Today, the weeks of speculation will finally end.
Since December, schools have known which University Interscholastic League classification they were going to be in from the fall of 2014 to the spring of 2016. But the rest of the details have been a mystery.
At 9 a.m. today, the UIL will release its biennial realignment and reclassification for the next two years. Classifications will be based on enrollment numbers taken on Oct. 25.
The biggest changes this year include the renaming of the classifications, as six-man will now be called Class A, and each class renamed accordingly. The state’s biggest classification will now be called Class 6A.
Class 4A, like the classes beneath it, will be split into Division I and Division II before football season.
The two-time defending Class 4A Division I football champions, Guyer, will join Ryan in Class 6A.
“The biggest thing is for every sport, it’s tougher come playoff time to make deep runs because competition is a little bit better,” Guyer head football coach John Walsh said. “That’s just a fact. I’ve been in 4A and 5A. The runs are harder.”
The two teams will be in the same classification for the first time since 2008-10.
Ryan has been in the state’s largest classification the last two years, after Guyer was in it from 2010-12. The most success any Ryan team experienced during that stretch was its run to the Class 5A Division II regional finals during the 2013 football season.
Ryan and Guyer will both be 6A, while Denton and Lake Dallas will be in 5A. Argyle, Krum, Aubrey and Sanger will be in Class 4A, while Ponder and Pilot Point will be in Class 3A.
This year was the first time cutoff numbers were released before realignment day, something with which new Denton ISD athletic director Joey Florence agreed.
“It’s good because it takes the guesswork out of it if you’re going to be close [to the classification cutoff]. If you’re one of the schools that are close, it obviously takes the guess work out for you,” Florence said. “Then obviously it can help you with scheduling.”
There’s still a lot of guesswork for schools like Krum. The Bobcats will be affected by the new split in Class 4A. The Bobcats will be in 4A Division II, something head football coach Gary Robinson said will benefit his team.
“I feel like it equals the playing ground a little bit, as far as the size of the schools,” Robinson said. “With that being said, the schools that we’ll be playing I feel like will be just as competitive. We don’t know how it’s going to be.”
Robinson, like every other coach in the state, knows the classification. But the district each school is in will also be very important.
Florence said Ryan is now lacking a nondistrict football game because he anticipates being in the same district as Justin Northwest, which is in the same school district as 6A-newcomer Trophy Club Nelson.
For teams in 6A, especially around in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, there will be good teams in every district. But the quality of opponents in each district is where the distinctions exist.
“If you go one direction and you think the district’s a little bit easier, you get to the playoffs and that’s great, but your first round is going to be against somebody really good,” Walsh said. “I’d almost rather be in a tougher district so when you come out, you may have a couple of rounds of not playing a top-10 team.”
By lunchtime today, schools will know their district foes for the next two years. No matter which way population or geography pulls schools across the state and how far they may have to travel, there will still be one thing on the forefront of every coach’s mind: winning.
“I’ll travel for hours to possibly get a win,” Robinson said. “That’s not a problem for me.”
BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @Ben_Baby.