At this time next year, the remaining high school football teams in the state's largest two classes may have the week off.
At the Indiana High School Athletic Association executive committee meeting on Dec. 11, commissioner Bobby Cox will recommend four-team sectionals and a bye week prior to the state finals for Class 5A and 6A when a sixth class is added next season.
Class 5A and 6A will each have 32 teams. Cox surveyed the membership on the inclusion of four or eight teams in a sectional and having the bye week either in the first week of the playoffs or the week before the state championships.
"That's the plan as of now," Cox said. "A lot of people felt like a bye week during the playoffs would interrupt a lot of planning and routine. This way, we'll just have four teams sitting for one week instead of 64."
Cox said the IHSAA is still in the process of determining how many schools will be in the tournament next year. There were 315 this year, but any number higher than 321 would force the IHSAA to make an adjustment to the current setup.
"We want to make sure we get commitments from those schools," Cox said. "If we have more than 320 schools, we'll have to make some adjustments."
The executive committee voted in June to expand the football tournament to six classes and adopt the tournament success factor in all team sports. So far, Cathedral (4A to 5A), Bishop Chatard (3A to 4A), Fort Wayne Bishop Luers (2A to 3A) and Lafayette Central Catholic (A to 2A) are football teams guaranteed to move up a class.
But, there's still football to be played this year. Here's a look at the "Let it Rip" predictions for this week's semistate games. I was 8-0 last week to improve to 371-85 (81.4 percent) on the season. All games Friday unless noted:
Lawrence Central (13-0) at Center Grove (12-1), 7 p.m.
Adding to the intrigue in this one is that this is a matchup of teams we rarely see to head-to-head. Can Center Grove sustain drives and keep the Lawrence Central offense off the field? Should be a great game. Lawrence Central 31, Center Grove 28.
Cathedral (8-5) at Columbus East (13-0), 8 p.m.
Despite Columbus East's No. 1 ranking and unbeaten record, it's difficult to shake memories of last year's 62-7 Cathedral win. Cathedral 34, Columbus East 20.
Mishawaka Marian (10-3) at Hamilton Heights (12-1), 7:30 p.m.
Hamilton Heights proved last week that it can win a close game, knocking off Eastbrook 19-14. The Huskies a win away from their first state finals appearance. Hamilton Heights 35, Mishawaka Marian 21.
Bishop Chatard (11-2) at Gibson Southern (11-2), Saturday 5:30 p.m.
Nick Hart, son of former Warren Central coach John Hart, is the first-year coach at Gibson Southern. He'll try to engineer the upset. Bishop Chatard 28, Gibson Southern 14.
Cardinal Ritter (13-0) at Evansville Mater Dei (11-2), 8 p.m.
Another potentially great game. Mater Dei has lost only to 5A Castle and 4A Evansville Reitz. Cardinal Ritter 34, Evansville Mater Dei 31.
Lafayette Central Catholic (12-1) at Sheridan (9-4), 7 p.m.
Can Bud Wright and Sheridan take down the three-time defending champs? Sheridan 20, Lafayette Central Catholic 17.
Scecina (10-3) at Linton-Stockton (13-0), 7:30 p.m.
Expect a more competitive game than Scecina's 17-0 win last season. Scecina 23, Linton-Stockton 21.