Expect some sweeping changes for the Sac-Joaquin Section football playoffs that likely will be implemented as early as next fall.
In acknowledging that the current system of pre-determined playoff brackets "is basically not working" the section is considering the following:
Expand the playoffs from 58 to 76 teams.
Contract from seven divisions to six, making four 16-team brackets and two six-team brackets.
Seed teams according to their number of wins, then use a a tie-breaking system that would include a strength-of-schedule formula, if needed.
The move is being made to avoid some of the problems that plagued last fall's playoffs.
These included having arguably the two best Division II teams, Grant and Granite Bay, meet in the first round of the playoffs and having several teams with losing records, including 2-8 Foothill, reach the postseason.
Under the proposal, first aired to the section's playoff committee Jan. 9, the football playoffs would be split into three groups: D-I and D-II; D-III, IV and V; and D-VI and D-VII.
Thirty-two teams would qualify in D-I and D-II and the same number in D-III, D-IV, D-V.
Both groups would be split into two 16-team brackets based on enrollment. Twelve teams would qualify for the third group, each divided into two six-team playoff brackets also based on enrollment.
In the two top groups, the league champions and runners-up would receive automatic playoff berths. Twelve at-large teams would be selected based on the number of wins and strength of schedule.
For next season only, the league would continue to use the two and three team league playoff qualifying formula. So in Division I-II, for instance, there will be 24 automatic qualifiers and eight at-large selections.
Del Oro football coach Casey Taylor, who attended the committee meeting, says the proposal is intriguing.
"It's got some positives as far as having more teams in the playoffs," Taylor said.
One issue he thinks needs to be resolved is for the section to try to better align its playoff system with the state bowl game's enrollment numbers.
This past fall, for instance, St. Mary's of Stockton won the section's D-I championship but competed in the Division II state bowl while Grant, the D-II section champion, was a D-I qualifying state bowl team (although the Pacers were selected for the Open Division game).
The section also released what the playoffs would have looked like if it used the this system last fall.
D-II would have been extremely competitive with Grant, Granite Bay, St. Mary's and D-I section finalist Pleasant Grove the top four seeds.
Among the teams that would have made the playoffs that failed to this fall included Ponderosa (7-3), Bella Vista (7-3), Elk Grove (6-4), Colfax (6-4), Center (6-4), West Campus (6-4), Jesuit (5-5) and Galt (5-5).
Here's a look at how each division would have been seeded:
Division I - 1. Merced; 2. Napa; 3. Lincoln-Stockton; 4. Nevada Union; 5. Folsom; 6. Turlock; 7. Laguna Creek; 8. Johansen; 9. McNair; 10. Tracy; 11. Burbank; 12. Los Banos; 13. Grace Davis; 14. West; 15. Chavez; 16. Galt.
Division II - 1. Grant; 2. Granite Bay; 3. St. Mary's-Stockton; 4. Pleasant Grove; 5. Christian Brothers; 6. Roseville; 7. Vacaville; 8. Ponderosa; 9. Rosemont; 10. Pitman; 11. Fairfield; 12. Elk Grove; 13. Lodi; 14. Oak Ridge; 15. Woodcreek; 16. Jesuit.
Division III - 1. Casa Roble; 2. Inderkum; 3. Vanden; 4. Oakdale; 5. Rio Americano; 6. Sierra; 7. Rodriguez; 8. Del Campo; 9. Manteca; 10. Rio Linda; 11. Patterson; 12. Bella Vista; 13. Woodland; 14. Center; 15. Yuba City; 16. Central Valley.
Division IV - 1. Escalon; 2. Whitney; 3. Central Catholic; 4. Hilmar; 5. Dixon; 6. Modesto Christian; 7. Bear River; 8. Argonaut; 9. Calavares; 10. Sonora; 11. Placer; 12. Colfax; 13. Summerville; 14. Ripon; 15. Ripon Christian; 16. West Campus.
Division V - 1. Mariposa; 2. Marysville; 3. Lindhurst; 4. LeGrand; 5. Waterford; 6. San Juan.
Division VI - 1. Big Valley Christian; 2. Vacaville Christian; 3. Bradshaw Christian; 4. Stone Ridge Christian; 5. Brookside Christian; 6. Capital Christian.
The playoff committee is scheduled to meet again Jan. 30.