New MHSAA Playoff Format Explained

In 2020, the Michigan High School Athletic Administration (MHSAA) will have a new playoff format. This new system was proposed years ago by members of the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA) and is coming to fruition this fall. The new system is based on strength of schedule (SOS). The graph below outlines The Old MHSAA system and the New Adjusted SOS.

If you look closely, the new system seems to be a fairer way of determining who will make the payoffs. Teams will no longer schedule teams with the thought of getting to 6 wins (9 game schedule) or 5 wins (8 game schedule). This was referred to as “Cupcake Scheduling”.

Playoff Divisions will be set prior to the season and you will not have to wait until Selection Sunday to know what division you are in. There are no “automatic qualifiers” or “additional qualifiers” and all teams from each division are considered, with the top 32 teams from each division (determined by playoff points) getting into the playoffs.

Strength of Schedule is taken into consideration as teams are awarded points based on the team they are playing based on their (school) enrollment and record. Teams are rewarded for beating bigger schools (based on their division) and are rewarded bonus points whether they win or lose, based on the division and wins attained by the opponent. Some of these bonus points are awarded based on something called a “Good Loss”.

OLD MHSAA SystemNEW Adjusted SOS
Playoff Divisions Set….On Selection Sunday, after the 256-team field has been determined.Equal Divisions set prior to the season. 543 schools played 11-player football in 2018; each Division would have had 67- 68 teams.
Automatic Qualifiers6 wins, or 5 wins with an 8-game scheduleNo automatic qualifiers
To Be Considered For the Playoffs5 wins, or 4 wins with an 8-game scheduleAll teams considered. The top 32 teams are determined by Playoff Points.
Additional Qualifiers Determined…By Playoff Points, adding a Class A team, then Class B, then Class C, etc.No additional qualifiers
Points for a WinClass A = 80 points Class B = 64 points Class C = 48 points Class D = 32 pointsDiv 1 = 60 points Div 2 = 55 points Div 3 = 50 points Div 4 = 45 points Div 5 = 40 points Div 6 = 35 points Div 7 = 30 points Div 8 = 25 points
Bonus Points For Opponents Wins & LossesTeam A gets more points (8) for each win by an opponent Team A defeats, and less points (1) for each win by an opponent Team A was defeated by.Team A gets points for each of its opponents wins, regardless of whether or not Team A defeated the opponent.
Bonus Point MultiplierThe multiplier is 8 or 1.The multiplier changes depending on the size of each opponent:
Div 1 = 6 points
Div 2 = 6 pointsDiv 3 = 5 points Div 4 = 5 points Div 5 = 4 points Div 6 = 4 points Div 7 = 3 points Div 8 = 3 points
Out of State TeamsPlaced into a Class based on enrollmentPlaced into a Division based on enrollment

2 thoughts on “New MHSAA Playoff Format Explained”

  1. Why does a team with a 4 win-5 loss record get into the playoffs, when a team with 5 wins – 4 loss record is out? Especially when that 5 win team beat the 4 win team? (Dowagiac vs Benton Harbor)

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