WHO CLASS 6A HELPS AND HURTS
High school football's new Class 6A comprises the largest 32 schools by enrollment and creates more parity in other classes. That should improve teams' chances of reaching the state tournament. Also, a unique playoff format for 6A allows traditional power teams to advance without knocking each other off in the first two rounds.
AMONG THE WINNERS:
Minnetonka: The Skippers of late are 1-9 against Eden Prairie. New format could delay a meeting with the seven-time Prep Bowl champion Eagles until the state tournament.
Rochester public schools: John Marshall last went to state in 2004, Mayo in 1997. With Lakeville North and Lakeville South now in 6A, the Rochester schools, including never-been-there Century, make up half of their Class 5A section.
Totino-Grace: Shrinking enrollment put the Eagles in Class 4A. But they opted up to 5A, a move that should quiet critics.
AMONG THE LOSERS:
Minneapolis South: Remember when you "volunteered" for a tough task because everyone else in line stepped back? That's South, the city's only public school in Class 6A. The Tigers have it tough to prepare for the playoffs by playing Class 1A, 3A and 4A teams in the Minneapolis City Conference.
Brainerd: A strong program but similar to Minneapolis South in that it won't face a 6A team until the playoffs. Virtually powerless to grab one of the top four postseason seeds as a result, the Warriors must be playoff road warriors.
Totino-Grace: Section 4, where Totino-Grace has been assigned, is Class 5A's most daunting. The Eagles' road to state is encumbered by quality programs such as Andover, Mahtomedi and Spring Lake Park.
CLASS 6A TEAMS
Anoka, Armstrong, Blaine, Brainerd, Burnsville, Centennial, Champlin Park, Coon Rapids, Cretin-Derham Hall, Eagan, Eastview, Eden Prairie, Edina, Forest Lake, Hopkins, Lakeville North, Lakeville South, Maple Grove, Minneapolis South, Minnetonka, Mounds View, North St. Paul, Osseo, Park of Cottage Grove, Prior Lake, Rosemount, Roseville, Shakopee, Stillwater, Wayzata, White Bear Lake, Woodbury
DAVID LA VAQUE