Maxwell ratings favor local high school football teams playoff chances


high school football

The old coaching adage “take ‘em one at a time” always holds value.


With outcomes so unpredictable, there are plenty of reasons to never look ahead on your schedule. Take care of the current opponent each week and the bigger picture will ultimately take care of itself.


Of course that is all true, but it is also human nature to look ahead.


Mathematicians like Loren Maxwell of the Maxwell Ratings and Projections have even developed formulas using game results data in an effort to be predictive. Maxwell’s ratings are a regular feature in the sports pages of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has also been a regularly featured guest on the local Bartow Sports Zone radio show on WBHF in Cartersville.


Maxwell’s ratings and projections focus on Georgia High School Association football, but there are similar ratings systems for college and pro sports including the systems of Jeff Sagarin in USA Today, the New York Times, Anderson-Hester, Kenneth Massey and many more. Even the NCAA has its own power index and ESPN analysts readily refer to their own predictive ratings systems.


With the 2016 high school regular season just beyond the midway point, let’s look at Maxwell’s ratings and playoff projections for the local regions.


If Maxwell’s projections are perfect (and even he would tell you they are never perfect), then three of the four local teams will reach post-season play. As regular season results continue to roll in, these numbers will change. It is always fun, however, to peek into a potential crystal ball.


Below is a list of teams in each of the regions that include local teams along with their current win-loss record and the odds of each team qualifying for the state playoffs per Maxwell ratings and projections.


The odds of the current region leaders advancing to the state finals in the Georgia Dome and winning a state title are also listed.


Keep in mind, each team’s remaining regular season schedule is considered. Additionally, Region 6-AAA is sub-divided and has a cross-over play-in game to determine its region champion and playoff qualifiers.



REGION 7-AAAAA

Team . . . . . . . . . .Record . . . . Playoff Odds

Kell . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-1 . . . . . 99.9% (35.3% finals; 13.7% state champion) Rome . . . . . . . . . . 3-2 . . . . . 99.5%

Carrollton . . . . . . . 4-1 . . . . . 94.1%

Cass . . . . . . . . . . . 3-2 . . . . . 40.9%

Villa Rica . . . . . . . .4-2 . . . . . 39.8%

Paulding Co. . . . . . 2-4 . . . . . 13.1% Hiram . . . . . . . . . . .4-2 . . . . . . 6.9%

East Paulding . . . . .0-5 . . . . . . 5.8%

Woodland . . . . . . . . 0-6 . . . . . . 0.0%



REGION 5-AAAA

Team . . . . . . . . . .Record . . . . Playoff Odds

Cartersville . . . . . . 6-0 . . . . . . 99.9% (70.6% in finals; 59.0% state champion)

Troup . . . . . . . . . . .5-1 . . . . . . 92.4%

Cedartown . . . . . . .4-2 . . . . . . 89.7%

Sandy Creek . . . . .3-2 . . . . . . 89.1%

LaGrange . . . . . . . .2-4 . . . . . .17.1%

Chapel Hill . . . . . . .2-2-1 . . . . .11.5%

Central-C’ton . . . . .0-6 . . . . . . . 2.5%



REGION 6-AAA

Team . . . . . . . . . .Record . . . . Playoff Odds

Calhoun . . . . . . . . 4-2 . . . . . . . 98.8% (22.4% in finals; 7.7% state champion)

Sonoraville . . . . . . 4-2 . . . . . . . 88.9%

North Murray . . . . 4-2 . . . . . . . 64.9%

Ringgold . . . . . . . . 3-3 . . . . . . . 61.7%

Adairsville . . . . . . . 2-3 . . . . . . . 52.2%

Bremen . . . . . . . . . 3-3 . . . . . . . 26.4%

Murray County . . . . 3-3 . . . . . . 6.9%

Coahulla Creek . . . 0-5 . . . . . . 0.0%

Haralson Co. . . . . 1-4 . . . . . . 0.0%

Lakeview-FO . . . . 0-6 . . . . . . 0.0%



With the above numbers in mind, we can look at what is necessary for each local team to advance.


Cartersville has home games remaining this week for homecoming with LaGrange and November 4 with Troup. The Canes also have road trips to Sandy Creek and Chapel Hill. To return to the state playoffs, the Canes could get in with only one more win. As we all know, however, the defending state champions in Class AAAA have grander goals and the Maxwell ratings support the suggestion of a return trip to the Georgia Dome and another ring.


The Maxwell ratings also like Adairsville’s odds of getting to the state playoffs.


The Tigers face uphill odds this week at Calhoun, but have key battles down the stretch at home against Sonoraville and Haralson County plus a road game at Bremen. In all likelihood, Adairsville needs to win only two of their next four games to reach the sub-divided region’s cross-over playoff game. That game will be November 4 against a team from 6-AAA North (likely Ringgold, North Murray, or Murray County) and it will be a home game this year for the Tigers. The two sub-region winners in the regular season face off for the top two state playoff seeds from 6-AAA, but the second and third place teams from each side play one another for the last two state playoff seeds.


Currently, the Tigers would be favored against any potential opponent from the North sub-region.


In Region 7-AAAAA, Cass is in a highly competitive situation. The Colonels likely need three wins in their final five games to reach the post-season. They have a road game at East Paulding Friday and will be only slightly favored against the winless Raiders. Cass hosts Rome and Paulding County the next two weeks before closing out the regular season at Villa Rica and at Carrollton.


Cass, at 2-1 in region play, controls its fate over the final five regular season weeks, but must

knock heads with other teams in a similar position down that stretch.


With the top three teams in this region all highly ranked in both the statewide polls and in the Maxwell ratings, the battle for the Colonels appears to be for the fourth and final playoff spot.


Kell, Rome, and Carrollton hold down the No. 3 through No. 5 spots in many polls. The Maxwell ratings also agree about the powers at the top of this region. Maxwell’s numbers give Carrollton a 94.1 percent chance of making the state playoffs and the other two — Kell and Rome — are favored at better than 99 percent odds each to make the playoffs.


Paulding County was the preseason favorite to grab the final state playoff spot from Region 7-AAAAA, but following last week’s narrow loss to Villa Rica, the Patriots face an uphill battle and will need Villa Rica to stumble. The Patriots schedule is favorable, however, with games remaining against Woodland, Cass, Carrollton, and East Paulding.


The Maxwell ratings currently favor Villa Rica in the Region 7-AAAAA race for the final playoff spots. The Wildcats have the toughest remaining schedule, however, with Carrollton, Kell, Rome, and Cass remaining. Hiram also remains an outside contender in 7-AAAAA. The Hornets already have a win over Villa Rica, but also have a loss to Cass and must play Rome, Carrollton, and Kell down the stretch. The final five weeks should be a lot of fun in all three regions.

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