Gridiron NJ repairing glitch that will change more than two dozen teams’ OSIs, 14 of them in the Big Central

Central Jersey Sports Radio has encountered some kind of glitch in the math. And Gridiron New Jersey is working on it.

Attempting to reconcile our numbers with Gridiron – the NJSIAA’s official power points, OSI and UPR calculator – in order to produce projections for this weekend, a number of errors were encountered in North Jersey that saw different OSI values for several teams.

More teams were later found in the Big Central that had discrepancies, bringing the total number to 25.

UPDATE: As of 10:30 Wednesday morning, Gridiron is aware of the issue and working on correcting the numbers.

Discrepancies of 0.01 to 0.03 points are not considered, as they may be due to coding differences in rounding or truncating of numbers between CJSR and Gridiron at any point of the mathematical process. Which is to say, all the errors we counted are significant, and many may impact playoff seeding.

The CJSR calculation of OSI following Week 8 play for the schools affected had checked out with Gridiron NJ until yesterday, when COVID-related forfeits were added back to team schedules yesterday, after it was determined they would not be made up.

It appeared – and has since been confirmed by Gridiron – that the errors are in some way related to either Newark West Side or Brearley. All teams whose OSI calculated by Central Jersey Sports Radio did not match those calculated by Gridiron New Jersey had either a direct connection to West Side or Brearley (i.e., they played them) or played a team that played them.

The link between West Side and Brearley is that they are the only two teams in New Jersey to have picked up more than one COVID-related forfeit yesterday. Each had two.

Brearley picked up forfeit wins for its September 17 game against Roselle Park and its October 21 game against Dunellen.

West Side took forfeit wins over Montclair-Kimberley and North Bergen.

As a result, OSI values are off for 14 Big Central teams. OSI for Bernards, New Providence, Spotswood, Roselle Park, and Dunellen should be higher than what Gridiron has, by varying amounts. Those for Bound Brook, Johnson, Belvidere, Brearley, Dayton, Highland Park, Manville, Middlesex and South Hunterdon should be lower. The differences range from a few tenths of a point to almost two-and-a-half points for NewProvidence.

Manville’s drop, according to CJSR calculations, will put them back at 16th place instead of 13th, though it’s more likely than not the Mustangs should make the playoffs, particularly if they beat Metuchen this weekend. 17th place Glassboro is unlikely to catch Manville.

Among other teams in the state, Irvington, Orange, Bayonne, North Bergen, Passaic Tech should have higher OSIs, according to CJSR’s calculations. Millburn, Lincoln, West Side, Bloomfield, Kearny, Union City should be lower.

Sayreville, Manville among big gainers as COVID forfeits are added back into schedules, affecting power points, UPR and playoff standings heading into Cutoff Weekend

Gridiron New Jersey – which calculates power points, OSI and UPR for playoff qualification in high school football for the NJSIAA – has added 24 more games back onto team schedules, COVID-related forfeits that won’t be played.

The NJSIAA ruled earlier this season that COVID-related cancellations would be ruled forfeits, but not until after Week 8 of the season, once it was certain the games would not be made up on either bye weeks or in the event of additional cancellations.

The team that had to cancel the game would be awarded a loss, and the team cancelled upon would be awarded a win. Power points would be accorded in the traditional fashion as if the game had been played.

Only one case involved a multiplier: St. Joseph of Metuchen cancelled on Sayreville on October 1. That means the Falcons get natural power points for a loss, and Sayreville gets multiplier points – 42 – for a win.

Five Big Central games were added back as forfeits, two of them involving Brearley, which got forfeit wins over Roselle Park (Sept. 17) and Dunellen (Oct.21). Phillipsburg picked up a forfeit win over Somerville (Oct. 8), and St. Thomas Aquinas got a forfeit win over South River (Oct. 1).

Other forfeits around the state included:

  • Hopewell Valley def. Allentown (Oct. 15)
  • Willingboro def. Buena (Oct. 8)
  • Triton def. Cherry Hill West (Sept. 10)
  • East Orange def. Newark East Side (Oct. 9)
  • Florence def. Pennsville (Oct. 8)
  • Lenape Valley def. High Point (Oct. 8)
  • Millville def. Highland Regional (Sept. 17)
  • Hightstown def. Robbinsville (Sept. 17)
  • Immaculata def. Hoboken (Sept. 10)
  • Hudson Catholic def. Morris Catholic (Oct. 9)
  • Lakewood def. Manchester Twp. (Oct. 16)
  • Morristown-Beard def. Montclair-Kimberley (Oct. 9)
  • Newark West Side def, Orange (Sept. 10)
  • Newark West Side def. North Bergen (Oct. 23)
  • Bishop Eustace def. Schalick (Aug. 27)
  • Whippany Park def. Wallkill Valley (Oct. 15)
  • Dickinson def. Weehawken (Sept. 3)
  • Boonton def. Weequahic (Sept. 3)

(Note: The Sterling-Paulsboro game was removed from the forfeit list after the teams agreed to schedule the game this weekend.)

Sayreville was one of the big beneficiaries of the changes that came down Tuesday afternoon, jumping from 10th place – with a first-round road game – all the way to 6th in the North Group 4 standings, shifting the Bombers home. And with a strong opponent in Old Bridge this weekend, it remains to be seen if even a loss could bring them back outside the top eight.

Somerville dropped from 4th to 7th in the South Group 3 standings, meaning the Pioneers could be in danger of losing a first-round home game unless they beat Summit Friday night at Brooks Field. That game can be heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio starting at 6:45 for the pregame, with kickoff at 7:00 for the Big Central Game of the Week driven by Autoland.

The changes also boosted Manville. The Mustangs were in 18th in South Group 1 before Week 8, with a 5-1 record. Beating Bound Brook Friday night helped them climb to 16th place, and now they have moved up to 13th, according to the latest Gridiron New Jersey standings.

Central Jersey Sports Radio will be breaking down all the moves over the next day or so, and the various scenarios for Big Central teams as we head into Cutoff Weekend. Join us for a LIVE projection show at 5 pm this Saturday, hosted by Mike Pavlichko at cjsportsradio.com. He’ll be joined by longtime Somerset County sports scribe Harry Frezza, as well as Korbid Thomspon of the King James Radio Network.

Playoff Chase: 12 Big Central schools’ fates yet to be decided come Cutoff Weekend; Who will make it?

While Central Jersey Sports Radio won’t have full analysis of the playoff standings until a number of changes are made on Tuesday – including forfeits added back to the schedule and out-of-state SI updates – we wanted to take a cursory look at who’s on the bubble, who’s on the right side of the bubble, and who still has a chance to make the playoffs as they sit outside of the top 16, longshot or not.

READ MORE: Updates to UPR this week likely to cause some big changes; LIVE playoff projection show set for Saturday on Central Jersey Sports Radio

Here’s a brief look at the chances for each of the 12 public schools we deem “on the bubble” – inside or out – heading into Week 9:

North 5

With a win, we believe 15th-place Elizabeth (3-5) is in with a win Friday night at Ridge, a good opponent power points- and OSI-wise. Before anyone gets up in arms, the best team below them, record-wise, is North Bergen at 3-3, so the Minutemen wouldn’t be keeping any 6-1 teams out of the playoffs.

Does 18th-place Plainfield (3-4) have a shot? With a win against Perth Amboy Saturday afternoon, it’s possible they have a shot, but may need some help.

Believe it or not, Watchung Hills may have a better shot despite being 1-7 and in 19th place. That’s because they have a better opponent. The Warriors visit Edison Friday night.

South 5

We say 17th-ranked New Brunswick is a maybe to make the playoffs if they win Friday night at Monroe. That looked like a better game when the Falcons started the season 3-0, but they then lost 4 straight before beating Perth Amboy last week.

South Brunswick is 4-4 but in 21st place, and even with a win against a good Bridgewater-Raritan team, they’re a longshot. With some help, who knows? We might after the Tuesday changes take place.

North 4

Three teams from the Big Central hold places 15 through 17: North Hunterdon (4-4), Linden (3-4) and Montgomery (3-4), with all having a shot. Bergenfield (3-5, 18th) is the team to watch though, coming off a huge upset win over then 6-1 Nutley on Saturday, that put them in the conversation, too.

The Lions may have the easiest path as they play at Voorhees Friday night. The Tigers visit Woodbridge – although the Barrons have lost two straight now – and Montgomery is at Cranford, perhaps the tallest order.

North 3

Both 5-3, 15th-place Summit and 16th-place North Plainfield should be in with wins. The Hilltoppers visit Somerville in the Big Central Game of the Week driven by Autoland Friday night at 7 on Central Jersey Sports Radio. The Canucks have a road game against South River Saturday afternoon.

South 2

It’s likely Roselle (17th, 4-3) gets in the playoffs with a win at Bound Brook, likely enjoying the same kind of bounce Manville did with a win over the Crusaders Friday night. Speaking of which…

South 1

Will a wrong be righted with Manville now in the top 16 of South 1 with a 6-1 record? The Mustangs can’t afford to lose this weekend against Metuchen and find out. A win likely has them in. But another 6-1 team is staring at consolation play: New Egypt is 6-1, in 18th place, and likely out.

Updates to UPR this week likely to cause some big changes; LIVE playoff projection show set for Saturday on Central Jersey Sports Radio

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.

Continue reading “Updates to UPR this week likely to cause some big changes; LIVE playoff projection show set for Saturday on Central Jersey Sports Radio”

NJSIAA to football schools: “Don’t drop games to boost playoff chances”

Apparently, the complex UPR system that determines playoff qualification through a mix of power point average and OSI isn’t that complex after all.

Apparently, enough coaches understand it well enough that some have been exploring ways to “mutually cancel” late season games that would have hurt their power point or OSI standing, in an effort to schedule stronger opponents that can help their cause.

And rightly so, the NJSIAA and the New Jersey Football Coaches Association are wagging their fingers at them, saying “Don’t do it.”

In its weekly e-mail newsletter sent to coaches, obtained by Central Jersey Sports Radio, NJFCA Commissioner John Jacob said it fully endorsed the NJSIAA’s stance – outlined in no uncertain terms – that the practice is strictly forbidden.

“It has come to our attention that some football programs are engaging in discussions to mutually ‘drop’ a football game prior to the cut-off in an effort to improve one or both teams’ ranking for postseason seeding purposes,” the NJSIAA memo said.

The association expects games to go on as scheduled, unless there’s a “legitimate” reason for not playing, such as COVID. But when that’s the case, the team cancelling the game takes a forfeit for power point and OSI purposes, and the other gets a win. So some schools have been looking to mutually cancel games, so they don’t go down as forfeits. Then, they would conceivably find another opponent that would help their playoff standing, win or lose.

“Any game not played by mutual agreement may be viewed as a violation of the NJSIAA Sportsmanship Policy and may be referred to the NJSIAA Controversies Committee,” said the NJSIAA statement shared by Jacob in the newsletter.

While teams could have always tried this practice with power points back when it was the only calculation used for playoff qualification, the use of OSI makes it more enticing in that teams are rewarded more in OSI than in power points for losing to strong teams.

For example, a Group 2 team with a power point average of 12 and an OSI of 35 trying to make the playoffs, a loss against a Group 3 team with 7 wins and an 80 SI rating would be more appealing than a win over a Group 1 school with an SI of 25 points and no wins. Beating the Group 1 would be worth 7 points (6 for the win, 1 for the group and no residuals) and 25 OSI points, while losing to the Group 3 would be worth 8 residuals, and 40 OSI points (half the team’s SI for a loss).

Strength Index Values following Week 6 play

Week 6 is in the books, and Gridiron New Jersey has released the official Strength Index values.

These are used to determine a team’s Opponent Strength Index, or OSI, which is 60% of the UPR formula that determines playoff seeding.

The values also are used each week to determine the Strength Index values for the following week; the calculation looks at how one team did against another, relative to their ranking.

Note that for the weekly game calculations, the real SI number is used. However, for playoff qualification, any team below a 20 should be considered a 20.

Inotherwords, if Team A plays a team that has a Strength Index of 17.5, that number is used to calculate the new Strength Index number. But when figuring OSI, a 20 is used.

Teams below are listed alphabetically. Big Central teams are highlighted yellow; non-BCC teams in the CJSR coverage area are in blue.

NJSIAA confirms power points for forfeits involving “multiplier” teams

NJSIAA Executive Director Colleen Maguire – who also handles football – confirmed to Central Jersey Sports Radio Thursday morning its policy on how to handle power points arising from forfeits this season.

Public schools who take a forfeit win when a non-public multiplier school cancels a game will get the multiplier points as if they had won the game.

However, public schools who take a forfeit against a non-public multiplier will only get natural power points.

When the NJSIAA announced its plan devised by the Football Leagues & Conferences Committee Tuesday in an email to Athletic Directors across the state, there was no mention of what would happen with multiplier teams. But Maguire confirmed the policy to CJSR today.

Continue reading “NJSIAA confirms power points for forfeits involving “multiplier” teams”

NJSIAA devises plan to deal with COVID forfeits, but it won’t take effect just yet

In an email to athletic directors around the state, the NJSIAA has announced that games cancelled due to COVID will be recorded as forfeits, but not until Week 8 of the football season.

The ruling by the Football Leagues and Conferences Committee comes as a number of teams across New Jersey – though not nearly as many as in 2020 – have had to cancel games due to COVID cases in their schools, on their teams, or due to contact tracing.

Two such cancellations occurred last week in the Big Central. St. Joseph-Metuchen had to cancel on Sayreville, while South River bowed out against St. Thomas Aquinas.

The forfeit ruling is important – compared to issuing a “no contest” – because NJSIAA football regulations for 2021 state that a minimum seven games will be used to average power points and OSI this season. Any team playing fewer than seven games would still have their total divided by seven, which would lead to an artifically low power point average.

Issuing forfeits – if the games can’t be resecheduled – maintains the proper math in power point averages.

What remains a question mark, however, and is unclear in the communication sent to ADs yesterday, is whether or not multiplier points will be awarded. For example, Sayreville would have gotten 42 multiplier power points for beating St. Joe’s, but only 12 under natural power points.

Central Jersey Sports Radio has reached out to the NJSIAA for a clarification, but did not immediately receive one. This post will be updated as information becomes available.

The question is: should a multiplier – an incentive for playing certain non-public teams – be awarded if the game is never played? A team’s schedule may be dependent on that game being played, and it might be perceived as pulling the rug out from under those teams to change it mid-season.

There’s precedent for awarding the multiplier when things don’t work out as planned. In 2017, Camden Catholic was a multiplier team, but after a slew of problems in the program including the departure of the head coach and several players, they went 0-7 but the state kept them as a multiplier so as not to affect the teams that had them on their schedules.

The email sent to ADs by the NJSIAA states: “Gmes canceled due to COVID, or the inability to field a team, that were unable to be replaced will be awarded a forfeit.”

It adds those forfeits “will not be reflected in a team’s records or UPR until the completion of Week 8 games.”

The idea is to allow teams a chance to reschedule those games. Even if they have a full schedule through the end of the regular season, those games could be made up if other cancellations happen, or even later on or around Thanksgiving. In the latter case, the games would not be forfeits; they would have just been played later in the season.

“In the best interest of our student-athletes, NJSIAA staff continues to encourage all schools to strive to replaace any cancelled game.”

The Leagues & Conferences Committee also made a ruling on Week 1 games cancelled due to the remnants of Hurricane Ida, which devastated many communities, and forced a slew of postponements and cancellations.

The email states “Games cancelled Week 2 due to Hurricane Ida that were unable to be replaced will be removed from the schedule and treated as a no contest.”

NJSIAA still working on plan to account for COVID forfeits in power points and OSI formula

While COVID has not wreaked nearly the type of havoc on the high school football schedule in 2021 as it did last year, it still has the potential to make things messy when it comes to playoff qualification.

And for some teams, it could downright keep them out of the playoffs.

That said, the NJSIAA is in the process of devising a plan on how to handle those situations, according to sources.

One key issue is how to handle teams that only manage six games this season for one reason or another. In its 2021 football regulations, the NJSIAA set a seven-game minimum for calculating power points and OSI. But that could affect teams that had no choice in whether they meet the minimum, due to the continuing effect of COVID.

The NJSIAA’s football regulations state that “7 games will be the minimum number of games used when averaging both the Power Points and OSI totals for use in the UPR system. For instance, if your team only plays 6 games, then both the Power Points and OSI totals will be divided by 7 games for UPR purposes.”

That means a team that managed only six games will have a much lower power point average when dividing by seven instead of six.

But it doesn’t just affect the team that had to give up a game because of COVID, but also the team that was cancelled on.

And what about schools that had to cancel due to Ida, which flooded many communities, like Manville, Cranford and others in the Big Central?

Earlier this year, Piscataway had to cancel on Phillipsburg due to damage from Ida, but the Stateliners quickly found a replacement game in St. Joe’s of Montvale.

But last week, South River had to cancel a game last minute with St. Thomas Aquinas and the Trojans had no time to find a replacement.

Then there’s the question of how to deal with multipliers. St. Joseph-Metuchen had to cancel its scheduled game with Sayreville due to COVID. The Falcons are a “multiplier” team in power points. The NJSIAA needs to figure out how to account for that.

The Bombers should get credit for a win, but do they get the normal power points? Or the multiplier points?

All of those questions will need to be settled in the next week or two before we get to the final few weeks of the season.

Week 5 statewide Strength Index Numbers: Somerville leads BCC but drops in overall rankings

Once again, Somerville is the highest rated team in the Big Central, according to the Week 5 Strength Index numbers published by Gridiron New Jersey, the NJSIAA’s official playoff qualification calculator.

But the Pioneers dropped one more spot, from 15th to 16th in the statewide rankings.

While Gridiron does not release the full list, Central Jersey Sports Radio will continue to compile the numbers each week.

There’s also a new team atop the rankings, as Bergen Catholic (98.73) leapfrogged St. Peter’s Prep (91.61), which lost to Don Bosco this weekend, while the Crusaders blanked Pope John 41-0. BC will play the Marauders at Caven Point on October 30th. Rounding out the top five are Red Bank Catholic (94.46), Cedar Creek (94.14) – the highest rated public school – and St. Joseph-Hammonton (92.85).

Shawnee (92.54) is sixth, followed by Holy Spirit (92.52), DePaul (92.22), Donovan Catholic (92.13) and St. Joseph-Montvale (91.69).

Somerville is the sixth highest rated public school in the state. Cedar Creek and Shawnee are followed by Ramapo (12th statewide, 90.04), Rumson-Fair Haven (13th, 89.97), NOrthern Highlands (15th, 88.71) and the Pioneers (87.41).

Somerville lost to Northern Highlands earlier this year.

Click below to download a PDF of all the teams in New Jersey ranked by Strength Index values.

Here are the rankings for all 60 teams in the Big Central Conference: