With just six teams in the league and five conference games per team, the race for the MIAA A Conference football championship always comes down to the final week and shared titles have occurred in five of the previous 15 seasons.

The MIAA took a major step prior to the 2009 season to resolve end of season ties in football when it approved a rule allowing the same tie-break procedures used in all other sports to separate teams tied for the league championship.  Prior to that rule change, all teams tied for first place at the end of the season, regardless of their head-to-head result or other tie-breaking criteria, were declared co-champions.

Those tie breaking procedures, in order of application, are as follows for a single division:

Two Teams Tied
1. Head to Head (record only, not score)
2. Records against teams above (starting with 1st place)
3. Records against teams below (starting with team below tied teams)

Three or more Teams Tied
1. Combined Head to Head of the Tied Teams
2. Records against teams above (starting with 1st place)
3. Records against teams below (starting with team below tied teams)

With just two games remaining on the 2010 schedule, four teams have just one loss and several different combinations of first-place ties are still possible.  Currently, Gilman is 4-1 after completing its season with a 42-6 win over McDonogh on Saturday.  Calvert Hall and Georgetown Prep are both 3-1 and both teams played out-of-conference this weekend, with Calvert Hall defeating Red Lion Christian (PA), 27-20, and Prep falling to Landon, 20-13.  The fourth team with just one loss is Loyola.

The Dons, who defeated Wyoming Seminary (PA), 38-19, on Saturday, will have the most say in shaping the final outcome of the championship, but unfortunately for them, they cannot win or share the title in 2010.  Loyola, which was eliminated from the championship picture by Gilman’s win on Saturday, plays in both remaining A Conference games – at Georgetown Prep next Saturday (1:00 p.m.) and against Calvert Hall on Thanksgiving morning at M&T Bank Stadium.

Here are the championship scenarios for all four teams.

Loyola Blakefield (5-4, 2-1)
Loyola has won or shared six MIAA A Conference football titles, second only to Gilman’s nine, but the Dons will not hang another banner at Blakefield this fall.  The Dons enter their final two games at 2-1.  If they can sweep Georgetown Prep and Calvert Hall, they would eliminate both of those teams from the championship and finish in a first-palce tie with Gilman, which sits at 4-1.  In that case, Gilman would own the the head-to-head tie break and take the outright title.

Gilman (7-2, 4-1)
It’s season complete, Gilman is assured of finishing tied for first-place with someone and can win or share a 10th title in all but one scenario.  As previously stated, the Greyhounds would win the championship outright if Loyola defeats both Georgetown Prep and Calvert Hall.  If Loyola loses to Prep, but defeats Calvert Hall, Gilman would tie with Georgetown Prep and again win the championship by virtue of a head-to-head tie-break.  If Loyola loses both games, Gilman, Calvert Hall and Georgetown Prep would finish in a three-way tie and become tri-champions.  At that point, all three would be 1-1 head-to-head and there would be no other tie-breaker advantages.  Finally, if Loyola defeats Georgetown Prep, but loses to Calvert Hall, Gilman and Calvert Hall would finish in a two-way tie first and Calvert Hall would win the title by virtue of its earlier victory over the Greyhounds.

Georgetown Prep (7-3, 3-1)
The Little Hoyas have been a football affiliate member of the MIAA since 2005 and the one-time perennial champion of the Washington, D.C.-based Interstate Athletic Conference has never been this close to winning a championship in the Baltimore-based MIAA A Conference.  To do so in 2010, Prep must close with a win over Loyola and then root for Calvert Hall to do the same.  Prep gave Calvert Hall its only league loss and the Little Hoyas are rooting for the Cardinals to join them in a three-way tie with Gilman to share in a tri-championship.  As stated earlier, Gilman holds the tie-break over Georgetown Prep in a two-way tie.

Calvert Hall (10-1, 3-1)
Some find it hard to believe that Calvert Hall has never won the MIAA A Conference football championship.  The Cardinals own numerous football titles from the old Maryland Scholastic Association (MSA), but have never won or shared the MIAA title, dating back to the league’s inaugural season in 1995.  That will all change with a win over Loyola on Thanksgiving Day.  It’s already been spelled out, but the Cardinals will win the title outright if they finish in a two-way tie with Gilman or they will settle for a tri-championship with the Little Hoyas and Greyhounds.  Last Thanksgiving, Calvert Hall snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Dons.  With so much on the line, the anticipation for this year’s game will only be heightened.  The Cardinals have a title on the line and Loyola has a chance to keep them from it.

Click here for the complete list of past MIAA football champions.