It's still a month before the Sac-Joaquin Section football playoffs kick off, but it's never too early to start looking at the possible scenarios for Stanislaus District schools.
Nathaniel Levine of The Sacramento Bee uses his mathematical formula each year to give us an early peak at who is likely in
and likely not.
Many teams still have four games to play, so little is cast in stone. Still, if your school isn't on this list, it's probably in need of a win this Friday if it wants to remain optimistic.
The section selects 64 teams for its four 16-team divisions, with each league guaranteed two automatic berths. The remainder of the field is selected based on a team's total wins so long as teams have won at least two league games.
No team has won six games, and two in league, and failed to reach the playoffs since the format was adopted in 2009.
Schools are put in 16-team brackets, with Division 1 for the largest schools. D5 and 6 come from a separate pool of small schools. If tied in wins, first- and second-place teams gain preference over at-large berths then the final step is using opponents' wins as the final seeding criteria for ties.
Here are some highlights:
Downey (6-1) is one of 10 teams projected to be D2 with one or no losses, and it's the largest school it would be the first to go D1 if an unexpected small school qualifies.
Burbank (6-0) is the smallest D1 and Yuba City (5-1) the smallest D2, and would be the first to fall a division if an unexpected large school gets in.
Central Valley (4-2) is the largest D3 and projected No. 1 seed Placer (6-0) is D3's smallest school. Placer is Northern California's top-ranked team in its division and would be an overwhelming favorite to win a title should it fall to D4.
Center (5-1) is the largest in D4 and one of 11 with one or fewer losses. Ten of the 16 teams would be from the district, based on projections.
Some of those unbeaten and one-loss teams will begin losing in league: Summerville and Argonaut are both 6-0, for example, and play this week.
Among the surprises: Traditional powers Grant and Nevada Union are 3-3 and might have to win three of their last four to get into the playoffs. A half-dozen 5-5 teams made it in 2011, but early indications are that few if any .500 teams are expected to go this year.