Oceanside attains the No. 1 seed despite concerns early in season that section power rankings formula might not match common sense. Only division in which power rankings seem off-base are in D3 with 8-2 San Diego Hoover going as top seed.
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The CIF San Diego Section football playoffs are conducted in five divisions with an open division. The divisions are determined by what we have always called league strength but now people call it competitive equity. Leagues are split and open division only includes teams that are considered Division I.
Open Division: Oceanside has been the section’s top-ranked overall team since Helix lost to Cathedral Catholic and ended up with the top seed. Cathedral Catholic, which has lost its only game to nationally ranked Folsom, picked up the No. 2 seed. The Dons also will have a tough opening game against a Torrey Pines club they only beat 8-7 early in the season. Helix is the No. 3 seed while Mission Hills (the def. Open Division champ) is No. 4.
Division I: This is the division consisting of teams that did not make the Open Division from the D1-Open field of teams. La Costa Canyon (5-5) is the top seed. The team to watch, though, may be St. Augustine (5-5), which could be rounding into shape after injury problems. We laugh when the CIF says that the proposed format for letting every section champion get a bowl isn’t watered down because there are champions from divisions like this that are going to get bowl games and especially when we’re no longer going to get Folsom-De La Salle matchups or similar in the previous regional open division games.
Division II: After its big win over Helix, El Capitan of Lakeside (10-0) also became a big favorite to win the title in this division. The Vaqueros also would then be a strong contender to play in the CIF Division III South bowl game. San Marcos (9-1) is the No. 2 seed followed by Rancho Bernardo (8-2).
Division III: Here’s where the section’s power rankings can most be criticized. Hoover at 8-2 got the No. 1 seed with unbeatens Christian of El Cajon and Sweetwater at No. 2 and No. 3. Common sense would say you’d want to have the possibility of two unbeatens playing in the final. Hoover does have a win over Brawley (that team’s only loss) and its other loss is to Granite Hills. But in the who-beat-who system that is just as legit as any power ranking, Christian also has a win over West Hills, which has a win over Granite Hills, which is a team that beat Hoover.
Division IV: Bishop’s of La Jolla (10-0) is the top seed and looks like a solid favorite. The other top seeds are Mater Dei Catholic (5-5), Central of El Centro (5-5) and Castle Park (7-3). Even if Bishop’s were to finish unbeaten and win its section title, the school’s enrollment has been reported at above 500 so it would have to considered D3 South and not D4 South for the bowl games. And in D3 South, Bishop’s isn’t going to go in front of teams like possibly El Capitan, Lompoc, Paso Robles, Newbury Park, etc.
Division V: The top two seeds were awarded to Holtville (7-3) and Vincent Memorial of Calexico (8-1).