By TOM WILLIAMS
There are some slight changes for Cape-Atlantic League schools in the United Power Rating used by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association to determine its football playoff participants this year.
Through six official weeks, and the one unofficial week before Labor Day, 11 of the 17 Cape-Atlantic League schools would be in the playoffs if they were held this week. The seedings are according to Will Morris, the Malaga Math Master, who applies factors to his rankings that are not yet included by most media.
In South Jersey Group 5, Friday’s loss to Rancocas Valley dropped Vineland to No. 5 and the Fighting Clan would play at Eastern if the first round was this week.
Ocean City’s loss to Triton dropped the Raiders to No. 5 in South Jersey Group 4 and would send OCHS on the road to Shawnee. Millville is the top seed in Group 5 and would host No. 8 Mainland.
In South Jersey Group 3, Saturday’s loss to Cedar Creek dropped Oakcrest to No. 8 where it would play at Burlington Township.
In South Jersey Group 2, No. 5 Cedar Creek would play at No. 4 Pleasantville in an interesting re-match.
In South Jersey Group 1, No. 4 Buena would host Woodbury.
In Non-Public 4, No. 4 St. Augustine would host St. Joseph-Metuchen. But this group would actually be seeded by a committee, using the power ratings as a reference.
And, in Non-Public 2, No. 1 St. Joseph would host the Morristown Beard-Immaculate Conception winner and No. 2 Holy Spirit would host the Gloucester Catholic-St. Mary winner.
One CAL team is close to being in qualifying position with two weeks left. Middle Township (3-3) is No. 9 in Group 2 and two of the teams ahead of the Panthers have played their seven games. Middle needs to beat Gloucester City Friday and hope some other results go their way. Lower Cape May (4-2) is No. 11 in Group 2 and Atlantic City (0-6) is No. 11 and Egg Harbor Township (2-4) No. 12 in Group 5. But the odds are real long against that trio.
This season the NJSIAA is combining its own power rating, traditionally based on the group size and record of a team’s opponents, with the Born Index Ratings that evaluate a team’s season through a different mathematical system.
Public schools are divided into North One-Two and South-Central within each group. At the end of this month, the 16 schools with the highest united ranking among the South-Central schools will qualify for the playoffs. Once they are determined, the 16 schools will be divided based on geography into eight
teams who play for the South Jersey title and eight who play in Central Jersey.
Will Morris uses that geographical formula to make the above determinations each week.
Only a team’s first seven games are used to accumulate residual points in the United Power Rating. Consequently, teams like St. Joseph (5-2), St. Augustine (5-2), Millville (4-3), Mainland (5-2) and Vineland (2-5) will only receive residual points for the seven games they have already played.
In a couple of interesting Week 6 South Jersey ratings stories – Cherokee is still the No. 8 seed in Group 5 despite its 0-5 record; Paulsboro, which has won three of the last four South Jersey Group 1 titles and 19 championships overall, would be in the Central Jersey playoffs; and Delran (6-0) would not qualify despite its undefeated record.
Check the latest Online 25 (http://www.primeevents.net/SuraceAward.html), the standings of West Jersey Football divisions including CAL teams (http://www.primeevents.net/FootballStandings2018.html) and the scoring leaders among players at CAL schools (http://www.primeevents.net/FootballScoring2018.html).
Final playoff ratings will be based on games played through the end of October. The South Jersey champions will be determined by playoff games played the first three weekends of November.
Things are shaping up but the games to be played in the next two weeks could still lead to significant changes.