30Q-2-KICKOFF (No. 2): Going bowling

Today, I’ll take a stab at one of our reader-submitted questions. This one comes to us courtesy of Junior.

Fellas, I would like to hear how the change for the CIF state bowl games will impact NCS teams.

Well, on the surface, it doesn’t look like the California Interscholastic Federation’s shift in division criteria will do a whole lot to teams from the North Coast Section. When it comes right down to it, the idea is still the same: win your section and you could end up in Carson.

Since the reboot of the CIF State Championships in 2006, only four teams from the NCS have even made it to the dance – De La Salle, Cardinal Newman, Novato and Marin Catholic. Whether it’ll be tougher or easier under the new rules remains to be seen.

Remember last year, when the Sac Joaquin Section had an extremely tough Division II bracket in its section playoffs? If these new rules were in place last year, that would’ve meant that the winner (ultimately Rocklin) was eligible for the Division II state bowl (Rocklin ended up there anyway, but if Grant had won, that would’ve been where the Pacers could’ve gone if they didn’t go to the Open game).

Also, the change will affect the Central Coast Section as well. The state now puts the CCS Open Division winner under consideration for the Division I bowl game. But what if that’s a team like St. Francis-Mountain View, last year’s runner-up? The Lancers are a Division II school by enrollment, so if they were to win the Open Division now, that would create another chance for Division II qualifiers.

As it pertains to Division I and the Open Division spots this year, I don’t think this does a whole lot. The general consensus is the top two teams to beat in Northern California are Grant and De La Salle (pre-season rankings show Grant as the team to beat… history says the road goes through DLS). So, if both win their section, it’s tough to see another team going to Carson. 

But let’s say the CCS Open champion is strong as well. And, let’s say Grant again plays in the SJS Division II playoffs and wins it this time, maybe by a small margin over a team that maybe went on a run after having a so-so regular season. What’s to say the selection committee couldn’t put all three in a game, leaving Grant in the Division II spot? All I know is that would be a pretty formidable trio to represent Northern California. That would, of course, make the chances of the NCS Division II winner reaching Carson smaller. Conversely, since the rule could impact some Division III schools in the CCS, the road may be a bit easier for the NCS Division III champ.

At it’s foundation, the change makes things simpler (I know my description doesn’t seem simpler). Whatever division you win in your section is the division you will be qualified for when they pick the CIF bowl games. It should at least create less confusion late in the season.

Ben Enos

  • junior

    Nice article Ben.

    I’d love to see:

    DLS open
    CCS champ- Div I
    Grant- Div II

    That would be a tough trio!

  • YVFan08

    As talented as Grant is I don’t think that they will be the champs in the SJS. Folsom is returning 17 starters from a team that went deep into the playoffs and lost by 1 point to a Del Oro team that lost to eventual champ Rocklin. But, since they are playing in the first game this season we will see.

  • Ben Enos

    That Grant-Folsom game should really fun to watch. For those headed out to scrimmages on Aug. 27, don’t forget to set your DVR because the game is on ESPN. That’s my plan, anyway!

  • renegades10

    More then likely I think Folsom and Grant will be in separate playoff divisions with Folsom in D1 and Grant in D2. If the Pacers lose to Folsom, but win the rest of their games and their playoff bracket and Folsom goes undefeated you would be hard pressed to find a better candidate for the D2 bowl game. Even if Folsom didn’t win their section I think Grant would get the D2 nod with one loss. Basically it is a game to determine a candidate for the Open division game. Tough that it is in the opening week.

  • YVFan08

    I believe that the SJS changed their system so that the top 8 or 12 teams in the SJS are now having to play in D1, so we will most likely see Grant and Folsom in the same playoff bracket.

  • The Folsom/Grant game will be a war…Its at Folcom and a great field to play on…If you are going…get their early and get as high as you can on the blechers on the Folsom side…Unless Folsom falls apart, they should win, but they are facing a tough defense….

  • junior

    If Folsom doesnt significantly improve their defense from 2009- they will get beat by Grant. I will bet on the team that can play defense and run the football every week.

  • renegades10

    Folsom went out and hired a new d-coordinator for this year, his name is Max Miller. Was the head coach at Cordova High, but retired two years ago. Has the most wins in SJS history as a head coach. Employs a 5-2 defensive scheme.

    Regardless of the defense for Folsom however, Grant’s offense isn’t necessarily explosive. If Grant doesn’t move the ball well and gives Folsom great field position, it will be a long night for the Pacers, no matter how good the defense is. That’s what happened to DLS at Bosco last year. Bosco’s first four or five drives where in DLS territory( including one within the five and another two within the twenty) because of turnovers and short drives. They need to make Folsom go the length of the field. Best athlete on the field will be Grant’s Shaq Thompson, a junior going both ways at rb and db. He is very fast and will need to have a big game for the Grant offense which starts a new qb. So while everyone is talking about the matchup of each team’s strengths in Folsom’s offense vs Grant’s defense, the real key will be in their other halves. Folsom just needs to bend, but not break and I think they will pull out the game.

  • renegades10

    YVfan, you are correct in that it looks like Folsom and Grant will most likely be D2. The SJS did change their selection process again this year, but it is very similar to last years which was also new. Last year they divided groups up by two divisions such as D1/D2, D3/D4, etc… and took the top 32 teams in each group and the sixteen largest based on enrollment were the bigger division and the other 16 were the smaller division. This year it is D1/D2/D3/D4 and then then others are divided by two again. So the top 64 schools will be divided up based on enrollment. Now as mentioned earlier it actually does look like Folsom and Grant will be in the same division, but as Folsom is larger there is a chance that they could be in a different division.

  • junior

    you assume renegades, that Folsom can match Grant’s physicalness… I am not sure if they can or not, we will see.

  • renegades10

    you’re right junior i just thought that went without saying that whoever was more physical would win.

  • junior

    not sure why that would be a given-did you see Folsom play defense last year? you can bring in Dick Lebeau as DC and he would be challenged.

  • renegades10

    I believe Folsom’s defense is actually much improved this year. Small, but more physical then last year. Plus having five linemen could help to counter the huge size disadvantage. Guess I’m just spoiled with the Spartans defense and always expect the more physical team to win. Again Folsom just has to bend, but not break.