The PIAA released the new classification numbers for all sports on Thursday afternoon, and looking at the numbers there doesn't look there will be much change.
The actual school numbers don't come out for a bit yet. Schools, I believe, receive their notifications first, then have 10 days to decide if they would like to play up a classification in a sport.
For football, the numbers for this two-year cycle are as follows — Class A (1-129), Class 2A (130-195), Class 3A (196-274) and Class 4A (275-398).
Those numbers are on PIAA.org and the upper ends of each classification really didn't change much except in Class 4A. The upper end of Class A dropped by two students, 2A dropped by three students and Class 3A dropped by two students as well. The upper end of Class 4A went from 384 to 398 this rotation.
The new competition formula kicks in this cycle as well. If Southern Columbia wins a state quarterfinal game this season, the Tigers will accumulate their sixth point in this cycle, but as I read the rule, you also have to accept transfers, as, well to be moved up.
It's three transfers per two years in football and they have to ruled for sports reasons I believe, so I'm pretty sure the Tigers will still be Class 2A as the next cycle rolls around.
There are some things to keep an eye on when the new numbers come out in a few weeks. Class 2A could expand in District 4. Current Class A schools South Williamsport and Muncy are close to having to move up, while Warrior Run and Loyalsock are close to having to move down out of Class 3A.
That would give us five Class A school, 14 Class 2A schools and eight Class 3A schools. Though Class 3A could add two new teams depending on what Midd-West and Columbia-Montour Vo-Tech fall under. Both of those teams are close dropping down to 3A, but I don't know if Vo-Tech is counted as a co-op or what Midd-West will decide to do.
As we near the end of the season, the whole landscape of the high school football could be different. There are plenty of rumors floating around about the Heartland Athletic Conference — teams that want to leave and teams that want to join.
The next two-year cycle should be quite interesting. Like I said last week, I wonder if this will be the final cycle for six classes in football, or will they tweak the schedule to shrink the playoff a bit.
I also wonder if the answer to shrinking the playoffs might be to just cut another week off the football season and get done before the first basketball game is set to tip off. That was the original reason for this earlier schedule in the first place, and I don't think the winter coaches would complain.