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OK, kids!  Take out your notebooks and slide rulers, sharped your pencils, and get ready for the first day of class!

It’s been a long summer of days at the Jersey Shore, and sleeping ’til noon.  Today, we’re going to review the New Jersey High School Football UPR – so we’ll know how teams are seeded for the playoffs in 2019.

Key Topics:

  • The United Power Ranking will seed teams for the playoffs.  The UPR is a combination of 60% of a team’s ranking in the new Opponent Strength Index, and 40% of a team’s ranking in traditional Power Points.
  • Power points pretty much work the same way they always have.  All games count, and are averaged.
  • The OSI is the average of the Strength Index of all your opponents, where all games count.  Full strength points are given for a win, half strength points are given for a loss.  A team’s Strength Index varies throughout the year, but the final calculation is made based on their Strength Index after Week 7 games.
  • Teams in the North can still end up in North 1 or 2, while teams in the South can still end up in Central or South.  However, Northing numbers and geography no longer will be the determining factor.  Instead, the top-ranked team will be placed in their natural section, while the next two teams will go in the other section, the next two go in the first section, and so on.  This is how the NCAA Basketball Tournament is seeded (i.e., the four Number One seeds are the top four seeds overall in the tournament).

How is a team’s Strength Index calculated?

The Strength Index is calculated in much the same way as the Born Power Index.  Each team has a strength value, and it depends who wins and by how much compared to the “expected result,” the difference between the two teams’ Strength Index.  Inotherwords, Team A rated 90 is expected to beat Team B rated 80 by 10 points.  If it wins by more than that, its Strength Index goes up.  If it wins by less than 10, or loses, its Strength Index goes down.

What’s important to remember is that teams are seeded for the playoffs based on their OPPONENTS’ Strength Index, not their own.

The way the math works here is, beating an opponent by a wider margin drives up your own Index, but sends your opponent’s Index down.  This is like the Born Power Index.  But you are seeded based on the strength of your opponents.  So, if you beat a team that was an 80 and drop them to a 78, you get 78.  If you beat them by more and drop them to a 76, you get 76.  It is more to a team’s advantage to win by a smaller margin than a larger margin.  This restores sportsmanship, a key desire of the NJFCA and NJSIAA after reviewing the 2018 season.

How is the UPR calculated?

This hasn’t changed from 2018, except the BPI is replaced by the OSI.  Team A that is rated first in the OSI and 2nd in Power Points would be calculated as follows:

  • 60% of OSI Rank #1 = .6
  • 40% of Power Points Rank #2 = .8
  • UPR = 1.4

Team B rated first in Power Points and 2nd in OSI would be calculated:

  • 60% of OSI Rank #2 = 1.2
  • 40% of Power Points Rank #1 = .4
  • UPR = 1.6

Lowest number is the highest ranked team.  Team A is seeded above Team B, because while each was first in one of the rankings, higher weight is given to the OSI.  Team A – which ranked first in OSI – is the top seed.

Team A gets seeded in its traditional section, while Team B is the top seed in the other section.

Those are the basics!  Tomorrow, we’ll take a deep dive into the numbers and how they’re calculated.