Check here for teams we think will get bowl bids in next week’s Southern California regional bowls and for those that we are recommending picked. All divisions are complete and ready to go, led by St. John Bosco vs. Corona Centennial for Open Division.
(All selections for the CIF regional bowl games – north and south – will be made on Sunday morning by a committee comprised of the 10 CIF section commissioners. The announcement of teams selected will be made at approximately 1 p.m. via the CIF Facebook and Twitter page. Watch the Time Warner Cable Selection Show online throughout the state that also begins at 1 p.m. Cal-Hi Sports editor Mark Tennis is scheduled to be on the program.)
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Should be picked: St. John Bosco of Bellflower (14-0) vs. Centennial of Corona (12-2)
Will be picked: Same
Case for St. John Bosco: The Braves have been staring up at De La Salle of Concord for the state’s No. 1 ranking all season, but it’s also been obvious that they have the interior power, outstanding quarterback, speed on the edge, offense, defense, special teams and every thing in between to be not just a CIFSS Pac-5 champ but one of the best teams from the region in 10 to 15 years. They’re just going to have beat DLS or have the Spartans lose to a different California team for a change to take place. On Saturday night, St. John Bosco was playing a Mater Dei team that had won 30-0 over Long Beach Poly. It was close in the first half, but not in the second so the Braves have their CIFSS title. Across the nation, there are not too many teams that have played a schedule as tough as Bosco’s.
Case for Centennial: Even before Serra of Gardena had lost to Chaminade on that last-second field goal on Friday, we could tell from some conversations with CIFSS contacts that there were questions about Serra being an open division team, especially compared to the Huskies, who have proven over many seasons that they can rise to the level of any opponent (even De La Salle) and win. Now that Serra has lost and Centennial has won another CIFSS Inland Division title, it’s an easy call to push the Huskies into a matchup opposite St. John Bosco. Their offense is tough to prepare for and they have almost as many D1 college guys running around the field as St. John Bosco. It’s not as if there are other options. Chaminade can’t go up because it has a head-to-head loss to Hart and Mission Hills of San Marcos (the San Diego Open Division winner) doesn’t have a track record or strength of schedule to be ahead of Centennial.
Should be picked: Mission Hills of San Marcos (12-1) vs. Bakersfield (11-2)
Will be picked: Same
Case for Mission Hills: The Grizzlies won the first-ever CIF San Diego Section Open Division crown last Monday with a more than solid 36-14 win over Oceanside. It was their second win of the season over the Pirates, who early in the season lost in a close game to Serra of Gardena. The team’s only loss came to San Pasqual of Escondido, but it was in overtime
Case for Bakersfield: With Crenshaw (four losses) winning the CIF L.A. City Section title on Friday and Cathedral Catholic of San Diego (which has a win over Vista Murrieta but losses to St. Augustine and Helix) the only other teams eligible for this division, it doesn’t take much research to conclude that the Drillers should be the team opposing Mission Hills. Crenshaw also has a loss to a Central Section team (Edison of Fresno), a section that the Drillers rule after their 61-20 win on Friday over defending champion Clovis North.
Should Be Picked: Hart of Newhall (12-2) vs. Chaminade of West Hills (12-2)
Will Be Picked: Same
Case for Hart (Newhall): The Indians became bowl eligible with a 28-21 victory over Foothill League rival Valencia in the CIFSS Northwest Division title game. As we look at it, based on the CIF criteria (head-to-head is more important) and not our own ranking, Hart should be the first overall team on the board in this division and third overall in the entire CIF Southern Section behind Pac-Five champion St. John Bosco and Inland Division champion Corona Centennial. Hart’s win over Valencia avenged an earlier 24-19 loss to the Vikings. In its regular season finale, Hart lost to Canyon of Canyon Country, but that loss is offset by the 55-54 overtime victory over Western Division champ Chaminade of West Hills early in the season. Chaminade just defeated a Serra of Gardena team ranked No. 4 overall in the state for most of the regular season and highly-ranked nationally. With bowl eligible Chaminade, St. Augustine and La Serna all having two losses, plus Hart’s victory over Chaminade makes the Indians a slam dunk choice here.
Case for Chaminade (West Hills): The Eagles became bowl eligible via their thrilling 38-35 victory over previously unbeaten and nationally-ranked Serra of Gardena. It was anticipated Serra would earn a SoCal Open Division berth with a section title, but Chaminade changed all that with a 27-yard field goal as time expired. No team in the Southern Section beat an opponent in a championship game like Serra, and that has some prep writers and bloggers suggesting Chaminade may be the logical choice for an open division slot because of its resume. Not only does Chaminade own a victory over Serra to avenge a 36-0 loss to the Cavaliers, the Eagles defeated Valencia (56-34), a team Hart split with, and two solid CIFSS Pac-Five Division teams (Oaks Christian and Sherman Oaks Notre Dame). In the eight-year history of the CIF bowls, however, the section commissioners have strongly factored head-to-head results in its eventual selections. It’s an objective criteria and Hart’s one-point overtime win means Chaminade should not and will not be placed in the open division.
Case for St. Augustine (San Diego): The Serra-Chaminade CIFSS Western Division result really is a thorn in the side to the Saints. Had Serra of Gardena won its section title game, it likely would have bumped them up to the open division, thus creating another slot in this division. In that scenario, St. Augustine would have been the best choice, especially after previously unbeaten Norwalk lost in the CIFSS Southeast Division final to La Serna of Whittier. Two-loss La Serna of Whittier beat Norwalk in overtime, while St. Augustine routed a good Mission Bay of San Diego in the San Diego Section Division II final, 49-0. With Chaminade winning, however, we had to take a deeper look at St. Augustine’s grid log and it doesn’t reveal a win such as Hart’s over Chaminade or Chaminade’s over Serra. St. Augustine lost to Eastlake of Chula Vista (23-0) and to Oceanside (47-28). The opening loss to Oceanside is key because Serra beat Oceanside in a head-to-head matchup, while Chaminade split with Serra and, of course, Hart beating Chaminade. With the top four bowl eligible teams in this division each having two losses, those results make it easy to choose Hart and Chaminade over St. Augustine and La Serna.
Should Be Picked: Corona del Mar of Newport Beach (14-0) vs. Nordhoff of Ojai (13-1)
Will Be Picked: Same
Case for Corona del Mar: Outside of De La Salle of Concord, which has played in a CIF bowl game every year since its inception, Corona del Mar is about an easy a choice to make for a regional bowl game berth. The Sea Kings won their second consecutive CIF Southern Division championship, beating Garden Grove in the final for the second consecutive season. Not only did Corona del Mar defeat Garden Grove handily (42-21), it beat a team that came into the contest with a 13-0 record. Another feather in the cap for Corona del Mar, the No. 1 ranked team in the division, is it goes on the board for CIF commissioners to evaluate riding a 24-game winning streak. That’s pretty impressive. The Sea Kings also soundly beat Irvine, a Southern Division semifinalist, 36-0, in a game Cal-Hi Sports Managing Editor Ronnie Flores evaluated in person. Corona del Mar also beat a Newport Harbor club that advanced to the Southwest Division final and beat a El Toro club that competes in the Pac-5 division. For a Division III team, it’s hard to top a resume like the one Corona del Mar has.
Case for Nordhoff (Ojai): After Mission Oak of Tulare (the team that was ranked No. 2 in this division behind Corona del Mar most of the season) lost in the CIF Central Section Division IV final, it opened a spot for another CIF Southern Section champion in this division. The one with the best resume is Nordhoff. After a 49-21 victory over El Segundo in the Northwest Division final, the Rangers not only became bowl eligible, they also won the Northwest Division title for the second consecutive season. Another impressive fact for Nordhoff’s resume is it finished 13-1 in both seasons, with only losses to fellow Tri-Valley League foes. This season, the Tri-Valley League was undoubtedly the division’s toughest, as two of its teams (Oak Park of Agoura Hills and Bishop Diego of Santa Barbara) advanced to the Northwest Division semifinals while Carpinteria advanced to the quarterfinals. Two other CIF Southern Section champs on the board in this division, East Valley Division champion Jurupa Hills of Fontana and Northeast Division champion Salesian of Los Angeles, both have two losses whereas Corona del Mar is unbeaten and Nordhoff has one loss. Jurupa Hills lost to teams that finished with a combined 11-10 record while Salesian lost to two quality teams from larger divisions (Muir of Pasadena and Venice of Los Angeles). That makes Salesian a more viable choice than Jurupa Hills, but not stronger than Nordhoff and definitely not stronger than Corona del Mar.
Should be picked: Christian of El Cajon (12-1) vs. Bakersfield Christian (11-2)
Will be picked: Bakersfield Christian (11-2) vs. View Park Prep of Los Angeles (13-0)
Note: With Christian of El Cajon winning the San Diego Section D3 title on Saturday night, the school has officially become eligible for D2 South but is fighting the CIF’s placement for that division and will be in court Monday to try to gain entry as a D4 South school. As a result, we are unsure if an announcement for the D4 South bowl game will be made on Sunday.
Case for El Cajon Christian: It is a loophole and seems to be a matter of interpretation in the written criteria of the CIF that the Patriots are using to try to win their legal case regarding D4 placement, but it looks legit to us. If they win their case and then become eligible for D4 instead of D2, they’d clearly be one of the two teams that should play. In our experience covering these cases, however, the CIF usually wins and usually will come out on top. Our decision for this breakdown therefore was to pick El Cajon Christian, but predict that the CIF will win the case and the Patriots will not be playing next week. The team’s only loss was to Mission Bay of San Diego (D2 in the San Diego Section) and that was by just three points. After Monday, if the Patriots lose in court, we hope the school community can celebrate what their team did accomplish this season (beating all those bigger schools) and move on.
Case for Bakersfield Christian: Regardless of what happens with El Cajon Christian’s court case, the Eagles are going to be playing in next week’s bowl game. Since Mission Prep and St. Margaret’s lost on Saturday, they and View Park are the only two teams on the board with enrollments below 500 and they would definitely be ahead of View Park. Remember Bakersfield Christian’s first game? It was a 32-10 loss to Huntington Beach and on Saturday Huntington Beach won the CIFSS Southwest Division title. The Eagles’ only other loss was to Central Valley Christian (later avenged) and they just knocked off unbeaten Mission Oak.
Case for View Park: Coach Robert Ambers’ team won its section title over Poly of Sun Valley 46-13, but there’s a few other wins over some bigger schools – such as Fremont 39-15 and Hamilton 26-13 – that also stand out. It’s difficult to get a read on how good the Knights are or can be. It would be hilarious if the CIF tried to say on Sunday that View Park is going to be its pick for D4 South regardless of the El Cajon Christian case because it is undefeated. If they do that, then everything they’ve ever said about strength of schedule in previous selections – like Wasco last year – was all a bunch of garbage. Unfortunately, the court case is in play and needs to play itself out. If CIF wins the case, View Park is in and good for the Knights. If El Cajon Christian goes to D4, then we can start looking ahead to what could be a great game between the Patriots and Bakersfield Christian.