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.