David Mitchell commentary: Change in classification won't hurt Bi-City teams

dmitchell@ledger-enquirerDecember 5, 2013 

One of the most fun things about reclassification for me is to try to predict the future for each new region and classification.

How will this team do now that it’s matched up with that team? Will this other team be a state power in Class AAAA the same that it was in Class AAA?

What I found in the last round of reclassifications was this: The great teams generally remain great teams, the good teams remain good and the not-so-good are usually — well, you get the point.

And after all the talk about how a team like Carver, which will move up two classifications to Class AAAAA in reclassification for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons, will do matched against some of the bigger schools in the state, I expect the trend to continue.

A little background:

Just two seasons ago, the Tigers were playing in Class AA. In the previous reclassification, it got bumped to Class AAA, where its only real in-region competition was Peach County. Now, despite being classed into AAAA, they will play up in AAAAA. If everything holds, they will be in a region with Thomas County Central, Harris County, Bainbridge, LaGrange, Shaw, Hardaway, Northside and Columbus.

It’s a tougher region, to be sure.

At its best, Thomas County Central is a contender at the state level, and teams like Harris County and Bainbridge provide automatic depth to the region.

But the expectations for Carver will not — and should not — change. According to the Maxwell Ratings, which rated the strength of each team based on historical performance rather than just the most recent season, Carver is projected No. 2 in the region behind Thomas County Central. There is a decent gap between itself and No. 3 Harris County.

And those ratings don’t take into account the amount of talent leaving or returning to a team. If it did, Carver would likely be closer to No. 1 in the region than it is now.

The alternative region in Class AAAA would likely have included Carrollton and Sandy Creek, two of the state’s best teams over the past few years. So, playing up a class may actually benefit the Tigers on the a region scale.

The state playoffs will undoubtedly provide a new challenge. Teams like Northside-Warner Robins, Warner Robins, Ware County, Gainesville and Stephenson will certainly test Carver’s ability.

But the state quarterfinals have become the standard for the Tigers and that, at least, will not change.

Other Muscogee County teams will likely face similar challenges, as well. Kendrick, Spencer and Jordan will play with Peach County. Like Heard County the past two seasons, Peach will be the overwhelming favorite in the region. Beyond that, though, playoff spots should be attainable with continued improvement.

The postseason is the new standard for the Cherokees, and there’s no reason for that to change going forward.

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