Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

The Wpial's 'Bracket Man' Inside the Lines: Randy Rovesti

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

The Wpial's 'Bracket Man' Inside the Lines: Randy Rovesti

Article excerpt

October this year hasn't been all that different than it has been for the past quarter-century or so for Randy Rovesti.

His life has been engulfed by football, but when you work in high school athletics in Western Pennsylvania, that has a tendency to happen.

For roughly the past 25 years, Rovesti has been a member of the WPIAL's football committee, a position that has allowed him to help seed playoff teams and create brackets in the four classifications.

This year, though, there has been one small difference -- he's now the committee chairman.

"I was told tonight that when everybody's mad at the pairings, I'll be the one they come to," Rovesti said in a phone interview Monday afternoon, hours before the pairings were announced.

There's almost always some kind of controversy surrounding the release of the brackets. The committee this year, for example, had to differentiate between overwhelmingly dominant teams in Class A and AA to decide which would be the top seed.

Such dissent, though, does not arise from a lack of preparation. Committee members -- especially Rovesti -- immerse themselves in facts and figures pertaining to the teams they evaluate. There are the basics such as win-loss record, points per game, points allowed per game and newspaper rankings, but other questions still remain. What teams have they beaten? How strong has their competition been?

The committee starts with conference champions and the teams with the best records at the top and, from there, its members evaluate things ranging from strength of schedule to the history of given programs.

In many cases, seeding comes down to a pretty simple question.

"You sit there and say, 'OK, who's better?'" Rovesti said.

And as grating as the criticism can get sometimes, it's part of what makes his work mean something.

"What's so great about it is that everybody today who is connected with high school football in any way is trying to figure out what the seeding is going to be one through 16," Rovesti said. …

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