MODESTO -- What's the difference between the section football playoffs and the state playoffs?
Yes, it can be confusing with all the divisions, especially when a Division 3 team from the Sac-Joaquin Section would go into the State Division 2 Bowl and a D4 champion could go into a State D3 or D4 Bowl. Confused yet?
Heres our cheat sheet:
Every champion from every SJS division is eligible for the State Open Bowl
SJS Division 1 and 2 champions are eligible for the State D1 Bowl
SJS Division 3 champion is eligible for the State D2 Bowl
SJS Division 4 champion is eligible for State D3 Bowl
PROVISO: If Central Catholic wins the SJS D4 title, it would be eligible to play in the State D4 Bowl because its enrollment is only 377 students (the only school smaller in the four large-school divisions is Modesto Christian with 212 kids
SJS D5 and 6 champions are eligible for the State D3 or D4 Bowl, depending on enrollment. Highlands (905) would be eligible for the State D3 Bowl, for example, while Le Grand (478) and Ripon Christian (224) would look to the State D4 Bowl.
The state commissioners will gather after the final section championship games on Dec. 2 to select the teams for NorCal and SoCal regional teams. From the list of eligible section champions, two will be selected for each of the five bowls.
The Open Bowl teams are selected first, and right now you should expect De La Salle vs. Folsom or Franklin of Elk Grove. If both those SJS teams go 14-0 and win their section titles, look for Folsom to advance to play De La Salle and Franklin to land a spot in the D1 Bowl against Bellarmine of San Jose or Serra of San Mateo one of those is likely to win the Central Coast Section.
For the State D2 Bowl process, the North Coast Section champ is expected to be Rancho Cotate 10-0 or Clayton Valley 9-1 -- and most people expect one of those to get in. The opponent: Most likely Oakdale, if the Mustangs win the section and emerge with a 13-1 record. The potential spoiler: The Central Coast Section isnt separating its teams into divisions until the season is over, so it could have a 12-1 team that also qualifies for this State Bowl, but we wont know until this weekend. (The CCS regular season ends Friday and playoff teams are selected afterward).
Well cover the D3 and ther D4 options later.
Those regional games will be played the weekend of Dec. 7-8 at sites still to be selected, and those winners advance to Carson for state title games Dec. 14-15.