Dons left out of CIF football playoffs

Santa Barbara High didn’t receive one of the four at-large berths in the CIF Western Division football playoff bracket.

The playoff committee picked Mira Costa (8-2), Oak Park (7-3), Rio Mesa (5-5) and Simi Valley (3-7) as the at-large teams in the 16-team bracket.

Santa Barbara finished with a 6-4 overall record and a 2-2 mark in the Channel League. It finished third in the league standings.

Simi Valley is the surprise entry at 3-7. The Pioneers, however, finished in a three-way tie for second place in the four-team Canyon League with Oak Park and Agoura (1-9). Their one league win came against Oak Park. Division No. 1-ranked Calabasas won the league. Agoura won a coin-flip to receive the league’s second automatic berth.

It’s a disappointing outcome for Santa Barbara, which finished the season on a high note with a 37-0 win over San Marcos. The Dons played a high-octane, entertaining offense that averaged 37.5 points a game.

Their four losses were by a total of 22 points, and three of them came against playoff teams. They were on the short end of a 47-45 decision against Rio Mesa, lost to Channel League-champion Ventura by four (28-24) and fell to Buena by seven (28-21). The Rio Mesa and Buena defeats were at home.

Contacted by Presidio Sports, the CIF-SS emailed its criteria in selecting at-large teams. Teams are awarded points in five categories:

Head-to-Head: 0 points awarded as Santa Barbara and Simi Valley did not play each other.

Common Opponents: 1 point to Simi Valley (they both lost to Buena, but Simi Valley defeated Royal and Santa Barbara lost to Royal.)

Overall Record: 1 point to Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara was 6-4; Simi Valley 3-7)

Strength of league: 1 point to Simi Valley (The Canyon League was rated the strongest league in that division by the football advisory committee. The Channel League was rated the 4th strongest)

Strength of Schedule: 2 points to Simi Valley (Simi Valley’s opponents overall record – 61-39; Santa Barbara’s opponents overall record 42-58)

“So, using the criteria point totals Simi Valley gets the nod over Santa Barbara, 4-1,” the CIF explained.