An Inside Look At Selection Sunday

The toughest choice among several that were made during the CIF selection meeting for the CIF regional bowl games held in El Segundo probably was in Division II North.

RELATED: CIF SoCal Bowl Game Breakdowns | CIF NorCal Bowl Game Breakdowns | Updated CIF Bowl Game Rankings | Week 15 Top 25 scoreboard | Regional Bowl Reactions & Quick Picks

A couple of the CIF section commissioners started shaking their heads when they thought about the difficulty of choosing teams for Northern California’s Division II regional bowl game. And they knew the comparisons would have been even more difficult if previously unbeaten Casa Grande of Petaluma and St. Francis of Mountain View (which has a win over San Mateo Serra) had been on the board.

All of the commissioners were on the phone when we arrived at the Time Warner Cable studios in El Segundo (just a stone’s throw away from LAX) to be part of the bowl game selection show. The meeting held by the CIF to choose 18 of the 20 teams also happened to have taken place in a large conference room in the same studios.
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It only took a few minutes upon arrival to find out which teams were going to be in this week’s bowl games, but we still wait for many of the CIF’s official release protocols to be completed and it’s also no problem for us if some of our newspaper colleagues break the choices a few minutes before we do.

The CIF Northern California bowl participants and matchups will be:

Open Division — De La Salle of Concord (13-0) vs. Folsom (14-0)
Division I — Serra of San Mateo (11-2) vs. Del Oro of Loomis (12-2)
Division II — Manteca (13-1) vs. Enterprise of Redding (12-0)
Division III — El Cerrito (12-2) vs. Sacred Heart Prep of Atherton (12-1)
Division IV — Central Catholic of Modesto (13-1) vs. McClymonds of Oakland (10-2)

The CIF Southern California bowl participants and matchups will be:

Open Division — St. John Bosco of Bellflower (14-0) vs. Centennial of Corona (12-2)
Division I — Mission Hills of San Marcos (12-1) vs. Bakersfield (11-2)
Division II — Hart of Newhall (12-2) vs. Chaminade of West Hills (12-2)
Division III — Corona del Mar of Newport Beach (14-0) vs. Nordhoff of Ojai (13-1)
Division IV — TBD (CIF only released statement about court order regarding case of El Cajon Christian trying to gain D4 status; decision on case and teams expected Monday)

RELATED: Regional Bowl Reactions & Quick Picks

For 30 minutes prior to air time of the selection show, it’s a frenetic scene as the commissioners continue to make calls to the schools about being selected (or not). The hosts (Danny Page, Eric Sondheimer and Randy Rosenbloom) and producers of the show — the ones we mainly have worked with this season for the two NorCal and SoCal players of the week are Tony Kinkela and Larry D. Jones — are trying to finish up certain segments and collect as much info on teams as possible. Our contribution from Cal-Hi Sports is for Northern California so it also was important to meet and go over details with Courtney Sweet, another Time Warner on-air talent who would be handling those segments.

After the 60-minute show had aired and all of the teams were announced, the next step was to see about the CIF press conference with the media. Since we were still in the building, it made sense to stick around and then listen in as CIF executive director Roger Blake and football chairperson Mike Garrison answered questions.

Most of the early questions centered more on the venues for the NorCal games rather than the selections themselves. It seemed as if CIF associate director Ron Nocetti was prepared for the questions, which centered on Sacramento area teams having to travel to the Bay Area this season (as opposed to last season when the Bay Area teams all had to travel).

We’re more interested in the selections themselves and it was confirmed by Garrison in a later question that the Division II North choice was probably the longest.

“That was a very in-depth discussion by the committee,” Garrison said. “They just felt that the top two teams (Enterprise & Manteca) were the two best based on the criteria that was in front of them.”

Garrison later confirmed to Darren Sabedra of the San Jose Mercury-News that “Los Gatos was right in the heat of the discussion.”

After being at Angels Stadium on Saturday for the CIF Southern Section Pac-5 final, we didn’t think it was that difficult of a choice to place Centennial of Corona in the Open Division for the south in the aftermath of previously unbeaten Serra of Gardena losing to Chaminade on Friday night. We were wrong. It was probably the hardest choice among the commissioners other than D2 North.

“There were a couple of different votes for that and the information also was revisited,” Garrison said. “Centennial’s history, strength of schedule and strength of its (playoff) division was the difference.”

For the CIF, this year’s selection meeting was busier than ever. Some in the group were going to head back up to Sacramento on a late afternoon flight. A few others were planning to head to San Diego for the Monday court case. And remember, the CIF state office also was in Southern California over the weekend to host the girls volleyball state championships on Saturday at Santiago Canyon College in Orange.

For us, it was back to the hotel room to begin putting together our own packages of coverage surrounding the selection day results.

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