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Who's top seed in the Open Division?

11/07/2013, 9:18pm PST
By Craig Malveaux

Oceanside, Mission Hills, Eastlake stake their claim.

The teams of Fred Warner (Mission Hills) and Thai Cottrell (Oceanside) are among those at the center of the debate on who should get the No. 1 seed in the Open Division.

Who’s number one?

An eight-person committee will determine that Saturday when the group convenes at the Hall of Champions to decide the football playoff seeds for the Open Division and Divisions I through V.

“Several teams have strong cases,” said San Diego Section Commissioner Jerry Schniepp, who will preside over the meeting.

“Not everyone will be happy once we’ve finished the process.”

Particularly, Eastlake (8-1), Mission Hills (8-1) or Oceanside (7-2).

Of the trio, one becomes the odd team out as the third seed despite each presenting legitimate arguments for the top spot in the Open Division.

To weigh the arguments, the committee — composed of former football coaches — intends to evaluate each program’s season using a software program provided by the section that computes team information input by coaches.

Other sources of reference include

MaxPreps.com, Calpreps.com and the U-T San Diego Sportswriters/Sportscasters poll that’s voted on by 31 individuals.

“Just like those websites have their ratings and strength of schedule numbers, we have our own, although it isn’t a formula or a number, per se,” Schniepp said.

“It comes from looking at rankings from the other websites as well as looking at schedules side-by-side on the board. We also consider common opponents, head-to-head matchups and quality games. What are your quality wins and what are your quality losses? It’s very thorough.”

In addition to the information provided, coaches have the option to plead their case via comments typed in the system. Typically, they assess their team’s season along with a specific seed each coach believes his team deserves.

In the weekly U-T poll, Oceanside is the No. 1 team despite losing 30-6 to Mission Hills in Week 5.

However, Eastlake — No. 3 in the section — remains undefeated against San Diego opponents and has convincing victories over two Top 10 opponents, much like Oceanside.

Mission Hills only has one.

MaxPreps.com’s algorithm-based system favors Oceanside. The Pirates secured the No. 1 ranking, yielding a 61.1 rating and 42.9 strength of schedule after playing St. Augustine, Gardena Serra, Temecula Chaparral, Mission Hills and Ramona.

Then comes Eastlake with a 50.7 rating and 26.1 strength of schedule followed by Mission Hills scoring a 44.8 and 25 — the lowest strength of schedule mark in the Open Division.

Hence, the difficulty.

What will weigh more significantly? A perfect record in the section, blowout victories and a more difficult schedule or a lopsided victory over the No. 1 team in the region?

Schniepp said he doesn’t anticipate the decision will be unanimous Saturday, noting that it often isn’t. He said the wealth of information at the committee’s disposal will be critical in making the right call.

“A lot of that boils down to the integrity of that group,” he said.

“Of course, everyone has a bias, I think, because it’s hard to completely eliminate that, but I can tell you that they will make every effort to be fair to every football program and carefully examine every team thoroughly.”

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