Here we are...finally.
It's Week 9 of the football season and we're on the verge of the playoffs. Some teams are already in, some are almost guaranteed to be in and some need a little help to get in.
Don't worry about sorting it out. We've got you covered.
This week's Eyes on Five looks at all the DuPage County teams with eyes on the postseason.
Last week we discussed the ongoing talks between Wheaton North, Wheaton Warrenville South, Batavia, Geneva, St. Charles East, St. Charles North and two unnamed schools (likely Glenbard North and Lake Park) to form a new conference.
Even though at least one school is experiencing cold feet about the move, action will be required soon.
The question is...can the DuPage Valley Conference still be salvaged before this new league takes off?
If the Wheatons, Glenbard North and Lake Park leave the DVC, expect the remaining five members -- Metea Valley, Naperville Central, Naperville North, Neuqua Valley and Waubonsie Valley -- to pursue three schools to become a league of eight. Bolingbrook, Oswego and Oswego East are obvious targets, although Bolingbrook's athletic department tweeted on Tuesday that it "has no interest at this time. Spread the word."
But what if the four schools don't leave the DVC? How about inviting three schools anyway? In that scenario the DVC becomes a 12-school conference. It could split into two divisions of six and be eligible to send two automatic qualifiers to the football playoffs.
Imagine Glenbard North, Lake Park, Wheaton North, WW South, Metea Valley and Waubonsie Valley in one division and Naperville Central, Naperville North, Neuqua Valley, Oswego, Oswego East and maybe a school from the Southwest Suburban Conference in the other division.
It wouldn't be perfect in terms of geography or enrollment, but it'd be reasonable. The smaller division would be between 2,036 and 2,841 students while the larger division would be between 2,461 and 3,764 students.
During football season, there'd be five division games, two crossovers against the other division and two nonconference games to start the season.
Just throwing it out there, but don't hold your breath waiting for it to happen.
Of the 168 statewide teams that have clinched postseason berths heading into the final week of the regular season, eight area teams made the list by notching at least six wins.
Benet (7-1), Glenbard North (6-2), Glenbard West (6-2), Hinsdale Central (8-0), IC Catholic Prep (8-0), Naperville North (7-1), Neuqua Valley (8-0) and Willowbrook (6-2) may have unfinished business in Week 9, but qualifying for the playoffs isn't part of it.
This weekend they'll be chasing conference titles or first-round home games.
There are three 5-3 teams in DuPage County, and all appear to be virtual locks to make the playoffs. If they win Friday, they'll clinch a berth with six wins. Even if they lose, they'll likely be in based on playoff points -- the strength of schedule number used as a tiebreaker to fill out the brackets.
Glenbard South and Montini boast the second and third most playoff points among five-win teams with 45 and 44, respectively. Wheaton Academy is far behind with 34 points, but this weekend it will push past the expected minimum of about 36 points.
Don't get the wrong idea, though. Because nothing's guaranteed without that sixth win, getting it this weekend remains the primary goal.
Some help, please?:
With 4-4 records Addison Trail, Lisle, Waubonsie Valley and Wheaton North are in absolute must-win territory.
If Addison Trail (36 points) upsets Glenbard West, the Blazers are likely in. Same with the winner between Waubonsie Valley (40) and Wheaton North (35).
Lisle, however, may have trouble qualifying even with a win over Streator (2-6). The Lions will get a few more playoff points this weekend, but regardless they'll be on the bubble with 33 points entering the weekend.
Instead of a stat, would you settle for a shameless plug?
I'll be making another appearance on Comcast Sports Net's IHSA football playoff pairings show this weekend. Tune in starting at 8 p.m. Saturday as the IHSA unveils the brackets in all eight classes.
It's always a good time...especially if your team is in the field!
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