The biggest development from last season is the addition of an open division in the San Diego Section, thus adding one more bowl-eligible team into the D1 South mix and elevating defending Division III state champ Madison to Division II.
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Here are the preseason football Cal-Hi Sports CIF Bowl Game Rankings for Southern California (listed with 2012 season records):
1. Centennial (Corona) 14-2
2. St. John Bosco (Bellflower) 12-1
3. Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 12-4
4. Vista Murrieta (Murrieta) 13-1
5. Oceanside 12-1
6. Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 11-3
7. Mission Viejo 11-1
8. St. Bonaventure (Ventura) 11-2
9. Central (Fresno) 11-3
10. Alemany (Mission Hills) 9-3
11. Upland 12-1
12. Oaks Christian (Westlake Village) 8-3
13. Clovis North (Fresno) 12-2
14. Bakersfield 9-3
15. Narbonne (Harbor City) 14-1
16. Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks) 8-4
17. Venice 10-3
18. Mission Hills (San Marcos) 10-3
19. Servite (Anaheim) 3-7
20. Helix (La Mesa) 9-2
Bubble Teams: Carson 6-7, Cathedral Catholic (San Diego) 9-2*, Charter Oak (Covina) 10-2, Clovis 9-2, Crenshaw (Los Angeles) 11-2, Edison (Fresno) 9-4, Norco 8-4, Santa Margarita (Rancho SM) 9-3.
Breakdown: The San Diego Section is going to an open division this season, which will include traditional powers like Oceanside, Helix, Mission Hills and others. Both the San Diego Open Division and Division I champions will be eligible for the D1 South bowl game, but the D1 champion will probably be the sixth best team on the board for selection Sunday. Unless Oceanside, the preseason overall No. 1 team in the section, can upset Gardena Serra on Sept. 6, then Oceanside’s chances for the open division are pretty much done, too. The simple scenario and one that will cause endless debates is that there will be two SoCal open division teams chosen after the section playoffs and that the likelihood is that there will be three very talented squads up for those spots — Centennial, St. John Bosco and Serra. If Serra is the odd team out, it would be in the D2 regional bowl. If Serra is in, then the CIFSS Inland Division or Pac-5 champ would be in the D1 regional bowl.
1. Serra (Gardena) 14-2
2. Chaminade (West Hills) 12-2
3. Edison (Huntington Beach) 13-2
4. Hart (Newhall) 8-4
5. La Mirada 9-2
6. La Habra 8-4
7. Villa Park 12-2
8. Citrus Hill (Perris) 14-0
9. Madison (San Diego) 14-1
10. Downey 11-3
11. Rancho Verde (Moreno Valley) 10-4
12. Palmdale 10-1
13. Garces (Bakersfield) 12-1
14. St. Augustine (San Diego) 10-3*
15. Kaiser (Fontana) 13-1
Bubble Teams: Foothill (Tustin) 10-3, Heritage (Romoland) 11-2, Lompoc 12-1, Palos Verdes (PV Estates) 11-3, Santa Monica 8-4, Serrano (Phelan) 13-1.
Breakdown: Serra is an easy choice to start out No. 1, but remember the Cavs have even higher goals and are hoping to do enough during the regular season and playoffs to earn a spot in the SoCal Open Division bowl game. If Serra were to get that, then the most likely outcome in the SoCal D2 bowl game is for the CIFSS Southwest Division champ (won by Edison of Huntington Beach last year) to play one of the other CIFSS champs (Hart, La Mirada, Citrus Hill and Rancho Verde are all in different CIFSS playoff divisions). Due to the new format in the San Diego Section, last year’s D3 state champ, Madison, would be eligible for the D2 bowl game this year and not D3. That will make it much harder for the Warhawks to go back to state even if they have a better team. The new format in San Diego also puts St. Augustine and Brawley in D2 for the bowl games and no longer D3. In essence, the new format will make it lot more difficult for many San Diego teams to get into the state bowl games other than in Division IV. If the locals complain next December, the complaints shouldn’t go to the state but to their own section.
1. Monrovia 12-3
2. Paraclete (Lancaster) 12-2
3. Wasco 13-0
4. Nordhoff (Ojai) 13-1
5. Corona del Mar (Newport Beach) 11-3*
6. Jurupa Hills (Fontana) 8-5
7. North (Torrance) 11-3
8. Mission Oak (Tulare) 9-3
9. Salesian (Los Angeles) 11-2
10. Hoover (San Diego) 6-5
Bubble Teams: Centennial (Compton) 5-8, Garden Grove 11-3, Rim of the World (Lake Arrowhead) 12-2, San Dimas 11-2, Westminster 6-5.
Breakdown: With defending D3 state champ Madison gone and up to D2, it became easier to put Monrovia in the No. 1 position to start. The Wildcats also are starting out No. 1 in their CIFSS division (which is the same one that Paraclete is in). Wasco is coming off of its record-breaking season with junior running back Isaiah Sharpe leading a strong group of returnees. The Tigers also have greatly strengthened their schedule, including a matchup with Bakersfield. If Wasco beats Bakersfield, that might be even bigger than winning a lower-division state bowl game. Nordhoff seems like a strong contender for this division as well. The Rangers have 12 returning starters, a 10-0 JV team coming up and really only need to worry about replacing most of the offensive line. Running back Tayler Livingston returns with 1,535 yards rushing and 20 TDs while quarterback Tanner Workman had 2,193 yards with 25 scores.
1. Bishop Diego (Santa Barbara) 12-1
2. Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth) 11-2
3. St. Margaret’s (SJ Capistrano) 10-2
4 Bakersfield Christian 10-3
5. Mission Prep (San Luis Obispo) 11-2
6. Santa Fe Christian (Solana Beach) 12-1
7. Parker (San Diego) 8-5
8. Ontario Christian 13-1
9. Rio Hondo Prep (Arcadia) 12-2
10. Immanuel (Reedley) 7-6
Bubble Teams: Bishop’s (La Jolla) 4-8, Boron 10-2, La Jolla Country Day 7-4, Linfield Christian (Temecula) 5-7.
Breakdown: Due to the CIFSS playoff divisions they are in, if either Bishop Diego, Sierra Canyon or St. Margaret’s win section titles, then that’s a team that’s going to be hard to beat for a CIF D4 bowl bid. The problem is that none of the three did win a section title last year, which made it easier for Santa Fe Christian and Rio Hondo Prep to get selected. The CIF certainly is going to do everything possible to avoid another 66-7 game like the one that Santa Fe Christian suffered through against Central Catholic last season, so it will hope that more of the CIFSS titlists are those with enrollment below 500. Bakersfield Christian should be very strong in the Central Section with running back Matt Smith (1,828 yards rushing) and linebacker Grant Bouma (153 tackles) leading a strong group of returnees but will have to get through Wasco once again at the section level to get bowl eligible.