There seemed to be doubt among some section commissioners that the CIF’s new 13-division football bowl game plan would pass during Friday’s CIF Federated Council meeting at the DoubleTree Hotel in San Jose.
After all, due to the CIF Southern Section’s own executive council voting on Wednesday to reject the proposal, the CIF needed to come from a 61-53 deficit of committed votes to reach the 69 votes it needed for passage.
In looking over the votes that were still out there heading into Friday, however, five were from the CIF Northern Section (probably was going to vote for it and obviously did) with more from Oakland and San Francisco and more from allied organizations and associations. The CIF received the votes it needed and won passage of the new plan by a 71-68 margin.
Now, instead of an Open Division with four additional divisions, the CIF bowl games will still have an Open Division at the top with an Open Division for small schools (enrollment 1,250 and below) and then 11 other divisions.
Other than the Open Division (which has involved De La Salle of Concord from the north for the last six years with no end in sight of that streak), each of the other new divisions also will have a northern and a southern regional game to determine which two teams will play for a state title.
The good news is that every team that wins a section title will now know it will get to keep playing.
The bad news is that just like the expanded Open Division in basketball has shown, the Northern California section champions now getting to play in the bowl games may struggle with their SoCal opponents. The north just doesn’t have the depth in top, large school teams that the south does. One CIF mock up of teams based on 2013 section champions, for example, had Le Grand in the same division as San Fernando.
For a closer look at what divisions each of the 2014 section champions might have been in, CLICK HERE.
In the end, most California high school football fans will continue to focus on De La Salle, the CIFSS Pac-5 Division and the best of the best. The first few divisions in the new CIF lineup also should continue to be compelling. Once you get through the first four, though, you’ll be getting into teams that aren’t close to the top 50 overall in the state.
This new plan also is still much better than the first format the CIF passed for its bowl games that began in 2006 and it’s better with regional games than without.