Division 5AA Report/New Rule Creates Small Playoff Bracket

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Posted by BigD on February 05, 2017 at 00:42:53:

Division 5AA will have a small playoff bracket this year, thanks to the new .500 rule for CIF Playoffs. Of the 48 total schools in Division 5AA, 27 have already been mathematically eliminated. So far, the following 16 teams have qualified, based on finishing as automatic qualifiers from their leagues, OR being certain to finish with a .500 record or better.

Buckley, Bishop Diego, California Lutheran, Calvary Chapel (Downey) Crean Lutheran, Heritage Christian, Hesperia Christian, La Reina, Mesa Grande Academy, Pasadena Poly, Pilibos, Rosemead, Rubidoux, St. Monica Academy, University Prep, Westridge.

Five teams still have a chance to make the playoff field…

Webb is 8-7 overall and 1-4 in the San Joaquin League, currently in fourth place. Assuming they beat Saddleback Valley Christian next week, they have two games left vs. Avalon after to contend for third. The win over SVC would guarantee them a .500 record, so they are more than likely in.

Workman is 9-10 overall and 3-5 in the Montview league. They are currently in fourth, two games out of third. They have two games left at home vs. Gladstone and Azusa. A sweep would put them over .500 and qualify them. They beat Azusa comfortably and Gladstone by one in the first round. A loss to either would eliminate them.

Coachella Valley is 11-10 and in fourth place at 3-5 in the De Anza league, two games out of third. They have two games left at home with Rancho Mirage (lost by 8 in first game) and at Desert Mirage (won by 18 earlier). One win guarantees them a .500 record. A winless week eliminates them.

St. Genevieve, who by far has the most difficult Max Preps schedule rating in the division, is 7-13 overall and 1-6 in the Camino Real League. They are currently in 5th place. In order to qualify, they must defeat St. Joseph/Lakewood on Tuesday and have St. Mary’s Academy lose to first place St. Monica. That would create a three-way tie for third and St. Genevieve would have to win the tiebreaker to qualify.

Calvary Chapel (Santa Ana) is 8-10 overall and 3-5, fourth place in the Orange Coast League. They play Estancia and first place Godinez next week. They are one game behind third place Saddleback. A sweep would put them at .500 and qualify them, but one loss will make it difficult.

Barring unforeseen forfeits/unusual occurrences, the other 27 teams in the division are now eliminated. That leaves 17 to 19 likely in the bracket with a maximum of 21. That is a really small field.

This was a lousy year for the new .500 rule, especially for the lower divisions. The point system used to create the divisions make the lower divisions especially somewhat even, unlike previous years. It would naturally lessen the chance for the first round blowouts we have seen recently. Another factor is schedule strength. There is a huge disparity among teams in Division 5AA regarding schedule strength. There are teams that qualified thanks to the weakness of their leagues and countless others who were dramatically hurt by their strong schedules…no one was hurt more than St. Genevieve, a team justifiably ranked in 5AA throughout the season in big danger of not making the field.

I think the following 11 teams are justified to be added to the 21 listed above to create an intriguing 32-team bracket that I know would not be filled with blowouts. They could have all made it using last year’s criteria, but were hurt by either a strong league and/or tough schedule this year:

AGBU/Canoga Park, Glenn, Hueneme, Loara, Marshall/Pasadena, Milken, Orcutt Academy, St. Bernard, St. Margaret’s, St. Pius X-St. Matthias Academy, West Valley.

I have only studied Division 5AA. I wonder if a similar situation is occurring with Divisions 4AA, 4A, 5A and 6?

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