SCC re­vamps tier sched­ule for next sea­son

Stamford Advocate (Sunday) - - Sports - By Joe Morelli

The South­ern Con­necti­cut Con­fer­ence’s three-tier sys­tem will re­turn for a fourth foot­ball sea­son but with a few changes.

First the teams have been ranked in or­der from 1 through 21 us­ing what com­mis­sioner Al Car­bone calls “ob­jec­tive data” vic­to­ries against teams in each tier based over a four-year pe­riod (2015-18 sea­sons).

Hand, which has won back-to-back Class L state cham­pi­onship in the two sea­sons it resided in Tier 2, is back in Tier 1 while Cheshire be­comes the top team in Tier 2. Shee­han is now the third ranked team in Tier 2 while Fo­ran has moved to Tier 3.

“There was never any move­ment in 12 years (in the Divi­sion I and II for­mat),” Car­bone said. “Three tiers bet­ter rep­re­sents what our con­fer­ence looks like for foot­ball.”

Car­bone said ev­ery­one agreed to us­ing the data for­mula and agreed that this would be a one-year sched­ule. Each team in ei­ther Tier 1 or 3, ex­cept Bas­sick, re­ceives six league games, while the teams in Tier 2 re­ceived 7.

Teams will play four games in its tier. Teams in Tier 1 and 3 will play one cross­over game in Tier 2 each. So be­cause teams in Tier 2 are play­ing a pair of cross­over games, those squads can only play three non-con­fer­ence games.

Bas­sick re­ceived five games be­cause it does not have a Thanks­giv­ing Day op­po­nent.

“Shee­han ex­pressed con­cern go­ing into Tier 2, but it’s just a one-year sched­ule,” Car­bone said. “I go back to the point for 12 years there was never any move­ment. There was a lot of dis­cus­sion and whin­ing about lack of move­ment. I hope for our Tier 3 teams, their goal is to get to Tier 2 and for Tier 2 teams to get to Tier 1.”

Law ath­letic di­rec­tor VJ Sarullo came up with this new for­mula to rank the teams on a points sys­tem de­pen­dent on what teams you beat, in and out of the con­fer­ence. Sarullo cred­ited Notre Dame-West Haven ath­letic di­rec­tor Ja­son Shea and Amity ath­letic di­rec­tor Ernie Good­win for com­ing up with ideas to rank the teams ob­jec­tively.

“We had talked from the first AD’s meet­ing to not wait un­til the last minute

(to fig­ure out the sched­ule),” Sarullo said. “I came up with a spread­sheet with just num­bers, no team names. The num­ber one team plays the hard­est sched­ule and so forth. This was the best way to go. Ev­ery­one in the room said there is no per­fect sched­ule, but with this for­mat, the No. 1 team (Shel­ton) plays the hard­est sched­ule and the No. 21 team (Bas­sick) plays the eas­i­est.”

Ham­den foot­ball coach Tom Dyer was not a fan of the tier sys­tem the last cou­ple of sea­sons, but now be­lieves that the the data is “the most ob­jec­tive-based data for foot­ball sched­ul­ing in the his­tory of our league (25 years).” The Green Dragons re­mained in Tier 2, but is now the bot­tom team in the tier.

“The last two years the sched­ule was a means to an end and not com­pet­i­tively bal­anced,” said Dyer, also Ham­den’s ath­letic di­rec­tor. “None of the num­bers made sense. Now the sched­ule weighted based on your po­si­tion in the tier. The old sched­ule didn’t do that.”

The Al­liance with the South-West Con­fer­ence, the Eastern Con­necti­cut Con­fer­ence, the Cen­tral Con­necti­cut Con­fer­ence and the Fair­field County In­ter­scholas­tic Ath­letic Con­fer­ence will give the SCC teams any­where from three to five games. Car­bone said those non-con­fer­ence matchups are ex­pected to be an­nounced some time in Jan­uary.

The break­down by tier, in or­der, is as fol­lows:

Tier 1: Shel­ton, West Haven, North Haven, Fair­field Prep, Hand, Notre Dame-WH, Xavier.

Tier 2: Cheshire, Shee­han, Hill­house, Hard­ing, Wil­bur Cross, Amity Re­gional, Ham­den.

Tier 3: East Haven, Fo­ran, Bran­ford, Jonathan Law, Guil­ford, Ly­man Hall, Bas­sick

The 2019 sea­son is sched­uled to be­gin Sept. 13.

Peter Hviz­dak / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

The Hand foot­ball team will move back into Tier 1 in the SCC next sea­son af­ter spend­ing the last two sea­sons in Tier 2.

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