Which football division now has the most playoff teams?
Taking a look at 2023 MHSAA division assignments
We’re back today with the 63rd edition of Goosepoop.
In today’s post, we’ll be covering the MHSAA’s recently announced 2023 Division Assignments.
We’ll focus specifically on football, with our analysis trying to hone in on the answer to one question:
Which division now has the most playoff teams?
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Let’s jump in!
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2023 Team Counts
There will be 493 11-man teams this year, down from 498 last year. This continues a 10 year trend: in 2013, the number of teams in 11-man was 597.
Hartford (Div 6)
Coloma (Div 7)
Calvin Christian (Div 5)
Dearborn Hghts Star Int’l (Div 6)
Byron (Div 8)
Carson City - Crystal (Div 8)
Detroit Public Safety (Div 8)
St Charles (Div 8)
St Ignace (Div 8)
One note: Many of the teams who no longer play 11-man have not dropped the sport entirely: there are now 97 teams in 8-man, which is up from 59 in 2017.
If you include this change in the data set (97 - 59 = 38 new 8-man teams), there are only 26 fewer total football teams in the State since 2017.
Team Counts by Division
493 total teams means that there are now around 61 teams per division.
This also means that the average team once again has a greater than 50% chance of making the playoffs.
Here’s the exact breakdown in team counts by division:
Div 1: 62 Teams
Div 2: 62 Teams (includes 2 teams opting up)
Div 3: 62 Teams (includes 1 team opting up)
Div 4: 62 Teams
Div 5: 62 Teams
Div 6: 60 Teams (includes 1 team opting up)
Div 7: 61 Teams
Div 8: 62 Teams
I also broke down how each division’s smallest & largest school enrollment compares in this Twitter thread
Check that out if you want to see how equal D1’s enrollment splits are to the rest of the 8 divisions.
Teams Changing by Division
A bit of a longer analysis, but here’s every team that’s changing divisions in 2023:
(each team’s destination is in parentheses)
Traverse City West (D2)
Bay City Central (D3)
Bay City Western (D3)
Forest Hill Central (D3)
Harper Woods (D4)
Port Huron (D3)
Redford Thurston (D3)
SCS Lakeview (D1)
Allen Park (D2)
Detroit Henry Ford (D4)
Detroit Mumford (D2)
Detroit Renaissance (D2)
Gibraltar Carlson (D2)
NB Huron (D4)
Sault Ste Marie (D4)
Garden City (D3)
Imlay City (D5)
Lansing Eastern (D3)
Detroit Country Day (D4)
Eaton Rapids (D4)
Grandville Calvin Christian (N/A)
Kzoo United (D6)
Midland Bullock Creek (D6)
Wyoming Kelloggsville (D4)
DH Robichaud (D5)
DH Star Int’l (N/A)
Detroit Northwestern (D7)
GR West Catholic (D5)
Muskegon CC (D8)
Sanford Meridian (D7)
Warren Lincoln (D5)
Madison Hghts Madison (D8)
New Lothrop (D8)
Erie Mason (D6)
Lake City (D6)
Carson City - Crystal (8 Man)
St Charles (8 Man)
St Ignace (8 Man)
Number of Playoff Teams by Division
The net of the above changes leaves each division with the following returning playoff teams:
Div 1: 32
Div 2: 36
Div 3: 29
Div 4: 32
Div 5: 30
Div 6: 28
Div 7: 32
Div 8: 35
Divisions 2 & 8 get the short end of the stick - 7 teams across these 2 divisions are guaranteed to break their playoff streaks this coming year.
Beyond having a high number of playoff teams, these two divisions also have a high number of playoff teams who made long runs: both D2 & D8 return 10 Regional Finalists from 2022….. D2 also returns 3 State Finalists!
That’s all for today, guys!
We’ll be back next week with Part 2 of this Analysis, where we will try to answer the question:
Which Division is now the strongest? (hint: while it goes mostly chalk, there are actually a few surprises)
If that post interests you, make sure you subscribe below. That way it will go straight to your inbox when it’s released next Thursday!