By Mike Bruu, TSB Sports Editor
1. Hello TSB sports fans. After months filled with political commercials, annoying yard signs, and often times ignorant Facebook statuses, the election season was capped off on Tuesday night by the re-election of President Obama. So now everyone can relax, because the only debates you will hear on the streets will be regarding who the Bachelor will choose this season, and why Jerry Jones the owner won’t fire Jerry Jones the general manager. Ah, it is good to have America back. Now on to sports.
2. Lost in the political shuffle this week is the big football game this Friday night at Ron Poe Stadium between the McKinney Boyd Broncos and the McKinney High Lions. This rivalry is in its seventh year of existence, and while the Lions dominated the first matchup back in 2006 with a 34-0 victory, the Broncos have won the last five games by a margin of 18 points. This is without a doubt the biggest game between these schools, as both have teams have chances to earn a playoff berth with a victory. However, with only Allen and Plano securing playoff spots heading into week ten and the remaining four schools all in contention, there are eight different scenarios for how the standings could finish up late Friday night. Just trying to figure out all eight gives one a mind-numbing headache, especially when you figure out that MHS can beat Boyd and have the Broncos go onto the postseason and have the Lions stay home. Huh? Let me explain.
3. Before we go into detail about these potential tiebreakers, here is the current standings in District 10-5A and the Week 10 matchups in the district:
1. Allen – y 4-0
2. Plano – x 2-2
3. Boyd 2-2
4. Plano West 2-2
5. Plano East 2-2
6. McKinney 1-3
x – Clinched Playoff Spot (Plano clinched because they would advance in all eight scenarios)
y – Clinched District Title
Plano at Allen
MHS at Boyd
Plano East at Plano West
4. Every district in the state of Texas has different tiebreakers to determine who moves on to the playoffs and who doesn’t. For District 10-5A, the obvious tiebreaker between two teams is the head-to-head matchup. However, if there are three or more teams tied at the end of the year, the first tiebreaker is the record against the opponents who you are tied with. For example, if Plano defeated Allen, MHS beat Boyd, and East topped West, the standings would finish like this:
1. Allen – y 4-1
2. Plano – x 3-2
3. Plano East – x 2-3
4. McKinney – x 2-3
5. Boyd – E 2-3
6. Plano West – E 2-3
x – Clinched Playoff Spot
y – Clinched District Title
E – Eliminated From Playoff Contention
5. Because McKinney and Plano East were 2-1 versus the teams tied, they would both advance on while Boyd and Plano West watch the playoffs from home. Now if you want the most confusing playoff scenarios possible, you will first need Allen and McKinney to come away with victories to start. Then the fun really starts because the Lions could miss out on making the playoffs regardless of who wins the West-East rivalry game, especially if East pulls off the upset. Why you might ask? Put on your math hats for this one folks.
6. If all of the teams tied have beaten one another, which would occur in either of the situations I just offered up, the next tiebreaker is point differential between the teams that are tied. Now the limit to how many points a team can get in a game is capped off at plus or minus 14, which means that Boyd only got a plus-14 when they beat Plano West 55-28, and West only suffered a minus-14 in a 27 point loss. This is the reason why Plano already had a playoff spot regardless of whether they beat or lose to Allen, because if Allen, MHS, and West wins they have a plus-13 differential, and if Allen, MHS, and East wins they have a plus-25 differential. Since both differentials cannot be changed because they are not playing a team with a similar record and no other team can surpass their total, they locked up a spot last Friday night. Still with me?
7. Here are how both standings will finish out if either scenario occurs:
If Allen, MHS, and West win:
1. Allen – y 5-0
2. Plano West – x 3-2
3. Plano – x 2-3
4. MHS/Boyd 2-3
5. Plano East – E 1-4
McKinney’s point differential will be -13 to 0
Boyd’s point differential will be 0 to -13
If Allen, MHS, and East win:
1. Allen – y 5-0
2. Plano – x 2-3
3. Boyd – x 2-3
4. East/West/MHS 2-3
Boyd’s point differential will be +12 to -1
McKinney’s point differential will be -15 to -2
Plano East’s point differential will be -23 to -10
Plano West’s point differential will be +1 to -12
8. So if Allen and East win, Boyd is automatically in the playoffs regardless of the outcome versus MHS. If Allen, MHS, and West win, the Lions have to win by at least nine points in order to clinch the final playoff spot in District 10-5A. Any victory by less then nine points will give the final spot to Boyd. Also, if Plano and McKinney win regardless of the West-East outcome, the Lions would make the playoffs.
9. Now Boyd and Plano West can avoid all the drama by simply winning its respective games on Friday night, as both clinch spots with victories. However, as you can see from the stats from above, we will likely see some fireworks on Friday night as four teams play for their playoff lives in the regular season finale. That my friends, is why we love sports so much.
10. Regardless of the outcome in the crosstown showdown on Friday night, we all need to marvel at the job that McKinney head coach Jeff Smith and his staff has done this season. The obvious 10-5A Coach of the Year award winner has taken his team that finished winless in 2011 and has put them in a position to be one win away from making the postseason in the program’s first year in 5A. Many high school experts didn’t believe this team would win a game this season, and not just in district but also in non-district play as well. Yet here the Lions are, mere hours away from the biggest game in the careers of this senior class, four quarters away from potentially making one of the more unlikely playoff appearances this area has seen in quite a while.
I have watched this team from August until today, and while they have gone through some ups (the 24-12 victory over Plano East on homecoming) and downs (the 53-point loss to Allen), there aren’t too many teams in the area that are more fun to watch than the McKinney Lions. It doesn’t hurt that they have a top-five quarterback, a top-two receiver and two more in the top-40, and a top-ten overall team offense that is second in the area in passing. And while the defense can allow the big play from time to time, players like Jontrell Rocquemore, Jumaane Ross-Brown, and Dalton Harris has made this defense no pushover when opposing offenses take the field.
11. Now for McKinney Boyd, the return to a district with Allen and the Plano schools has brought the Broncos mixed results. The Broncos were 0-8 versus these opponents in the two years that they played in the same district back in 2008-10. So in that respect, defeating Plano West and Plano are huge accomplishments that show just how much the program has grown in just seven years. However, a victory last week at Plano East would have clinched a spot for Boyd heading into the game versus MHS, avoiding the situation they are in now of possibly missing the playoffs with a loss. That was something head coach Don Drake was hoping to avoid heading into the game last week, but now his team needs one more win to officially lock a berth up and avoid ending the season on a three-game losing streak.
Going into the year, there were some questions regarding the youth on the defense, particularly the defensive line. However, the line and the entire defense has grown tremendously over the course of the season and are now in the top-40 in total team defense, allowing just under 375 yards per game in a district that has five opposing offenses all ranked in the top-40 in the area. And then there is that one guy name Driskell, who will likely finish the regular season as the No. two rusher in the area behind South Garland’s Marquel McNac. When Driskell is shut down like he was versus Allen, the offense can’t get out of neutral, but when he is on like he was versus Plano West, the entire offense becomes explosive and can throw the ball downfield much more efficiently.
12. Regardless of who wins the game at Ron Poe Stadium, the real winner here is the people of McKinney. With there being only one crosstown game this year, bragging rights are at a premium between these two schools and two separate parts of town. The “Red Nation” versus “Lion Nation” debate on Twitter is simply fascinating to observe, and has given an energy and excitement level to this game that most people didn’t think would be there this year. We could approach the biggest crowd Ron Poe has ever had this week, and I strongly encourage any of you who are debating of whether to go or not to buy a ticket and go. I promise that you won’t be disappointed.
13. Now before I announce whom I will pick in this game, understand that I have not had a very good year of predicting sporting events so you may hate me if I ultimately pick your school to win. I absolutely love this matchup and am fascinated to see how the Lion defense will try to stop Driskell. If No. 5 gets going on the ground, the Broncos will walk away with a win pretty easily, and that is what I think will happen. McKinney has struggled at times with real physical defenses, but the biggest obstacle they have yet to overcome is avoiding turnovers. The Lions have average three turnovers a game in district play, while the Broncos have forced nearly 2.5 per game. I think the Boyd defense makes a big play late in the game and win it 31-21.
14. If you love the drama of sports, Friday night football in District 10-5A should provide plenty of it. If you can’t make it out to Ron Poe Stadium, you can follow me on Twitter @TSBSportsBruu for play-by-play updates from the game, as well as score updates from the other two 10-5A games. Until next time, ladies and gentlemen.