Week Zero has been played across parts of the state in New Jersey high school football, and the Born Power Index – accounting for 60% of the formula for seeding of the state playoffs – remains a mystery.
In repeated requests from WCTC Sports, neither Bill Born – creator of the Index over 40 years ago – nor the NJSIAA, which agreed to use the formula this year, have divulged what factors go into the Born Power Index.
In previous years, the NJSIAA used “power points,” a formula that grew ever more complicated in recent years, to determine seeding for the state playoffs. Teams would gain 6 points for a win and none for a loss; if they won, a number of “quality” points based on the size school they beat – 5 being the largest, 1 being the smallest – and residual points from teams they played. Residuals would be 3 points for every win by a team a school beat, 1 point for every win by a team that a school lost to (except the game they beat said school).
This year, the power points formula remains mostly the same, but the average accounts for 40% of a team’s score, while the Born Power Index accounts for 60%. The Born Power Index is “an ever changing mathematical evaluation of a team’s relative strength against similar competition.” It goes on to say that “a team indexed at 60.0 has been consistently 10 points per game stronger than a team indexed at 50.0 leaning more heavily toward most recent encounters. The index includes a blowout factor that rewards teams for doing well against stronger opponents and discourages running up the score against weaker teams.”
An analysis of the Week One numbers finds that in any given game, generally, of the two teams in the matchup, while one team’s index increases by a certain amount, the other team decreases the same amount. According to extensive an analysis by WCTC Sports, a few anomalies have been found, but it’s unclear whether this is human error or some sort of special exception to whatever equation is used.
Be sure to tune in to “Friday Night Football USA” and “Football USA” on Saturdays – both presented by St. Peter’s University Hospital – for the very latest on Central Jersey High School Football… and our latest projections and standings for the playoffs, based on the power points and Born Power Index rankings.