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Football: A look at the bowl picture

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Here’s one man’s analysis of the bowl breakdown with one week to go:

Open and Division I: The two South berths will go to the Long Beach Poly/Tesoro winner and Corona Centennial. On paper, the three teams are reasonably tightly-bunched. Poly will almost certainly go into the open game with a win because of their reputation and national profile. If Tesoro wins, it’s a tougher decision.
If Centennial should lose, you’re looking at Chaparral, the Upland/Rancho Cucamonga winner, and probably Carlsbad La Costa Canyon for the DI berth.

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Whichever team is selected in the Open Division will likely face Concord De La Salle (assuming the Spartans beat Pittsburg in the North Coast Division I title game to finish 12-1). The DI North bid is probably a two-team race between 12-1 San Jose Bellarmine Prep (Central Coast Open Division champions) and 13-0 Sacramento Grant (Sac-Joaquin Section Division II champions); the Bells played a tougher in-state schedule, while the Pacers are undefeated and beat the Idaho and Utah 5A champions.

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Division II: The South bid probably goes to one of two San Diego Section teams, Oceanside (11-0-1) or San Diego Cathedral (12-0). Both should win section titles this week. Oceanside plays in a higher SDS division (II vs. III), but their tie was against a team that didn’t even make the semis in D-III. It’s gonna come down to how the criteria get weighed. Moorpark can get into the mix if they upset St. Bonaventure.

In the North, 11-2 Stockton St. Mary’s will probably be the frontrunner if they win the Sac-Joaquin Division I title next week. If not the Rams, the choice will probably be between 13-0 Orangevale Casa Roble (Sac-Joaquin Division III champion), 11-2 Novato (which needs to beat 12-0 Alameda Encinal in the North Coast Division III title game this week to be eligible), or 11-1 Paradise (Northern Division I champion).

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Division III: St. Bonaventure (12-1) against Santa Rosa Cardinal Newman (12-0), if both win this week.
The Oaks Christian/Serra winner is waiting in the wings if the Seraphs lose to Moorpark. In the North, Hilmar (12-1, Sac-Joaquin Division V champion) and Sutter (11-1, Northern Division II champion) will be the frontrunners if Newman loses to 12-0 Concord Clayton Valley in the North Coast Division II title game. Hilmar knocked off usual suspect Modesto Central Catholic in their section final.

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Small Schools: A two-horse race in the South, with San Diego Parker (11-1, San Diego Division V) and St. Margaret’s (13-0) in the lead if they win their respective section championships this week. Both blew out their only common opponent; Parker has played a slightly tougher schedule to date, but the Tartans can overcome that if they beat a Twentynine Palms team that’ll be the toughest they’ve faced this year. Also, the Harry Welch factor won’t hurt St. Margaret’s; keep in mind these bowl games are more about marketing the CIF than crowning a true champion.

In the North, Hamilton City Hamilton (10-2, Northern Division III champion) probably has a slight edge over Alturas Modoc (12-0, Northern Division IV champion) and Petaluma St. Vincent (11-1, North Coast Division V champion).
Hamilton has played the toughest schedule of the three, which may help them overcome their two losses. Ferndale, which was widely considered the likely North candidate, lost in the North Coast Division IV semis last week.

--Eric Maddy


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