Taking the Field: Bracketology, Pt. 2

(Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of entries explaining the MIAA’s new statewide football playoff system. For the entire series, click HERE. All information courtesy of the Massachusetts High School Football Coaches Association and its website.)

Everybody wants to be the last team standing come Super Bowl Saturday, but for the first time in 2013, the path to the MIAA Super Bowls will be different. There will be six statewide championships contested for the first time this season. And, with practices set to kick off across the state in less than a week, we’re taking time to dissect the playoff process to introduce our audience to the new system.

Today, we’re taking a look at the sectional tournaments. Without further ado:

In the last installment, we covered the qualification process for the statewide football playoffs. Now, here's how the road the championships lays out.

Division 1 is only contested in North and South brackets, involving Eastern Mass. teams. In Divisions 2, 4, 5 and 6, competition will play out in North, South, Central and West sections. Division 3 is also played exclusively in Eastern Mass. but features four sectionals, drawing from the Northwest, Northeast, Southeast and Southwest.

As previously covered, eight teams advance to each sectional playoff, following Week 7 play.

Play across all sectionals will follow the No. 1 vs. No. 8, No. 4 vs. No. 5, No. 3 vs. No. 6 and No. 2 vs. No. 7 bracket style, with the winner of No. 1 vs. No. 8 advancing to play the winner of No. 4 vs. No. 5, and so on.

Here are a couple more notes on play:

  • Games will be played at the site of team with the higher seed. However, if the representing tournament director finds the facilities are unsuitable, another venue can be enlisted. Also, upon reaching the state semifinals, competition will be played at predetermined locations.

  • In 2013, the state semifinals will be hosted in the following districts, by division: Central vs. West, Div. 2 and 6 - West; Central vs. West, Div. 4 and 5 - Central; North vs. South, Div. 2 and 5 - North; North vs. South, Div. 4 and 5 - South; Northeast vs. Northwest, Div. 3 - Northeast; Southeast vs. Southwest, Div. 3 - Southwest.

  • Games are to follow NCAA rules and have 11-minute quarters (save for the championship games, which will have 10-minute quarters).

With that being said, we'll catch you back tomorrow for the third installment of this series, when we'll look at some key dates to note on the calendar, as well as one of the most contentious points of the new system: what the final weeks of the season will be like for teams not making the playoff cut.