks' win over Ottumwa on Sept. 29. Had the new playoffs format been in place last year, the Hawks would have been the 10th of 16 playoff qualifiers. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Cedar Rapids Prairie's Braxton Zimmerman dives into the end zone for a touchdown in the Hawks' win over Ottumwa on Sept. 29. Had the new playoffs format been in place last year, the Hawks would have been the 10th of 16 playoff qualifiers. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

At the time, Class 4A District 6 did not look like a football powerhouse.

In retrospect, though, it would have been a breeding ground for playoff teams had the new format been in place.

Four teams from that district would have made the playoffs, including a 5-4 Western Dubuque team that played down in class twice in non-district play.

The Gazette went through schedules and results of all 48 Class 4A teams from last fall. Using the new RPI formula, we ranked the big-school teams from 1 through 48.

The top eight spots were assigned to the eight district champions. For example, even though West Des Moines Dowling had the second-best RPI (.6747), the Maroons — who went on to win the state championship — were ranked No. 9, because they were not a district champion, and qualified as an at-large team.

West Des Moines Valley (8-1, .7083) was No. 1 in RPI, because of a strong record and — even more so — because its nine opponents’ record of 53-28 was tops in the state.

In the new RPI formula released last week by the Iowa High School Athletic Association, 37.5 percent of the index is based on winning percentage, 37.5 percent to opponents’ winning percentage, 25 percent to opponents’ opponents’ winning percentage.

In the table below, we provide all three of those factors for all 48 4A teams, plus a total RPI. An “average” RPI is .500.

Some findings:

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• There were no co-owned district titles last year. Eight solo district champions, so eight automatic bids and eight at-larges. In 4A next year, there will be seven districts of six teams each.

• The playoffs field would have consisted of eight “West” teams and eight “East” teams.

• Iowa City West was the lone unbeaten in 4A, but had the fourth-best RPI (behind Valley, Dowling and Johnston). The Trojans’ opponents were a combined 35-46.

• Western Dubuque (5-4) would have leap-frogged Newton (7-2) — and three 6-3 teams — for the final at-large slot. Even though Western Dubuque played a 3A team (Dubuque Wahlert) and a 2A squad (Dyersville Beckman) in non-district play, that doesn’t count against the Bobcats. It’s all based on record, and Western Dubuque’s opponents were a combined 48-33. Meanwhile, Newton’s nine foes were 27-54, the worst mark in that category of all 48 teams.

• The four playoff-bound teams in District 6 would have been North Scott, Pleasant Valley, Dubuque Senior and Western Dubuque.

• District 5 (Cedar Falls was the champion) and District 7 (Bettendorf) would have had only one qualifier. Districts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 8 would have drawn two apiece.

• Cedar Rapids Prairie would have been the Metro’s only 4A qualifier. The Hawks (8-1, .6283) would have been 10th in the 16-team field.

The final numbers:

District champions

Rank Team Team W-L Opponents' W-L Opponents' opponents' W-L RPI
1 West Des Moines Valley 8-1 (.889) 53-28 (.654) 378-351 (.519) .7083
2 Johnston 8-1 (.889) 44-37 (.543) 399-330 (.547) .6738
3 Iowa City West 9-0 (1.000) 35-46 (.432) 392-337 (.538) .6714
4 Bettendorf 8-1 (.889) 43-38 (.531) 387-342 (.530) .6651
5 North Scott 8-1 (.889) 40-41 (.494) 386-343 (.529) .6509
6 Cedar Falls 8-1 (.889) 40-41 (.494) 367-362 (.503) .6444
7 Ankeny Centennial 7-2 (.778) 45-36 (.556) 378-351 (.519) .6296
8 Urbandale 6-3 (.667) 43-38 (.531) 369-360 (.506) .5756

 

Other playoff qualifiers

Rank Team Team W-L Opponents' W-L Opponents' opponents' W-L RPI
9 West Des Moines Dowling 8-1 (.889) 45-36 (.556) 388-341 (.532) .6747
10 Cedar Rapids Prairie 8-1 (.889) 36-45 (.444) 374-355 (.513) .6283
11 Southeast Polk 6-3 (.667) 51-30 (.630) 365-364 (.501) .6113
12 Pleasant Valley 7-2 (.778) 39-42 (.481) 397-332 (.545) .6084
13 Lewis Central 8-1 (.889) 31-50 (.383) 379-350 (.520) .6068
14 Waukee 6-3 (.667) 45-36 (.556) 394-335 (.540) .5934
15 Dubuque Senior 6-3 (.667) 40-41 (.494) 363-366 (.498) .5597
16 Western Dubuque 5-4 (.556) 48-33 (.593) 358-371 (.491) .5533

 

Everyone else

Rank Team Team W-L Opponents' W-L Opponents' opponents' W-L RPI
17 Newton 7-2 (.778) 27-54 (.333) 391-338 (.536) .5507
18 Davenport Central 6-3 (.667) 36-45 (.444) 375-354 (.514) .5453
19 Cedar Rapids Kennedy 6-3 (.667) 34-47 (.420) 391-338 (.536) .5415
20 Cedar Rapids Washington 5-4 (.556) 45-36 (.556) 355-374 (.487) .5383
21 Des Moines Lincoln 6-3 (.667) 33-48 (.407) 375-354 (.514) .5314
22 Indianola 5-4 (.556) 39-42 (.481) 393-336 (.539) .5237
23 Ankeny 4-5 (.444) 47-34 (.580) 363-366 (.498) .5088
24 Sioux City East 4-5 (.444) 47-34 (.580) 354-375 (.486) .5057
25 Waterloo West 5-4 (.556) 36-45 (.444) 381-348 (.527) .5055
26 Cedar Rapids Jefferson 4-5 (.444) 45-36 (.556) 351-378 (.481) .4953
27 Des Moines Roosevelt 5-4 (.556) 36-45 (.444) 382-347 (.524) .4893
28 Fort Dodge 4-5 (.444) 41-40 (.506) 376-353 (.516) .4854
29 Ames 4-5 (.444) 40-41 (.494) 373-356 (.512) .4798
30 Council Bluffs Jefferson 4-5 (.444) 37-44 (.457) 360-369 (.493) .4615
31 Clinton 3-6 (.333) 44-37 (.543) 365-364 (.501) .4539
32 Muscatine 2-7 (.222) 52-29 (.642) 347-382 (.476) .4430
33 Dubuque Hempstead 3-6 (.333) 43-38 (.531) 346-383 (.475) .4428
34 Des Moines Hoover 3-6 (.333) 40-41 (.494) 342-387 (.469) .4275
35 Council Bluffs Lincoln 2-7 (.222) 47-34 (.580) 343-386 (.471) .4185
36 Linn-Mar 2-7 (.222) 44-37 (.543) 369-360 (.506) .4135
37 Iowa City High 2-7 (.222) 44-37 (.543) 365-364 (.501) .4122
38 Davenport North 3-6 (.333) 32-49 (.395) 386-343 (.529) .4055
39 Mason City 2-7 (.222) 42-39 (.518) 362-367 (.497) .4018
40 Des Moines East 2-7 (.222) 38-43 (.469) 375-354 (.514) .3878
41 Sioux City West 2-7 (.222) 35-46 (.432) 373-356 (.512) .3732
42 Waterloo East 2-7 (.222) 35-46 (.432) 359-370 (.492) .3684
43 Marshalltown 1-8 (.111) 43-38 (.531) 364-365 (.499) .3656
44 Davenport West 1-8 (.111) 42-39 (.519) 364-365 (.499) .3609
45 Burlington 1-8 (.111) 42-39 (.519) 335-394 (.460) .3510
46 Ottumwa 0-9 (.000) 49-32 (.605) 326-403 (.447) .3387
47 Sioux City North 0-9 (.000) 41-40 (.506) 364-365 (.499) .3146
48 Des Moines North 0-9 (.000) 38-43 (.469) 333-396 (.457) .2901

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