Week 10 of high school football will determine whether local teams will make it to the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs this year.
The teams from Tracy, Kimball and Millennium high schools all have a chance to make the postseason, but none of them has a guaranteed spot.
The Sac-Joaquin Section has changed its method for selecting playoff teams this year. In all, 80 teams will advance, but instead of selecting league champions and runners-up and then filling the brackets with at-large teams, the section will guarantee spots only for the 23 league champions, or possibly more if teams tie for first place in their league standings. The rest of the 80 spots will be filled with at-large teams.
Those teams will be selected based on their Calpreps.com rankings, which consider not just a team’s record but also the strength of the team’s schedule. In the past, a 6-4 regular season record was typically good enough to advance as an at-large team, but now it might not be if the team did not have strong opponents.
Likewise, a 4-6 team typically would not have made the cut, but a team with a strong preleague schedule and a competitive league could still land high in the section’s rankings.
A team must have at least four wins during the season to be considered as an at-large team.
Divisions will be determined by a school’s population or by the division of the league the school plays in. From there they will be assigned to their respective 12-team brackets (eight teams for Division 7). The top four teams in each bracket from Division 1 to 6 will get a bye for the first week of playoffs on Nov. 8.
The Tracy High Bulldogs, who are ranked 46th in the section, could make it into the Division 2 bracket, but first the Bulldogs will have to beat West High tonight to finish at 4-6 overall. The Bulldogs could get a home game for the first round if they rank high enough, which would be based on their games against playoff-caliber opponents early in the season, including Buhach Colony, Turlock, Manteca and Vacaville.
The Kimball Jaguars finished the regular season with a 5-5 record, and just being in the Valley Oak League with playoff-level teams Central Catholic, Sierra, Manteca and Oakdale put the Jaguars up against tough enough competition to give them a strong ranking.
As of Week 9, after the Jaguars played their final regular-season game, they were ranked 70th in the section. If the Jaguars don’t drop in the rankings after the Week 10 games, it would be their first time in the playoffs, and they would most likely land in the Division 4 bracket.
The Millennium Falcons, also going into the final week at 3-6 overall, need a win tonight at Stone Ridge Christian in Merced to be considered for the playoffs. The Falcons are ranked 136th in the section, so they not only need to beat Stone Ridge Christian (5-4, 2-1 CCAA) to get the minimum number of wins, they also need to move up considerably in the rankings to be within reach of the Division 6 or 7 brackets.
The Sac-Joaquin Section will announce playoff brackets Sunday afternoon. Brackets will be posted at www.cifsjs.org.