A new playoff rankings system will be in place for the next high school football season as the Florida High School Athletic Association opts for a new structure.

The FHSAA Board of Directors voted, 11-3, in favor of a ratings percentage index (RPI) system to replace the old points system when determining playoff teams for football — beginning with the 2019 season.

Here’s what you need to know about the change:

What does the new system entail?

In short, it is a way to measure a team’s strength relative to other teams, based largely on the strength of their schedules. Rather than award higher point totals for better opponents, it will be calculated solely by the RPI formula.

The biggest differences are that a team’s ranking relies more heavily on strength of schedule than just record and that bonus points have been eliminated.

The formula is calculated as follows: RPI = Win percentage (35 percent) + Opponents’ win percentage (35 percent) + Opponents’ opponents’ win percentage (30 percent).

All regular season games will be counted toward the final total.

Why replace the old system?

The old system gave higher point totals to teams that play opponents with better records. So a team that played more teams with a winning record got more points than a team that played teams under .500. A win against a top team gave 50 points where a win against a 1-8 team gave only 35 points.

Here’s what the FHSAA had to say about making the switch:

“The FHSAA Football Advisory Committee ... felt a move to a RPI ranking system was needed to create more accurate rankings for football playoff qualification and seeding. Furthermore, they felt the previous ranking system, which consisted of your own winning percentage and your opponents’ winning percentage, was shallow. Lastly, the committee cited bonus points specifically as creating scheduling havoc. A major advantage to the RPI is the transparency that comes along with its accuracy. The components of the formula are known, and its results can be easily replicated. The calculation of the ranking is three layers deep, leading to more accuracy.”

When will ratings be released?

Like the previous two years, the official FHSAA rankings will be published on fhsaa.org every Tuesday at 2 p.m., beginning Week 6 of the regular season.

What happens in case of a tie?

The tiebreaker is as follows:

• Head-to-head result between the two teams

• Winning percentage

• Opponents’ winning percentage

• Opponents’ opponents’ winning percentage

• Highest-rated win (according to the final RPI standings)

• Next-highest rated win (exhaust all possibilities)

Email Jacob Hoag at jacob.hoag@yoursun.com and follow him on Twitter @ByJacobHoag.


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