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Bracketology: WPIAL playoff projections

Written by Mike White on .

The WPIAL football committee meets tomorrow and announces playoff pairings and seedings tomorrow night. But is there really a need for that meeting tomorrow? Let's just do the brackets right here.

Keep in mind there is no way the WPIAL can truly seed all the teams. The reason is that teams that finish in certain spots in the conference are guaranteed home games, which means they have to be seeded in the top eight, even if they don't deserve it.

For example, Carmichaels finished second in the Tri-County South and will get a home game. But I don't think there is anyone out there who believes Carmichaels is one of the top eight teams in Class A. So the WPIAL sometimes has to do some creative seeding.

Also remember the WPIAL never puts teams from the same conference against each other in the first round. That affects seedings. For example, Baldwin is the wild-card team in Class AAAA and should probably be seeded No. 16. But Upper St. Clair is the No. 1 seed and plays in the same conference as Baldwin. So Baldwin goes to 15.

Well, here goes ...

CLASS AAAA

Jim RenderMain question: Who should be the the No. 1 seed, Central Catholic or Upper St. Clair. Opinions seem to vary. They both dominated everyone this year. I think Upper St. Clair has the best quality win, though, beating Woodland Hills. I've seen them both play. They're both very good. If you made me choose, I'd go with Upper St. Clair and coach Jim Render (pictured).

The games: Kiski Area (16) at Upper St. Clair (1); North Allegheny (9) at Bethel Park (8); Pine-Richland (13) at Woodland Hills (4); Hempfield (12) at Seneca Valley (5); Baldwin (15) at Central Catholic (2); Penn Hills (10) at Gateway(7); Peters Township (14) at McKeesport (3); North Hills (11) at Penn-Trafford (6).

NOTE: North Hills and Penn-Trafford have met so many times over the years that maybe the WPIAL will make a slight change there. I'm good with that. Maybe have North Hills go to play at Gateway and put Penn Hills at Penn-Trafford. I know Penn Hills beat North Hills in the season but those matchups might be better.

CLASS AAA

Main question: Who is the No. 1 seed, Thomas Jefferson or West Allegheny? They are both undefeated and WestChayse Dillon Allegheny had a couple close games this year while Thomas Jefferson handled everyone. But West Allegheny's Parkway Conference is stronger than the Big Nine. Plus West Allegheny is the defending champ so look for the WPIAL to put WA first. (Pictured is West Allegheny running back Chayse Dillon). If they played, it might be a great game.

Also, since Franklin Regional and Mars tied for the Greater Allegheny Conference championship, do you seed them No. 4 and No. 5 and let them play in the quarterfinals, or do you break them up because Franklin Regional beat Mars?

The games: Hampton (16) at West Allegheny (1); New Castle (9) at Highlands (8); Montour (13) at Franklin Regional (4); Indiana (12) at West Mifflin (5); Hollidaysburg (15) at Thomas Jefferson (2); Moon (10) at Ringgold (7); Belle Vernon (14) at Central Valley (3);  Elizabeth Forward (11) at Mars (6).

CLASS AA

The main question: What to do with Beaver Falls? The Tigers were the only team to give Aliquippa a game, losing late, 34-28. After that, you could make a point that Beaver Falls should still maybe be the No. 3 seed. But then Beaver Falls was thumped by a good Class AAA team Central Valley in a non-conference game last week. I know, Central Valley is Class AAA. But what does the WPIAL do? Does theTerry Swanson WPIAL put Beaver Falls at seed 4 or 5? That would put Beaver Falls on the same side of the bracket as Aliquippa. Or does the WPIAL move Beaver Falls to seed 6 or 7 to keep the Tigers away from Aliquippa unless the two make it to the finals?

Although there are four undefeated teams in this class, I really think Aliquippa gets the No. 1 seed, despite South Fayette's impressive season. Aliquippa is the defending Class AA champ and has a terrific one-two running punch in Dravon Henry and Terry Swanson (pictured).

The games: Valley (16) at Aliquippa (1); Yough (9) at Quaker Valley (8); Beaver (13) at Kittanning (4); Summit Academy (12) at Beaver Falls (5); Seton-LaSalle (11) at Washington (6); South Park (14) at Mount Pleasant (3); New Brighton (10) at Shady Side Academy (7); Greensburg Central Catholic (15) at South Fayette (2).

CLASS A

Main question: What to do with Beth-Center? Sure, the Bulldogs are undefeated but they won the Tri-County South. That conference is unquestionably the weakest in Class A. The conference hasn't won a playoff game in two years. So do you give Beth-Center a 4 or 5 seed, or drop the Bulldogs and put second-place teams in front of them?

Lenny WilliamsOne last thing. I think North Catholic could make a claim to the No. 1 seed over Sto-Rox. Both are undefeated. But Sto-Rox has gone to the final the past two seasons and that will matter. Plus, North Catholic will be without quarterback Adam Sharlow for the rest of the season because of an injured knee. Should an injury affect seedings? I say yes. So we'll go with Sto-Rox and stud quarterback Lenny Williams (pictured), although I think North Catholic is still good enough to win it all.

The games: West Shamokin (16) at Sto-Rox (1); Fort Cherry (9) at Carmichaels (8); Western Beaver (13) at Clairton (4); Brentwood (12) at Neshannock (5); Apollo-Ridge (11) at Beth-Center (5); Frazier (14) at Monessen (3); Laurel (10) at Avonworth (7); Avella (15) at North Catholic (2).

Check the blog tomorrow night for seedings and pairings. The meeting starts at 7 p.m.

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