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. We will be posting these divisions throughout Saturday night and into Sunday morning as they are completed.
(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.)
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Should be picked: Centennial of Corona (12-2)
Will be picked: Same.
Case for Centennial: The new division placement this year in the CIF Southern Section and the results of key intersectional games meant by the time top-ranked teams got into league play it was evident that the SoCal open division pick should be the CIFSS’ Pac-5 champion. That would now be the Huskies and despite having two losses they are still the logical slam dunk choice to earn the lone SoCal Open Division bid. Centennial was able to avenge a regular season loss to Mater Dei of Santa Ana in the Pac-5 quarterfinals with its only other loss coming against a Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas team that beat four quality CIFSS playoff entrants and is being mentioned as the nation’s best team. Centennial lost by a point (43-42), played Gorman tougher than any other team on the Gaels’ schedule and actually had a chance to win that game. Sure, Oceanside is unbeaten, but the CIF San Diego Section open division champions didn’t play a schedule close to what the Huskies did. No team in the state, and perhaps the nation, had to go through a gauntlet of teams like Serra of Gardena (68-64), Mater Dei (27-24), Bishop Amat (38-37) and season-long state No. 1 St. John Bosco (48-41) to become bowl eligible. The quality of wins over the last four weeks makes it a relatively easy choice to pick Centennial.
Should be picked Oceanside (13-0) vs. Edison of Fresno (12-1).
Will be picked: Same.
Case for Oceanside: Once the Pirates completed another comeback to win in the CIF San Diego Section Open Division championship, they were locked into getting the top seed for D1 South and will host next week’s game. In addition to topping Helix 20-13 on Saturday, Oside also had a fairly easy win early in the season over Mission Viejo, which won the CIFSS West Valley Division crown on Saturday over Vista Murrieta. Potentially looking ahead, the Pirates also have the defensive front that could make life difficult for Folsom QB Jake Browning in a possible CIF D1 state bowl game.
Case for Edison: The Tigers have only lost one game by one point and although that was to a Sanger team that was only a D2 semifinalist in the Central Section, anybody who follows football in the valley knows that just for some strange reason Edison teams always struggle at Sanger. They do have a win over Bakersfield (last year’s D1 state champion) but more importantly they beat Liberty of Bakersfield 21-14 in Friday’s Division I section final. Since Liberty has a win over CIFSS West Valley champion Mission Viejo, the common opponent factor gives the nod to Edison. Once Mission Viejo won in its game Saturday at Anaheim Stadium over Vista Murrieta, Edison pretty much sealed it up. The L.A. City Section wasn’t much of a factor all season in key matchups with other sections, so D1 champ Carson (10-3) will join the Diablos on the outside looking in.
Should be picked: Redlands East Valley (13-1) vs. Ridgeview of Bakersfield (12-1)
Will be picked: Same.
Case for Redlands East Valley: With its only loss to a team from the CIF Southern Section’s powerful Pac-5 Division (St. Bonaventure) and a win in its section final over a Riverside Poly team that was 13-0, the Wildcats seem like a sold choice. Their chances only got better when 12-1 San Clemente lost to Trabuco Hills of Mission Viejo in the CIFSS Southwest Division.
Case for Ridgeview: In a roundabout way, the Wolfpack were helped by Mission Viejo winning the CIFSS West Valley Division since they own a win over a Liberty of Bakersfield team that beat the Diablos. Ridgeview does have a loss to Bakersfield and really should have won by more than 16-14 over Dinuba in its section final, but Bakersfield is their only loss (last year’s D1 state champ) and to us they hold on to this position.
Case for Crescenta Valley: Any 14-0 team deserves to be in the conversation, but there just isn’t one win you can point to for the Falcons that influence a ranking above either Redlands East Valley or Ridgeview. They did win a divisional title in the CIFSS that had St. Francis of La Canada in it but in the final a 21-14 win over Downey was aided by a controversial referee’s call. Great season, though, for QB Brian Gadsby and his teammates.
Case for Trabuco Hills/St. Augustine: We feel we need to point out in this division that the Mustangs, who beat both San Clemente and Corona del Mar in the playoffs, are higher than Ridgeview and others in computer rankings. In our rankings, however, we actually would have Trabuco Hills behind St. Augustine of San Diego in this division. This is because Trabuco Hills has a 34-7 loss to La Costa Canyon of Carlsbad and LCC just lost to St. Augustine in the San Diego D1 final (remember, San Diego D1 is D2 for the bowl games). The Saints at 8-5 and Trabuco at 10-4 have played tougher schedules than Ridgeview, but Ridgeview does have the win over Liberty and that’s enough.
Should be picked: El Capitan of Lakeside (13-0) vs. Paso Robles (13-1)
Will be picked: Same.
Case for El Capitan: With a win over Helix of La Mesa included on its resume, there’s just no other team in the division that comes close to the Vaqueros. In their section final on Saturday, they didn’t dominate like they have been but defeated Rancho Bernardo of San Diego 14-7. They’ve been among the top five overall in the San Diego Section for two months and if they were in the Open Division there’s no telling how they would have done. It’s a senior-laden team with a veteran QB and also has been in the State 25 overall rankings for three weeks.
Case for Paso Robles: About halfway through the season, it was apparent that the CIFSS Northern Division was just far too superior for any of the other D3 South playoff divisions that did not have El Capitan in it. Paso Robles ended up winning the title with a 13-10 win on Friday over Newbury Park. The Bearcats’ only loss was to Atascadero and although they didn’t avenge it in the playoffs they did beat a Newbury Park squad that eliminated Atascadero in the semifinals. Paso also finished with two wins over an Arroyo Grande squad that split with Lompoc and had a win over Liberty of Bakersfield.
Should be picked: Christian of El Cajon (13-0) vs. St. Margaret’s of San Juan Capistrano (14-0)
Will be picked: Same.
Case for Christian: After the Patriots were denied in a controversial court decision last year regarding confusing CIF criteria, they make it on the board for sure this time after their victory on Saturday over San Diego Hoover. They had to beat a number of bigger schools on the way to their perfect record so far and also were tested in their section final but used a huge fourth quarter to turn a 12-9 lead over Hoover into a 31-9 win. As this season was unfolding, we thought there probably were two teams in the South in D4 that could potentially be a tough foe for two-time defending CIF state champ Central Catholic of Modesto in this year’s state final and Christian was one of them (the other was Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth, which could not get out of the CIFSS Mid-Valley Division playoffs).
Case for St. Margaret’s: Heading into the weekend, it was not a guarantee that the winner of the 13-0 vs. 13-0 final between the Tartans and Lancers was going to get a D4 South bowl bid. This is because Central Valley Christian of Visalia had a chance to steal it and would have with a win over unbeaten Liberty of Madera Ranchos on Friday in the Central Section D4 final. Luckily for St. Margaret’s, Liberty won 24-7. That team, by the way, has an enrollment too big for it to be D4 and instead has to get stuck into the same group as El Capitan, Paso Robles, Hanford, etc.
Note: Another team that would have at least been an outside contender in this division, Arrowhead Christian of Redlands, lost in the CIFSS Northwest Division final to Nipomo 22-19. Nipomo, like Liberty of Madera Ranchos, too big of a school for D4.