Apparently, the reason we can’t get seedings for this year’s Division III football playoff bracket is because they don’t exist.
Before 1999, the bracket was seeded fairly simply: There were only 16 teams in the playoffs, four in each bracket, always four from each region and they never crossed over. The seedings followed the last regional ranking. Hosting privileges in the national semifinals rotated from region to region.
Starting in 1999 and beyond, the bracket got larger and more complicated, but we always got seeds from the NCAA, applied them to the bracket and passed them along to you, the Division III football players, fans and coaches. This year, apparently the seedings were never even discussed.
I explained that that seemed unlikely — that somehow they had determined who would play whom and who had home games this weekend. Therefore, there must be some pecking order of teams somewhere. I mentioned that our readers are familiar with the occasions where No. 1 does not play No. 8 because of geography, or No. 2 does not play No. 7, etc. I said that people understood that teams were seeded by bracket, not by region. I said you people know that sometimes teams cannot host because they didn’t file paperwork, or their stadium doesn’t meet standards.
But none of this had an effect.
I explained that openness was a good thing. That men’s and women’s soccer released their final regional rankings. That, as a result of the discussion at the NCAA Convention, everyone will be going in that direction soon, next year even.
But that didn’t help. They would have to reconvene the committee in order to seed teams.
What we can get, and we will pass along to you, is a set of scenarios that determine who will play where in the next round depending on who wins this week.
That will have to be what passes for openness.
But for the first time in my experience following the playoffs, back to 1994, we won’t know who will go where. Not yet.