FAB 50 High School Rankings

Preseason FAB 50 High School Rankings

By Mark Tennis

If you’ve never followed national high school softball rankings before, it’s a different beast compared to many other sports. In some states, especially Texas and Florida, teams start playing in late February. Then in others, like in the Midwest and East, teams don’t begin playing for one month or even longer.

For the preseason rankings, teams that aren’t playing for awhile are kept lower on purpose because they can’t move up until they do start playing and it’s also proven to be a good idea to give those teams room to move up as top teams from the early-playing states begin to play each other.

This year’s national rankings in softball also are going to be greatly impacted by the new playoff format that many California Interscholastic Federation sections are adopting and that is placing teams into divisions based on competitive equity. In other words, all of the top teams are going to tend to be in the same divisions playing each other.

In the CIF Southern Section, for example, last year’s Division II champion was Mission Viejo while the Division I champion was Mater Dei of Santa Ana. This year, Mission Viejo will be Division I along with every other powerhouse team that was in a lower division last season. The result is that the CIFSS Division I bracket is going to be insanely difficult to get through. Strength of schedule factors for the ranking of those teams thus goes through the roof. On the other hand, with such a difficult bracket, upsets can be more common so a team going for a mythical national title has more chances to get upset.

State championships in California for softball are still a few years away, but should be coming soon.

For our friends in Florida, if competitive equity was used to determine playoff divisions, teams like West Orange, American Heritage, Bartow, Coral Springs Charter, Gainesville and Oak Leaf would all be playing each other at the top instead of winning state titles in different divisions. It’s hard to say if competitive equity divisions are coming to other states, but in California it’s going to be the way a future state championship is decided and should be coming to every CIF section in some method.

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