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New system for football playoffs

08/04/2014, 9:56am PDT
By John Maffei

The Open Division field will no longer be determined before the start of the season


Mission Hills players cheer their Open Division championship win over Oceanside.

The high school football playoff system in San Diego is going to be very different this season. And that's a good thing.

The eight-team Open Division, which came under fire in its first two seasons, will stay, but with major revisions.

Gone is the system where the eight Open Division teams were determined before the season, a system where as many as four of the eight team shouldn't have been in the field.

Now those eight teams will come from a pool of 24 Division I teams. Of the remaining 16 teams, 12 will make up the Division I field. The bottom four teams will not make the playoffs.

Plus, the guess work has been taken out of the playoffs.

All seedings will be determined by Power Rankings with team's awarded on its own wins and losses, but also the wins and losses of its opponents.

A team can track its ranking during the season, but those rankings can vary widely as a season progresses.

I'm not totally onboard with that system for a couple of reasons.

Say teams are 5-0 when they meet in midseason. The winner gets the maximum power ranking of 50 points. The loser gets 44. Now, let's say the losing team goes in a slump or has injuries, the winning team would lose two of 50 points because of the losing team's record.

I don't know what the solution is, but I think you need to be rewarded based on the opponent's record at the time you played.

One thing I do like is that there will still be a playoff seeding committee. The face of that committee will change, however. Instead of retired coaches or administrators serving on the committee, it will now be made up of current coaches - one from each conference in the county.

Having sat in on those seeding meetings, I will say committee members took the job serious and were fair.

I didn't always think the members were as prepared as they should have been.

The new committees will only have the power to break ties in the Power Rankings, ensure league champions make the playoff field and ensure league teams don't meet in the first round of the playoffs.

I like this new system and applaud San Diego Section Commissioner Jerry Schniepp and his assistant John Labeta for having the flexibility to make changes.

It may not be perfect, but it's better than before.

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2014 Football Divisions

Division I

(Best 8 teams make the Open Division, next 12 are Division I)

Oceanside, Mission Hills, Helix, Eastlake, Cathedral Catholic, St. Augustine, San Pasqual, La Costa Canyon, Carlsbad, Poway, Torrey Pines, Madison, Grossmont, Steele Canyon, Olympian, Ramona, El Camino, Mount Miguel, Vista, Point Loma, Westview, Rancho Buena Vista, Valhalla and Mira Mesa.

Division II

(12 of 16 teams make it)

Mt. Carmel, Otay Ranch, Valley Center, Lincoln, Brawley, Scripps Ranch, Mission Bay, San Marcos, West Hills, Imperial, Chula Vista, Escondido, El Capitan, Rancho Bernardo, Serra and Del Norte.Division III

(12 of 16 make it)

Santa Fe Christian, Granite Hills, Hoover, Hilltop, Christian, Bonita Vista, Morse, Fallbrook, Mar Vista, Henry, Parker, Sweetwater, San Diego, La Jolla, Monte Vista and Santana.

Division IV

(12 of 16 teams make it)

Central Union, Kearny, Coronado, University City, Orange Glen, Mater Dei, Bishop's Calexico, Clairemont, Montgomery, Southwest (EC), Castle Park, Horizon, El Cajon, San Ysidro and Southwest (SD).

Division V

(8 of 17 teams make it)

La Jolla Country Day, Holtville, Palo Verde, Crawford, Mtn. Empire, Escondido Charter, Army-Navy, Tri-City Christian, Calipatria, Vincent Memorial, Foothills Christian, Calvary Christian, San Diego Jewish, Rock, Classical Academy and Maranatha.

John.maffei@utsandiego.com

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