The Virginia High School League football power ratings system is the focus of many area coaches this week as the regular season comes to a close. The ratings, which are calculated by a computer and are used to determine playoff teams and seeds, incorporate a team's record and strength of schedule. (A more detailed overview is available at Lora Bickley, administrative assistant for the VHSL, oversees the power ratings system along with Bruce Patrick, VHSL assistant director of athletics. Bickley spoke about the power ratings system.

Q: What is the most difficult part of compiling the ratings?

A: Getting all the scores. That takes quite awhile because some of our schools play out-of-state teams. I have to go in every Monday morning and get scores from Maryland, D.C., Kentucky, West Virginia and North Carolina. Once we have all the scores, it's pretty simple to key everything in.

Q: How much does a team's strength of schedule impact its power rating?

A: The first year that we went to this [system including a schedule component], we checked to see if the same teams would have gotten in if we had used the old system. Basically, what we found out was it made the most difference in the seeding, not necessarily who got in.

Q: Do coaches call frequently this time of year asking about hypothetical scenarios?

A: I've already fielded two this morning. We do not do projections.

Q: Do you ever receive feedback on the power ratings system?

A: Usually in January or February, we have a football rating committee meeting. That way, we get feedback. We have a representative from each region on the committee, and they bring feedback from their constituents on if we need to change it or what we need to do.

Q: What changes, if any, have been suggested?

A: They're basically happy. One of the things that they have suggested is not to have the difference [of power points based on classification of a teams' opponent].

-- Rich Campbell