If the Sac-Joaquin Section football playoffs were to begin this week, the 2011 enrollment numbers and current season standings (including opponent wins) would drop these 64 teams into respective postseason brackets across the first four divisions. Teams are listed in order of the seed they would take.
Division I – Granite Bay, Pleasant Grove, Lincoln (S), Bethel, Burbank, Pitman, Beyer, Turlock, Franklin (EG), Oak Ridge, Grant, Sheldon, Nevada Union, Woodcreek, Napa, Enochs
Division II – Buhach Colony, Elk Grove, Folsom, Inderkum, Vacaville, Stagg, Downey, St. Mary’s, Roseville, Rio Linda, Johansen, Atwater, McNair, Del Campo, River City, Laguna Creek
Division III – Oakdale, Manteca, Del Oro, Los Banos, Woodland, Cosumnes Oaks, Casa Roble, Vista del Lago, Patterson, Whitney, Vanden, Pioneer, Benicia, Antelope, Ceres, Sierra
Division IV – Hilmar, Colfax, Escalon, Placer, Argonaut, Livingston, Orestimba, Liberty Ranch, Central Catholic, Sonora, Ripon, Bear River, Modesto Christian, Linden, Bret Harte, American Canyon
Note: These projected playoff divisions do not reflect the final three weeks of conference games to be played, and could drastically alter as all SJS teams are tied with opponents for total wins. The SJS divisions for playoffs are determined after the best 64 teams are divided into four 16-team categories of enrollment.
Drop this paper and go do your homework.
Watch some TV.
Update your Facebook page with that muscle shirt photo you took in the mirror.
Go raise your kill/death ratio on Call of Duty Black Ops or gain levels on World of Warcraft/Runescape.
If you are an Oakdale High football player, do anything but read the following text of this column, because this article is not for you.
As far as you know, this week’s game against Weston Ranch is the only one left on the schedule, and you should treat it as such. Oakdale isn’t that good, and you need to diligently work on every aspect of your game.
Oakdale football is on the brink of a No. 1 section seed with realistic potential to represent the Cowboy Capital of the World at a 2011 state bowl game. But with three tough games left in the Valley Oak League schedule, it’s nearly blasphemy to look ahead.
So I do it with great caution.
Seven weeks into the prep football season, the Sac-Joaquin Section has released the first tally of win totals, which coupled with the SJS enrollments can give the first good look at potential SJS playoff brackets in each division.
If the playoffs were to begin this week, Oakdale would carry the No. 1 seed of 16 division III teams to vie for a section title.
And since a team in that division could be state bowl Division II North favorite, Del Oro, Oakdale (7-0) has a very good chance to reach a bowl game if they win a section title.
Since section rules will force St. Mary’s and Laguna Creek to compete in division II, Del Oro sports only the third highest enrollment of teams to currently qualify for division III. Unless some drastic changes shuffle the top-64 teams to spread across the top four divisions of SJS brackets, Calhisports.com’s second-ranked SJS team and No. 1 state bowl division II team (Del Oro) will again compete as a D-III team in the section playoffs.
Del Oro (6-1) is the same team that beat Oakdale for a D-III title in 2010, and their 2011 schedule includes a 30-27 overtime loss to the No. 4 ranked team in California across all divisions, Westlake.
The close game with Westlake is a big reason why Del Oro stands atop the state bowl rankings for both Calhisports.com (ESPN) and maxpreps.com.
Maxpreps has Oakdale ranked at No. 3 in the bowl rankings, but Calhisports has maintained a puzzling No. 9 rank for the Mustangs despite the success of Oakdale’s preseason opponents.
Oakdale’s preseason opponents have amassed a .750 win percentage this year, which is second to only Grant (.771), but Grant has already lost three games. Grant is ranked No. 4 by Calhisports and No. 8 by Maxpreps.
The state officials that decide bowl games will have a tough time arguing Grant’s appearance with three tallies in the loss column, and the rest of the top-10 will be thinned across division I, II and III brackets in the SJS postseason.
Obviously Oakdale has to beat Weston Ranch, Manteca and Sonora just to win a league title and to maintain its top section seed, but will only see help from the three when their collective 15-6 records tally onto Oakdale’s current number of 21 opponent wins. Opponent wins are the tiebreaking tally to decide section seeds.
Oakdale’s potential for a top section seed and appearance in a state bowl game is certainly exciting to ponder, but several teams in the SJS have that same opportunity, so expectations should be kept in check.
It comes to down to one snap after the next, and looking ahead at the wrong moment could cost a team everything. If you play varsity football for Oakdale High and you are still reading this, you had better remember that.
Ike Dodson is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. He may be reached at email@example.com or by calling 847-3021.