With just two weekends of play left before Cutoff Weekend, there's still much to be decided. And with many teams playing Game 9 on that final weekend, a lot could be decided this weekend. Or at least many teams could know what scores they'll have to watch in Week 9. Here's a look at the current standings, by my calculations, heading into Week 8.
Central Jersey - Group 5
Manalapan (128 pts) still looks like the clear top seed here, even if South Brunswick (97) wins its last two games at Brick Memorial and home against Monroe. Hillsborough sits in 4th with 89 points, 8 ahead of Old Bridge, but the Knights have a game in hand. Knights have a huge game against Jackson Memorial Friday night, then next Friday visit 3-loss Sayreville (7 pm on WCTC). North Brunswick sits in 6th with 73 points.
After Trenton (7th, 70 pts) and Hunterdon Central (8th, 64 pts), there are three local teams of note on the outside looking in. Perth Amboy (3-3) is 9th with 55, then Franklin (2-4) with 47, and East Brunswick (2-4) with 45. The good news for any of them is they all have a game in hand on Trenton (4-3) and Hunterdon Central (3-4). So, any could make the playoffs. They very well would have to win out, and then it would come down to residuals as to which of the three (or maybe 2 of the 3?) makes it in. Perth Amboy has never made the playoffs since they were instituted in 1974.
Central Jersey - Group 3
Somerville is looking like the top-seed here, after a huge road win over previously-unbeaten Johnson Regional. The Pioneers have 114 points, and Monmouth Regional is 2nd with 84. For the next local team, you have to go all the way down to 7th for Carteret. The 4-2 Ramblers have won 2 straight but have two really tough tests the next couple of weeks, albeit both at home: undefeated St. Joe's of Metuchen this week, and a 5-1 Rumson team that has won titles in its last 4 sectional finals appearances. At 2-5, South Plainfield looks out of a playoff spot with a bye this week, and Game 8 at JFK next week.
Central Jersey - Group 2
South River's not going to get the top-seed here; that'll go to Pt. Pleasant Boro. But they should very well have at least a first round home game. And if they finish no lower than 3rd, they'll avoid Point Boro until a potential sectional final. The Rams are 7-0 with 106 points. Johnson Regional is next with 86. (Somerville did the Rams a big favor with a win at Johnson Friday night.) Manasquan is 4th with 76, then Holmdel and Hillside each have 45.
The big question here is can Spotswood make the playoffs? The Chargers are 4-3 and host Raritan (2-4, 44 pts in this section) Saturday afternoon. Spotswood is in 8th, and playing Game 8 this weekend, with 67 points. They are 21 points ahead of Lincoln. But here's the problem. Lincoln plays St. Peter's Prep this weekend, and a loss is a guaranteed 36 points because they're a North Jersey Super Football Conference United Red team. A loss actually nets them 32, because the lowest score would be dropped, and their lowest score is 4. So, Lincoln could gain 32, Spotswood can only net 11. That would all leave Spotswood tied with Lincoln for the 8th spot. Should 5-3 Spotswood be out of the playoffs just because Lincoln - if they lose - plays St. Peter's Prep, even if they end up 2-6? Absolutely not. Even if Lincoln has a strength of schedule advantage of 54 to 39? Maybe. Spotswood could be helped here by residuals, though. If they end up with 5 wins, there will be more chances for residuals than Lincoln. Head coach Andy Cammarno's team no doubt needs to take care of business against the Rockets this weekend. Then, they can do their scoreboard watching. Lots of it, probably.
Central Jersey - Group 1
Three area teams are jammed up near the top here. Bound Brook is first with 98 pts, and followed by Burlington City with 97. Then Middlesex has 89 and Manville 82. The Mustangs dropped a few points because their forfeit loss to People's Prep doesn't actually count as a forfeit win, since they didn't play any other games this season. That means Manville's Game 9 against 5-2 Roselle Park now is a Game 8. Good for them since it's more points up for grabs than the Mustangs ever could have received from People's Prep. Still a lot of jockeying could go on here.