The playoffs officially begin on November 2nd, with it becoming crunch time to fill in those playoff spots via automatic bids and at-large selections. Most classes wrap up play on October 28th, leaving only 16 days or so remaining to get into the party or be left out. Further, there will be party crashers from outside the top ranks that steal playoff spots via automatic bids from conferences, leaving even less room for error over the next two weeks. So lets breakdown each class and see who’s a lock to make it, those in but not secure, bubble teams right on the fringe, and the ones on the outside of the bubble that need some help to make it.
Locks: Lincoln, Wells, Grant, Beaverton, Sunset, Jesuit, Mountainside, Westview, Forest Grove, Sherwood, Liberty, Barlow, Lake Oswego, West Linn, Tualatin, Oregon City, Bend, Summit, Sprague, South Eugene, South Medford, Sheldon
In But Not Safe: Southridge, McMinnville, David Douglas, Central Catholic, McKay, South Salem
On The Bubble: Centennial, St. Mary’s Academy, Lakeridge, West Salem
Outside Looking In: McNary, Cleveland, Sandy
Analysis: This playoff picture looked much more chaotic before Tuesday night action, but it has actually helped clear up a couple huge blockades. Entering the day, Cleveland and Sandy were party crashers blocking a pair of bubble teams from the playoffs, but after their losses that’s no longer the case. Every bubble team is in and its pretty straight forward from here. Cleveland might sneak in if David Douglas or Central Catholic fall apart from their current auto bid status, but that’s probably the most excitement we’ll witness. McNary is in a free fall and Sandy’s only hope is an auto bid out of the Mt. Hood, so the bubble can breathe a sigh of relief a little bit.
IN: Centennial, St. Mary’s Academy, Lakeridge, West Salem
OUT: McNary, Cleveland, Sandy
Locks: Wilsonville, La Salle Prep, Putnam, Ashland, North Eugene, Springfield, Churchill, Crescent Valley, Corvallis, Silverton, West Albany, Pendleton/Weston-McEwen, Redmond
In But Not Safe: Hillsboro, Scappoose, Ridgeview
On The Bubble: The Dalles
Outside Looking In: None
Analysis: 5A is pretty much set in stone for bids, with the seeding being the more interesting component of the classification this season. Someone is going to be extremely disappointed and left out between Ridgeview and The Dalles, who will be jostling for the final Intermountain auto bid. Unless Hillsboro or Scappoose melts down and opens up an at-large bid, then its the only path forward for the Intermountain teams.
IN: Hillsboro, Scappoose, Ridgeview
OUT: The Dalles
Locks: Valley Catholic, Astoria, Gladstone, North Marion, Corbett, Philomath, Woodburn, Sisters, Junction City, Marist, Hidden Valley, Henley, North Valley, Mazama, La Grande, Ontario
In But Not Safe: Molalla, Estacada, Klamath Union, McLoughlin, Newport/Eddyville Charter
On The Bubble: Banks/Vernonia, Cascade, Baker/Powder Valley, Seaside, Stayton
Outside Looking In: Sweet Home, Elmira
Analysis: In the world of the OSAA, they believe in putting in 24 of the 34 4A teams using a model that puts in eight teams into the main bracket and 16 into a play-in bracket. This is just confusing for most, but I got y’all covered! The most excitement will be with the final at-large bids, as all the bubble teams and Sweet Home are in the thick of things. Its hard to really project how it’ll all finish, especially with so many teams involved with such slim margins for error. There are only three at-large bids realistically available, with 21 of them already pretty secure, but the order could definitely shuffle in who gets them.
IN: Baker/Powder Valley, Stayton, Cascade
OUT: Banks/Vernonia, Seaside, Sweet Home, Elmira
Locks: OES, Catlin Gabel, Dayton, Amity/Western Christian, Pleasant Hill, Santiam Christian, Sutherlin, Brookings-Harbor, St. Mary’s Medford, Lakeview, Riverside, Central Linn
In But Not Safe: Riverdale, Blanchet Catholic, Yamhill-Carlton, Echo/Stanfield
On The Bubble: Trout Lake, Four Rivers, Nyssa
Outside Looking In: None
Analysis: This is the easy, straightforward class of the 2021 season. As this point, its more about auto bids than the two at-large ones, although those could create some chaos and keep a good team out of the playoffs. In the most likely scenario, Yamhill-Carlton knocks out Blanchet Catholic by taking their final league auto bid, and the Cavaliers don’t have a good enough ranking to secure an at-large from Riverdale or Trout Lake. If Blanchet Catholic keeps their auto-bid status, then YC takes an at-large bid from Trout Lake or Riverdale. No matter what, Santiam Christian or Central Linn has one of those two at-large bids secured, leaving one between three potential candidates.
IN: Riverdale, Yamhill-Carlton, Echo/Stanfield
OUT: Trout Lake, Four Rivers, Nyssa, Blanchet Catholic