Wilsonville — In the newly unveiled 2022-2023 guidelines, the OSAA Executive Board approved and implemented a recommendation from state championships committee to now allocate conference champions a guaranteed home playoff game, regardless of their final ranking at the end of the season. In addition, the rankings committee voted down a proposal that would’ve changed how tie breakers are implemented in frozen rankings, and also unveiled data that shows how accurate the OSAA rankings really are. These are the latest developments in what has been a wild summer of reclassification and rules changes across the state for the new season, which starts on August 25th.
In the major headliner, the Executive Board approved a recommendation that now changes how seeding will be done in all classes. With Class 1A now expanding to a 32-team bracket like 6A has, every league champion in those classes is guaranteed a home playoff game regardless of their final ranking. If those champions fall outside the Top 16, they will be moved up in the rankings to accommodate their home game guarantee. This is a drastic change from previous seasons where league champions could find themselves on the road in the opening playoff round and provides even larger incentive for teams to win their conferences. Further, it places bigger pressure on leagues to make effective tiebreaker determinations, as they could mean the difference between traveling or staying at home for the first playoff round.
As for Classes 5A, 4A, 3A, and 2A, this guarantee is conditioned on that they finish inside the Top 16 of their final frozen rankings. Unlike 6A and 1A’s 32-team brackets, these classes are typically capped at around 16 teams that make the playoffs, so they aren’t guaranteed to host even if they fall into the Top 16 regardless. The same protocol would be invoked here, which is that conference champions would be seeded accordingly to guarantee a home playoff game in the first round.
In their final meeting of 2021-2022 back in June, the state rankings committee had a proposal that would change how rankings and seeding would be impacted. It discussed that in the event of a tie between teams in the final rankings, that their head-to-head results would be the first resort tiebreaker instead of the current Colley Rank tiebreaker. Typically, conferences use this tiebreaker to determine champions or allocated playoff spots, but the committee ultimately voted down the proposal and the current tiebreaker remains in place. In the same meeting, data was revealed that gave an interpretation of how accurate the OSAA computer rankings are.
According to the committee, “correlation studies analyze the percentage of contests where the better ranked team in a classification won, going backwards through the regular season. A contest where that happens is considered “accurate”.” The results of this data provide an interesting take on the accuracy of the rankings, which are regularly subject to scrutiny by fans, coaches, and athletes alike each season. Here were the results of those correlation studies: