OK, so I didn’t forget about everyone today. Well, maybe a little. Better late than never, I say! Today, we take on a bit of a broad topic.
What East Bay teams can we expect to have a shot at a bowl game this season?
Well, for starters, you can always put De La Salle in the California Interscholastic Federation bowl discussion. I expect that to definitely be the case this year. The Spartans lost a lot, sure, but they also bring back a bunch and they’ll be in the hunt for the Open Division again. The addition of the regional playoff makes things a tad more interesting, but I think we’ve seen over the years that if any team has the kind of depth to make that work, it would be De La Salle.
Part of what made last football season one of the better ones in recent history is the fact that we had a second team in Carson for the first time. Campolindo made it in the Division III title game and acquitted itself well in a loss to Washington Union-Fresno. The Cougars return UCLA baseball commit Brett Stephens to play quarterback, but I think they’d be the first to tell you that last year was the ultimate lightning in a bottle situation. Division III is so good (see: Marin Catholic, Cardinal Newman, Bishop O’Dowd, etc.) that if they make it back there this year, I’ll be proven wrong again (not the last time, I’m sure).
As I say every year, if a Division I team from the East Bay beats De La Salle and wins the NCS Division I title, you’ve got to consider that team for a bowl bid. How could you not take a team that beats DLS? My top candidates for that this year would be San Ramon Valley, James Logan and Freedom. I really liked what I saw from Logan last week, albeit in a bit of a skewed situation (scrimmage).
Looking at the other divisions, I just don’t see another obvious choice for a bowl game. Maybe a D-II team like Concord gets all the way through behind a talent like Olito Thompson? Or maybe a team like O’Dowd gets hot at the right time to make a run through the D-III playoffs? Right now, they all look like long shots to me. Hopefully that changes throughout the year.