In a non-scientific survey of top football coaches from around the state who responded to a questionnaire we sent out last week, there appears to be a majority of them who are not supportive of that many teams potentially playing 16-game schedules.
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On January 30 of last month, the CIF State Federated Council by a narrow 71-68 margin voted to expand the CIF state football bowl game format from five divisions to 13 divisions.
Under the new system, every CIF section champion is going to be guaranteed of playing in a regional bowl game – in other words four-team brackets with a north and south game – but there will remain an Open Division bowl game for just the No. 1 overall teams in the North and South plus a new Open Division small school bracket.
At Cal-Hi Sports, we sent out a questionnaire last week to more than 200 of the top coaches from around the state and one of the questions was about the new CIF bowl game system.
Here is a broad sample of the responses received (by rough estimate of the nearly 40 who sent back info, we’d say it’s about 55 percent opposed to the expanded CIF bowl games):
First Group Generally Opposed
“I think it is wrong and puts kids in danger. If the CIF is truly concerned about the health of the young men, keep the games to a max of 14.”
Guy Gardner (Palos Verdes, PV Estates)
“I think the CIF is only doing it to raise money. We live in far Northern California. We really don’t want to be practicing football in a couple feet of snow in December. The CIF is about safety unless they can make a buck off our kids.”
Shaun Wood (Modoc, Alturas)
“Sixteen games is way too much football. The top two college teams played an extra game and still only played 15. Not sure how we are limiting practice time on a daily basis but then increasing the duration of the season. Would love to see a public vs. public and a private vs. private format. It’s time.
Trent Merzon (Oakdale)
“Not a fan of it. I think it waters down the success of a CIF championship and has too many athletes playing into the start of the winter season, which would threaten even more the fact that there are very few mult-isport athletes out there. Playing multiple sports is a great thing.”
Sean Sovacool (La Costa Canyon, Carlsbad)
“I am at a crossroads as we are being told to limit ‘full contact’ hours and practice hours/days but yet we are adding more and more games to an already strenuous schedule for 17 and 18 year olds.”
Jaime Ortiz (San Clemente)
“It could be good and we’d be excited to have the opportunity, but 16 games seems like it’s just too much. I don’t think the extra games are necessary.”
Tony Franks (St. Mary’s, Stockton)
“I prefer that the state bowl system be dropped entirely. A playoff to determine one true state champion is not conductive to the number of sections, schools and the great variety of competitive equity and enrollment within these schools. This is not the NFL or major college football. We are losing the essence of high school sports and competition by trying to create a system that reflects the NFL.”
Tony Peralta (Elsinore)
“Not a huge fan of it. I know Cali is a big state with a lot of high school football teams, but this seems a bit excessive.”
Chris Hauser (Mission Hills, San Marcos)
“I would rather not see the regional and state bowl games expanded. For many second tier champions, the culmination of the CIF (Southern Section) title is an accomplished goal that should be strived for and cherished.”
Ray Maholchic (Serrano, Phelan)
Second Group Generally Opposed
“It’s good for everybody. The Southern Section has so many teams it seems like a fair idea.”
T.J. Ewing (Monterey Trail, Elk Grove)
“I think it is a great opportunity for the teams that get invited.”
Troy Thomas (Crespi, Encino)
“I feel excited for smaller public schools in rural areas that are farming community-based. This gives them a better chance in participating in a regional and state bowl.”
Robert Mejia (Mendota)
“I think it is awesome. It takes all of the pressure off of scheduling preseason games. I don’t think it waters down the current system, either, look at how many state champions Texas has.”
Ryan Reynolds (Sutter)
“I like it. I think it gives every section champion a chance to compete for a state title and it will be determined on the field, not by a vote. If you play a tough schedule you can still have an opportunity to keep playing.”
Casey Taylor (Del Oro, Loomis)
“With so much talent in the state and so many deserving teams, it only makes sense to expand the bowls to include as many teams as possible.”
Jim Hartigan (JSerra Catholic, SJ Capistrano)
“We have 154 kids…it’s a good thing for us.”
Mike Parsons (Modesto Christian)
“I think it is great. Every year, deserving teams have been left out of the state bowl system. We know now that if we win a section title, we will represent our section at the state level.
Mike Nolte (Liberty, Madera)