CIF Bowls: Top 5 Toughest Picks

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.

Linebacker Nick Tomasin is one of the top players for Enterprise of Redding. Photo: Willie Eashman.

Senior linebacker Nick Tomasin is one of the top players for Enterprise of Redding. Photo: Willie Eashman.

2. Enterprise (Redding) vs. Oakdale (NorCal D2)
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.

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of He can be reached at Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports

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  1. Jeff
    Posted December 1, 2014 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    I’m curious why you think Inderkum is a “stronger” choice than Enterprise?
    On Maxpreps Enterprise has a state ranking of 34, where Inderkum is 96, and Concord is 113. Why is there such a difference between how Cal-Hi sees it vs Maxpreps? Oakdale is ranked by Maxpreps as 53…

    • Randy
      Posted December 1, 2014 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

      I’m curious too. Cal Hi has been around a long time but it seems like any team north of Sacramento is a 2nd thought when it come to their model. I would like to know why?

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted December 2, 2014 at 12:40 am | Permalink

      Enterprise’s 20-point loss to Vacaville just did not hold up. Vaca didn’t even win its league (Napa did). I just think Inderkum with a win over Oakdale will have a stronger argument. Only loss by two points to Monterey Trail (which made it to Sac-Joaquin D1 semifinals). Yes, and the MaxPreps ranking you are quoting has bumped Folsom all over the map. Was ahead of De La Salle, now down to No. 8 in the state. Yeah, let’s go by those rankings.

      • CVHS Jim
        Posted December 2, 2014 at 9:34 am | Permalink

        Mark, I agree with you 100% about the bumping of the rankings in Maxpreps. I remember a couple of weeks ago when they had Folsom at #1 in the state after they destroyed Rocklin. Even though I was extremely happy, I knew they were not the #1 team in the state because of their past history with DLS. Even if they played this year, I do not think Folsom can defeat them. Folsom has elevated their play this year and deserves to be ranked #3, but DLS has also elevated their play, so once again I think Folsom would taste defeat at the hands of DLS. Plus, with the success SJB has had this year with the schedule they have played, Folsom definitely deserves to be behind them also. I do think it is a shame all the PAC 5 teams are taking each other out for the Open Division slot because I feel none of the other teams from southern or central California will be able to give Folsom much of a game. I know Oceanside is doing some squawking, but they would suffer the same drubbing as Cathedral Catholic. I know Helix drug Del Oro through the mud and manhandled them pretty good, but I do not think they are in Folsom’s class this year either and would also suffer a beatdown.

  2. Mike
    Posted December 1, 2014 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    Mark can you please explain to me how teams would jump Enterprise since they were last years NorCal champ. That has to mean something since they have a good portion of those kids back this year.inderkums schedule when you really look at it isn’t any tougher than Enterprises. Why would you not want last years champ try to defend their spot if it comes down to teams with the same record. Also why if Clayton valley is upset would concord be a for sure in when they have one loss. If you look at the records of the teams in their playoffs they seem to be pretty weak except for Clayton valley. What’s your prediction of the teams in the NorCal DII game?

    • Randy
      Posted December 1, 2014 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

      Personally I think you make a valid point. Plus this years Enterprise defense has allowed less points for the season than last years team did. Why does it come down to a vote up here in Northern California anyways? They got an opportunity last year and had to go undefeated to get it… Proved they belonged and won to get to the State Final. What more do you have to do to finally get the respect you deserve in the Northern Section? It’s biased and unfair.

      • Mark Tennis
        Posted December 2, 2014 at 12:50 am | Permalink

        Enterprise’s 20-point loss to Vacaville in our system just has not held up very well. Vaca did not even win its league (Napa did and Napa got killed by Campolindo). Inderkum’s only loss is by two points to Monterey Trail (which made it to the Sac-Joaquin Sec D1 semifinals). We look at key results, and wins and losses get weaker or stronger depending on how those teams fare. It just hasn’t broken as well for Enterprise as it has for Inderkum, but it is a close call. Anybody on either side (Enterprise, Inderkum or Oakdale) who thinks it’s a lock is mistaken. Going to be one of the hardest picks of the day.

        • Jerry
          Posted December 2, 2014 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

          Did I miss something, didn’t Vacaville also make it to the semifinals this year? I think they played Grant last weekend.

          • Mark Tennis
            Posted December 2, 2014 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

            Yes, they did. Point was about them not winning league but did beat Del Oro in quarterfinals, which is a win that helps Enterprise.

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted December 2, 2014 at 12:43 am | Permalink

      That may make a difference that Enterprise won the game against Manteca last year. It’s not they are the defending state champs (like Central Catholic in D4), though, and they really were wiped out in the state game. It’s different because Chaminade and Serra are now in the Pac-5, but could be some voters if they view this as a close vote (I think it is) to give a school that’s never been before the edge (which would be Inderkum).

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted December 2, 2014 at 12:52 am | Permalink

      If Concord upsets Clayton Valley, it gets in because it will have avenged its only loss. And Clayton Valley’s win over Tracy is looking better now that Tracy has made it to the SJS D1 final. Check other replies for answers to other questions.

      • Mike
        Posted December 2, 2014 at 7:23 am | Permalink

        Thank you for your time and comments. I hope Enterprise gets to defend their title! They have proven in the last three years that they can play with anyone! 3 section championships in a row and last years NorCal champs should mean something!

        • ltrain
          Posted December 3, 2014 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

          I agree, Enterprise has done all the proving themselves they should even have to do. It would be just flat wrong if they weren’t voted in because of a computer ranking. I few years ago when Northern section teams couldn’t even get consideration, Teams like Enterprise and Sutter, has done all they can, they’ve gone out of section and beaten good out of section teams.

          • Mark Tennis
            Posted December 3, 2014 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

            Enterprise’s out of section teams this year were 1-9 Whitney of Rocklin and Vacaville (which was the team they lost to and by 20 pts). Enterprise did not do all it could do this season (they did last season). There is a difference. They still may get in but it will be because they lost a game and not a computer ranking.

          • ltrain
            Posted December 3, 2014 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

            And because Enterprise are three time section champions, and since were discussing strength of schedules, it can also be argued that Enterprise has a tougher league schedule then Indercum as well. The average rating ( of a TCC Team(Inderkums league) is 9.9. The average rating of a EAL team(Enterprises league) is 20.2. Also this past season the EAL was 2-1 vs. TCC opponents. The northern section was 3-1 against TCC opponents. So enterprise can argue strength of schedule being in their favor, especially conference schedule.

          • Mike
            Posted December 4, 2014 at 8:55 am | Permalink

            Mark I disagree that EHS hasn’t done all that they can do, they put Whitney on the schedule because they were a playoff team last year and they also loss 5 starters in their first game against EHS this year that didn’t help their season. If we are going to look schedules lets looks at North Coast teams they have teams that are 1-9, 2-8, and 500 all in their regular season and playoffs. They haven’t played any teams. So don’t throw EHS under the bus they are a good team that’s returning a lot of key players from last years team.

          • Mark Tennis
            Posted December 4, 2014 at 9:29 am | Permalink

            Don’t even start with Clayton Valley & Concord. Clayton Valley beat Tracy (SJS D1 finalist) and of course they beat Napa 54-14 (which was the team that beat Vacaville and Vacaville beat Enterprise by 20 pts). Obviously, if Concord avenges its only loss and beats Clayton then they’re way ahead of Enterprise. No one is saying Enterprise isn’t a great team. But it is different than last year. A 20-point loss is sitting there for all to see. The key will be for the Northern Sec commissioner to convince the others that it wasn’t that bad of a loss compared to Inderkum’s loss or Oakdale’s loss. The other problem for Enterprise is that one of those two teams could win against the other convincingly.

          • Jerry
            Posted December 4, 2014 at 9:39 am | Permalink

            Mike, how can EHS get a tougher non-conference schedule when teams seem to be unwilling to play them. EHS reached out to fill three non-conference openings, ultimately filling them with Whitney, Vacaville, and Eureka. Whitney’s season was far below everyone’s expectations. Vacaville is a good program that many teams do not want to play. For several years now EHS has played teams from the SJS, and done very well against them. EHS could have gone the route of other teams with an easy non-conference schedule to have a greater chance for an undefeated season. At least next year other Sections’ best teams will not be able to avoid the Northern Sections best teams. It will end the need for campaigning and posturing. In addition, hopefully the changes will leading to better non-conference games between more evenly matched teams, as going undefeated will not matter. Finally!!!

          • Mark Tennis
            Posted December 4, 2014 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

            The situation instead is that the Northern Sections best teams probably won’t be playing the “best” teams from other sections. Not going to be Enterprise vs. NCS D2 but more like Enterprise vs. the fifth-place team from the WCAL like St. Francis or Mitty. Believe me, people will still complain.

          • Mike
            Posted December 4, 2014 at 10:35 am | Permalink

            Mark I get what your saying about the teams that Clayton valley has beat, but in a way if you look at it 8 of the 13 teams they have played they are teams with losing records. The big games they won are legit and that’s why they are #1 you cant take that away from them, but I thinks EHS, Inderkum, and Oakdale have a stronger full season schedule. This bowl game is going to be the longest discussion for sure on Sunday I would hate to be a vote. its a complete a toss up. since its that close I just want to see last years norcal winner try and defend their title. Thanks for your time and all of these teams have earned their spot to be in the discussion!

  3. Randy
    Posted December 1, 2014 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    It doesn’t make sense Mark. Why would Max Preps and Cal Preps computer rankings have Enterprise ranked so much higher than Inderkum and Oakdale in calculated power rankings? What is the evaluation model that Cal Hi sports uses? It seems like your system favors the higher populated areas as far as Northern California is concerned. Very close minded approach in my opinion. I believe there should be a playoff system in place to let ALL Section Champions settle it on the field. It’s pretty simple. Just play 8 regular season games instead of 10. That’s what New York State does, so they have enough time to get a true state playoff done in time.

  4. farmair3
    Posted December 2, 2014 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    All Section Champs will compete next season. It is all being revamped

  5. je
    Posted December 2, 2014 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    When you look at the choices for the Open, most people assume that DLS will get the Open over Folsom, particularly because of the last two years. I disagree with that approach as each year should be judged based upon the merits of that year.

    That being said, I do disagree with CVHS Jim that Folsom could not beat DLS or SJB. Folsom is far more superior all-around than last year and DLS and SJB from what I understand are not as strong as last year so I think Folsom could do quite well and even win against either opponent. I don’ know that this Folsom team could beat last year’s DLS or SJB (they were both phenomenal) but in 2014 I wholeheartedly believe they could.

    As such, leaves me to ponder if the following scenario could occur. Could CIF select Folsom over DLS for the Open (being this may be the best SJS team in history and they got rid of the Nor Cal Open and DLS isn’t as strong as last year – in addition, Byrnes just lost in the SemiFinals 41-6 to a state team with 2 losses and DLS won 56-28) and then in turn have a Grant and DLS NorCal D1 matchup that would leave people’s mouth drooling with expectation? Isn’t this a match up we have all been seeking for 6 years + now?

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted December 2, 2014 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      If the games the last two years weren’t blowouts, then you’d have more of a point. DLS is not weaker than last year, either. On offense, significantly more explosive even with third string QB. Defense maybe not as good as last year, but not enough to choose Folsom. And it’s not like Folsom has had to beat a murderer’s row of playoff opponents so far. Agree that Folsom is far superior all-around than last year and could possibly beat DLS or Bosco and maybe best ever from SJS. Don’t see the CIF going against what would be a much more common sense choice of DLS. Forget about Byrnes. The CIF only has to look at DLS wiping out Del Oro worse than Folsom did. Not even the computer rankings have Folsom higher.

      • je
        Posted December 2, 2014 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

        I can understand where you are coming from but as far as playoff opponents, it isn’t like DLS doesn’t haven’t have a cake walk plus one less game. Folsom hasn’t faced too touch of competition because of the upsets with Tracy beating Jesuit and Granite Bay. I would argue that those two are are at least as strong or stronger than any of DLS opponents for the playoffs. Then when comparing DO wins, the same logic could apply last year. Folsom beat SRV by a larger margin than DLS but DLS still handedly beat Folsom in the Open. It is too bad that there is no open this year but I think DLS shouldn’t be considered the automatic choice because each year could be different but without the Open DLS may not face a Folsom or Grant so how do you truely determine who is better. It can become subjective quickly.

        As far as an additional note on a muderous row of opponents, I think Saint Mary’s has had a tough road and if Grant handily beats them than what does that say about Grant?

        • Mark Tennis
          Posted December 2, 2014 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

          It says Grant is a legit top 10 or top 5 team. DLS is an automatic choice. It’s not year by year. In their case, it’s been 23 years without losing to a NorCal team and never losing to a Sac-Joaquin team. You can’t ignore those facts and get into a tit-for-tat statistical comparison and say that only this year matters.

  6. tim telliard
    Posted December 2, 2014 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    Hi Mark ,
    I just sent you an email but in case you didn’t check it for awhile . Linebacker Evan Tellliard had a school record 30 tackles (16 solo,14 assist) against Heritage in the CIF D2 Semi Final Match. Riverside Poly also stopped the 22 game win streak of Heritage which was the longest current streak in Southern Calif. Could you please leyt us know what is the state record for Tackles in a single game in CIF playoff ? and regular season?

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted December 2, 2014 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, Tim, but we don’t keep tackle records because historically they are wildly inaccurate and too hard to tell which are legit or not. I’m not suggesting that Evan’s totals are fishy in any way but there’s no way to research that category. Heritage’s streak also was the longest in the state not just SoCal. Thanks for sending and there’s a good chance I’m going to the REV-Riv Poly game on Friday. Good luck to you, your son and the rest of the team.

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