With the high school football playoffs a week away, it’s crunch time in the 5A and 4A Southern Idaho Conference.
Fourteen of the 20 teams in those two leagues remain in the playoff hunt. And a dizzying array of possibilities remain regarding who will live to play another week, who will be seeded where, and who can win league or pod titles.
I huddled with IdahoSports.com’s Matt Harris to break down all the scenarios for every 5A and 4A team. See his story for the full details on both leagues’ tiebreakers. Check out the SIC-centric scoreboard-watching guide below.
5A SIC POD A
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Playoff berths: Three
Clinched berths: Capital, Mountain View
Still alive: Columbia, Meridian
Eliminated: Nampa, Boise
Scenarios: This is the simple one.
Mountain View (8-0, 4-0) battles Capital (6-1, 4-0) for the pod championship for the second year in a row. The winner earns the pod’s top seed at state and a first-round bye. The loser finishes second and hosts a first-round playoff game next week against the at-large team. (More on that later.)
The pod’s third and final guaranteed playoff berth gets decided when Meridian (3-5, 2-2) hosts Columbia (4-4, 2-2). The winner travels to Madison next week. The loser is eliminated as it can’t mathematically claim the at-large berth.
5A SIC POD B
Playoff berths: Three
Clinched berths: Borah, Eagle, Rocky Mountain
Still alive: Timberline
Eliminated: Centennial, Kuna
Scenarios: Borah, Eagle and Rocky Mountain have earned their playoff spots. The last week will just determine their seeding.
Borah (6-2, 4-0) can win its first pod or league title since 2012 with a win at Eagle (6-2, 3-1). That would allow the Grizzlies (6-2, 3-1) to finish second regardless of their result against Centennial and drop the Mustangs to third.
Eagle still can win the pod outright with a victory over Borah and a Rocky Mountain loss. But if Eagle and Rocky Mountain both win, all three teams finish 4-1 with no way to break the head-to-head ties. A three-way coin flip would determine the final playoff seeding.
The first-place finisher gets a first-round bye. The second-place team hosts either Hillcrest or Rigby in the first round. The third-place finisher travels in the first round to the loser of Friday’s game between Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls.
5A AT-LARGE BERTH
The 12th and final spot in the 5A playoffs is available to teams one spot out of an automatic playoff berth in the SIC, North Idaho and East Idaho.
The team with the best record against 5A teams gets the at-large berth. That record includes out-of-state teams with enrollments large enough to play in Idaho’s 5A classification.
Timberline (4-5) beat Kuna (3-6) on Thursday night, 31-20, to improve to 2-3 in its pod. The victory made the Wolves the only SIC team that is mathematically alive for the at-large berth and eliminated the Kavemen.
North Idaho’s at-large teams are already eliminated as well. So Timberline will earn the at-large berth if any of the following three scenarios happens in East Idaho.
▪ Favored Rigby beats Bonneville, and favored Highland tops Hillcrest.
▪ Bonneville upsets Rigby by 10 or more points.
▪ If Bonneville upsets Rigby by nine points or fewer, Hillcrest also must upset Highland.
Playoff berths: Four
Clinched berths: Skyview, Middleton, Bishop Kelly
Still alive: Emmett, Ridgevue
Eliminated: Vallivue, Caldwell, Mountain Home
No. 1-ranked and undefeated Skyview (8-0, 6-0) controls its own destiny. As long as it doesn’t lose to No. 2-ranked Bishop Kelly (7-1, 5-1) by 14 or more points, it clinches its first league title since 2011 and a first-round bye.
In fact, if all the favorites win Friday night — Skyview beats Bishop Kelly, Middleton beats Mountain Home and Emmett beats Ridgevue — no one needs to break out a calculator as Skyview finishes first, Middleton second, Bishop Kelly third and Emmett fourth.
Even with upsets, the path forward is relatively straight.
Middleton (5-3, 5-1) finishes second as long as it beats winless Mountain Home.
Bishop Kelly can steal the league title by beating Skyview by 14 or more points through a series of tiebreakers. Otherwise, it finishes third (assuming Middleton avoids an upset).
For Emmett (5-3, 3-3) and Ridgevue (3-5, 2-4), neither can finish any better than fourth place. Emmett is in with a win and still can make the playoffs with a loss. Ridgevue needs to beat Emmett and have Caldwell upset Vallivue to leapfrog the Huskies and finish fourth.
Mountain Home to District Four
After weeks of back and forth, Mountain Home received approval last week for all of its sports teams to move into the Twin Falls-based District Four as a 4A program starting in the 2018-19 school year.
That leaves the 4A Southern Idaho Conference with nine teams starting next fall: Bishop Kelly, Caldwell, Columbia, Emmett, Kuna, Middleton, Nampa, Ridgevue and Vallivue.
Mountain Home will join a District Four that merged with the Pocatello-based District Five to form a 10-team league with Burley, Canyon Ridge, Jerome, Minico, Twin Falls, Wood River, Century, Pocatello and Preston.
Week 9 high school football picks
Each week, Michael Lycklama of the Idaho Statesman will pick the winner of every high school football game in the Treasure Valley. Computer picks are made by using the Elo rankings popularized by FiveThirtyEight.com. The odds Elo gives each team of winning is also listed.
Nampa at Boise
Columbia at Meridian
Capital at Mountain View
Mtn View (62%)
Kuna at Timberline (Thur.)
Centennial at Rocky Mountain
Rocky Mtn (91%)
Borah at Eagle
Bishop Kelly at Skyview
Ridgevue at Emmett
Middleton at Mountain Home
Caldwell at Vallivue
Homedale at Payette
Fruitland at Parma
Nampa Christian at Cole Valley
Cole Valley (63%)
New Plymouth at Melba
New Plymouth (67%)
McCall-Donnelly at Marsing
Garden Valley at Wilder
Idaho City at Rimrock
Idaho City (69%)
Notus at Horseshoe Bend
Cascade at Tri-Valley