Cutoff Weekend Cheat Sheet: How can my team make the playoffs?

We've been deluged with calls and emails all week from coaches and fans asking, "If (insert your favorite team here) wins and (insert another team here) loses, can we get a home game in the playoffs?"

Well, we're going to give you a crash course in UPR, BPI and power points PDQ (pretty damn quick).

The Basics

  • Power Points are calculated just like they have always been, with a few exceptions:
    • All games count - no more Game 9 rule.  This doesn't necessarily benefit teams.  It depends how strong your opponent is.
    • It's the power point average that counts, not the total.
    • If you lose to an opponent, you now get the 1 residual for the win they had against you.
    • Residuals from opponents only count through your opponent's first seven games.  If a team you beat wins this week, and it's their 8th or 9th game, it means you're not going to get that residual.  Most teams will have very few residual opportunities this week.
  • The Born Power Index formula is the same for all teams in this final week.
    • Calculate the projection by finding the difference between two teams' BPI ratings.
    • Take the margin of victory against the projection and divide by 6.  The team that beat the projection goes up by that amount, while the other team goes down that same amount.  (If the projection is 10, and you win by 16, you beat the spread by 6.  Divide by 6.  You go up 1 point in BPI; the other team goes down.  That's it!  Basically, every 6 points against the projection in a game equals 1 point in the BPI.)
  • The UPR is 60% Born Power Index Rank and 40% power points rank.  (Not the actual number.  Teams in a supergroup are ranked 1 through 30 - or so - in each category.)  Lower UPRs are better.
    • Each BPI rank position is worth 0.6 UPR points.  (If you're ranked 1, 60% of 1 is 0.6.  If you're ranked 2, 60% of 2 is 1.2.  And so on.)
    • Each power point rank position is worth 0.4 UPR points.  (If you're ranked 1, 40% of 1 is 0.4.  If you're ranked 2, 40% of 2 is 0.8.  And so on.)

That's actually all there is to it.

But now you want to figure out if you can catch a particular opponent.  How do you do it?

Do The Math

First, figure out how many UPR points you need to make up.  Let's say Team A is in 5th and trying for a first round home game.  Their UPR is 5.4.  Team B is in 4th, and their UPR is 4.4.  You need to make up 1 UPR point.

For this weekend, first calculate power points and what a win or loss would do.  Since there are few residuals up fro grabs this weekend, that's a fixed amount.  See if that increases your power point average rank.  Let's assume a win increases your power point average, and you pass the team ahead of you.  You've now lost 0.4 UPR points, and went from 5.4 to 5 UPR.  You need 0.6 more to catch Team B.

Now, look at Born Power Index ranks.  If each position is worth 0.6 UPR, you need to at least pass the team ahead of you.  Say you're 3.2 BPI points behind the next best team.  Remember, every 6 points in a game is worth 1 BPI point.  So if you need to make up 3.2 BPI points, multiply by 6, and you need the beat the projection by 19.2, and we'll round that to 20 to be safe.

Now, you need to look at your game this weekend.  Calculate the projection.  If you're a 5 point favorite, you would have to win the game by 25 to beat the projection by 20.  If you're a 5 point underdog, you would have to win the game by 15 to beat the projection by 20.

But, uh-oh!

You find that you need to beat the projection by 20, but you're already a 25-point favorite!  That means you need to win by 50, but the blowout cap is 35.  In this case, you could only beat the projection by 10.

But you're not out of luck.  The BPI works both ways.  That team you're trying to pass in BPI to gain a spot?  You still have 10 points to beat the projection by, but they could lose to the spread by 10, and make up the difference.  So it's really any combination of points lost to the spread by the team you're trying to catch, and points you beat the spread by.  Think of it like a baseball Magic Number, when they say "any combination of Red Sox wins and Yankee losses gives Boston the pennant."

The Extras

There are a few extras to remember in all this.

  • Don't forget, some teams are getting power points multipliers for facing certain non-public schools this weekend.
  • Careful not to add Game 8 or 9 residuals.
  • When determining the field of 16, ties are not broken.  They don't need to be until the teams are sorted into sections of 8.
  • There is a "bottom-up" head-to-head rule in the field of 16 that says if Team 17 has beaten Team 16 - and Team 16 has not beaten anyone else above them - Team 17 gets in and Team 17 is out.
  • There is a "top-down" head-to-head rule in the field of 8 that says if Team 2 has beaten Team 1 in UPR in the 8-team field, Team 2 moves into the top spot.  This could actually happen in Central Jersey Group 5.  Sayreville and South Brunswick play this weekend.  If South Brunswick wins, they're the top seed.  If Sayreville wins, they'll at least be in second, but might not pass South Brunswick.  But since Sayreville won head-to-head, they'll automatically be the top seed over South Brunswick.

Good luck, and happy calculating!

Follow WCTC's lead sports reporter Mike Pavlichko on Twitter (@mikepavlichko)