The biggest game in the SCIAC football season will take place on Saturday and it won’t involve the University of Redlands. But it will go along way in determining the Bulldogs fate.
Occidental (6-0) will be at Cal Lutheran (5-1) for a 1 p.m. showdown. Both are tied atop the conference with 3-0 marks. Redlands (5-1) sits third at 3-1, having lost to Occidental earlier 28-15.
So if you’re Redlands, who are you pulling for in that game? There are pluses in both scenarios (assuming Redlands runs the table and beats Cal Lutheran later this season).
If Cal Lutheran wins, the probablity is that all three teams finish in a tie, each with one loss. In that case Cal Lutheran would advance to the playoffs with the SCIAC’s automatic berth based on the Rose Bowl rule.
All three teams would share the conference title. The down point is that both Occidental in Redlands would go into Pool C for playoff consideration. Pool C consists of the second place teams in conferences which would be considered for a wild card berth. Even if the SCIAC were to get a second team in, it probably would be Oxy because of the head-to-head win over Redlands, especially since the teams would both have the same record – 8-1.
If Oxy wins, Redlands would be able to deal Cal Lu a second loss, eliminating it from wild card contention. The SCIAC rarely gets a second team in the playoffs but Redlands would be a stong candidate with its lone loss to an unbeaten and nationally ranked team. Redlands has been ranked much of the year and played a strong enough nonconference schedule to at least be in the conversation.
Credit goes to the Bulldogs for overcoming that huge loss to Oxy and playing up to its capablitites. It was a devastating loss. But the Bulldogs regrouped and have played flawlessly since then despite some injuries. That is a testament to the character of the players and coaching staff.