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Host of local teams change divisions following CIF realignment

Host of local teams change divisions following CIF realignment
The Burbank High football team moved from Division V to Division VII as a result of CIF Southern Section office releasing its 2019 fall realignment. (File Photo)

The Burbank High football team made a steady climb up the CIF Southern Section division chart the past few seasons, experiencing tougher competition with every step.

After advancing to the CIF Southern Section Division VIII championship game in 2016, Burbank was moved up to Division VII. The Bulldogs responded to the challenge by making it to Division VII semifinals in 2017.

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That success prompted a big jump for the Bulldogs for the 2018 season, as they catapulted two spots to Division V. Unfortunately for Burbank, it lost in the first round of the playoffs for the first time in three years.

That trend reversed for Burbank when the CIF Southern Section office released its 2019 fall realignment for football, girls' tennis, girls' volleyball and boys' water polo on Friday.

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The Bulldogs went from Division V to Division VII.

The postseason realignment was based on a formula that considers playoff performance, wins, margin of victory and strength of schedule in order to promote playoff equality.

New to football this season will be a combined Division I/II.

“We are still trying to figure everything out with the way they changed the top of the divisions and what exactly is Division VII now that I and II are kind of one division. We are determining what all that means,” Burbank coach Adam Colman said. “But looking at the new division we are in, some teams we are familiar with and other teams we don’t know that much about. But the way they are doing things with the competitive equity, I think the CIF is getting closer to getting it right.”

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In 2018, Burbank went 7-4 and placed second in the Pacific League with a 6-1 record behind champion Arcadia. In the opening round of the Division V playoffs, the Bulldogs fell on the road to Glendora, 56-35.

Burroughs moves down to Division XI. The Indians were in Division VIII in 2017 and were shifted to Division X last season.

Burroughs is coming off a season in which it went 2-8 and 2-5 in league to finish sixth. The Indians failed to make the playoffs for the third consecutive season.

There will be some significant changes in football the next two seasons, according to a message sent out Friday by CIF Commissioner Rob Wigod

“You will notice that we have a larger group of schools in a combined Divisions I and II. The reason for that is at the end of the regular season, similar to what we have done in basketball, volleyball, water polo and tennis, we will have a Football Selection Committee choose the top eight schools after week 10 games have been played and place them into Division I,” the message read.

“I have been clear since the beginning of competitive equity playoffs that this system will continue to evolve in the time ahead. The most significant step moving forward in determining the strength of programs is to apply the results of the current regular season to the previous two years’ power rankings, so we may develop new power rankings at the end of the regular season and create playoff divisions at that time.”

There will be changes for the 2020 football season in which divisions won’t be determined until the conclusion of the regular season.

“In the sport of football, we would like to use the 2019 season as a testing period for the possibility of including current regular season results and potentially creating playoff divisions at the end of the regular season in 2020,” Wigod’s message read.

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“I think doing the divisions at the end of the year is a good idea because it helps account for the transfer situation,” Burroughs coach Rand Holdren said. “I like the theory of it and it will be interesting to see the equation of it is.

“We feel we could be competitive in this division if we can make the playoffs, but it’s just tough to do that in this league with some other teams that are in higher divisions.”

Another significant move occurred in girls’ volleyball with Burroughs, which won a share of the Pacific League title in 2018 before advancing to the Division III quarterfinals. The Indians now reside in combined Division I/II, along with some of the top teams in the Southern Section.

Also in girls’ volleyball, Burbank remained in Division IV and Providence jumped from Division VII to Division VI.

In boys’ water polo, Burroughs goes from Division IV to Division V and Burbank shifts from Division VI to Division V.

In girls’ tennis, all three local teams, Burbank (Division II), Burroughs (Division III) and Providence (Division V), remain in the same division as the previous season.

For boys’ and girls’ cross-country, all five divisions are still tentative.

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