Interest in the Linfield football program is picking up added momentum after the Wildcats beat Puget Sound on Saturday to clinch at least a share of the Northwest Conference title and the team’s first NCAA playoff invitation since 2005.
Naturally, fans, students and parents are excited about the possibilities of the Wildcats playing in postseason. The inclination is to make some plans in advance.
Here’s a sample email I received Monday:
Hello Mr. Bird,
I am trying to get a handle on the playoff schedule for football. I understand November 21st most likely will be at Linfield. Do you have any “guestimate” where the November 28th game might likely be played?
We are from California and trying to make travel plans…Thank you so much.
Dear Linfield Parent,
Linfield has submitted bids to host the first four rounds of the playoffs. That said, there is no way to speculate where the NCAA might choose to place games. Linfield does stand a better-than-most chance of hosting in the first round. Beyond that, I can’t offer a prediction what the NCAA might be inclined to do.
In addition to the relative strength of teams in the playoff field, financial and geographic considerations come into play when choosing home sites.
The best advice is to sit back and let it play out. Do not hedge your bets by booking airline tickets. Some of our baseball parents were burned in the past when they felt sure the Wildcats would be sent to Abilene, Texas, for a NCAA baseball regional, but instead the team was shipped to Moline, Illinois.
So, Linfield fans, experience has taught me not to try and guess what the NCAA is going to do. Everything time I thought I had their playoff patterns figured out, they went 180 degrees the other way.