Our Better Bowl Games With Tweaks

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.

To see an expanded view of the 13 divisions with mock selections for this year’s teams using proposed new CIF system, CLICK HERE. If you want to see this post and are not a Cal-Hi Sports Gold Club member, please consider signing up today. It’s less than $2 per month. For details, CLICK HERE.

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.

Central Catholic of Modesto players such as Spencer Stark possibly would be in much different CIF state bowl games under new system expected to pass in January.

Central Catholic of Modesto players such as Spencer Stark possibly would be in much different CIF state bowl games under new system expected to pass in January.

Why is there a need for a small schools open division based on enrollment and why is an arbitrary number like 1,250 used? With that number, this year there would only have been a handful schools in the south that would even be eligible for that game – with the best being Christian of El Cajon, Liberty of Madera Ranchos and Bishop’s of La Jolla. There are more from the north, even with Campolindo of Moraga at 1,260 enrollment (10 students over the cutoff), and other than Christian it’s hard to see anybody in the south remotely close to either Sacred Heart Prep of Atherton or Central Catholic of Modesto.

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.


Check out ATHLETE TRAX right now! CLICK HERE.

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

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

Enjoy this article?

Find out how you can get access to more exclusive content, one-of-a-kind California high school sports content!

Learn More


  1. sjs
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Hi Mark,

    I like your idea. Is there any expected talk around a Top 4 team Open starting next year? If not, are you and others able to bring this idea before the CIF? It would solve a lot of problems and leave an outstanding set of games. Imagine a result of DLS vs. Folsom for State this year not purely Norcal

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted December 12, 2014 at 12:04 am | Permalink

      Yes, that’s the point. And it works for SoCal teams as well.

  2. jricedds
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 11:25 am | Permalink


    Did I miss something or based on this Central Catholic would not be in a bowl game?

    • Cal 14
      Posted December 11, 2014 at 6:03 pm | Permalink


    • Mark Tennis
      Posted December 12, 2014 at 12:06 am | Permalink

      I will check it. Thought I had them in there somewhere. If not, they’d be in one of those games just below Enterprise.

      • Mark Tennis
        Posted December 12, 2014 at 12:20 am | Permalink

        Sorry. Missed that team. Stared at it long enough. Went through it again and added CC to mythical matchup vs. Sutter and moved everybody else down from there.

  3. CVHS Jim
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    I love this concept. Hopefully the suits at CIF will see the potential gold mine they would have if they went to this format. Having Centennial play Folsom would be something else. Both offenses are off the charts. I know Centennial has a more balanced offense, but Folsom has had some success this year running the ball to help open up the passing game even more. I do not know how good Centennial’s defense is this year, but I do know Folsom’s defense has improved a lot. Of course in a game like this it could come down who had the ball last with both teams being in the 50’s. Who do you think would win this game? Of course being from Folsom, I would give the slight edge to the Bulldogs.

      Posted December 11, 2014 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

      Wassup it might happen Pirates n Bulldogs but I think Pacers may put up a good fight especially in wet weather not a passers friend well see I have comcast Bay Area on directv so I’ll be able to watch it when I get back from Pirated n Tigers game. Corona is like the Oregon Ducks man just high tempo n score score score!!!! The should of won against Gorman they had it but Gorman squeaked outta there with the W. Anyways it probably would come down to who had ball last. Well have a great Friday night.

      • CVHS Jim
        Posted December 12, 2014 at 7:58 am | Permalink

        I am looking forward to the potential Pirate-Bulldog game next Friday, but I know we both have to get through tonight. The Pacers will definintely give us the best game we have had this year. I agree that the wet weather is not a passers friend, but it has not slowed the Bulldogs down at all in the past. Playing on artifical turf helps. I hope the weather holds out for both our games tonight and the Pirates don’t have to come from behind like last week. I do not think the Pirates have anything to worry about though. I think your guys can handle them pretty easily. Unfortunately my squadron is having their Christmas party tonight, so I will be DVRing the Bulldog-Pacer game and watching it first thing tomorrow morning. Best of luck for both our teams!

        • RDADDYLOC
          Posted December 12, 2014 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

          Be safe out there I know it rains more up north than down here so u guys are more adapt to it than us already an accident by vandergrift next to Camp Pendelton hope the Tigers leave there hotels early n there fans get here safely it’s going to be a sloberknocker I’m not looking past any teams all these young men that are playing will remember these games forever ya know. I heard someone say before an 8 game season than the CIF championship winner and than a legit 3 or 4 game playoff. Anyways have a great party Seargrnt and enjoy the games.

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted December 12, 2014 at 12:07 am | Permalink

      This year, after seeing both, think Folsom is a touch better and so is its defense.

  4. phil60
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 4:20 pm | Permalink


    I would have to agree that Open small schools game looks pretty silly, and not just because of the teams who may have played this year.

    • Cal 14
      Posted December 11, 2014 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

      The CIF thinks they’ll get small schools in general. What they’ll end up with are two private school powerhouses. If the SS moves to an Open Division (and I would bet they do), we’d see Gardena Serra vs. Atherton SHP. Good game, but I doubt there’d be anything but private schools in this division, just like the original D-III.

      • phil60
        Posted December 11, 2014 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

        Cal 14, I don’t see that happening very soon. Those private schools with D2 and D3 enrollments will stay in the Pac5 where the best teams reside. So they won’t be allowed to play further unless one wins the thing, and in that case they would likely be put in the large school open.

      • Mark Tennis
        Posted December 12, 2014 at 12:13 am | Permalink

        There is no interest in the CIFSS in having an Open Division in football. They’re happy the way it is right now. The Pac-5 is practically an Open Division but not operated in some herky-jerky fashion like CCS and San Diego.

  5. Cal 14
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    Why bother with 1AA, 1A, 2AA, 2A, etc.? Why not just do D-I thru D-XIII? What’s the difference?

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted December 12, 2014 at 12:11 am | Permalink

      Or they could come up with some names (like the CIFSS) such as Redwood Division, Yosemite Division, Golden Gate Division, etc. There’s no difference. Actually, I prefer 6AA for the top, 6A next, etc. That more matches what they do in Texas, Florida and other big states.

      • CVHS Jim
        Posted December 12, 2014 at 8:10 am | Permalink

        I agree. I wish they would set it up like they do in Texas. I was stationed down there for five years and the way they have their playoffs set up works really well. Is there a chance they would ever do that here in California?

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


    Latest News

    Insider Blog