Here is my stab at the D-II playoff picture. Not as many common opponents as D-I makes it foggier, lot of key games still to be played. Biggest game this week is probably Cardinal Newman and Rancho Cotate.
NEAR LOCKS (5):
Petaluma (7-0) — Only undefeated team, wins over Case Grande, Cotate and Maria Carillo.
Concord (6-1) — Blowout of Clayton Valley, close loss to San Ramon indicate Concord a contender for the NCS D2 title.
Casa Grande (6-1) — Only loss is to Petaluma (40-14), and is 3-1 vs the Division.
Eureka (5-2) — In its 4-team league, Eureka plays every team twice. Three blowouts the first time through. Somebody gets a roadtrip to play the Loggers when they finish 8-2.
Montgomery (5-2) — One of Montgomery’s losses came to Grant, which is like losing to DLS, it doesn’t really factor in to the final record as far as the committee will be concerned. Key win: Cardinal Newman, yes you read that right. With Santa Rosa, Maria Carrillo and Piner ahead, Monty is looking at an 8-2 record.
Clayton Valley (6-1) — The Uglies have beaten just one team with a winning record (Mt. Diablo) and were torched by Concord. With YV, College Park and Northgate left, they could be anywhere from 6-4 to 9-1 to end the year, I’m leaning toward 9-1 and a playoff berth.
Pinole Valley (5-1) — Key win: Oakand Tech, which beat Mt. Diablo. Key loss: Alameda, one of only 2 NCS DII teams they play. Big game this week with El Cerrito if they win they are looking at an 8-2 record.
Ygnacio Valley (6-1) — Wins over Hayward, Northgate and Mt. Diablo mean YV is likely in, but it finishes with Clayton, Concord and College Park.
Windsor (6-1) — Lone loss is to one of NorCal’s best (Inderkum, 29-0), but of the six wins, only last week’s overtime win against D3 Healdburg was against a team with a winning record. Windsor finishes with Casa Grande, Petaluma and Analy (5-3).
Hayward (5-2) — There was a time, not too long ago, when being the runner-up in the HAAL was quite the accomplishment. Hayward will probably finish the year 8-2 with no wins against winning teams. Key loss: Ygnacio Valley. Key win: Ummmm … O’Dowd? Did you just laugh? I did.
Cardinal Newman (3-4) — Scheduling tough out of league finally caught up with the Cardinals: Central Catholic, Del Oro and Palma are a combined 18-2-1. In the division, you have to figure CN is still among the elite, even with the 9-0 loss to Montgomery. (Never though I’d see CN get shut out, in league no less). Cotate, Ukiah and Carrillo remain, pencil them in for 5-5 or 6-4 and the low seed no one wants to play.
Rancho Cotate (4-3) — A win against Cardinal Newman this week is possible. If that happens, Cotate will go on to finish 7-3 with its losses to Monty, Petaluma and Carrillo. If it loses to Newman, 6-4 will make it tougher to get in. 2-point loss to Petaluma should help in the coaches ranking.
Alameda (3-3-1) — Wins against Pinole and San Lorenzo are very important. The Hornets will finish 3-0 against NCS D2 teams – two losses came to D1 teams (Newark, Berkeley) – a loss (Encinal) and a tie to NCS D3 teams. Consider the Hornets firmly on the bubble.
Northgate (4-3) — The Broncos have a shot, but the playoffs aren’t likely. With Concord, Mt. Diable and Clayton Valley to end the season they probably end at 4-6 or 5-5. That won’t cut it. No key wins to speak of and a loss to 2-5 Las Lomas.
Maria Carrillo (3-4) — In a tough spot, could end up 5-5, 4-6 is more likely. Do have a win over Cotate, but losses to Petaluma, Case Grande, Windsor and to 1-6 Santa Rosa hurt.
Mt. Diablo (4-3) — Mt. D was looking good after its 4-0 start, but with College Park, Northgate and Concord left a 4-0 to 4-6 season is definitely possible, if not probable.
San Lorenzo (4-3) — Losses to Mt. D and Alameda are big. Wins against Moreau, Castro Valley, Tennyson and O’Dowd aren’t. If SL wins its last three (Mt. Eden, Arroyo and Hayward) it has a chance. 6-4 (loss to Hayward) probably won’t cut it with no key wins.
Las Lomas (2-5) — Win out against Miramonte, Dublin and Campo and the Knights get to 5-5. But does a 5-5 Las Lomas team get in over a 5-5 Cardinal Newman team or a 6-4 Cotate team? Probably not.