OAL playoff picture

While we’ll be starting our posts of breaking down the NCS playoff picture next week, I figured I’d get a jumpstart with the OAL since it’s not nearly as complicated, although it’s not as cut and dry as years past. And after the chuckling about two wins getting you into the playoffs a couple weeks ago during Prep Corner Live!, I’ve started digging deeper and two wins might not be enough this year.

I can easily see a scenario where three teams finish tied for third at 2-3 since my current prediction is that Castlemont goes 5-0, Fremont goes 4-1 and there’s a possibility McClymonds, Oakland and Skyline all go 2-3. I won’t get into all the tie-breaker stuff yet because it’ll be easier to sort out after this week and too much is based on hypotheticals. Anyhow, here’s an alphabetic team-by-team rundown.

Castlemont (5-1-1, 2-0 OAL) — The Knights are in the playoffs. Not officially yet, but would clinch a spot with a win in either of their final three games. I expect their Week 10 matchup with Fremont to decide the No. 1 seed and this is still my favorite to win the Silver Bowl.

Fremont (6-1, 2-0 OAL) — Same boat as Castlemont with two wins and needing one more to officially clinch a playoff spot. It’s more likely for the Tigers to drop one of their next two games (Oakland Tech, McClymonds) than Castlemont (Skyline, Oakland), but I like their chances of taking an 8-1 overall and 4-0 OAL mark into week 10 against Castlemont.

McClymonds (2-5, 0-2 OAL) — Friday against Oakland is a must win for the three-time defending Silver Bowl champions. A loss to the Wildcats would mean the Warriors would need to upset Fremont in Week 9, beat Tech in Week 10 and hope Skyline drops its last three (Castlemont, Tech, Oakland) to avoid a tie-breaker situation, which it would then lose by virtue of having lost to both Skyline and Oakland — the teams Mack is most likely to be tied with.

Oakland (5-2, 1-1 OAL) — After escaping against Tech last week, the Wildcats face a key game with Mack. A loss here would likely make Oakland’s Week 10 game against rival Skyline a game to decide the final playoff spot unless the Wildcats can upset Castlemont in Week 9. Even with a win over Skyline in the final game, losses to Mack and Castlemont could put Oakland in a tie-breaker situation.

Oakland Tech (1-6, 0-2 OAL) — With last week’s heartbreaking loss to Oakland, the Bulldogs are probably on the outside looking in, needing to win at least two of their final three games. it’s possible, but things to change quickly for Tech. One reason for hope is that the final two games are against Skyline and Mack, so if Tech won both of those — thus earning them the tie-breaker against those teams — the Bulldogs should get in.

Skyline (1-6, 1-1 OAL) — For a team with just one win on the year, the Titans are actually in a pretty good position. The win over Mack gives them extra breathing room in case of a tie with the Warriors and so a Week 9 victory over Tech could be enough. Skyline is in the weird position this week as it should be rooting for its rival Oakland to beat Mack as that would likely end Mack’s playoff hopes, thus improving Skyline’s.

Here are my bold predictions for the final standings and who I think (as of right now) will get in the playoffs. The Mack-Oakland game this week could easily change things.

1) Castlemont 5-0

2) Fremont 4-1

3) Oakland 3-2

4) Skyline 2-3

5) McClymonds 1-4

6) Oakland Tech 0-5

The way that breaks down is Fremont falling to Castlemont in the finale to decide the Nos. 1 and 2 seeds. I have Oakland beating Mack and then beating Skyline in the finale (losing to Castlemont in Week 9) to take the third seed. Skyline loses to Castlemont and Oakland, but beats Tech. Mack falls to Oakland and Fremont and beats Tech, but finishes a game back of Skyline thanks to dropping the OAL opener to the Titans.

I should state that none of those predicted scenarios are stone cold locks. The OAL is very even this year and a number of things could happen. The biggest question mark comes from the Mack-Oakland game. I can definitely see Mack winning that game as well. If they do, this changes things a lot because I’d predict we’ll have a three-way tie for third at 2-3 and we might be stuck in a coin toss situatino. I’ll update this again next week and we’ll see what happens.

Jimmy Durkin

Jimmy Durkin is a sports writer for the Bay Area News Group.

  • 617lemon

    time 4 the oal 2 get in ncs.it’s a crime that all the hard work these kids put in & all they get are league rematches that they call a section playoff. would love 2 see castlemonts defense go up against novato or bod in da playoffs. what about those great skyline & mac teams of the past. i feel cheated how bout u?


    i agree. OAL had a chance this year but just like our Governator they just dont get it. The OAL is the no fun league.

  • XTower

    Such a selfish view.
    The OAL would get one team, maybe 2, in the NCS playoffs if it’s lucky. If a team is in what used to be 4A, it wouldn’t have the opportunity to win a title with DLS in the way.
    This way, four teams get to experience postseason and there is one title game that all of Oakland gets behind and supports. Plus, those “great Skyline and Mack teams of the past” had the chance to play at the Coliseum. What percentage of NCS playoff teams can say that? Plus you wouldn’t have had the 2003 Silver Bowl with Skyline and Tech that was the best ever.

    You want to see Castlemont’s D go up against BOD or Novato? They have five games in the regular season to schedule it. (Are the Knights in the same division as those schools?)

  • Kyle Bonagura

    Skyline and Oakland are DI for State bowl purposes.

    Tech, Mack, Castlemont and Fremont are DII.

    O’Dowd and Novato are both DII (state)

  • fair catch kick

    Kyle, thanks for the state bowl division information. Out of curiosity where would the OAL teams land in the NCS divisions?

  • 617lemon

    xtower they need 2 play 1 less non-league game have week 10 b the silver bowl with the 2 top teams.then go play ncs.opportunity? no one else has a chance either with dls so what r u talkin bout?!with your thinking mval might as well become there own section so mission san jose jfk american all those lousy teams can expierence playoffs. come on xtower i wanna see the oal athletes in ncs to challlenge ebal,dfal teams.

  • Kyle Bonagura

    No problem, that’s what we’re here for…

    OAL teams if they were in NCS would look like this:

    Castlemont D3
    Fremont D2
    Mack D4
    Oakland D2
    Tech D2
    Skyline D1

    All based on the enrollment figures on calpreps.coms

  • I believe Mack is Division III for state purposes. Back when Mack was 2-0, it was actually ranked fifth in the NorCal state bowl game rankings.

    As for the other stuff, 617lemon, what’s a crime about the OAL playoffs? That they just have regular season rematches? De La Salle plays Monte Vista tomorrow and most people probably expect a playoff rematch. Is that a crime? There are strong rivalries here and if you’ve lost to a team during the regular season, it’s nice to have that opportunity to avenge that in the postseason. I see that more as a benefit than a detractor.

    Myself and XTower have said this before and will say it again, if you don’t have an association with the OAL you probably won’t get it. But there’s no benefit for the OAL to play in NCS. If you’re arguing for more exposure, explain why no league has more Division I football players than the OAL. I think a lot of people that want the OAL to join NCS want to see how the OAL stacks up with NCS schools and my guess is a lot of that is because people like to put down the OAL and want to see how it truly compares. There’s no reason for that. Playing sports and going to school in Oakland is completely different when you get outside the city. That’s why the OAL wants to remain separate and should remain separate. As I said, a lot of people won’t get that, but it’s true. Plus, there’s still nonleague games (half the season in football) to see some of those matchups.

    Also, as for 617lemon’s suggestion to play the Silver Bowl in Week 10 and then go play NCS. It’s not possible. If the OAL was in NCS, the OAL would cease to exist after the NCS goes through its regular realignment every four years. Mack and Castlemont would probably be out as smaller schools and maybe an Alameda or even a Berkeley gets added in. Things would never be the same.

  • XTower


    You can’t have it both ways. All you care about is how the BEST team from the OAL matches up with the NCS.
    If you want to see how the top teams in the OAL would do against the EBAL and DFAL, tell them to schedule a regular-season game. When Mack and Skyline were good enough to play Logan, Foothill, San Leandro, Monte Vista, SRV etc., they did. If Castlemont thinks it’s that good, then it’s on Barnes and the AD to schedule games against those teams just like Beam, Carter and Edwards (Tech) would do.
    And I can tell you right now there’s no way Castlemont matches up with at least the top 4 in the EBAL (I’m not even including DLS) and the Knights already played Concord so I don’t know what you’re whining about. You dying for that Rancho Cotate-Fremont tussle in Division 2?? Yeah, what a thriller.
    Besides, the 2002 Skyline team (Yonus, Summers, Davone Bess etc.), the 2003 Tech team (Marshawn, Josh Johnson, Virdell Larkins) and Alonzo’s 2005 team at Mack were waaaaaaaay better than this Castlemont team. Skyline fumbled away a game at Foothill and tied in 2002, Tech couldn’t beat Pinole Valley that year and no one decent from NCS except Granada would play Mack, so there you go.

    Also, American, MSJ and Kennedy wouldn’t make the MVAL playoffs either, so you can end that argument right now.

  • fair catch kick


    Thank you for the OAL / NCS comparison! Being new to CA / Bay Area preps things like state divisions, NCS divisions, sections, etc, all get confusing.

  • descamp72

    yea it is a little confusing because I’m used to regions in Ohio


    OAL will never be added to NCS, at least until they change their open enrollment policy. As it is right now, kids can transfer to and from any Oakland HS and still play sports right away, without moving, no questions asked

  • XTower

    That’s such B.S. It’s up to the section commissioner to determine eligibility.
    Besides, CIF lets you can transfer to any school in California before your sophomore year, no questions asked. What’s the difference?