Curiosity replaces drama when it comes to the IHSAA football postseason draw. There is a fair share of excitement, but with each team making the field the lone question marks lie more with who and where.
So on Sunday night, the pingpong balls will be popping and IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox will be pulling them out one at a time and the fields will be set for the five classes.
Our objective as a team is to be playing the best football by Week 10, which marks the start of the tournament, Carroll coach Doug Dinan said. However, the draw is the draw, and we cannot control the outcome of the draw. If we aspire for championships, than this task will require for us to defeat any and all opponents that we face regardless of the location or the week of the tournament.
The draw still comes with its share of eagerness and anticipation. Coaches know what other teams are in the sectional fields, a predetermined part of the process.
What they don’t know – until Sunday night – is who will be up first.
We play teams, not their reputations, Tippecanoe Valley coach Jeff Shriver said. Who you draw is less important than how you play.
Fans, coaches and players can watch the draw unfold on the Internet or listen to it on radio or watch it on tape-delay television. But the great debate then begins again as the outlets have increased with the popularity of social media sites.
With Twitter and Facebook, the buzz will be on Sunday, where it used to be on Monday, Shriver said.
When it comes time for the postseason to begin Oct. 19 with the first round of sectionals, that’s when teams get down to business. The regular season, for a lot of teams, is just a precursor. So the draw gives a glimpse of what lies ahead.
Even when the draw comes out, coaches are reluctant to get caught looking too far ahead. Some have business remaining with conference championships to be earned or rivals to be faced in the regular-season finale.
Game sites – first-round and future ones – are decided by the draw and whether teams will begin the playoffs in front of a friendly crowd or have to jump on a bus and ride to play in front of rowdy opposing fans.
The focus remains on the next game, which will be Week 9 opponents before getting into the postseason. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a glimpse into the future, now and then.
We might sneak a peak, Shriver said. It’s like Christmas when you might look inside a package, but you don’t unwrap it all the way.