This is the second year that the CIF will use three bowl games to determine California football champions and with two weeks remaining in the NorCal Sectional playoffs here is how things are looking:
CalPreps.com does a ranking of each team, so I’ll just go off that for now and play off of “what-ifs”
1. De La Salle, NCS, 12-0
2. Oak Grove, CCS, 11-1
3. Napa, SJS, 11-1
4. Elk Grove, SJS, 12-0
5. Gilroy, CCS, 10-2
6. California, NCS, 11-1
7. San Ramon Valley, NCS, 10-1-1
Obviously DLS is the favorite to return to Carson, when its season ended in defeat to Canyon last year. If it beats Cal, there will be nothing to discuss. However, if Cal High can pull off the shocker and get by DLS it will have a good shot at repping NorCal.
-Oak Grove has a good resume with wins over Bellarmine, Gilroy, Mitty and last year’s D-II representative, Palo Alto. However, its loss (St. Francis), was by 16 points and to a non-playoff team that won 40% of its games (4-4-2).
-Napa still has to get by Elk Grove and the winner of Lincoln and St. Mary’s (both of Stockton) and has beaten just two good teams so far (Vacaville and Pleasant Grove). Its loss was by double-digits to Granite Bay (which is ranked No. 8 on this list).
-Elk Grove is the only undefeated team besides DLS and would need to beat Napa and one of the Stockton schools. Like Napa, it beat Vacaville, but other than that nothing too impressive (Franklin, Vintage…). If they finish the year 14-0 it would be hard to keep EG out.
-Gilroy probably doesn’t have a chance because it has two losses, although it will have a chance to get payback against OG in the CCS open title game.
-Cal comes in No. 6. If it beats DLS, the Grizzlies will be 12-1 with a win against one of the nations top teams. Add wins over previously unbeaten Logan, then Monte Vista, Pittsburg, Foothill and San Leandro, the Grizzlies would have wins against the other six teams that make up the NCS 4-A top seven. Cal’s loss? A missed p.a.t. against SRV, which could very well wind up the NCS 3-A champ. Hard to penalize a team for a 1-point loss to a great team.
-SRV will cruise by Pinole then will have a tough game with Cardinal Newman. It would be tough to vault Cal over SRV based on the head-to-head, but if Cal beats DLS that would more than make up for that loss in my opinion. Plus SRV lost to MV and a Washington team that will (record-wise) go down as a team with a losing record.
Fun to discuss, but let’s be honest. DLS will probably win and none of this will likely matter.
Keep checking back for D-II and D-III analysis.