Eighteen teams are awarded berths into CIF bowl games with De La Salle of Concord leading the north and Centennial of Corona leading the south. The two teams that were left out in what were probably the hardest choices of the day – but possibly not the most complicated — were Aptos and Enterprise of Redding.
(Thanks to Harold Abend for contributing to this post.)
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In what is likely the last time that CIF section commissioners will meet on a Sunday in December and vote to essentially end the seasons of more than 30 football teams, this year’s slate of bowl games in Northern California and Southern California were determined.
Based on the Week 15 Cal-Hi Sports bowl game rankings, there were no surprises in the teams that were chosen, but that doesn’t mean that in those divisions in which the differences were slight – such as NorCal D2 and NorCal D3 – that it would have been a surprise if the vote went the other way.
In fact, in the last three years of the CIF bowl games, there have been 56 teams selected out of 58 that were the highest ranked teams in the Cal-Hi Sports rankings. The only two higher ranked teams in the Cal-Hi Sports rankings that didn’t get bowl game berths in that time were teams with forfeit losses (such as McClymonds of Oakland this year) or with an interpretation of criteria issue (such as El Cajon Christian last season).
This is considered to be the last such meeting because next year a new CIF bowl system is expected to be in place in which every section champion is going to play on in 13 separate divisions. The commissioners will still meet but they will basically be doing seedings and matchups instead of conducting a vote that will end the seasons of many teams.
“We hope the sections pass the proposal so this is the last year so many teams get left at home,” said Ron Nocetti of the CIF. “Each section will have to develop a policy of how to work with the new format if its passed in January.”
Here is a breakdown for each of this year’s CIF bowl game divisions:
De La Salle of Concord (13-0) vs. Centennial of Corona (12-2). Saturday, Dec. 20 at StubHub Center (Carson).
Since there is no more NorCal or SoCal regional games in the open division – which is really a shame this year because a Folsom vs. DLS matchup would be monstrous – the Spartans and Huskies will have an extra week to prepare for their fourth matchup in a CIF bowl game. DLS has had wins in 2007 and 2012. Centennial beat the Spartans in 2008. The winner of this game also without question will be the 2014 State Team of the Year.
This week’s new State 25 overall rankings are not yet out, but De La Salle is expected to take over at No. 1 with Centennial moving up to No. 2 in the aftermath of its win over previous No. 1 St. John Bosco of Bellflower.
And was there any thought about Folsom, given its record-breaking series of performances this season, going to the Open Division. “There was limited discussion but the committee felt the clear choice was De La Salle,” Nocetti said.NORTHERN CALIFORNIA DIVISION I
Grant of Sacramento (14-0) vs. Folsom (14-0). Friday at Sacramento State.
Grant had to win out over unbeaten CCS Open Division champ Sacred Heart Prep of Atherton but had a strength of schedule edge. The Pacers and Bulldogs also have been eyeing each other for several months but had to wait to see if Grant was going to be D1 or D2 in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs. Once the Pacers were officially placed in D2, they had to win the D2 section title in order to set up the matchup with Folsom.
“Its difficult they’re not moving on,” Nocetti commented regarding Sacred Heart Prep. “They’re a good team and deserved to be on the board but after looking at the criteria and strength of schedule of all the teams on the board the vote was for Grant.”
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA DIVISION I
Edison of Fresno (12-1) at Oceanside (13-0), Friday.
Yeah, there’s going to some athletes making plays on both sides of the ball in this matchup between two schools with great alumni followings. With the L.A. City Section being down and with CIFSS West Valley champ Mission Viejo having losses to teams from the Central and San Diego sections (including Oceanside), this choice probably wasn’t too difficult.
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA DIVISION II
Oakdale (13-1) at Clayton Valley of Concord (14-0), Saturday.
When we did our updated rankings on Saturday night, the Mustangs leapt from No. 5 to No. 2 with Enterprise of Redding going from No. 4 to No. 3. Previous No. 2 Concord lost to Clayton Valley to drop while previous No. 3 Inderkum lost to Oakdale. That second spot could have certainly gone to Enterprise, but the Hornets being finished and not playing made it easier to jump Oakdale higher. The commissioners also apparently agreed that Oakdale more than overcame its one loss to Sierra of Manteca by later wins over Central Catholic, Rio Linda and Inderkum.
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA DIVISION II
Ridgeview of Bakersfield (12-1) vs. Redlands East Valley (13-1). Saturday at Citrus Valley (Redlands).
Some people who don’t follow the teams that closely may have been mystified why a 14-0 team from Crescenta Valley of La Crescenta didn’t get much consideration. In fact, however, a stronger case could have been made for 8-5 St. Augustine of San Diego when you study the scores of each team. Ridgeview vs. REV was the pick that made the most sense to us and the commissioners agreed. If Ridgeview doesn’t play better than it did against Dinuba, the host Wildcats could win big.
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA DIVISION III
Sutter (13-0) vs. Campolindo of Moraga (14-0). Saturday at Acalanes (Lafayette).
In addition to Enterprise vs. Oakdale in D2 North, the choice in this division between Sutter and Aptos was the other doozy. For us, in doing the updated Saturday rankings, it also was different than Enterprise vs. Oakdale because in choosing Aptos we actually were flipping the teams in the rankings. That’s a move that’s more difficult to do than re-shuffling, which is what had to be done in D2 North.
Aptos came close to forcing the flip, but just not quite. Sutter also did not play this weekend, but several results did break in the Huskies’ favor, including Justin-Siena of Napa beating St. Mary’s of Berkeley in the NCS D4 final. Justin-Siena lost 49-0 to Sutter.
“There was much back and forth discussion and pertinent questions,” said CIF Football Advisory Committee Chair Jim Monico regarding the Oakdale and Sutter selections. “Both of the teams not selected were very qualified but the committee voted for Oakdale and Sutter and we can’t tell you what was on their minds.”SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA DIVISION III
Paso Robles (13-1) at El Capitan of Lakeside (13-0), Saturday.
There wasn’t much debate likely needed in this division except for the CIF Southern Section reps who probably know that their realigned Northern Division probably shouldn’t have been put into D3 and instead D2. There was a lot of comments that the 350-mile distance between these schools should have caused the CIF to put the game at a neutral site halfway between them. These bowl games, however, are seeded and it would be fair to have one No. 1 seed, in this case El Capitan, give up its home field due to travel concerns. And last year, remember it wasn’t exactly a short jaunt from Bakersfield to San Marcos for the D1 South bowl game.
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA DIVISION IV
Capital Christian of Sacramento (13-0) at Central Catholic of Modesto (10-3), Friday.
To us, the toughest choice was in D2 North and D3 South, but for those at Sunday’s meeting. this was the division that took the most time because of the forfeit losses (four of them) that were showing on the win-loss record of Oakland McClymonds, which was unbeaten on the field.
“After Central Catholic, there were a lot of teams and multiple votes but the discussion hashed it out,” Monico said. “Capital Christian finally got the six votes.”
McClymonds, which did get bowl eligible by winning the Oakland Section title, probably had the best chance of anybody to beat Central Catholic, but not enough of the commissioners would ever vote for a team with forfeits. Salesian of Richmond, which lost on the field to McClymonds but got one of the forfeit wins, was likely also strongly considered.
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA DIVISION IV
St. Margaret’s of San Juan Capistrano (14-0) vs. Christian of El Cajon (13-0). Friday at Granite Hills (El Cajon).
As expected, these two unbeatens got the nod to face off. There were some at St. Margaret’s who were worried that Bishop’s of La Jolla and Liberty of Madera Ranchos, two other unbeaten teams, were poised to be chosen and frankly one of the two would have been except their enrollments for both are above 500. The only time the CIF can choose schools with enrollments above 500 in D4 is when there isn’t two below the cutoff line and this year with St. Margaret’s and El Cajon Christian there definitely were two legitimate clubs on the board.