After a short reception, Mikah Holder looks for running room for Oceanside, which would have been seeded No. 1 in the Open Division had a computer made the decision.
There is something to be said for an Open Division in the San Diego Section football playoffs.
When the process finally gets squared away in a year, the eight best teams will be in the same division. Most certainly that will create a buzz, make for great games, draw fans and generate huge revenue.
Taking all prejudices out and strictly using the MaxPreps computer rankings at the end of the regular season, this year’s Open Division teams in order would have been Oceanside, Helix, Cathedral Catholic, Ramona, Eastlake, San Pasqual, Carlsbad and La Costa Canyon.
The computer would knock out Mission Hills, the No. 1 seed in the Open Division as chosen by the San Diego Section selection committee.
Mission Hills beat Oceanside 30-6 in Week 5. Think the Grizzlies would be upset about being left out after beating the Pirates and finishing 9-1?
Yes, and they would have every right.
The computer rankings don’t value head-to-head matchups more than any other game. Humans, especially, the seeding committee, has head-to-head matchups as a top priority.
So the first-round matchups, inspired by the computers, would have been La Costa Canyon (9-1) at Oceanside (8-2), Carlsbad (8-2) at Helix (9-1), San Pasqual (9-1, including a win over Mission Hills) at Cathedral Catholic (8-2) and Eastlake (9-1) at Ramona (9-1).
Those are some great first-round games.
Carlsbad boasts NCAA Division I commits quarterback Christian Chapman (San Diego State) and linebacker Jordan Perez (Stanford).
San Pasqual, with its funky option offense and star linebacker Kyle Hendrickson, would be at Cathedral.
Most coaches say San Pasqual is a matchup nightmare.
Eastlake would be at Ramona in what could be a classic game matching the four-five seeds.
Ramona’s only loss this season was 42-0 at home to Oceanside. The Bulldogs have wins over Grossmont and Helix.
Eastlake’s only loss was to Chandler Hamilton, the No. 6-ranked team in Arizona, in the first week of the season. Eastlake coach John McFadden was mildly upset his team wasn’t seeded No. 1 by the committee. Doubt he’d be happy with a five seed and a trip to Ramona.
Committee or computer, there is no way to make everyone happy.
But the very thing that makes the Open Division so attractive — best teams in the county playing each other — is what hurts it and the rest of the county.
“What I don’t like is that we could be one-and-out in an eight-team division while teams with computer numbers in the minus rankings are getting a seed, a bye and a home game,” said one coach, who spoke on condition his name not be used.
The reasoning behind the Open Division is to put the best teams together and give other teams a chance to hang a section championship banner. But does it make sense to eliminate four of the top teams in the county before teams in a 12-team bracket, teams with a first-round bye, have even played?
And those teams eliminated in the Open Division — no matter where they were ranked all season — won’t be eligible for the state playoffs in football. Doesn’t seem right that one of San Diego’s best teams could be out of the state race in the first week of the playoffs.
Clearly, this is still a work in progress.
MaxPreps.com computer rankings
How San Diego Section football teams stack up when averaging MaxPreps.com’s Power Ranking and Strength of Schedule formulas:
Team Rec. Avg. Division
1. Oceanside 8-2 50.6 Open
2. Helix 8-2 43.9 Open
3. Cathedral Catholic 8-2 40.5 Division I
4. Ramona 9-1 38.5 Division I
5. Eastlake 9-1 37.9 Open
6. San Pasqual 9-1 36.5 Division I
7. Carlsbad 8-2 36.0 Division I
8. La Costa Canyon 7-3 35.2 Open
9. Mission Hills 9-1 35.0 Open
10. Torrey Pines 6-4 33.1 Open
10. St. Augustine 8-2 33.1 Division II
12. Poway 4-6 31.4 Open
13. Madison 9-1 30.1 Division II
13. Rancho Buena Vista 7-3 30.1 Division II
15. El Camino 4-6 29.7 Division I
16. Mount Miguel 8-2 28.4 Division II