This week is the week things settle down, but they also get a little bit crazy.
We’re about to embark upon Cutoff Weekend in Central Jersey, and a lot can happen in the playoff races, both on and off the field.
First up chronologically, Tuesday will most assuredly bring plenty of changes – large and small – to the playoff standings. That’s the day Gridiron New Jersey – which calculates power points, OSI and UPR for the NJSIAA – will update its standings to reflect all of the COVID forfeits taken in New Jersey.
An official number on how many games has not been made public yet by Gridiron. But the NJSIAA announced mid-season how it planned to deal with such forfeits. Any game cancelled due to COVID or the inability to field a team would be considered “postponed” in case bye weeks and other cancellations allowed for a make-up game.
If the team cancelled on was able to find a replacement, the game would be ruled a “no contest,” which is what happened with Ida-related cancellations. That happened in some instances.
In those where there was no replacement game, and there was no make-up, the game will be considered a forfeit after Week 8 – meaning this week. The team that cancelled would get a forfeit loss and be awarded power points commensurate with a loss. The team cancelled upon would get a forfeit win and be awarded power points in the same way. Teams cancelled on by multipliers would be awarded the full multiplier points for a win. Teams that cancelled on multipliers would get natural power points for a loss.
That will benefit a team like Sayreville, which currently sits tied for 9th place with Randolph in North Group 4. St. Joseph of Metuchen cancelled their October 1 game, which the Bombers now will get 42 points for, the value for a “Group C” multiplier win. Not considering any other factors, that would boost them as high as 6th in the section, putting them squarely in the race to get a first-round home game. They could finish even higher if they beat Old Bridge Friday night, and if other teams around them lose this weekend.
The wrinkle with the forfeits is that they will be placed into the schedule on the day they were forfeited. Since NJSIAA regulations state that teams can only get residuals from an opponents’ first seven games, that could affect a wide range of teams.
For example, anyone who played Somerville will lose a residual from the Pioneers’ win over Warren Hills Friday night. That was their seventh game, so Northern Highlands – the only team to beat Somerville this year – gets 3 residuals. Those that lost to Somerville get one residual.
But Somerville had to cancel on Phillipsburg back on October 8. Once that game is added back to the schedule, this week’s Warren Hills game becomes their 8th game, and cannot count toward residuals. Each of Somerville’s opponents will lose that game. So, take 3 points off of Northern Highlands’ residuals and 1 off everyone else who lost to them.
Of course, this can work in reverse fashion, if a team is adding a forfeit win back to its schedule, but lost their seventh game, which now becomes their eighth; the loss comes off the board, and the win goes on.
Or, nothing can happen, say, in the case of an undefeated team, subbing one win in for another, or if generally a loss or win in game seven gets replaced with the same result earlier in the season.
Additionally, out-of-state opponents will have their SI values updated one final time this week, and those will be factored into those teams’ OSIs. That will affect eleven public schools in New Jersey, including Phillipsburg, Somerville and South Hunterdon in the Big Central. Statewide, Cedar Grove Clifton, Collingswood, Holmdel, Morristown, Wallkill Valley, Wayne Hills, and Wayne Valley also played out-of-state opponents this season.
The SI for out-of-state opponents is calculated by finding the team’s national ranking, then finding the closest NJSIAA member school. If a New Jersey school hosts the out-of-state opponent, the Strength Index value of the closest NJSIAA member below the out-of-state team in the rankings is used. If the New Jersey school played the game on the road, the Strength Index value of the closest NJSIAA member school above the out-of-state team in the rankings is used.
This will affect the OSI of the schools mentioned above, but could also juggle OSI rank, leading to changes in UPR this week.
The good news is that this week also brings the “lock” on SI values around the state. While Strength Index is still being calculated behind the scenes – since next year’s numbers, re-centered around 60 to lessen historical impact, are based on all games played this year, including the playoffs – unlike in Weeks 0 through 8, SI values will not change after this weekend’s games.
The SI values locked in this week after Week 8 games are the values teams will get this Cutoff Weekend.
That will make it easier on teams – and for us! – to make projections and run playoff scenarios this week, not having to rely on how margin of victory will affect things.
All that said, Central Jersey Sports Radio will hold off on any playoff projections until Gridiron New Jersey makes its update, which is scheduled to happen on Tuesday.
And we’ll have our first-ever playoff projection special Saturday evening, tentatively at 6 pm. It will air live on cjsportsradio.com, hosted by Mike Pavlichko. He’ll be joined by longtime Somerset County scholastic sportswriter Harry Frezza, and Korbid Thompson of the King James Radio Network. And the show will feature a number of coaches talking about their potential playoff matchups. Click here to listen live on Saturday.
Key Points to Remember This Week:
- Forfeit wins and losses related to COVID/inability to field a team will be added back to schedules, which may result in the gain or loss of residuals for their opponents
- Multiplier points are awarded to teams cancelled on my a multiplier; teams that cancel on a multiplier get natural power points
- Out-of-State SI values will be updated one last time, which could affect OSI rank and UPR
- SI values are locked for calculation purposes heading into Week 9
- For power point calculation purposes, only opponents’ first seven games count for residuals (a team playing its eighth game still gets power points, but only residuals from their opponents’ first seven games)
- Residuals are capped at 18 points for all opponents, regardless of record