We have reached Week 5 of a quickly moving high school football season and it’s time to begin thinking about the state playoffs. This subject had been mentioned a few times in my blogs during the month of September but only the word “playoff” has been mentioned because the system has changed drastically this year. It’s time now to try and explain to the average fan. Keep in mind there are still certain aspects of the system that even I don’t understand fully and in speaking with many area coaches they are in the same boat as me.  

The terms to understand this year when discussing the playoffs are as follows:

1 - Power Points

2 - Born Power Index

3 - United Power Ranking

The Power Point system is similar to the past years: win and get 6 points + 1 point each for that team's grouping + 3 points for each win the team has. So if you beat a Group 2 school with a 2-2 record you would receive 14 points total.  

The Born Power Index is a formula devised by William Born 57 years ago which catalogs every team as they essentially rank themselves providing an interesting and thought-provoking mathematical yardstick for all to see. It is an ever-changing mathematical evaluation of a team's relative strength against similar competition. The available data can be found at www.bornpowerindex.com and makes for a complicated system that 86 year old William Born devised and the NJSIAA has adopted as a 60% barometer to go with the 40% Power Point number.  

The United Power Ranking is a number devised from the two numbers above (Power Point and Born Index) and that number will be used to determine which teams qualify for the playoffs.  

The public schools' group classifications are divided into 2 super sections: North and South. The top 16 teams in the UPR in each of the 2 super sections after week 8 will qualify for the playoffs. Then, for playoff purposes, those 16 will be placed based on their Northing number into North 1 and North 2 and Central and South Jersey sectionals. Each will then be pre-seeded 1-8 based on UPR. The final seeds will be determined by head-to-head results from the top down. Movement will only occur if a team has been defeated by a team directly below it.  

In the non-public sectionals, up to 12 in each group will qualify. A seeding committee will seed both the Non-Public Group 3 and 4 based on their final UPR, head-to-head results, strength of schedule, and overall record. The seeding committee will consist of one athletic director and one head coach from both Non-Public Group 4 and 3 and will be chaired by an NJSIAA Executive Committee member.

The Non-Public Group 2 will be seeded solely on UPR.  

There will be 5 Groups divided by size and in the end, we will get champions in 23 sections. The sectional champs will then play off with South vs Central and North 1 vs North 2 in each group in what are considered "bowl games" but that’s as far as we will go. All of those games will be played at MetLife Stadium this year. Because of "constitutional language" we cannot play another game to determine an overall Group winner which is something the NJSIAA must adjust in future years.  

I hope I have given you some idea of what we in the media and most head coaches are going through to try and figure this new system out. The UPR is the number everyone seems to be having trouble with. Rightly so, I am one of those.

Around the Shore this past week.

Freehold Township (2-2) pulled off a stunning upset by beating previously unbeaten Toms River North 16-14 with a last second 22-yard field goal by senior Colin Taptich. It was a great win by the Patriots. North (3-1) will now play Middletown South (4-1) this week at home and try to get a piece of the American Division crown. A win by the visiting Eagles gives them the outright championship.

Brick (3-1) beat Middletown North (0-4) which gives them a chance to beat Rumson (4-0) this week and get a piece of Colonial Division title. That’s our Jersey Mike's Game of the Week and will be broadcast on 92.7 WOBM and streamed live at shoresportsnetwork.com.

Barnegat (4-0) gets a shot at Mater Dei Prep (5-0) this week at home with the Patriot Division on the line.  

Red Bank Catholic (5-0), everybody’s #1 in the Shore, plays their toughest game against Long Branch (4-0) at home this Friday night with the Freedom Division title on the line.  

Manasquan (4-0) can win the Liberty Division with a win at home vs Colts Neck (1-3) on Saturday afternoon.

Jackson (4-0) plays Marlboro (1-3) at home on Friday night and a win would give the Jaguars the Constitution Division crown.  

The only division that won’t be settled until Thanksgiving is the National. Donovan Catholic (3-0) and Holmdel (3-1) are both unbeaten in the league and meet this week in Toms River. The Griffs christened their brand new turf field with a 24-0 win against Asbury Park.  

Congrats to Southern Regional (2-2) Head Coach Chuck Donahue who picked up his 250th career win this week.  

Congratulations also go out to Manalapan’s Head Coach Ed Gurrieri who picked up win #100 in their 34-0 win over Howell (1-3).

Congrats to Barnegat RB Charlie Cotton who became the schools all-time leading rusher with 1,528 yards.

Red Bank (3-1) is quietly having a very good year. They have quite a tandem in RBs Nigu Mitchell and Makai Mickens. Congrats to head coach Nick Giglio and his staff.

This week on the Gateway Toyota Coaches Corner, Donovan Catholic Head Coach Dan Curcione along with QB Ryan Clark and lineman Nick Kenmure will appear during a live broadcast at the Office Restaurant & Lounge in Toms River from 7-8 p.m. As always the show can be heard on 105.7 The Hawk with a live video stream at shoresportsnetwork.com.