CIF NorCal Bowl Board

Jerrell Alberty of CIF Oakland Section powerhouse McClymonds breaks into the clear during game earlier this season vs. Moreau Catholic of Hayward. Photo: Willie Eashman.

Jerrell Alberty of CIF Oakland Section powerhouse McClymonds breaks into the clear during game earlier this season vs. Moreau Catholic of Hayward. Photo: Willie Eashman.

For the first time this season, we run our simulation of how we’d choose this year’s CIF Northern California regional bowl games based on results so far. Look for video presentations soon when the section playoffs get even more in focus. It’s shaky, but we still have De La Salle (Concord) as the NorCal Open Division team with Stockton St. Mary’s & new North Coast Section Open Division runner-up meeting in D1AA.

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To see our first CIF SoCal Bowl Board and which teams would be in the same CIF state divisions, CLICK HERE.


1. Each board is based on the Cal-Hi Sports state rankings and how we’d rank the teams as of the current week. The teams on the board represent the highest-ranked team within each section playoff division.

2. Teams on the board will change constantly as the playoffs unfold within each division. These are extremely fluid lineups of teams.
CIF logo 216
3. There is no CIF Small Schools Open Division game this season and this year there also is no stipulation that the Division I, Division III and Division V teams from the CIF Central Section will be in the north. The only rule the CIF is following when the commissioners meet on Dec. 4 is that three teams from either the Central Section or Southern Section could be placed into a NorCal regional bowl game. This is because some areas of the Southern Section (think San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara counties) are actually to the north of some counties in the Central Section.

4. There is one more team in the north this season due to the creation of CIF North Coast Section Open Division. This will allow the NCS to choose its Open Division runner-up for one of six teams that would move on after the section playoffs. The NCS, however, would only be sending its D1 champion on to a regional bowl game if its Open Division champion or runner-up is not from Division I, which is not likely.

5. There will be two play-in games in the north this year instead of one for the smallest division. This has more to do with the calendar than anything else since the smaller schools in the Sac-Joaquin Section and all of the schools in the Northern Section and in Oakland-San Francisco are done with their playoffs one week earlier than the rest of the state.

6. All teams that qualify for the board on Dec. 4 by winning a CIF section title will be seeded in order from No. 1 through No. 23 with the teams in Division 6A having already been determined one week earlier. An Open Division runner-up also can be seeded higher than any section champion based on established criteria, such as head-to-head results or strength of schedule.

7. Finally, remember that schools can elect not to participate in the CIF bowl games. This simulation was run assuming that every section champion will want to be in the bowl games.


(Listed in ranking order)
(Does not include any results from Thursday night, Oct. 13 or Friday, Oct. 14)

Open Division
De La Salle (Concord) 5-1

CIF North Coast Section Open Division representative

Division 1AA
St. Mary’s (Stockton) 5-1 vs. Monte Vista (Danville) 5-1

Sac-Joaquin Section D1 projected winner based on this week’s state rankings & NCS Open Division runner-Up

Division 1A
Valley Christian (San Jose) 6-0) vs. Sacramento 5-1

Central Coast Section Open Division II & Sac-Joaquin Division III

Head coach Kevin Macy of Moraga Campolindo poses with some of his players after team capped 16-0 season with CIF D3 state crown. The Cougars lost in CIF D3AA state final last year to La Mirada. Photo: Mark Tennis.

Head coach Kevin Macy of Moraga Campolindo poses with some of his players after the Cougars capped 16-0 season in 2015 with CIF D3 state crown. The Cougars lost in the CIF D3AA state championship last year to La Mirada. Photo: Mark Tennis.

Division 2AA
Del Oro (Loomis) 5-1 vs. Clovis 6-0

Sac-Joaquin Division II & Central Section Division I

Division 2A
Serra (San Mateo) 2-4 vs. Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa) 5-1

CCS Open D2 runner-up & NCS Division IV

Division 3AA
Sutter 6-0 vs. Bellarmine (San Jose) 4-2

Northern Section Division II & CCS Open D1
(We have Bellarmine higher than Cardinal Newman in Bay Area rankings but CIF isn’t going to pick two teams from the same league in a CIF regional bowl game)

Division 3A
Sanger 6-0 vs. San Benito (Hollister) 6-0

Central Section Division II & CCS Open D1 runner-up

Division 4AA
Sonora 6-0 vs. Palma (Salinas) 4-2

Sac-Joaquin Division V & CCS Division III

Division 4A
Paradise 6-0 vs. McClymonds (Oakland) 4-1

Northern Section Division I & Oakland Section

Division 5AA
Calaveras (San Andreas) 6-1 vs. Campolindo (Moraga) 4-2

Sac-Joaquin Division IV & NCS Division II

Division 5A
Miramonte (Orinda) 5-1 vs. Chowchilla 6-0

NCS Division III & Central Section Division IV

Division 6AA
East Nicolaus 6-0 vs. St. Patrick/St. Vincent (Vallejo) 6-0

Northern Section Division IV & NCS Division V

Division 6-A
(Play In Games)
Bradshaw Christian (Sacramento) 6-0 vs. Mission (San Francisco) 2-4
Stone Ridge Christian (Merced) 6-0 vs. Quincy 6-0

Note: These four would be seeded separately with 1 playing 4 and 2 playing 3. They’d be Sac-Joaquin D6, San Francisco, Sac-Joaquin D7 and Northern Section D5.

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

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  1. Kenneth Moore
    Posted October 14, 2016 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    This was interesting. Can’t wait to see what it looks like when playoffs start.

      Posted October 16, 2016 at 4:47 am | Permalink

      Monte who?

      • Lazaro Bella
        Posted October 22, 2016 at 7:47 am | Permalink

        If pittsburg wins the last two games they don’t make the playoffs? why as they beat Sierra and is rank no 13 in the State.

        • Mark Tennis
          Posted October 22, 2016 at 11:20 am | Permalink

          These are not playoffs. These are projections for the NorCal CIF bowl games. If Pitt wins last two games, it would be in NCS Open Division and probably seeded second behind loser of DLS vs. Monte Vista. Same scenario also applies for Freedom. Right now, Pitt isn’t on the NorCal bowl board because it is ranked behind DLS and Monte Vista from teams projected to be in NCS Open Division. Serra is in a different section and different division.

  2. TinyyTim
    Posted October 17, 2016 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    I’m afraid Monte Vista was 6-0 on Oct. 13, not 5-1.
    Anyway these are interesting projections.
    I hope you’re wrong about Sonora being put into D-4aa, especially against a team of the likes of Palma should the Wildcats win SJS D5, which I’m sure they’re heavily favored to do so at this point. I saw the Oakdale @ Sonora game this year which the Cats won 27-13. And, on beating a team of the likes of the Mustangs, many would think Sonora could easily compete with teams in the medium divisions. However, the Wildcats only suit up about 31 guys, are not very big, and with the exception of left wing/DB Kane Rodgers don’t have much speed. However, they’re very scrappy and usually play with good discipline and run their modified double wing T with precision and beat a considerable bigger and stronger (meaning individual player physical strength) team with a much larger bench that night. Both teams, though, made a lot of mistakes, that opening night, but the biggest breaks went the way of
    the Cats.
    Last year I felt CIF blew it by putting Sonora with Hanford in the regionals. It would have been more fair for them to have had them paired with McClymonds, and Hanford paired with Sacred Heart Prep in the North Regionals.
    I hope Sonora doesn’t get the same kind of shaft from CIF this year. They really deserve a shot at a State title, considering they take of business in SJS D5 and in the North regionals, but with public school teams more in their size category.
    I also wonder about Sutter being up in 3aa against a team like Bellarmine. I don’t know too much about the Huskies other than they’re darn good for a team in their division .Probably the best in NS D2 in many years, but a small public school (around 700 I believe) shouldn’t have to play the largest (about 1550 boys) private school in the state that’s traditionally been an overall NorCal football power like the Bells. As in the case with Sonora, the ’16 Sutter team deserves a fair shot at a State title.

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted October 18, 2016 at 1:14 am | Permalink

      The problem in the CCS is that it looks like the top three teams overall will be in CCS Open 2, meaning Bellarmine could be fourth in WCAL but still end up best in CCS Open 1. It’ll be hard to seed them too high and Sutter for sure is going to have be ahead of Palma, if it wins CCS Open 3. This was only the first run-through, each one we’ll do should get more of these possible matchups in focus. The CIF itself has board like this as well and will start to study it in another few weeks.

      • Kenneth Moore
        Posted October 20, 2016 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

        Maybe I’m not understanding the new open rules for the ncs & ccs but, how are all of the ccs runner-ups in your projections rather than all of the section champions? Seems like many section champs are being excluded.

        • Mark Tennis
          Posted October 21, 2016 at 11:38 am | Permalink

          Each section can set up its own playoffs the way it likes. In the CCS, it’s set up in three separate open divisions (1, 2, 3) based on enrollment and then there’s a CCS D4 and D5 playoff bracket. In the CIF state rules, it also states that each section can determine how it wants to send its allotted number of teams to the bowl games and it also states that IF a section has an open division that a runner-up team can go the bowl games. The CCS therefore sends its three open division champions and it next two top runner-ups to account for its five teams. The D4 and D5 CCS champions simply end their seasons with those titles and frankly doesn’t look like any of those schools mind. The only other section champ in the north that would be excluded at this point in the projections is NCS D1. That’s because the NCS has a new Open Division and will send its runner-up to the bowl games instead. That’s too bad because the NCS D1 winner is probably going to be a good team and a lot better than NCS D2, but in the CIF bylaws if a section sends a runner-up team to the bowl games from an Open Division it has to replace a team from the same section division that it came from (in this case in the NCS it will be D1).

          • Kenneth Moore
            Posted October 21, 2016 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

            Man thanks. That was a pretty clear explanation. I tried looking that up and it was almost like Greek. LoL If my school played in that ncs D1 bracket and won it, I would be pissed. When they may have been as good as all but maybe one of the open teams.

  3. DB
    Posted October 20, 2016 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    My question is how under the so called “new CIF playoff rules” that DLS still has a very easy road to the Open title after 25 years of beating up on bad teams from the north? How can they not be in a playoff bracket with any other state ranked teams capable of beating them? Meanwhile the So. Cal top teams all play in one bracket and only 1 will qualify for a state bowl. There are easily 3 other teams that would slaughter every other Norcal team not named DLS yet they won’t get a chance to do just that due to the unbalanced competition level compared to what northern top teams face. Folsom should have to play DLS every year yet they never will since the Open regional games were eliminated (another factor that helped DLS’s cake walk). It’s almost laughable at the difference in what teams have to do to make a bowl game from different parts of the state. SEC vs Mountain West

    • DB
      Posted October 20, 2016 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      St Mary’s is ranked as a top team in the north and SJ Bosco beat them by 40! Bosco may not even qualify for a bowl game because that would mean beating teams like Mission Viejo, Mater Dei, Rancho Cucamonga and Corona Centennial in consecutive weeks. All nationally ranked top 50 teams.

      • Kenneth Moore
        Posted October 20, 2016 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

        I hear your gripe and would agree that the SoCal playoff for one division is brutal. As a St Mary’s fan, we definitely belong in the conversation of not just top teams in the north, but he state as well. I feel like, after seeing many teams in the north, that we have one of if not the best team in the north. Without going into massive detail, our game against Bosco was closer than the final score indicated. Had to be there or watch the game film to see that. And given the opportunity with our leading rusher Dusty Frampton 813 yards 16 tds in 6 games (played two plays against Bosco before leaving with an injury), I like our chances against not just them but ANY team in the state!

      • Mark Tennis
        Posted October 21, 2016 at 11:31 am | Permalink

        On the other hand, Bosco could definitely win against all of those teams, too, and make it. All the teams you mentioned are indeed top 50 in nation but if Bosco were a No. 1 or No. 2 seed in that bracket it’s not going to have to play all of them in consecutive weeks. Mission Viejo and Centennial will likely play either MD or Bosco in the semis and if MV is the four seed it would play Rancho Cucamonga in quarterfinals.

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted October 21, 2016 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      Can’t blame DLS for that situation, but NorCal Open Division never should have ended. Of course, DLS could have lost in 2014 to Folsom and Folsom 2014 might have been one of greatest teams ever but we’ll never know for sure. The CIF Southern Section actually loves it that its D1 (formerly Pac 5) bracket is so insane. They built it up that way. This year, DLS also doesn’t have a “a very easy path” to the Open Division. There is a new NCS Open Division and there are other NCS teams this year that sure seem capable of beating them (Monte Vista, Pitt, Heritage, California tonight). Doesn’t mean anybody outside of the top four teams in the CIFSS is close to them, but nobody seems close to them elsewhere in SoCal, either. There also have been a few years when there were other NCS teams outside of DLS that were very good but nobody knows about them because they could get close to DLS. Some of the Pitt and San Leandro teams were loaded.

      • Kenneth Moore
        Posted October 21, 2016 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

        So the ncs open is a 4 team playoff? And what about the other ncs division? How will that work?

  4. Phil
    Posted October 25, 2016 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    See now i don’t totally understand this competitive equity thing. As mentioned in a previous comment. A public school with roughly 700 students in total (boys and girls) shouldn’t have to go against a private school of 1550 (all boys) If it were to play out like that, (which anything can change) Sutter would be getting totally shafted. The question that i have an hope someone could answer is, have they put any thought into a public school/private school split when it comes to state bowl games?

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted October 26, 2016 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      No, don’t think anyone in the CIF would touch a public-private split. They’ll point to competitive equity games like Belmont of L.A. last year playing Coronado (which had huge enrollment total difference) in which Coronado won. That’s not the same as Sutter possibly playing Bellarmine, but similar games are going to happen with the Southern Section going all-in for competitive equity and the Central Section not doing same. Some of the D11, D12 and D13 CIFSS title teams are going to have very large enrollments. It’ll be very hard for a small-town team around Fresno-Bakersfield to compete against, but we’ll see. The boards, matchups can be studied and adjustments possibly made to account for some of those situations.

      • Phil
        Posted October 26, 2016 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

        Thank you for the quick response, makes a little more sense now. It just has me wondering, if their going to base most of the state bowls of competitve equity meaning who plays who, it sets it up for programs that year in and year out winning there section or making a push through the playoff to dumb down there preseason? Cause it used to be before the bowl games it was soley based on competitive equity and who you beat. I just think soild programs can play lesser competition through out the season, roll through their respected division/section (mostly 2-3-4) and get into a lower bowl game to have a better chance of winning. Just must thought

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