The Valley League may be too good for its own good. At present three football teams in the Valley League are ranked number one or two in their CIF divisions.
Oceanside is not only the number one team in Division II teams in the CIF. It is the top-ranked team in the section.
Ramona is ranked second in Division III but has a better record (7-0) than the number one ranked Cathedral Catholic High school (6-1). Valley Center is the top-ranked team in Division IV.
At least two of those teams will be passed over for the so-called CIF (California Interscholastic Federation) State Football Championship Bowl Games, even if they do go on to win the San Diego Section CIF championship in their divisions.
Last year Oceanside was the defending mythical state champion. They went undefeated and won the CIF championship, but they had one blemish on their record. Our Bulldogs tied them in the season finale in one of the most exciting football games ever played in Ramona.
The tie was a victory for Ramona but a loss for the Pirates. That tie kept Oceanside from defending its state title.
California is the only major state interscholastic federation that does not have a state playoff. Instead, all of the sections in California have playoffs and declare section champs.
Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, etc. all settle their state championships on the gridiron. California lets a committee vote on who will play in the state championship bowl games.
The reason? You guessed it. Money. The sections make more money allowing 0-10 teams in the playoffs than they would if the state manned up and had a statewide playoff. The reason that their playoffs in other sports is the CIFs make their money first and then the state playoffs begin.
This problem is not because San Diego is for it. A change would help our section. The big money and the big voters are in the bigger sections. People forget how many Heisman Trophy winners have prepped in San Diego. We are the Rodney Dangerfield of California prep sports.
If Ramona, Valley Center and Oceanside all win their divisions, only one, if any, would be voted to go the state championship game. If Valley Center runs the table, it would have the best chance.
Wins over Ramona and Oceanside, two schools in divisions above them, would look good for VC to the committee. Oceanside’s wins over two smaller division champs would not be as impressive. Ramona’s wins over one smaller champ and one bigger champ would be a hard sell.
In the other sections, most of the teams in most of the leagues play teams in their division. Most Southern Section leagues all have teams from the same division in their leagues. Valley Center has had to play Division I, Division II and Division III teams in league since their inception. At one time Ramona would have been a Division V team and played mostly Division I teams in league. That’s fair!
The Dawgs have the toughest part of their football schedule ahead of them. They travel to Valley Center. They host Westview on senior night. They will sojourn to the coast to face the number one team in the section, Oceanside.
If the Dawgs win all three games and beat the flu and go on to win the CIF championship, it could lose a bid to a state championship bowl game in a vote by a committee.
It is too likely that three CIF champions for the same league could be the victims of their own success.