With Cutoff Weekend coming up Friday and Saturday this week, Central Jersey Sports Radio is taking a look at every team in the Big Central to see where we think they’ll land in the playoffs.
We’re not looking at tiebreakers just yet, and even adding the few residuals to be had can make for infinitely more possibilities – although there are none up for grabs from any Big Central opponents at this point – so we’re not doing those either. But we are looking at where we think teams will fall in the top 16. Tune in to our Playoff Projection show Saturday at 6 pm on Central Jersey Sports Radio for all our unofficial pairings.
Below is our analysis, with each team’s current ranking in the UPR standings noted.
#1 North Hunterdon: Even if the Lions (7-1) were to lose Voorhees (3-4) at home Friday night, it still wouldn’t matter what Irvington, Ramapo, Randolph, and Morris Knolls do behind the, We think North is set as the top overall team, meaning they would be the North 2, Group 4 top seed. Who gets the other No. 1 seed is still very much up in the air; Irvington’s not a lock with a tough game against West Orange.
#7 Ridge: The Red Devils (5-2) – contrary to our initial take – can’t quite grab the second overall position and the other No. 1 seed. We thought if they’d won at Union (2-5) and had a ton go right, including losses by six other teams around them, they could do it. But two of those teams – Randolph and Morris Knolls – play each other. So unless both decide to use an ineligible player and are granted losses (yes it could happen!) a No. 1 seed is out of the realm of possibility, we now believe, for Ridge. A top four finish is possible, though, if the Red Devils win. Undefeated Wayne Valley should beat winless Mount OIive, so beyond that huge upset, Ridge would need Ramapo (5-2) to lose to Ridgewood (5-2), and Randolph (6-1) to lose to Morris Knolls (6-1). On paper, those games could go either way. So, if Ridge wins, we call that a 50-50 shot. A loss, and Ridge could drop as low as nine, going on the road for the first round if everything breaks the wrong way around them.
#8 Colonia: The Patriots and the next few teams have so many possible scenarios and combos of winning and losing and other teams’ results, so we’ll just give their range. They could legitimately go as high as No. 7 overall, guaranteed at least a first-round home game, or drop as low as 13 in a worst-case scenario.
#11 Rahway: With Colonia being a strong team with just one loss, should they beat the Patriots, they could finish as high as an eight or nine overall, meaning a first-round home game is still in play. But we believe they’re in regardless of what happens; it looks like the lowest they can drop is 14 with a loss.
#12 Montgomery: Even with a loss to Linden, it looks like the Cougars are in, but destined to be on the road in the first round, as we peg them for a range of No. 10 to No. 15 overall.
#14 Sayreville: Similar to Montgomery, we think Sayreville is in whether they beat Woodbridge or not Friday night, and in the same 10-15 overall range.
#16 Woodbridge: Here’s where things start to get tricky. We thing the Barrons aren’t guaranteed of anything, even if they beat Sayreville Friday night, and the reason is the tiebreaker. If somehow, the Barrons end up a spot ahead of Linden, the Tigers have the tiebreaker by virtue of winning their regular season matchup. That’s even the case if Woodbridge finishes 16 and Linden finishes 17, regardless of power points, OSI or UPR. So, the Barrons need to finish two spots ahead of Linden if they end up at No. 16. Win, and it’s easier: they just need a loss by Linden and nothing else, and they’ll be the last team in. With a loss, they would not only need Linden to lose, but also Barringer to win Friday night against Nutley and Bergenfield to beat Pascack Valley on Saturday. Those have to happen to bump Linden to 18 so that Woodbridge avoids the tiebreaker. *We think.
#17 Linden: The Tigers, even though they’re behind Woodbridge, have it easier. With a win, even if everything else breaks wrong – including the Barrons winning – we have them at 17, with Woodbridge in 16th, and Linden getting the tiebreaker over the Barrons. We’ll see how it shakes out. And, as stated above, they could still get in with a loss, if things break right regarding Barringer and Bergenfield losing.