(8-24-20) Samuel Houseworth previews seven area conferences as we get ready to start the 2020 ‘Pandemic’ high school football season.

High school football kicks off this week! …at least in Ohio.

As all of you are aware, this upcoming football season is going to be very unique for the coaches, players, parents, officials, and fans. We are looking at a 6-week schedule with playoffs beginning in Week 7. Every team makes the playoffs, just like every other high school sport. Outside of that, the season will be unique for every conference.

With schedules very difficult to come by, I’ve calculated previews for 7 conferences in Northwest Ohio: Blanchard Valley, Green Meadows, MAC, NWC, Northwest Central, TRAC, and WBL.

However, the Perfectionist Joe Eitel updated the 2020 high school football schedules this morning, to the best of what is available. With that, I should be able to get statewide projections out sometime on Tuesday.

But until then, let’s attack these conferences in alphabetical order.
The Blanchard Valley Conference will be host to LCC this fall as independents have struggled to find opponents with most conferences going to a conference-only schedule. While I can’t confirm this, it appears that the BVC separated their conference into an A Division and B Division so that teams play opponents closest to their level of prestige. This would explain why P-G has fewer expected wins than Van Buren, because P-G gets Liberty Benton, McComb, and Leipsic, while Van Buren gets C-R, North Baltimore, and Vanlue. Interesting strategy.

With 7 teams in the conference, the Green Meadows schools all had to scrap and claw to get a 6th opponent on their schedule for this upcoming season. Even Fairview, the projected “champions”, had to schedule Woodlan in Indiana for Week 4. This will be 2 weeks before Fairview faces Edgerton in what should be the conference de facto championship game.

An issue with the OHSAA’s computer ratings is that it has left many great MAC teams out of the postseason in years past. This is because school size is a factor in their computer ratings. But not mine! By getting all 10 teams into the state playoffs, this 2020 season should be the perfect opportunity to show how excellent the truly MAC is. (Unless they all get paired against each other, which I could see the OHSAA doing)

On a side note, who did St. Henry upset to get such a brutal schedule? Coldwater, Anna, Minster, AND Marion Local in the first four weeks?!?!

The NWC is one of the few conferences that will crown a true conference champion this coming year. They will start with 2 groups of 4 teams, playing round robin for the first 3 weeks. Then in Weeks 4-6, they will have a playoff to fill out the schedule and crown a champion. The Projection Index has Columbus Grove and Spencerville meeting in Week 6 for the conference’s championship game.
The NWCC has gone to a 2 division format as well, named the Lane Division and Dennis Division, honoring Herb Lane and Mike Dennis. Perry a favorite to sweep through the Lane Division, while the Dennis Division will be more competitive at the top with Hardin Northern, Lehman, and W-G all in the running.

The creation of the TRAC has proven to be rough for Lima Senior since its inception in 2011. The Spartans have recently started to dominate in basketball, but are still fighting for their first league title in football. One piece of good news from this shortened season is Lima Senior will avoid Whitmer, who is undefeated against Lima Senior since 2011.

While it’s impossible to get every pairing fans want when conferences have to narrow schedules down to 6 weeks, only game I would have loved to have seen in the WBL is Kenton and St. Mary’s. The two schools have made their mark on the conference, but have almost never been great at the same time. Nonetheless, I guess we will have to settle with Wapak and St. Mary’s in Week 2 in which the winner could go perfect in the WBL.