Published: December 5, 2013
AURORA - Had Elmo and Big Bird been on hand for Thursday's football advisory committee meeting at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Denver, they would have endorsed the nearly six-hour gathering with the letter "C" and the number "6."
The C is easily for change. Every two years, the Colorado High School Activities Association sets leagues for the following two-year cycle. Football had its turn, and proposed plenty of changes, most notably in 5A with the proposed elimination of wild-card points as the only determining factor in playoff seeding.
And the number 6? That applies to Pikes Peak region schools for the future. From 5A to 2A, almost every area school is pegged to be part of a six-team league, a change for almost all parties involved.
But certainly the most noteworthy news came courtesy of 5A which, after caucusing to determine playoff formats after presenting proposed leagues, asked for more time to further discuss end-of-season play and to ultimately abandon the computer-only criteria.
"I've sat on the seeding committee," Doherty athletic director Chris Noll said. "When you're only using MaxPreps, it ties your hands. Everyone in the room knew Valor (Christian) was the best team in the state, but by what was in front of us on paper, we had to put Fairview as the top seed. I like the fact that the human element is put back into the equation. I just hope that people take a good look at all the teams throughout the state."
Since it was only a committee meeting, none of the items proposed are done deals. All must be approved at the next CHSAA legislative council meeting Jan.?30, 2014.
In 5A, Doherty and Fountain-Fort Carson are set to remain in a league with familiar foes. The proposed Continental South league would also include Castle View, Legend, Chaparral and Douglas County.
A bigger change would take place in 4A, where locally, a pair of eight-team leagues is set to be transformed into three six-team outfits to accommodate Western Slope schools Durango and Montrose.
Instead of leaving those two schools in their own small league, they were invited into two Colorado Springs-area leagues. Durango would join the new Pikes Peak League with Air Academy, Liberty, Palmer Ridge, Pine Creek and Rampart.
Montrose would be part of the Foothills League with Falcon, Mesa Ridge, Sand Creek, Vista Ridge and Widefield.
Palmer, which was rejected in its attempt to play down to 4A to aid its struggling program, is included in the new 4A Southern League, along with defending 3A state champion Coronado, returning to 4A after four years of its rebuilding its program. Cheyenne Mountain, Pueblo Centennial, Pueblo South and Pueblo West round out the league.
Palmer is not eligible for the 4A playoffs, but will be paired with a Week 10 5A opponent (playoffs or otherwise) at the discretion of the committee.
"We have a good split of evenly matched groups," said Cheyenne Mountain athletic director Kris Roberts, a member of the advisory committee. "We've got Palmer and Coronado joining us, which is a little new blood. I think it'll be good. I like how the 4A piece lined out."
In 3A, Ca?n City (down from 4A) and Harrison moved into the South Central, joining Discovery Canyon, Lewis-Palmer, Mitchell and Woodland Park. A five-team Southern League consists of TCA, Sierra and three from Pueblo (Central, County and East.)
The 2A Tri-Peaks League was reduced to six following the departures of Alamosa (moving to a different league) and Dolores Huerta Prep (enrollment decline forced move to 1A).