After the first round of the postseason, four teams were left standing with three advancing on upsets over a higher seed. Unfortunately for the Raiders and Cougars, the teams with the two best remaining records, this actually proved to be a disservice on their quest to a championship.
The Raiders, the High Desert No. 1, took care of business as expected against the Sierra League’s fourth seed, Douglas. Across the rest of the prep landscape the lower seeds advanced. High Desert No. 3 Spanish Springs upset Sierra No. 2 Manogue, the third seed from the Sierra, Damonte, dropped HD No. 2 Reno and McQueen, HD No. 4, slipped pass Sierra No. 1 Galena. Strangely enough though, the results of the first round seemed to actually benefit the teams with the lowest remaining records, McQueen and Damonte.
Because there is no realignment during the playoffs, Reed (8-3), the lone No. 1 seed, actually faces the toughest remaining foe in the Cougars (8-3). While the rivals are left battling each other, the two other squads still alive both sit with a record of 5-5. This is why the NIAA should consider reseeding in the playoffs.
The No. 1 seed is meant to reward the efforts and accomplishments of the team with the best record from the regular season. Once in the playoffs, the top seed is intended to set the easiest course for the regular season champion. With the brackets set in stone, that is not the case.
While some may say that at the end of the day, the best team will find its way to the championship game and be left holding the regional trophy regardless of the order of its opponents, leaving the bracket cemented does not reward those top teams. Reseeding the bracket would not just benefit the No. 1 team though. While the lowest remaining seeds would be placed along the title-path for the top team, the middle-seeded teams that advanced would also be able to avoid running into the No. 1 squad before the championship round.
If the bracket was realigned, the Raiders would welcome the Lancers to East Sparks while Spanish Springs would get to host a playoff contest against the Mustangs. This is not to say that a game against perennial power McQueen, which lost its four contests to northern Nevada opponents by a combined 26 points and is on a three-game winning streak, would be a cake walk. It is also not a claim that a meeting with Damonte and running back Drew Smith, who capped off the Mustangs upset-bid against Reno with 329 yards rushing and four touchdowns, is one to be desired. It is merely pointing out a flaw in the current arrangement. A five-win team should not suddenly get priority over and trump a team that garnered eight victories simply because the bracket is not flexible.