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.