When the NJSIAA’s Executive Committee meets tomorrow morning in Robbinsville, it will consider another overhaul of the high school football playoff system, the second in as many years.
And this time, everyone will know how it works.
While not as sweeping as the changes that went into effect for 2018, they will be aimed at resolving much of the controversy that arose last season.
A new playoff formula that included 40-percent traditional point rankings and 60-percent Born Power Index rankings brought about much consternation among coaches, fans, and administrators in 2018 after WCTC Sports’ analysis of the BPI revealed that that larger margins of victory led to better seeding for many teams throughout the state. WCTC Sports’ discovery came after extensive analysis of the numbers each week during the season.
Though the BPI was said by its creator, Bill Born, not to encourage running up the score, that indeed turned out to be the case.
The formula for the Born Power Index was never made public, unlike traditional power points. Though complicated, the power point formula was always clearly spelled out in each year’s NJSIAA Football Regulations.
The new formula is expected to use an index similar to the BPI, but rather than a team being seeded based on its own index number – where higher margins mean a higher index number, and thus a higher seed – teams would be awarded points based on the index number of their opponents.
Margin of victory would still factor into a team’s index, but a higher index would not mean a higher seed. This means larger margins of victory would not be encouraged.
The proposal is expected to include a mix of the new NJSIAA index and traditional power points, with the state’s “reverse” version taking the place of the BPI.
Another complaint of coaches was too much reliance by the BPI on a team’s index number from the end of the previous season. It’s expected the new formula would bring every team’s number closer to a “midpoint” by some ratio, which would lessen reliance on historical data.
But perhaps most importantly, since Bill Born’s proprietary formula would not be used, the NJSIAA formula would be made public. That wasn’t the case last year, and that lack of transparency was the biggest complaint of coaches statewide.