Regional Bowl Scenarios
Just when you thought you had it figured out, the regional bowl landscape saw plenty of changes after last week's action. What did the results mean and who has the inside track going into Friday?
Working under the assumption that De La Salle wins its next two games in the North Coast Section Division I playoffs, the Spartans will receive the Open Division bid. De La Salle hosts Cal this week.
Moving to Division I, Folsom is the unanimous choice if it can win the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I title back-to-back years. The Bulldogs would put a 14-0 record on the board with a high powered offense and a physical defense. They face Monterey Trail on Friday.
Grant has been No. 3 since the preseason rankings and would be the choice for the second Division I regional bowl spot if it captures the SJS Division II title. This scenario would create the first intersectional regional bowl since its inception. The Pacers face Vacaville this week with Elk Grove and St. Mary's-Stockton in the other half.
What happens if Grant loses? The possibilities would fill up your computer screen, but here are some key results to remember. St. Mary's beat Los Gatos 35-32. St. Ignatius, which has losses against Valley Christian-San Jose and Bellarmine, beat St. Mary's 27-24 in overtime. Elk Grove is one of three Delta League teams in the semi-finals (most in NorCal). St. Mary's beat Tracy 49-29 and the Bulldogs are still playing in the SJS Division I field. Valley Christian's losses came against teams who lost last week (Milpitas and Serra) to stop the change of avenging the results. Vacaville lost to 5-5 Oak Ridge 24-23. Sacred Heart Prep is undefeated, but will be hurt by strength of schedule.
That jumbled mess will become clearer on Saturday night. For now, section titles by De La Salle, Folsom and Grant will prevent controversy.
Starting in the NCS again, the expected final in Division II is Clayton Valley Charter-Concord. The Ugly Eagles won an exciting regular season affair 48-40. The winner of this matchup would move onto regionals.
This is where it gets hard. Enterprise, with a lone 44-22 loss to Vacaville, would win its third straight section title with a win over Pleasant Valley on Saturday. The reigning NorCal Division II champions lack a top win, but could be aided by Pleasant Valley beat Tri-County Conference playoff teams Yuba City and River Valley.
The other option comes from the SJS Division III field. Inderkum and Oakdale are one loss league champions with the chance to meet in the finals. Inderkum lost to Monterey Trail 29-27, but owns a quality win over Division IV bowl contender Salesian (45-26). Rio Linda of the TCC is still playing after beating Sierra last week. Oakdale lost to Sierra 31-20, but won a share of the tough Valley Oak League and has quality wins over Central Catholic and Sonora (the SJS Division IV championship matchup). Rio Linda and Sacramento would provide noteworthy cases if they win the title, but would fall behind Enterprise.
Since the bowl inception in 2006, the selection committee has stayed away from teams with high loss totals against quality schedules. St. Francis-Mountain View and Mitty are favorites in the Central Coast Section Division II playoffs, but both have four losses. The strength of schedule is better than any other team in this division, but they need plenty to fall right to continue their seasons.
Campolindo is ranked No. 5 in the NCP Top 20 and has been No. 1 in Division III throughout the fall. The Cougars, which were the state runner-ups in 2011, saw three Diablo Foothill Athletic League teams eliminated last week. They host Analy this Friday with Marin Catholic-Rancho Cotate on the other end. Campolindo is the obvious choice if it wins the section. If it doesn't, the other three teams will probably need help to make a regional bowl. Analy has the best resume of the group.
Undefeated Sutter has posted seven shutouts en route to a 12-0 record. It plays Lassen on Saturday in the Northern Section Division III championship game. The Huskies beat Justin-Siena, which is still playing, and gave 10 win Orland its only two losses. A win and the Huskies should be going to their second regional bowl in three years.
The team most primed to make a jump if the top two fall is St. Mary's-Berkley. The defending NCS Division IV champions are 10-1 with a 30-23 loss to Salesian. A win against San Marin on Saturday would be its first against a winning team, which is an issue.
Other teams to watch are Burlingame (lost to Sacred Heart Prep), Sonora (lost to Oakdale and faces Central Catholic this week) and Aptos (lost to Granite Bay). If any of their opponents can add section titles, it surely bolsters the resume.
Piedmont could be looking at a 14-0 season if it wins the NCS Division IV title, but its weak league could hold them back.
The final regional bowl could be decided off the field and it would be wrong. McClymonds is appealing the ruling of quarterback Kevin Davidson being ineligible after transferring from San Ramon Valley. If the ruling is upheld, the Warriors would have to forfeit as many as five games. The committee hasn't viewed teams with forfeit losses favorably, but McClymonds should be going to a third straight regional bowl if they win the Silver Bowl on Thursday against Fremont-Oakland.
In the No. 2 spot is two-time defending Division IV state champion Central Catholic. The Raiders have losses to Oakdale and St. Mary's (both still playing) and co-VOL champion Sierra. The Raiders face 11-1 Sonora this week. Another blue banner should produce game No. 14 for the Raiders.
If either of the first two scenarios doesn't work out, the discussion moves to Salesian and Capital Christian-Modesto Christian. The Pride have losses against Inderkum and McClymonds, but went undefeated in the Tri-County Athletic League Rock Division. They face Stellar Prep this week with a potential meeting against one loss St. Bernard's in the NCS Division V finals.
The winner of the SJS Division VI playoffs will have an excellent case. A Capital Christian win gives the Cougars a final 13-0 record with two wins over Modesto Christian. However, no one else in the Golden Empire League notched a playoff win. If Modesto Christian wins, the Crusaders would avenge their own loss (23-22 to Capital). Modesto Christian won the Trans Valley Athletic League, which produced playoff wins from Hughson and Escalon.