While the NJSIAA will not hold traditional playoffs this year, and won’t calculate the ranking that helps seed teams, Central Jersey Sports Radio will track the United Power Ranking throughout the 2020 high school football season.
The NJSIAA has said Gridiron New Jersey – the state’s official UPR calculator, will continue to track each team’s Strength Index throughout the year. However, it will not calculate OSI (Opponent Strength Index) or Power Points, the two factors that make up the NJ UPR.
“We’ve had one year of the Born Power Index, and just one year of the new OSI,” says Central Jersey Sports Radio founder Mike Pavlichko, who tracked power points for many years at WCTC Radio in New Brunswick.
“I think it’s important to follow this for another year, to see what the playoffs might have looked like,” Pavlichko says. “To evaluate any system, it’s better when you have more data. It’s going to be fun to watch, especially since there are no out-of-state games.
The Born Power Index became controversial, and was scrapped after the 2018 season when it was discovered by Pavlichko that the formula rewarded teams who won by larger margins with better playoff seeding. The following year, the NJSIAA adopted the OSI, a sort of “reverse Born Power Index” where instead of teams being ranked based on their own strength, seeding was based on the strength of their opponent, with full points awarded for a win, and only half for a loss.
“With everyone is playing within their own conference, and in many cases in their own divisions, with few – if any – crossovers, we should get a chance to see how the system works. The schedule is going to let us compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges.”
With the NJSIAA shortening the regular season to six games, Central Jersey Sports Radio will come out with its first UPR following Week 3 games, and update the standings in the middle of each week.
“I don’t know how long we’ll be able to do this or how accurate we’ll be since there’s the potential for a lot of cancellations and rescheduled or added games due to COVID,” says Pavlichko. “But I’m at least hoping to get a snapshot. Even if we end up with just the Big Central teams calculated at the end, it’ll be fun to see how the UPR compares with what the postseason committees come up with.”
The NJSIAA has said committees will determine postseason matchups, but that pairings would be based on competitive balance and geography more than typical playoff seeding, and without championships in mind.