Five is the magic number, but it might not be the correct number.
The number five represents the amount of victories a high school football team must win to become eligible to participate in the postseason playoffs.
A five-win season, however, does not guarantee qualification. For a school to have a certain berth [–] and a shot at a state championship [–] six wins is mandatory.
Those with five wins will be chosen based on playoff points, which is the total number of games the particular school's nine regular-season games win.
That's why reaching the five-win mark will be enough for some schools while others will be on the bubble until the IHSA announces its list of playoff teams around 6 p.m. on Oct. 21.
Each of the past three seasons, all but five of the five-win teams have made the playoffs.
Here's what five wins means for some of the area schools in that position now or which could be in the five-win club during the final two weeks of the regular season.
Paxton-Buckley-Loda won its fifth game on Friday. Because its nonconference schedule included state-ranked toughies (Unity and GCMS, which are a combined 13-1), PBL is in great shape. Even if it loses two straight, the school's playoff point total won't be lower than 43.
During the first five years since the IHSA expanded to eight classes and allowed five-win teams to play in the postseason, the cutoff has never been higher than 37 points. Last year, the cutoff was 35. In the other years, it was 32, 28 and 34.
Bismarck-Henning also won its fifth game on Friday, but its pre-league schedule consisted of teams which are currently 2-12 (St. Thomas More and Tri-Point) so the Blue Devils could finish with as few as 36 points and will be sweating out the IHSA announcement.
Of course, the school has two games remaining to clinch its berth by winning at least a sixth game. The school is in control of its own destiny.
Arcola and Cerro Gordo are two other teams at 5-2 after Friday's action. One of the two will positively be among the 256 playoff competitors since they face each other in Week 9.
The other school could be in trouble unless it wins next week. Arcola may not get more than 35 playoff points and Cerro Gordo might only collect 34 points.
Among the schools with 4-3 records right now, Danville, Iroquois West/Crescent-Iroquois, Monticello and Salt Fork will have no problems IF they win another game. All four schools are guaranteed of at least 40 playoff points.
The IW/C-I team played state-ranked Westville and Georgetown-Ridge Farm before starting Sangamon Valley Conference action and Salt Fork faced a Hamilton County team which was 4-2 before Friday and a St. Joseph-Ogden team which was 7-0 after Friday.
Monticello has two home games left in its quest to reach a fifth victory. Danville is a member of the Big 12 Conference, which plays no non-league games and features the state's top-ranked Class 6A program, Normal Community.
On the other side of the coin is a 4-3 Mahomet-Seymour team which needs to win out to be assured of a postseason berth. The school's lone nonconference game was against a Peoria Manual team which started the year 0-6 and the Bulldogs could wind up with as few as 34 playoff points.
One more win and M-S will be on the bubble. Two more wins and a 10th game will be a certainty.
While five is the magic number, it's not necessarily a reason to celebrate.