The wildest card of all may be East Literature.
In the totally wacky and very uncertain world of the TSSAA playoffs, it looks like the first-year program looks certain to qualify for the Class 3A post-season – a scenario which would have been laughed at two months ago.
“Before the season started, no one gave us a chance at something like this,’’ said East Lit coach James (Bubba) Spears Monday. “But I still don’t know if we’re definitely in.’’
The Eagles (5-4) are very close. A home win over Lipscomb Friday definitely puts them in. But even with a loss, the Eagles still appear certain to get in.
East Lit is in a three-team 3A district cluster with CPA and Pearl-Cohn, with whom the Eagles have split. The top finisher is guaranteed a berth.
Pearl-Cohn gets in as an automatic qualifier if Lipscomb beats East Lit, but the Firebirds seem certain to be a wild card nonetheless. CPA appears to be a long shot.
“One thing that helps us is overall victories (the second tie-breaking criteria after head-to-head),’’ Spears said “The worst we could finish is 5-5, and the best CPA could do is 4-6.
“Also, the worst we could finish (in District 10-AA) is 3-3 and the best CPA could do is 2-4, so we would hold that tie-breaker, too,’’ Spears said.
Lipscomb (6-3), winner of four straight, has clinched a Class 4A playoff berth, and the winner of Friday’s Whites Creek-Maplewood game is also in the 4A playoffs. If Whites Creek and East Lit win, the Cobras clinch as a first-place qualifier. The loser likely will be in as a wild card.
Also, Goodpasture has clinched a 3A berth, having won the 9-3A two-team race.
Amazingly, with all its troubles in a 2-7 season, Hillsboro still can clinch a 5A playoff berth if the Burros can beat Centennial Friday as they would be the winner of the two-team District 11-5A race.
The Burros can possibly advance as a wild-card entry.
Surprising Glencliff (4-5) has already clinched a berth, and if the Colts beat winless Cane Ridge Friday, the Colts kick into the playoffs as the district winner. Hillwood (3-6) has an outside shot at a wild card.
The winner of the Hunters Lane-McGavock showdown Friday captures first place in District 12-AAA, and both have already qualified. Overton (7-2) looks certain for at least a wild card, and the Bobcats can finish second with an automatic berth with a win over Hillwood and a McGavock loss. Antioch (3-7), which has finished the regular season, might sneak in as a long shot wild card.
The winner of the Brentwood High-Franklin showdown Friday clinches first in the District 11-AAA race, but both have already qualified for the playoffs.
If Ravenwood (4-5) beats Independence (6-3) Friday, the Raptors would hold the tiebreaker over the Eagles and would appear in. Independence will probably get in regardless because of a good overall record.
The only question is who goes where and who gets the byes, because all 12 teams make the playoffs. That includes top-ranked Ensworth (8-0) and defending state champ MUS (9-0), who both received first-round byes as region champs.
If Ryan wins at Chattanooga Baylor Friday, the Irish finish second and clinch a first-round bye and host a second-round game against possibly McCallie or Briarcrest. If the Irish lose and Brentwood Academy beats McCallie Friday, BA would finish second.
There is a three-way tie for fourth between MBA, BGA and Baylor. MBA (5-4) needs to win at Pope JPII, then get some help to finish as high as fourth. That’s big because the No. 4 finisher gets a home playoff game in the first round.
DCA, Davidson Academy and FRA have all qualified, with FRA making its first appearance since 2004. If DCA beats Knox Webb Friday, the Wildcats capture the top seed. But if Webb wins and Davidson beats Sewanee, Davidson finishes first.
Ezell-Harding (5-4) can clinch a playoff berth with a win at FRA Friday.
‘The Zone’ announces brackets
All playoff brackets will be announced on the “Road to the Blue Cross Bowl’’ show on WWTN 104.5-FM The Zone Saturday, 7-9 a.m.
Even if teams don’t know who they will play until Saturday morning, the TSSAA sent out an e-mail last week, giving coaches from around the state the phone numbers, addresses and e-mail addresses of coaches of possible opponents.