CINCINNATI -- Crunch time has arrived for multiple area high school football teams as they enter Week 8.
And the postseason predictions continue to garner plenty of interest. Just three weeks remain until the conclusion of the regular season.
The area’s Division I high school football scene continues to be very competitive, as is indicated by the latest Steve Shuck projections for WCPO.com.
There are a dozen D-I teams in the mix for eight spots. Barely a point separates the seventh and 10th teams in the current projections.
There are 18 Division I teams in Region 4 after the OHSAA changed the playoff format for this season.
That’s makes games like Sycamore (3-4) at Princeton (5-2), Fairfield (5-2) at Colerain (7-0) and Hamilton (4-3) at Oak Hills (3-4) so vital.
Despite a sub-.500 record including two early season overtime losses, Sycamore is projected to be the No. 8 seed with a 5-5 record.
Hamilton (4-3) is projected to be No. 10 while Moeller (3-4) is projected to be No. 12.
The Crusaders must defeat Cleveland Ignatius Friday night (at Otterbein University) or visiting Lakewood St. Edward Oct. 22 to have an opportunity at the playoffs, Shuck said. St. Ignatius leads the all-time series with Moeller 5-1, but the Crusaders won last season’s meeting 55-52.
The top seeds in the area’s respective regions remained the same. Colerain (7-0) is projected No. 1 in Region 4. Colerain is ranked No. 1 in the MaxPreps Midwest computer rankings, No. 1 in the Associated Press state poll and No. 6 nationally by the MaxPrep computer rankings.
Franklin (7-0) is No. 1 in Division III, Region 12. Wyoming (7-0) and Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy (7-0) are the top seeds in Division IV, Region 16 and Division V, Region 20, respectively.
In Division II, Region 8, La Salle (5-2) moved up to No. 3 with a win over St. Xavier last week.
Turpin (7-0) is projected to be No. 2. The Spartans host Anderson (5-2) at 7 p.m. Friday in a crucial Eastern Cincinnati Conference showdown.
Anderson is projected at No. 9 with 17.55 points but barely trail No. 8 Princeton (5-2), which has 17.65 projected points. An Anderson upset could definitely upset the order and qualifiers.
In Division III, Region 12, Norwood (6-1) is projected to host a first-round game at the No. 4 seed, while New Richmond (6-1) is at No. 5. Norwood plays at New Richmond Week 10.
Mount Healthy (7-0) is projected to miss the playoffs at the No. 9 seed. Mount Healthy plays host to Northwest (4-3) Friday before road games with Division II projected qualifiers Harrison (4-3) and Edgewood (5-2).
Shuck, the Greater Miami Conference commissioner, is in his 21st season of compiling his area high school football playoff projections.
Known statewide for his “Shuck’s Projections” newsletter, he projects games and results in order to estimate computer points totals in each respective region. This is in anticipation of the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s final computer ratings Oct. 30.
Shuck projected games for 315 schedules this past weekend in order to prepare for Week 8.
Shuck’s projections are unconsidered unofficial; there is no connection to the OHSAA weekly computer points standings.
But the information offers a glimpse into what may be the first-round pairings when the playoffs start in November.
Of the 716 OHSAA member schools playing varsity football this fall, the largest 72 schools are in Division I, while the remaining schools are divided equally in Divisions II-VII (approximately 108 schools in each division).
The top eight teams in each region will qualify for the playoffs. Use the drop-down menu to look through each region.