The Major League Baseball regular season is over, but magic numbers still are floating around.
For area high school football teams, that is.
With five weeks until playoffs, a lot still could happen before the District 6 brackets are finalized. A few things, though, already have begun to become clear.
The first is that the magic numbers are six in Class AA and seven in Class A. That's how many wins a team figures to need to get into the postseason. In the newly limited 6-A playoffs, some teams that win seven might even miss out.
Let's start with Class AA, where there's already a clear dividing line that's appeared between the top eight and everyone else. If the playoffs started today, Richland, Central, Ligonier Valley, BEA, Penn Cambria, Juniata, Cambria Heights and Tyrone would make it, and there's a pretty good chance that won't change - right now, there's a 140-point gap between Tyrone and Mount Union for eighth place, and Tyrone's schedule, following games with BEA and Clearfield, is pretty favorable.
Mount Union and Forest Hills need to go 4-1 the rest of the way to get to six wins. The Trojans have four toss-up games left. Forest Hills needs to upset either Penn Cambria or Somerset to get to six wins.
Heights is in the most precarious position of the top eight. It could solidify its spot by winning at Penn Cambria tonight. Otherwise, the Highlanders probably have to win two of three from Bishop McCort, Somerset and Northern Cambria to finish out the year.
Speaking of McCort, the Crushers are one of the swing teams in Class A. They're currently on the outside looking in, sitting in 10th place but just 130 points out of third, and the bigger schools they play can bridge that gap if they can beat them.
McCort gave Class AA front-runner Richland a run for its money last week, so it's fair to presume it could be one of the teams to beat along with Bellwood-Antis and Bishop Guilfoyle if it qualifies. But McCort might have to win four from Westmont, Johnstown, Heights, Guilfoyle and Central Cambria to do that.
Barring some kind of collapse, Bellwood, BG and Juniata Valley are sitting pretty to make the field, as is the Portage/Blacklick Valley winner - Portage has the more demanding remaining schedule.
Northern Cambria is in good shape, especially if the Colts win at Berlin tonight. Penns Manor and Homer-Center will have a showdown in week 9 that could have a playoff berth at stake.
Along with McCort and Blairsville, Moshannon Valley and Glendale are among the teams on the bubble. They have to play each other - Glendale has a tough stretch that also includes Bellwood, Juniata Valley and Tussey Mountain.
Cmor can be reached at 946-7440 or firstname.lastname@example.org