Football playoffs expand, season extended by one week in 2012

The CIF football playoffs are going to expand by one game in the 2012 season, the CIF Federated Council decided at its meeting in Milpitas on Friday.

Teams from Southern and Northern California in five divisions (I, II, III, IV and the open divison) will play for state championships at the Home Depot Center in Carson in December 2012. Teams will have a chance to play for a spot in the state championship games rather than being selected by the CIF as in previous years.

The games will be played Dec. 14 and 15. The section playoffs will be required to end by Dec. 1. The regional championship games will be Dec. 7 and 8.

The new format will result in two changes for high school football teams. The first is that the regular season will most likely start a week earlier in the middle of August. The second is that some teams will play 16 games.

Dean Herrington, the football coach at Alemany High School in Mission Hills, said he didn’t think the change was “necessary.” His team played 13 games last season and advanced to the semifinals of the Pac 5 Division playoffs.

“It’s a super-long season,” Herrington said. “Last year for our guys, it was a grind for them.”

Alemany has never played in a CIF state title game. Herrington says he hopes his program is “in that situation” one season.

Representatives from the Southern Section unanimously voted against the expansion, according to the Los Angeles Times. The North Coast and San Diego sections joined the Southern Section in opposing the expansion. Representatives from the other seven sections in the state were in approval of the measure.

Some of the teams in the Southern Section play a 14-game schedule with playoffs included. The teams in most of the other sections in the state play a 13-game schedule.

The change in the football playoffs also adds an extra week for generate revenue. The Southern Section stands to gain the most, 22.4 percent, from the revenue generated from the regional and state playoff games.

“I’m pleased,” CIF Executive Director Marie Ishida told the Contra Costa Times. “We’ve been working on this for a number of years. With this organization, you just have to move slowly sometimes and let it work itself through the process.”