There are two changes that the CIF should consider immediately regarding its new football bowl game plan that likely will be passed by the CIF Federated Council in January.
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First, the small schools open division should be dropped and replaced by the CIF going to a final four Open Division at the top of the ticket. And second, instead of the CIF Central Section sending its Division I, III and V teams to the NorCal regionals, it should be Division I, II and III going to the north with IV, V and VI going to the south.
Instead, the CIF can keep the same number of schools in the bowl games by adding the second-best Open Division teams in both the north and south. The concept would be to mirror the four-team format that the NCAA is using this season for the first time.
The main reason the NorCal and SoCal Open Division games were discontinued this year is the unfairness felt by the two teams that lost in those games – especially Folsom in the north to De La Salle – and then to see other schools win CIF state titles or head to Carson for the bowl games.
To us, the simple solution is to bring all four teams into a doubleheader at a large venue such as the StubHub Center and cross-match the north and south teams or basically seed them. This year, for example, it would be No. 1 De La Salle of the north vs. No. 2 Oceanside of the south in one game. Then the other – gulp – would be No. 1 Centennial of Corona of the south vs. No. 2 Folsom of the north in the other game, a matchup we at Cal-Hi Sports have been waiting for 10 years to see.
This would basically become perhaps the best prep football doubleheader in the nation in many years with the two winners coming back to Carson the next week to face off in the final. How would that not be exciting for all involved? TV, sponsors, etc. would eat it up.
As for the Central Section switch of divisions, the solution of having to move teams from that section to the north in order to balance the numbers is more about large schools and small schools. The south already has enough large schools while the north already has enough small schools. By using the top three divisions of the section going to the north, this balances out the matchups even more effectively.
Here would be our own Cal-Hi Sports mock selection of teams that won section titles this year using our own format with a four-team Open Division plus Ridgeview of Bakersfield (Central Section D2 champ) switching from the south to the north and no small school open division. We also didn’t fool around with Open Division teams in the CCS or San Diego that lost but may have hypothetically been chosen higher for a lower division.Open Division Gold Bowl
De La Salle (Concord) vs. Oceanside
Centennial (Corona) vs. Folsom
Grant (Sacramento) vs. Edison (Fresno)
Mission Viejo vs. El Capitan (Lakeside)
Sacred Heart Prep (Atherton) vs. Clayton Valley (Concord)
Redlands East Valley (Redlands) vs. Narbonne (Harbor City)
Ridgeview (Bakersfield) vs. Campolindo (Moraga)
Crescenta Valley (La Crescenta) vs. Paso Robles
Enterprise (Redding) vs. Oakdale
Trabuco Hills (Mission Viejo) vs. St. Augustine (San Diego)
St. Francis (Mountain View) vs. Hanford
Palos Verdes (PV Estates) vs. Palm Springs
Sutter vs. Central Catholic (Modesto)
Colony (Ontario) vs. Garden Grove
McClymonds (Oakland) vs. Aptos
Hamilton (Los Angeles) vs. Christian (El Cajon)
Salesian (Richmond) vs. San Benito (Hollister)
Bishop’s (La Jolla) vs. Pomona
Terra Nova (Pacifica) vs. Capital Christian (Sacramento)
St. Margaret’s (SJ Capistrano) vs. Liberty (Madera Ranchos)
Justin-Siena (Napa) vs. Bear River (Lake of the Pines)
Los Angeles vs. Nipomo
Winters/Mission (San Francisco) vs. Maxwell/Stone Ridge Christian
Corcoran vs. Kennedy (Delano)/La Jolla Country Day