North County doesn't appear willing to change this year, but they're moving in the right direction. I'm meeting with the City League folks tomorrow and tracked down some contacts in the East County League, so we'll see how things progress with those.
Another issue with Academic League is the geographic division alignment, which puts 3 of the top teams in all of Southern California into the same division (San Dieguito, Canyon Crest, and Torrey Pines). Considering those are likely in the top 5 in the county, it's a pity only one will even advance to the intra-league finals.
While we haven't seen too much this year in SoCal, it seems like Arcadia A will be the team to beat with many of the usual suspects (RB, LJ, TP) just behind and several newcomers (Irvine, Bishop's, Canyon Crest, Westview, and San Dieguito) also fighting for the top bracket. Out of all the other teams, I'd put San Dieguito as the team most likely to break up the triumvirate; they're balanced and have deep knowledge across a wide range of areas. None of these teams really seem like national contenders yet though; it remains to be seen if someone (or two) will go on a studying binge and advance to a truly elite level. There was also a good bit of raw talent on several other teams--El Capitan, Santana, and Francis Parker could all get into the thick of things if they put in the work and many of the Sweetwater teams seem determined to get better on good questions.