Power points system not as confusing as it seems

Published 8:58 am Thursday, September 24, 2015

We’re at the halfway point of the football season, and St. Aloysius and Porters Chapel Academy have a combined record of 2-8. The next few weeks will be mainly playing out the string and …

Wait, what’s that? Both of them have playoff hopes that are alive and well? How is that possible, you ask?

Why, by the magic of the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools’ power point system, of course!

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The power point ratings are a wonderful, if sometimes absurd, creation that give practically any team in the MAIS a chance to make the playoffs. Last season PCA got in with a 2-8 record based on their power point ranking.

The system works like this: Teams get 12 points for every win; one for every win or open date each opponent has; and three more for playing a Class AAA or AAAA team. The total number of power points is then divided by the number of games against MAIS opponents to come up with an average. That average is used to seed each team in a given classification, as well as determine 10 wild card berths in the 16-team bracket in Class AA and AAA.

The good part about the MAIS system is that it rewards success. The top seeds get home field advantage throughout the playoffs, and good teams aren’t hurt by one or two bad losses.

The absurd part comes at the lower end of the brackets.

PCA, for example, is 1-4 with four blowout losses. It doesn’t look like it belongs in the playoffs as of right now. Because those four losses were to Class AAA and AAAA teams, however, it has a power point average that is near the cutoff line. It’ll keep gaining points even if it doesn’t win another game. With a couple of wins to bump up its average — and it plays winless Clinton Christian on Friday — it could still play its way into the Class AA bracket.

St. Al’s road is tougher because Class AAA is deeper, but it’s in a similar situation. A couple of wins down the stretch against teams like Adams Christian (5-0), Greenville-St. Joe (4-1) and Riverfield (4-1) would go a long way.

The Flashes could also still play their way in by winning District 3-AAA.

And that’s what the power points system is really about — opportunity. Everyone has a chance, and everyone stays invested in the season until the end. It’s a good system.

Ernest Bowker is a sports writer. He can be reached at 601-619-7120, or via email at ernest.bowker@vicksburgpost.com

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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