This used to be so much easier – only undefeated teams with the most Gardner Points met in a single game for the WPIAL football championship.

Now, multiple teams make the playoffs from multiple conferences, plus wild-card entries and tiebreakers for who gets in and who gets to play at home in the first round. It’s enough to make your head spin. All six classes use head-to-head results, the modified Gardner Point system and the WPIAL Tiebreaker system. If necessary, a coinflip will be used, and it looks like one, maybe several, will be needed.

Because of the realignment that happens every two years, the format for this year’s playoffs has changed. Class 6A will qualify six teams. Class 5A and Class 2A – the WPIAL’s largest classes in terms of the number of teams – have 16-team playoff fields though their makeup is different. The three remaining classes, 4A, 3A and 1A, have 8-team brackets, but again, not constituted the same way. Class 5A has races for one wild card and two third-place teams who will host in the opening round. Class 1A has races for two wild cards and one second-place finisher who gets to play the first round on home turf.

To determine the final standings within conferences, compare head-to-head results, then the Gardner system (100 points for wins +10 points for every win a beaten team finishes with) and the WPIAL Tiebreaker (score differential up to +10/-10 points). When a team is eliminated from the tie, start the process again with the remaining teams.

The following are the conferences, games that can impact final standings and a look at the possibilities heading into the final weekend of the regular season. Conference records are noted, as is point differentials when necessary.

Class 6A

Class 6A qualifies six of its nine teams. The top two teams earn first-round byes and will host the WPIAL semifinals Nov. 9-10. The third- and fourth-place finishers will host quarterfinal games Nov. 2-3.

In the Quad County Conference, Pine-Richland (7-0) is at North Allegheny (7-0), Mt. Lebanon (4-3, +13) at Central Catholic (5-2, +26), Seneca Valley (4-3, +13) at Norwin (2-5), Canon-McMillan (2-5) at Butler (0-7).

The Pine-Richland-North Allegheny winner is first, the loser second. Central Catholic controls the middle of the standings. A Vikings win puts them third, Seneca Valley fourth and Mt. Lebanon fifth. Seneca Valley is third with a win and a Mt. Lebanon win. The Blue Devils take the third spot with a win and a Seneca Valley loss. Canon-McMillan takes the final playoff berth with a win at Butler or with a Norwin loss. The Knights qualify only with a win and a Big Macs loss.

Class 5A

The top five teams in each of the three conferences qualify plus one sixth-place wild card team. The top two finishers in each conference host in the opening round along with two of the three third-place finishers.

Allegheny Eight – Baldwin (2-4, -17) at Peters Township (5-1, +48), Upper St. Clair (5-1, +16) at Bethel Park (4-2, +29), West Allegheny (5-1, +15) at Moon Area (1-5), Chartiers Valley (0-6) at Woodland Hills (2-4, -3).

Peters Township, Upper St. Clair and West Allegheny are tied atop the standings. If all three win Friday, Peters Township takes the top spot based on the tiebreaker points. West Allegheny would be second thanks to a head-to-head win over Upper St. Clair. If all three lose, West Allegheny would be first based on Gardner Points, followed by Upper St. Clair and Peters Township. Baldwin and Woodland Hills are both still alive for the fifth spot and wild card consideration. Both clinch with wins

Big East – McKeesport (5-1, +40) at Gateway (6-0, +60), Franklin Regional (4-2, +13) at Penn-Trafford (5-1, +40).

These are the top four teams in the conference and all have clinched playoff spots. Latrobe has clinched and will be fifth. The wild card can not come from this conference. Gateway is first with a win. If McKeesport and Penn-Trafford each win by 10 points or more, a coin flip will break the three-way tie at the top.

Northern – Penn Hills (6-0, +60) at North Hills (5-1, +30), Hampton (1-5, -31) at Mars (5-1, +39), Kiski (2-4, -10) at Armstrong (2-4, -13), Fox Chapel (1-5, -40) at Shaler Area (2-4, -35).

Penn Hills is first with a win or with a Mars win, putting Mars second, North Hills third. North Hills is second with a win and a Mars loss. The Kiski-Armstrong winner is in. Shaler clinches with a win. Fox Chapel would be sixth with a win, entering the wild-card race. Armstrong is in unless it loses and Fox Chapel beats Shaler. Then, the Riverhawks are wild-card eligible.

Wild card – Armstrong, Baldwin, Fox Chapel, Hampton, Kiski and Woodland Hills are in contention with the survivor likely determined by Gardner Points.

Third-place hosting rights – Three-way ties are possible for all three conferences moving the decision likely to tiebreaker points. If two of the three conferences have three-way ties for first, they’ll both get the extra home game in the opening round.

Class 4A

The top four teams in each of the two conferences qualify with the top two in each league hosting in the opening round.

Big Eight – Thomas Jefferson (6-0. +60) at West Mifflin (5-1, +40), Belle Vernon (5-1, +40) at Ringgold (0-6), Greensburg Salem (3-3) at Indiana (3-3).

If Thomas Jefferson wins, it’s TJ first, Belle Vernon second, West Mifflin third. If West Mifflin and Belle Vernon both win by 10 points or more, a three-way tie would need a coin flip to determine the final order of finish. West Mifflin is first with a win plus a Ringgold win, or with a 10-point win and a Belle Vernon win of less than 10 points. The Greensburg Salem-Indiana winner claims the fourth and final playoff spot.

Northwest Eight – South Fayette (6-0) at Montour (3-3, -4), Beaver (4-2) at Blackhawk (5-1), New Castle (2-4, -15) at Ambridge (0-6). Knoch (3-4, -12) has a non-conference game vs. Freeport.

South Fayette is first. The Beaver-Blackhawk winner is second, the loser third. New Castle is fourth with a 10-point win plus a South Fayette win. Knoch is fourth with a New Castle win of less than four points plus a South Fayette win by 9 points or more. Montour is fourth with any win or with a New Castle loss.

Class 3A

The top four teams in each of the two conferences qualify with the top two in each league hosting in the opening round.

Big East – Burrell at Derry (6-1, +53), North Catholic (6-1, +50) at Deer Lakes, Yough at Elizabeth-Forward (6-1, +39), Freeport (5-3) has clinched fourth and visits Knoch in a non-conference game.

Derry, North Catholic and Elizabeth-Forward have clinched. Those three were 1-1 against each other, Derry over North Catholic who beat Elizabeth-Forward who beat Derry. If all three win Friday, tiebreaker points will set the order of finish. If all three lose, Derry will be first based on Gardner Points (losing to a team with fewer wins). If two win, head-to-head will be the determining factor.

Tri-County West – Aliquippa (6-0) at Central Valley (4-2), Hopewell at Beaver Falls (5-1), South Park at Quaker Valley (4-2).

Aliquippa (first), Beaver Falls (second), Quaker Valley and Central Valley have clinched. Quaker Valley is third with a win or a Central Valley loss. Central Valley is third with a win plus a Quaker Valley loss.

Class 2A

The top four teams in each of the four conferences qualify with the top two in each league hosting in the opening round.

Allegheny – Shady Side Academy (5-0, +50) at Avonworth (4-1, +33), Valley (2-3) at East Allegheny (2-3). Steel Valley (5-1, +37) has clinched and hosts South Side Beaver in a non-conference game.

If Shady Side Academy wins, or loses by eight points or less, it’s SSA first, Steel Valley second, Avonworth third. If Avonworth wins by nine points or more, Avonworth is first, followed by Shady Side and Steel Valley. Regardless of the other games, the Valley-East Allegheny winner is fourth.

Century – McGuffey (5-1) at Washington (5-1), Frazier (3-3) at Beth-Center (4-2). Charleroi (6-1) has a non-conference game against Apollo-Ridge.

Charleroi is first. The McGuffey-Washington winner will share the conference title with the Cougars and will be second. The loser is third. The Frazier-Beth-Center winner clinches the fourth and final playoff spot.

Midwestern – Western Beaver at Freedom (5-1), New Brighton (4-2) at Riverside (4-2). Mohawk (6-1) has clinched and plays a non-conference game at Summit Academy on Saturday.

Mohawk is first. Freedom is second and will share the conference title with a win. The New Brighton-Riverside winner is third, the loser fourth.

Three Rivers – South Allegheny (3-3, +3) at Burgettstown (6-0), Fort Cherry at Serra Catholic (3-3, -7), Seton-La Salle (3-3, 0) at Carlynton. South Side Beaver (5-2) has clinched and plays at Steel Valley in a non-conference game.

Burgettstown is first, South Side Beaver second. South Allegheny clinches with a win or with a Seton loss of at least seven points. Seton-La Salle clinches with a win. Serra is third with a win plus a Seton loss, fourth win a win plus a Seton win unless South Allegheny upsets Burgettstown, then the Eagles are out on Gardner Points.

Class 1A qualifies the top two teams in each of the three sections plus two third-place wild card teams. The top team in each section hosts in the opening round along with one of the second-place finishers.

Class A

Big Seven – Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (6-0) is first, Rochester (5-1) second, Laurel (4-2) third.

Eastern – Clairton (5-0) at Jeannette (5-0). Imani Christian (4-2) hosts Chartiers-Houston in a non-conference game Saturday.

The Clairton-Jeannette winner is first, loser second. Imani Christian is third.

Tri-County South – Monessen (5-1, +40) at Avella, Mapletown at California (5-1, +40). West Greene (6-1, +50) hosts Union in a non-conference game.

If Monessen and California each win by 10 points or more, they will be part of a three-way tie with West Greene for first. All three will qualify for the playoffs and a coin flip will set the order of finish. If Monessen loses, California would be first, West Greene second, Monessen third. If California loses, West Greene would be first, Monessen second, California third.

Wild card – If the Tri-County South finishes in a three-way tie, the third-place finisher gets one of the wild-card spots. The other would go to either Laurel or Imani Christian. If both win their final games (Laurel vs. Northgate Friday, Imani vs. Chartiers-Houston Saturday), the spot would go to Imani based on Gardner Points or tiebreaker points. Laurel gets a wild card berth only with a loss by California, Imani or Monessen.

Second-place hosting rights – A home game will go to one of the second-place finishers, either the Tri-County South runner-up, the Jeannette-Clairton loser or Rochester. They each could finish with one loss. Gardner Points would be the next tiebreaker. The Tri-County South team will finish with 760 points. Clairton will have at least 790 points. Rochester can have, at most, 760 points with Jeannette having a maximum of 750. If Clairton beats Jeannette for the Eastern Conference title and the Tri-County South finishes with a three-way tie for first, this home game will come down to tiebreaker points or a coin flip between the Tri-County South runner-up and Rochester. Or, with a new twist from the WPIAL, should the tie come down to Rochester and Monessen or Clairton and West Greene, the non-conference head-to-head matchups will break the tie. Rochester beat Monessen and Clairton defeated West Greene.

Bob Gregg is sports director of WJPA Radio.

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