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  If The 2017 Football Playoffs Were Seeded Using RPI

A look at what this year's state football tournament would look like if we used the 'Robison RPI' to seed the tournament.

By: Matt Harris
Published: 10/23/2017 9:35:58 PM
Follow Matt on Twitter: @IdahoSportsMatt

As we move into the football playoffs and fans, coaches, and players alike begin to dig into the state tournament brackets, the inevitable discussion regarding bracketing procedures is raised. It's a question that comes with every state tournament season without fail.

That said, it doesn't mean that the state's current method of bracketing is wrong or anything like that - it's just a different system to bracket teams, one that the schools have agreed upon year after year. Couple that with the added behind-the-scenes factors such as time lost in the classroom and travel costs for the schools that play a role in how the brackets are shaped.

Earlier this football season, I wrote about an experiment with a Ratings Percentage Index that was being conducted by my friend, Dayton Robison. You can read more about that by clicking HERE. He has dubbed his experiment the "RRPI", which stands for "Robison Ratings Percentage Index", and modeled it after the RPI formulas that nearby states use to help them seed their state tournaments, with minor modifications for customizable personal preferences. Robison took all of the scores from Idaho (including out-of-state scores and out-of-state team records) and plugged them into his formula to produce the first complete edition of the RRPI.

The goal of the RRPI was to be able to rank teams accurately based on their record and overall strength of schedule, then seed those teams into a hypothetical state tournament scenario based on those rankings. Robison took many elements out of the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association RPI and combined them with elements of his own preference.

To break it down simply, here are the elements and factors involved in the RRPI:

1. The base formula is built using 25% weight of a team's win percentage, 50% weight of the team's opponents winning percentage, and 25% weight of the team's opponents' opponents winning percentage.

2. A win away from home is given an extra 5% weight.

3. A road win against a team with a better than .650 record is given an extra 2.5% weight.

4. Cross-classification wins are weighted 15% going both ways, meaning that if a 2A schools beats a 3A school it's as if it was worth 1.15 wins. Conversely, if a 3A school beats a 2A school school it counts as 0.85 wins.

Robison also ran a scenario in which he used the same factors with the exception of the base formula, which was tweaked to reflect what the Colorado High School Activities Association uses. Their formula is 37.5% weight of a team's winning percentage, 37.5% weight of the team's opponents winning percentage, and 25% weight of the team's opponents' opponents winning percentage. This tweak in the formula will be shown in the examples that follow.

Confused yet? Don't worry - we'll walk you through it.

Below are links to the six Idaho classifications with examples of what the tournament would look like if it were seeded using current brackets. In each link, you will be shown what each bracket looks like using RRPI Washington base, the RRPI Colorado base, and the RRPI Colorado 'No Auto' scenario which involves no teams getting an automatic berth for winning the district - meaning that a team would have to hope they are ranked high enough to make it into the tournament.

Now, this isn't to say that this is the only way of operating a seeded bracket. There are many different ways in which it could be conducted. We are just showing you three different examples of what could happen.

Class 5A                                   Class 2A

Class 4A                                   Class 1AD1

Class 3A                                   Class 1AD2

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