In our final effort to predict the 2013 Sacramento-area high school football playoffs, The Sacramento Bee forecasts that smaller schools will surge and large schools will fade in the tenth week of the season pushing top-ranked Folsom firmly into the Division I playoff field. The Bulldogs have been on the bubble between the top two divisions all season. In a dramatic change, Rio Linda will move up to Division II and become the top seed in that bracket. And four 6-4 teams wont make the playoffs, a record number under this playoff system.
These findings are based on a Week 10 version of our high school football playoff projection. It combines predicted game results for Friday and Saturday from Calpreps.com with our previous projection to create a final playoff forecast.
The six-win teams that dont make the field in our forecast are Hughson, El Camino, Gregori and Bear River (the Bruins are ineligible because they dont have the required number of league wins). In most years, all the teams with winning records make the cut. D-I teams dropping out of the field: Monterey Trail and River City.
The Calpreps predictions have interesting outcomes for several key games, including Rocklin defeating Del Oro. The teams would trade places in the seedings if Del Oro wins. Calpres also predicts Center will beat Placer but our forecast shows the Hillmen still make the field as the leagues second-place team. A win would move them up about six spots.
Small deviations from the predictions can have big effects. One example of this is the Napa-Vintage game. Calpreps predicts a 34-19 win for Napa, a result that would create a three-way tie for second place in the league. With that score, the tiebreaker goes to Napa but if Vintage loses by a touchdown or less the tiebreaker advantage would switch to the Crushers. Vintage, at 5-5, would qualify as the MEL No. 2. Napa would become an at-large qualifier. That would knock Marysville out of the playoffs, and push River Valley down to D-III and El Dorado down to D-IV.
Calpreps projected 86 percent of California's games accurately last week, but it only takes one unexpected result to make a dramatic impact on the section's playoff system.
The section plans to release the brackets on Saturday around 5 p.m., after results from the day's games are complete.
On the divisional edge: The smallest enrollment school in D-I this week is Beyer. In D-II, the largest school is Downey and the smallest is River Valley. Patterson is the largest school in D-III; El Dorado is the smallest. In D-IV, Sierra is the largest. These are the schools most likely to switch divisions if the mix of qualifying teams changes.
Outside looking in: The last team in is Beyer (44 OWs). Just outside the playoff bubble is Hughson (43 OW), followed by El Camino (40) and Gregory (38).
How our projection is done: This forecast applies the section's playoff rules based on games played to date plus Calprep's predictions for week 10 games. The section's playoff plan attached to this story, along with some sample brackets.
These charts show preliminary seeding. The section has broad authority to adjust the seeds to compose the final brackets. For example, seeding is generally be adjusted to prevent teams from the same league from meeting in the first round. Travel distance is another potential reason for a seeding adjustment. For these charts, we haven't tried to make those final tweaks.
Questions? Send me an email at email@example.com, and it might be included in a short Q&A in the near future.
See The Bees latest Top 20 football rankings. Each of these teams will make the playoffs.
In this weeks Preps Plus insiders video commentary, Joe Davidson of The Bee and Mike Finnerty of SureWest Sports break down area record-breakers and preview Week 10.
Check the ESPN1320.net radio podcast with Joe Davidson and Mike Finnerty as they break down Week 9 and preview Week 10.