All three area non-public teams will qualify for the postseason this year. The NJSIAA rules have 12 teams qualifying in each of the three sections, but Non-Public 4 and 3 each have fewer than 12 teams. Non-Public 2 has one extra team that won't wind up qualifying, but that won't be an issue here.
Non-Public - Group 4:
This is the one with the big boys - Don Bosco, Bergen Catholic - and with all due respect to St. Joseph of Metuchen - those schools are in a different league. So why aren't they in their own playoff section or group?
Suffice it to say, there are 11 teams in the section, but 0-7 Paul VI down in Haddonfield has withdrawn from the playoffs. That means there will be ten teams, and the opening round will be a "play-in" for the bottom four, teams 7 through 10.
St. Joe's sits in 6th place with a UPR of 5.4 and a 6-2 record (irrelevant, apparently, in the Born system, or they'd be ahead of 4-4 Don Bosco - but again, we digress). The Falcons are within striking distance of Don Bosco in 5th, just 0.2 UPR behind. Bosco has 2-6 Paramus Catholic on the road Friday night, and anything could happen there.
The Falcons have JFK, where a win won't do anything for their power point rank. And they can't do much in Born either since the spread is 33.3 against the Mustangs and the blowout cap is 35. Joe's should win this game.
Bosco is a 27 point favorite against PC. But should they lose, it won't be enough to drop a Born spot. Should they win, they'd have to beat the spread by 13.2 to jump a Born spot. But the cap is 35, so the best they could do is beat the spread by 8.
It doesn't look like they can catch Don Bosco.
Likewise, Delbarton is 7th and 1.4 points behind St. Joe's. Could the Falcons lose that spot?
Probably not. St. Joseph isn't likely to go anywhere in Born or power point average. Assuming they win - very likely - Delbarton has Clifton this Saturday. A win moves them up to a UPR of 6. They would have to jump a Born spot just to tie St. Joe's. But that requires a jump of 10.5 points in Born, or 63 points against the spread on the field to catch St. Augustine (or combined points between the two). With Delby a 19.3 point favorite already over Clifton, and a blowout cap in place, Augustine can't possibly beat the spread by 47.3.
The Falcons look in good shape to earn a first-round bye. But another new wrinkle - among many this year - is that a "committee" of an Athletic Director, Coach and NJSIAA Executive Director will examine the section at the cutoff and decide if any changes should be made.
Could they decide that Delbarton at 6-3 is better than St. Joseph-Metuchen at 7-2 and knock the Falcons into the bottom four?
Sure, but we hope they don't.
Bottom Line: St. Joseph should lock themselves into a 6-seed with a win over JFK.
Non-Public - Group 3
Similar situation here for Bishop Ahr, where every team will qualify. Unlike winless Paul VI in Non-Public 4, we don't know what will happen with the two winless schools in this section.
There's Pope John of Sparta at 0-8, and Camden Catholic at 8-7, currently seeded 7th and 7th in a ten-team field.
Believe it or not, at 4-4, Bishop Ahr is seeded 10th at the moment. They are one of five teams in the ten team field with records of .500 or better, but sit below all five of the teams that are under .500.
The Trojans don't play an exceptional schedule, I'll grant you. But, should Bishop Ahr head back on the bus from South River Saturday afternoon with a "W," they'd be 5-4 and at least deserve a bump up above those winless schools by the committee. Whether they move further (like ahead of 3-4 Pingry, which plays mostly a prep schedule, or 1-5 Bishop Eustace) remains to be seen.
Bottom Line: Bishop Ahr is probably a bottom-four, play-in team - unless they beat South River and the committee uses some common sense.
Non-Public - Group 2:
With this 12-team section, one of the 13 will be left out. And it most assuredly will not be Immaculata.
There's also no committee here, so it's straight up based on UPR numbers.
St. Joe's of Hammonton is likely the top seed here, while Immaculata is in 4th with a UPR of 4. (They are both 4th in BPI and power point average.)
With 12 teams in the bracket, the bottom 8 will play for the right to continue. Those four will pair up with the top 4 and play to a champion.
For the Spartans, they might want to finish third to avoid the top-seed until a potential final, but they most definitely want to stay in that top-four to avoid the play-in round.
To stay in the top four, they'll have to fend off Holy Cross of Delran, which has a 5.4 UPR. They are 1.4 behind Immaculata.
Assuming a worst-case scenario, that Immaculata loses to Summit and Holy Cross beats Burlington City - both legitimate possibilities - that would shrink Holy Cross's UPR to 5, leaving them a full point behind the Spartans.
That brings us to the Born side of things. Holy Cross would have to jump 2 spots in the Born rankings, or Immaculata would have to drop 2 spots. But the numbers make that mathematically impossible.
Holy Cross would have to jump 24.9 Born points to go up 2 places, and just tie Holy Spirit. That's 149.4 points against the spread on the field. While the numbers are smaller, something similar would have to happen for Immaculata to drop 2 places.
Bottom Line: We think Immaculata is locked in as a four-seed and would get a first-round bye.