With the CCS now done with its regular season and with its new three-pronged Open Division pairings in the books, it’s time for the NCS to do something similar. Go inside for our proposal for a two-pronged NCS Open Division. This will finally give more bigger schools the opportunity to show what they can do in a CIF bowl game beyond De La Salle.
Note: For this week’s Gold Club post highlighting the State Top 25 overall rankings, CLICK HERE.
The bye week for a preponderance of the top teams in the top enrollment divisions of the CIF North Coast Section should signal bye-bye baby to the archaic system the NCS has maintained for its football playoffs. Such a move also reflects on the fact that the new CIF regional/state bowl game format is based on competitive equity.
The one thing the byes do is avoid first-round blowouts but if the NCS went to two eight-team Open Divisions and split them by enrollment after seeding them like the CIF Central Coast Section has now done with its three Open Divisions, the NCS would still have enough teams to field another four divisions and that would mean they could send six qualifiers to the bowl games instead of five.
Under current CIF state rules language that allowed the CCS to send its three Open winners and two of the three runners-up to bowl games, the NCS could solve the problem of nobody other than De La Salle among its top large schools getting a chance to play beyond the section level.
Let’s say, for example, the NCS had two Open Divisions and took the top 16 teams in the Bay Area rankings from this week’s and spilt them by enrollment after they were seeded. Instead of some teams playing and others having a bye, all the teams would just wait one week like in the San Diego Section, which has an eight-team Open Division.
The proposed divisions would be as follows, looking at the current teams:
In Open 1 would be De La Salle, Antioch, Foothill, Monte Vista, Pittsburg, Freedom, Amador Valley and James Logan, while in Open 2 it would be Clayton Valley, Campolindo, Marin Catholic, California, Cardinal Newman, Analy, Miramonte and Rancho Cotate.
This would mean the NCS would have to re-shuffle its other divisions but other sections have done it successfully.
“Having an Open Division was on the last agenda of our board of managers meeting and it’s on the December agenda again,” NCS Commissioner Gil Lemmon said. “We really ought to be looking at competitive divisions and it’s being reviewed and there could be some movement. What we want is the right solution and the section (office) doesn’t dictate things. It’s up to the schools.”
Hopefully, Lemmon can get the schools to see that trying to fit a square peg into a round hole is not going to get them an “A” in geometry.
It won’t help teams playing against De La Salle this year, but heck, Antioch superstar running back Najee Harris is only a junior so if the NCS brass gets off its duff and gets with the statewide program and other sections moving to a form of “competitive equity,” then finishing second to Sparta won’t be so bad anymore.
(Previous ranking in parentheses)
(Through games of Saturday, Nov. 14)
(Includes all Central Coast Section schools but no North Coast Section schools north of the Santa Rosa Metro area)
1. (1) De La Salle (Concord) 9-1
2. (2) Clayton Valley (Concord) 9-1
3. (3) Foothill (Pleasanton) 10-0
4. (4) Bellarmine (San Jose) 9-1
5. (5) Antioch 10-0
6. (6) Pittsburg 9-2
7. (7) St. Francis (Mountain View) 9-1
8. (9) Monte Vista (Danville) 7-3
9. (12) Serra (San Mateo) 6-4*
10. (10) Campolindo (Moraga) 10-1
11. (8) Valley Christian (San Jose) 7-3
12. (11) Archbishop Riordan (SF) 7-3
13. (13) Milpitas 8-2
14. (14) Freedom (Oakley) 7-4
15. (15) Amador Valley (Pleasanton) 8-3
16. (16) Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 9-1
17. (17) California (San Ramon) 7-4
18. (18) Palma (Salinas) 9-1
19. (19) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 6-4
20. (23) Oak Grove (San Jose) 8-2
21. (21) Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa) 9-2
22. (22) Analy (Sebastopol) 11-0
23. (20) James Logan (Union City) 7-4*
24. (24) Los Gatos 7-3
25. (25) Moreau Catholic (Hayward) 10-1
Dropped Out: None.
Teams On the Bubble (Alphabetical order)
Aptos 6-4, Burlingame 9-1, Concord 7-4, Dublin 7-4*, Justin-Siena (Napa) 9-2, Leigh (San Jose) 8-2, Live Oak (Morgan Hill) 9-1, McClymonds (Oakland) 10-0, Menlo-Atherton (Atherton) 5-4, Miramonte (Orinda) 10-1, Monte Vista Christian (Watsonville) 9-1, Piedmont 8-2, Rancho Cotate (Rohnert Park) 8-3, Sacred Heart Prep (Atherton) 7-3, Salinas 6-4, San Benito (Hollister) 6-4, San Leandro 6-5*, San Ramon Valley (Danville) 3-7*, St. Mary’s (Berkeley) 8-3, Tennyson (Hayward) 9-2, Wilcox (Santa Clara) 8-2.
Harold Abend is the associate editor of CalHiSports.com and the vice president of the California Prep Sportswriters Association. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @HaroldAbend