The playoffs are here as we finally hit November.
The Sac-Joaquin Section football brackets for Divisions I-VII include several teams in these rankings. For the first time since the playoffs started in this section in 1971, there will be first-round byes for the top four seeds, which is good for several reasons.
A good many openers over the years included brutal blowouts. A first-round bye avoids that, allows teams that have earned it another week to rest and recover, and opening byes are what other sections in the state do.
Last season, for example, De La Salle of Concord played in a state championship and played 13 games. Same with Folsom, which played 16 games.
These are The Bee’s final regular-season rankings. They are not win-loss standings. They are rankings based on success and strength of schedule.
1. Folsom (1) 9-1
The Bulldogs have been a different animal since falling 14-0 at De La Salle in an opener, and now they seek their seventh Division I section title this decade.
2. Monterey Trail (3) 10-0
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This could be the best team in Mustangs history. Seeded second in D-I, the target is the final and a shot at Folsom.
3. Del Oro (2) 9-1
The Golden Eagles are the No. 1 seed in D-II, seeking their 19th finals appearance since 1989.
4. Placer (4) 10-0
The Hillmen are the No. 2 seed in D-III, opposite Capital Christian. Close game against Lincoln was needed.
5. Inderkum (5) 10-0
The Tigers are irked at a 3 seed in D-II, but wins will solve all. Could be a whopper second-round game against Grant.
6. Capital Christian (6) 10-0
The Cougars are the top seed in D-III and barrel ahead with a beast of a back in D’Marcus Ross and his terrific line.
7. Sheldon (7) 9-1
The Huskies have won nine in a row and are the 5 seed in D-I, facing Modesto in an opener with St. Mary’s of Stockton looming.
8. Granite Bay (8) 5-5
The Grizzlies are the No. 4 seed in D-II and stand as defending champions. A rematch with Jesuit could happen in the second round.
9. Oak Ridge (10) 7-3
The Trojans earned the No. 3 seed in D-I, and wouldn’t a showdown against Monterey Trail not be a hoot?
10. Jesuit (9) 7-3
The Marauders wanted a top four seed, but an early loss to Granite Bay dropped them to the 5 seed, a spot lower than GB.
11. Grant (11) 5-5
The Pacers are the No. 6 seed in D-II, but the team may be thinned considerably if players must sit after fallout from brawl against Whitney.
12. Elk Grove (12) 5-5
The Thundering Herd are the 10 seed in D-II and open at Vacaville. These programs have had epic playoff showdowns before.
13. Antelope (13) 6-4
The Titans are the No. 4 seed in D-III and brace for the Burbank-Manteca winner and reside on same side of the bracket as Capital Christian.
14. Colfax (13) 10-0
The Falcons are the top seed in D-V, having lost to Bear River in the final a year ago. We hear a rematch?
15. Bear River (15) 9-1
The Bruins are the No. 3 seed in D-V, having lost only to Colfax. A rematch could be brewing.
16. Center (16) 7-3
The Cougars are the No. 6 seed in D-V and open against Dixon, a tall order, and could get a rematch with Bear River.
17. Rio Linda (17) 8-2
The Knights are the top seed in D-IV, led by a charger of a back in Cameron Skattebo.
18. Ponderosa (18) 7-3
The Bruins are the No. 9 seed in D-III and open at Buhach Colony with top seed Capital Christian looming.
19. Casa Roble (19) 9-1
The Rams are the 3 seed in D-IV, a loss to Ponderosa still serving as a motivator.
20. Sacramento (-) 5-5
The Dragons started slow and have caught fire, earning a 6 seed in D-III and an opener against River Valley.
Dropped out — Woodcreek
Bubble teams (in alphabetical order) — Bradshaw Christian (6-4), Burbank (6-4), Cosumnes Oaks (4-6), Christian Brothers (5-5), Cordova (5-5), Davis (6-4), Del Campo (4-6), Dixon (6-4), East Nicolaus (9-0), Foothill (7-3), Highlands (7-3), Lincoln (5-5), Rio Vista (9-1), River Valley (5-5), Sacramento (5-5), Union Mine (4-4), Vista del Lago (4-6), Winters (8-1), Woodcreek (7-3), Yuba City (6-4).
Sac-Joaquin Section football playoffs
Openers Friday at 7 p.m., unless noted.
No. 9 Gregori at No. 8 Edison
No. 12 Modesto at No. 5 Sheldon
No. 11 Cosumnes Oaks at No. 6 Turlock
No. 10 Davis at No. 7 Pitman (Thursday)
Byes: No. 1 Folsom, No. 2 Monterey Trail, No. 3 Oak Ridge, No. 4 St. Mary’s
No. 9 Lincoln at No. 8 Tracy
No. 12 Woodcreek at No. 5 Jesuit (1 p.m. Saturday)
No. 11 Downey at No. 6 Grant
No. 10 Elk Grove at No. 7 Vacaville
Byes: No. 1 Del Oro, No. 2 Central Catholic, No. 3 Inderkum, No. 4 Granite Bay
No. 9 Ponderosa at No. 8 Buhach Colony
No. 12 Burbank at No. 5 Manteca
No. 11 River Valley vs. No. 6 Sacramento at Hughes Stadium
No. 10 Christian Brothers at No. 7 Yuba City
Byes: No. 1 Capital Christian, No. 2 Placer, No. 3 Merced, No. 4 Antelope
No. 9 Sierra at No. 8 Pacheco
No. 12 Valley at No. 5 Oakdale
No. 11 Rosemont at No. 6 Patterson
No. 10 Cordova at No. 7 Golden Valley
Byes: No. 1 Rio Linda, No. 2 Vanden, No. 3 Casa Roble, No. 4 Wood
No. 9 Orestimba at No. 8 Los Banos
No. 12 Pioneer at No. 5 Foothill
No. 11 Dixon at No. 6 Center
No. 10 Union Mine at No. 7 Mountain House
Byes: No. 1 Colfax, No. 2 Ripon, No. 3 Bear River, No. 4 Sonora
No. 9 Bradshaw Christian at No. 8 Argonaut
No. 12 Waterford at No. 5 Rio Vista
No. 11 Highlands at No. 6 Calaveras
No. 10 Amador at No. 7 Hughson
Byes: No. 1 Modesto Christian, No. 2 Hilmar, No. 3 Escalon, No. 4 Ripon Christian
No. 5 Millennium at No. 4 Gustine
No. 6 Woodland Christian at No. 3 Golden Sierra
Byes: No. 1 Denair, No. 2 Big Valley Christian