Daily Herald's 2016 Season Coverage
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updated: 10/10/2013 6:54 PM

'Eyes on Five' has ... eyes on next year?

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"Eyes on Five" is about to break the golden rule of high school football.

We're looking past the game in front of us.

I know, I know. Crazy stuff, right?

Sorry ... can't help it. Not with a bunch of interesting stuff looming on the horizon after this season.

If only for a moment, let's look ahead. Just don't tell the coaches.

One giant leap:

It's no secret DuPage Valley Conference football programs are in a scheduling bind due to the impending departure of Glenbard East and West Aurora to the Upstate Eight Conference.

Left with a league of six, the DVC cast its net far and wide to find schools willing to join. With nothing imminent, the DVC focused on the immediate concern of filling nonconference football games for Week 3 and Week 4 next season.

The DVC must either find another league to crossover with for those two weeks or they'll be left having to play two DVC teams twice a season. That route is clearly the last choice.

Thanks to cooperation from Chicago Public Schools, the DVC filled the gaping hole in its Week 3 schedule.

The six DVC schools will play six schools from CPS. The games will be played on Saturday of Week 3 next season, with three games at Lane Tech and three at Gately Stadium. The tripleheaders begin at noon at both sites.

At Lane the event kicks off with Lake Park playing Raby, followed at 3 p.m. by Naperville North against Phillips. Naperville Central faces Hubbard at 6 p.m. to wrap up the day.

At the same times at Gately, Glenbard North plays Brooks followed by Wheaton Warrenville South against Morgan Park and Wheaton North against Simeon.

While DVC athletic directors no doubt are breathing a sigh of relief with Week 3 filled, Week 4 presents a much bigger problem. With no takers yet, the DVC is actively exploring out-of-state options.

Anyone up for a road trip to Ohio?

2. Common ground:

Interesting news from central Illinois, where football folks are growing tired of schools participating in conference hopping to better their chances at qualifying for the playoffs.

Sound familiar?

It should. It's the same issue causing school swapping around here. From the DVC to the UEC, the Suburban Christian Conference and the Metro Suburban Conference, conference hopping has become flat-out nutty.

Help may be on the way.

A committee has been formed to design a system of districting the state for football only. The Illinois High School Association would be charged with dividing the state into districts of eight to 10 schools based on enrollment and geography to eliminate the need for individual schools and conferences to schedule their own football games.

No more jumping around. Schools simply would play the teams within their districts.

It's not the solution to every problem. No doubt there'd be some beefs with public schools grouped with private schools.

At the very least, though, it'd help eliminate the conference nonsense that is unfortunately the new norm.

Also on the horizon are multiple proposals to expand the football playoffs and allow more teams to compete in the postseason. That'd also help eliminate conference hopping because it'd relieve the pressure of having to win five or six games to qualify.

No timetable exists for any of this to come to fruition. Districting has a chance, though, because it's a rare example of agreement between member schools from all corners of the state.

3. Another mess:

Speaking of the DVC, Glenbard North sits alone atop the conference standings at 4-0.

But with games remaining against the other front-runners -- Naperville Central (3-1), WW South (3-1) and Wheaton North (3-1) -- we could be looking at quite a stretch run.

Are you ready for a five-way tie for the DVC title?

Here's how it could happen ...

• Week 7: Naperville Central defeats Glenbard North, Wheaton North beats West Aurora, WW South beats Lake Park, Naperville North beats Glenbard East. (NC, GN, WN, WWS all 4-1; NN 3-2).

• Week 8: Glenbard North beats WW South, Naperville Central beats Wheaton North and Naperville North beats West Aurora. (GN and NC 5-1; NN, WN and WWS 4-2)

• Week 9: Wheaton North beats Glenbard North, WW South beats Glenbard East and Naperville North beats Naperville Central. (GN, NC, NN, WN, WWS all finish at 5-2)

Such a scenario would be unprecedented in the DVC.

In fact the DVC champion has been unbeaten in 14 of the last 16 years. In 2011 Wheaton North and WW South shared the title with 6-1 records. In 1997 Naperville Central, Naperville North and WW South all finished 6-1.

The scariest thing about the five-way tie scenario? Looking at the matchups, it actually could happen.

4. Head-shaking:

The Kentucky High School Athletic Association recently released a statement to member schools advising them NOT to allow their athletes to participate in postgame handshakes with opponents.

The decision was the result of multiple confrontations in various sports, including after a volleyball match when girls got into a fist fight during handshakes.

It's not a rule. Schools will not be punished for allowing their students to participate in postgame handshakes. But if an incident occurs on their watch, schools will be held accountable.

In other words Kentucky's governing body is washing its hands of handshakes.

Good luck finding anyone who thinks this is a positive step.

I've always thought handshakes between NHL hockey teams at the end of playoff series were an overrated tradition. That should be the expectation in all sports, not held up year after year as a rare example of sportsmanship.

I guess I feel the same way about Kentucky. There's no reason athletes can't complete without issue a simple handshake at the end of even the fiercest competition.

Yes, it's something that needs to be monitored. But if coaches and team leaders are doing their jobs, there should be no incidents.

5. Stat time:

With three games remaining, 55 of the 256 statewide playoff spots have been filled either by conference champions or by unbeaten teams.

There are not yet any conference champions in DuPage County, but unbeatens Benet, Glenbard South and Montini have clinched playoff berths based on their six wins.

Expect a bunch more spots to be filled this weekend by current five-win teams.

Follow Kevin on Twitter @kevin_schmit

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