SNOHOMISH — Glacier Peak head coach Rory Rosenbach’s excitement of playing the No. 1 team in the state is met with equal frustration as to how the state tournament is bracketed.
“I think I’m frustrated and I think a lot of coaches are frustrated with the system of designing the playoff bracket, which happens before the season starts and has absolutely no consideration for who the best teams probably are,” Rosenbach said.
The current system doesn’t take into account what teams come from which leagues and how competitive that league may or may not be. For example, Meadowdale, which was the No. 5 seed from District 1 drew the Narrows League No. 1 seed Timberline and pulled off the upset last weekend, winning 28-21 and moving on to play sub-.500 Lakes tonight in the opening round.Mountlake Terrace also had a winnable game against Mountain View, which survived to play Seattle Prep in this weekend’s opening round.
Meanwhile, a team like Oak Harbor, which beat Meadowdale for the Wesco’s third seed just two weeks ago, drew a very tough Mount Si team that had only lost one game as its quad-district playoff opponent. The Wildcats from Mount Si went on to beat the Wildcats from Oak Harbor 40-7.
“Nothing against both those teams, they did great jobs and played great games and that’s how the draw works and you play what you get, but Meadowdale and Mountlake Terrace played teams in the play-in game that are probably on par with what we played.”
Lakes is certainly better than its 4-6 record indicates, but still not the level of opponent as Bellevue or even Eastside Catholic, 10-0 Marysville Pilchuck’s opponent in the first round.
“If I’m MP and I’m 10-0 and ranked third in the state and I’m playing a top-five team, that doesn’t seem right in the round of 16,” Rosenbach said. “You feel like they’ve earned the right to play what would be a 12, 13 or 14 out of the 16.
“You have to play the great teams anyway, but the point is, for me, that you want those great games to be played in the quarterfinals, semifinals and championship game. You don’t want them played in the round of 16 and the round of 32.”
Some of the state’s coaches have started what Rosenbach called a “grassroots movement” that began last season which would create an RPI system that takes into account not only number of wins, but who those wins have come against.
“That’s hopefully what we’re working towards,” Rosenbach said. “We’ll see what we can do because I think there’s a better way to do it.”
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.