For the first time in more than two decades there will be a new system for determining who qualifies for the Florida high school football playoffs.
A points system will be the sole factor in qualifying for the postseason in the four smallest classifications. Districts have been eliminated and schools are free to schedule who they choose. The 16-team playoff field will be comprised of four teams from each region. The points system will decide which schools advance to the postseason.
In the four larger classifications, there will be district games. However, only the district champions are assured a berth in the 32-team field. The 16 other schools will be determined through the same points system that sets the field in the smaller classes.
Bartram Trail and Creekside (Class 7A), St. Augustine and Nease (Class 6A) and Menendez and Ponte Vedra (Class 5A) will be in the latter format.
St. Joseph is in Region 2-2A with 13 other schools. The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind remains an independent and ineligible for the FHSAA postseason.
The points system rewards teams that not only win, but play a competitive schedule. Points are awarded based on a team’s record as well as the regular-season record of its opponents.
Teams will be broken down into four categories. The score of a game will not play a role in the number of points a team earns.
n A Category 1 team wins 80 percent or more of its games during the season. A victory over a Category 1 team results in 50 points, while a loss earns 35 points.
n A Category 2 team wins between 60 and 79 percent of its games. A victory over a Category 2 team results in 45 points, while a loss earns 30 points.
n A Category 3 team wins between 40 and 59 percent of its games. A victory over a Category 3 team earns 40 points, while a loss earns 25 points.
n A Category 4 opponent wins less than 30 percent of its contests. A victory over a Category 4 team earns 35 points, while a loss earns 20 points.
The total number of points will be divided by the number of games played. This means a team like St. Joseph will not be penalized for playing nine games.
Teams must play eight games to be considered for the postseason. For a school like Bartram Trail, which plays an out-of-state team, the regular-season record of that opponent will be considered.