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Fryer: Trinity race could end in five-team pileup
If, in the Trinity League this week, Santa Margarita beats Mater Dei, JSerra beats Orange Lutheran and St. John Bosco beats Servite - all of which is quite possible - there will be a five-way tie for second place.
JSerra, Mater Dei, Orange Lutheran, Santa Margarita and Servite would each finish the regular season with 2-3 league records. There is no way that head-to-head results can break up that five-way tie, so coin flips would decide how the league would submit its order of playoff representatives.
By that scenario, Mater Dei, the No. 1 team in the Orange County top 10 for nearly the entire season, would not qualify for the playoffs if it loses all of its coin flips. The Pac-5 Division, to which the Trinity League belongs, has two at-large berths. A No. 6 team, even a Trinity League No. 6, is not going to get one of those two at-large berths.
Mission Viejo has a bye this week, having concluded its 10-game regular season last week with a 39-20 win over El Toro to finish 10-0.
Is that a bad thing, having a week off before the playoffs? Gathering rust? Losing that edge?
“It worked out fine for us last year,” Mission Viejo coach Bob Johnson said.
Uh, yeah. The Diablos had a bye week before the 2014 playoffs and went on to win the CIF-Southern Section West Valley Division playoffs.
There is a CIF-SS football selection committee that decides which teams get at-large berths. The committee uses the following points system to decide which teams get a division’s at-large berths: head-to-head results of teams under consideration (four points); strength of schedule (two points; cumulative won-loss record of a team’s opponents); overall strength of a team’s league (one point; the committee ranks the leagues in the division); overall win-loss record (one point); and results against common opponents (one point).
So it can be fairly easy to predict which teams get the at-large berths, with the only question being how the committee ranks a division’s leagues (i.e., in the West Valley Division, it looks like a sure thing that the South Coast will be the No. 1 league, but ranking the division’s other four leagues – Baseline, Foothill, Southwestern and Sunset – might be difficult).
Leagues send to the CIF-SS office their order of finish. The top two teams in four- and five-team leagues receive guaranteed playoff berths as do the top three teams in six-, seven- and eight-team leagues. Teams that do not finish high enough for guaranteed berths can apply for at-large berth consideration and no longer do such teams have to finish .500 or better to be at-large candidates.
The final week of the regular season is loaded with games that will decide league championships and which teams will go to the playoffs.
Segerstrom and Westminster are 4-0 in the Golden West League. They meet for the league championship Thursday at Westminster High.
Crean Lutheran (2-0 in the Academy League) plays Brethren Christian (1-1) at Ocean View on Friday. A Brethren win would create a three-way tie for first among those two and St. Margaret’s. Coin flips would decide the order of finish and, as that is a four-team league, the No. 3 team would have to snag one of the East Valley Division’s two at-large berths to get into the playoffs.
On Friday, there are too many playoff-implication games to review here. A couple of the hotter ones are San Juan Hills at Tesoro (both 2-1 and battling for the South Coast League’s second and final guaranteed playoff berth), and Canyon at Brea Olinda (North Hills League playoff berths, league title one the line). And every Trinity League game is huge.
AT THE TOP
Mission Viejo was No. 1 on the ballots of seven panelists who vote on the Orange County football top 10 each week. Three of the 10 media members on the panel kept Mater Dei at No. 1, although Mater Dei lost to JSerra last week.
This panelist voted Mission Viejo at No. 1. Mission Viejo could beat Mater Dei. It would be great for O.C. football if Mater Dei and Mission Viejo played each other annually in a nonleague game, but friction between the teams’ coaching staffs is at least partially why that game was not on the 2015 schedule.
Again, figuring out the No. 25 team was difficult.
Huntington Beach (3-6) was almost dropped out, but the Oilers have lost to only good teams. Katella (9-0) got the No. 25 spot just ahead of Garden Grove (7-2). Kennedy (5-4) has been hot lately, and Brea Olinda (5-4) beat last week’s No. 25, El Modena, soundly.
Saddleback Valley Christian (9-0) was given a look. The Warriors have a win over Calvary Chapel, the first-place team in the Orange Coast League. In a season in which county small schools football is better than ever, Saddleback Valley Christian is the best of that strong group.
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