Last year’s cover story in SportStars by Ben Enos focused on football bragging rights being decided in games between teams from the Bay Area and the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section.
At the time Enos wrote the story, the Sac-Joaquin held a 114-90 edge in reported games from the 2009 to 2013 season.
But with a half-page press release issued by the CIF state office on Aug. 25, a lot more may be on the line during these Bay vs. SJS matchups.
On that day, the CIF announced there will no longer be a Northern California Open Division bowl game to determine which NorCal team will play the South in the Open Division state bowl game. The two state Open Bowl selections instead would simply skip any regional bowl and take one week off while the other divisional regional bowl games are being held.
The CIF mentioned in its release that two separate committees “indicated a strong desire” to return the Open Division to its original format. In reality, the committees basically are saying that based on history, and on new playoff divisions within the CIF Southern Section, why bother with a regional Open Division game? If you look at recent history, there’s probably an 80 to 90 percent chance that the game is going to be De La Salle of Concord in the north vs. whichever team from the Southern Section wins the Pac-Five Division (last year that was St. John Bosco-Bellflower).
Most immediate media attention in the north focused on it being good news for Folsom, which has had two outstanding undefeated seasons derailed by De La Salle in the NorCal Open Division final only to watch other teams from its backyard (Granite Bay in 2012 and Del Oro last year) get a shot at a Division I state title. With no more NorCal Open Division game, Folsom isn’t going to be pulled up to play De La Salle.
The media attention instead, however, should have focused on the fact that one less team from Northern California is going to go to a bowl game at all. Using last year’s section final results and going by the resumes of the teams at the time, Del Oro, in fact, wouldn’t have been chosen to play CIF Central Coast Section Open Division winner Serra of San Mateo. It would have been Folsom vs. Serra and Del Oro would have been turning in uniforms.
“Before, it was four teams from the NCS, CCS and Sac-Joaquin going for four spots and now it will be those teams going for three spots,” said Will DeBoard, the Sac-Joaquin Section media relations director. “And assuming De La Salle is in the Open Division, we’ll have to argue hard for our teams probably against the CCS.”
You can bet the fact the CCS Open Division champion has lost to Granite Bay and Del Oro in the last two NorCal Div. I bowl games will be brought up by new Sac-Joaquin Section commissioner Mike Garrison during this year’s bowl selection meeting.
Other results from some of these other NorCal Turf Wars games also may come into play during this meeting. It’s no longer just about bragging rights. It’s going to be about playing rights for one team from one of those sections.
Mark Tennis is the co-founder of Cal-Hi Sports, and publisher of CalHiSports.com. Cal-Hi Sports is the authority in state rankings for football, basketball, baseball and softball, as well as the recognized state record keeper for all high school sports. Contact him at HYPERLINK “mailto:email@example.com” firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter, @CalHiSports.
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