We have one more weekend of games then it’s Selection Sunday. Here’s a look at who’s in, who needs to win to become eligible and the projected fields. Below are the breakdowns for Divisions I and II. Divisions III and IV will be posted tomorrow.
We’ll also be hosting a live chat here on Sunday at 3 p.m. after playoff brackets are announced, so be sure to stop by then. Hopefully we’ll be discussing what an excellent job the seeding committee did.
Qualifiers (14): De La Salle, James Logan, San Ramon Valley, Monte Vista, California, Freedom, Pittsburg, Deer Valley, Antioch, Berkeley, Irvington, Amador Valley, Foothill, Castro Valley
Needs one more win (3): Heritage, Santa Rosa, Mission San Jose
The breakdown: The bubble burst last week for just one team, Granada, which lost to Cal. Castro Valley not only gained playoff eligibility last week, it also put itself in position to win a league title (the Trojans would have to beat Berkeley on Friday). Heritage can go over .500 in league to become eligible with a win over Deer Valley on Friday. The Patriots will be underdogs, but a win is definitely possible. Wins (and playoff eligibility) seem far less likely for Santa Rosa and Mission San Jose. Santa Rosa needs to beat Rancho Cotate while MSJ must defeat James Logan. Both Amador Valley and Foothill won last week, so the Battle for Pleasanton on Friday will be for playoff seeding rather than eligibility.
Projected bracket: 1. De La Salle, 2. James Logan, 3. California, 4. Freedom, 5-10. San Ramon Valley/Monte Vista/Pittsburg/Deer Valley/Foothill/Amador Valley, 11. Castro Valley, 12. Berkeley, 13. Antioch, 14. Irvington
The top four in this division look pretty clear as do the bottom four. I think the committee’s biggest challenges will be figuring out where to put the teams from Danville and Pleasanton. Deciding what to do with the six teams in the middle will be tough because the EBAL teams all beat up on each other this year. For example, will Amador Valley be rewarded for its wins over Freedom and Monte Vista or will losing to a D-II team (Concord) hurt? Pittsburg losing to both Monte Vista and Cal in nonleague games probably hurts the seeding for both the Pirates and Deer Valley. What happens in the Danville/Pleasanton rivalry games will also have an impact on the seedings, so I’m not ready to project the 5-10 seeds just yet.
Qualifiers (13): Clayton Valley, Livermore, Dublin, Las Lomas, Concord, Northgate, American, Newark Memorial, Washington, Casa Grande, Rancho Cotate, Arroyo, Mt. Eden
Needs one more win (4): College Park, Pinole Valley, Hayward, Alameda
The breakdown: There will be a new champion in this field. Defending champ Windsor needed to win their final two games, but lost to Casa Grande last week to end its playoff hopes. Maria Carrillo’s chances also ended with a 23-22 loss to Montgomery (MC needed to win out, as well). Richmond also lost when it needed to win its final two. Pinole Valley has to beat St. Mary’s this week to get to .500 in league. Hayward needs to do the same against Encinal. Alameda stayed in the running by beating San Lorenzo (that result also knocked San Lorenzo out of the running) but still needs to beat Arroyo. College Park must beat Concord.
Projected field: 1. Rancho Cotate, 2. Clayton Valley, 3. Casa Grande, 4. Northgate, 5. Concord, 6. Newark Memorial, 7. Washington, 8. Las Lomas, 9. Dublin, 10. Livermore, 11. Hayward, 12. American, 13. Arroyo, 14. Mt. Eden, 15. Pinole Valley
The No. 1 and 2 seeds seem pretty clear. I think the committee will give the edge to an unbeaten Rancho team for the top seed, but Clayton has a shot at that spot as well and should be no lower than No. 2. It’ll be interesting to see what the committee does with Livermore. Being in the EBAL, the Cowboys have played a tougher schedule than anyone in this division and their record reflects it. Dublin will have a better overall record than Las Lomas no matter what happens Friday, but the Knights will probably be seeded higher because they have a head-to-head win over Dublin. I’m predicting that Hayward and Pinole Valley both win Friday night to become eligible.