With less than a week before the 10 CIF section commissioners will meet to choose the teams in this year’s CIF regional bowl games plus the two teams that will play in the Open Division on Dec. 20 at the StubHub Center in Carson, here are the possible choices that may take the longest time:
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1. Sutter vs. Aptos (NorCal D3)
Unbeaten and dominating Sutter is already bowl eligible and will be waiting to see how it all plays out. If Aptos wins its second straight CCS D3 title over St. Ignatius of San Francisco and with just a loss to Granite Bay (Sac-Joaquin Section D1 semifinalist), it’s a vote that is hard to predict.
Like Sutter, Enterprise has already won its CIF Northern Section title. The Hornets have a loss to Vacaville but many returnees from last year’s NorCal D2 regional winner. We think Inderkum of Sacramento is more of a stronger choice over Enterprise if it wins the Sac-Joaquin Section D3 title, but if Oakdale wins it’s not as close. Oakdale’s loss is not to D1 school and last year Enterprise won at Oakdale. It’s unsure how that result would influence the vote.
3. St. Mary’s (Stockton) vs. Bellarmine (NorCal D1)
Both teams are viewed as underdogs in their section finals, but both could win. Both also would be knocking off unbeaten teams – Grant of Sacramento in the case of St. Mary’s and Sacred Heart Prep in the case of the Bells. With wins over Los Gatos, Tracy, Rocklin and Del Oro and with a better record, we’d give the nod to the Rams. If Bellarmine is on the board, though, common opponent comes into play since the only loss for St. Mary’s was to St. Ignatius of San Francisco. It wouldn’t matter to the commissioners that it went OT. They’d see the scores and could vote Bellarmine.
4. San Clemente vs. Crescenta Valley (SoCal D2)
We think the winner of the CIFSS Inland Division – Redlands East Valley vs. 13-0 Riverside Poly – is the most obvious No. 1 choice for this division and that Ridgeview of Bakersfield is a solid No. 2 (with only loss to Bakersfield and win over Liberty of Bakersfield). If Ridgeview were to get upset in its section final, though, it could then come down to San Clemente (only loss to Tesoro) and Crescenta Valley (could finish 14-0 but hasn’t played anyone as good as Tesoro).
5. Central Valley Christian vs. CIFSS East Valley champ (SoCal D4)
Christian of El Cajon is in if it wins in its game and it’s probably the same for whichever team wins in the 13-0 vs. 13-0 matchup between St. Margaret’s and Grace Brethren in the CIFSS East Valley Division final. But CVC is making a late push. The Cavaliers are playing 12-0 Liberty of Madera Ranchos in their section final (Liberty is classified as D3 South) and their only loss is to a Dinuba team that just beat 11-0 Lemoore. If CVC wins and Dinuba upsets Ridgeview, it might be too much for even a 14-0 team from the CIFSS to overcome.
Note: Some of the other tough choices for the section commissioners will be to choose which teams are seeded No. 1 in those bowl games and thus would be playing at home.