No playoffs on a national level for jucos

The NFL has the Super Bowl, Division I college football relies on the Bowl Championship Series and the rest of the NCAA determines a title winner through a playoff system.

But when the junior college football season comes to its conclusion, there is no nationally televised final. And players for top programs such as City College of San Francisco and the College of San Mateo are left to speculate at how well their teams would do against other powerhouses from around the country.

“You always wonder how your team matches up with the best in Florida or Texas or any of the other great teams,” CCSF quarterback Jeremiah Masoli said. “As a player, you dream about a game like that.”

Junior college football is divided into two main governing bodies, with the 72 California programs organized under the California Community College Athletic Association and approximately 70 teams throughout the rest of the country overseen by the National Junior College Athletic Association. The season ends when the two organizations play games to determine their own title winners and the national championship credentials of those teams are debated in chat rooms and blogs rather than determined on the field.

This uncertainty could be coming to an end, however. Members of both the CCCAA and NJCAA are entertaining early conversations about setting up a true championship game and the dialogue seems to be picking up steam. No concrete timeframe has been discussed.

“There’s some informal talks going on with coaches in our organization and coaches in their organization,” said David Eadie, the CCCAA’s director of marketing and communications. “We’re still in a very preliminary stage, but people definitely seem to be interested.”

Such a game is not unprecedented in JC football history, as top teams from both governing bodies played in the Junior Rose Bowl in Pasadena from 1946-67. But according to community college football historian Fred Baer, the best teams from NorCal were often excluded from the game because organizers worried fans would not make the trip to watch. And when the O.J. Simpson-led 1966 CCSF team went undefeated but was snubbed, the game began to lose some of its credibility.

Rams coach George Rush, a player on that 1966 team, would welcome another incarnation of the game.

“It would definitely be nice,” said Rush, whose team has won five mythical national championships in his 31 years at the helm. “It would probably take a lot of work, but it would be great for the kids.”

At CSM, Bulldogs coach Larry Owens said he would also support such an event.

“Anything that’s going to bring attention and exposure to these kids and to JC football is a good thing,” Owens said. “To me, we’re kind of hidden and that’s not right. There’s some great football being played.”

Crowning champs

Here are how other associations determine their titlists:

» NCAA FOOTBALL BOWL SUBDIVISION: Bowl Championship Series standings determine the two teams who play in the BCS national title game

» NCAA FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SUBDIVISION: 16 teams

» NCAA DIVISION II: 16 teams

» <b>NCAA DIVISION III: 32 teams

» NAIA: 16 teams

» NJCAA: No national championship

Proving ground

Junior colleges such as CCSF and CSM offer a path to better opportunities for football players.

» MONDAY: The history behind CCSF and CSM

» TUESDAY: Junior college provides second chances

» TODAY: Plethora of teams means state stands alone

» THURSDAY: How do the big boys use jucos?

» FRIDAY: Making it all the way to the NFL

melliser@examiner.com

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