NJSIAA’s Postseason Football Plan Could use Improving

NJSIAA’s Postseason Football Plan Could use Improving
The NJSIAA announced its postseason football plans last week and missing are any actual playoff games. Unlike other fall sports, which will play for a sectional championship—but not a state championship—football will offer two extra games, but there is no title to play for.
 
Here is the football outline that comes from the NJSIAA website:
 
• Participation in Football Post-Season Groupings will be open to any school wishing to participate.
• The state’s various football leagues and conferences will take the lead in grouping their member schools into pools that will participate in a two-game series. 
• These groupings will take into consideration each school’s enrollment and geography, while striving for competitive balance.
• NJSIAA will solicit intent cards from all schools and will distribute a summary to each league and conference as soon as possible following the November 2, 2020 deadline. Specifically, these intent cards indicate whether a school wishes to be included in Football Post-Season Groupings.
• NJSIAA will facilitate coordination between leagues and conferences whenever such coordination is necessary to complete groupings.
• NJSIAA will host a seeding committee meeting of representatives from all five leagues and conferences. The seeding committee will meet the weekend of November 7; this meeting will be closed to the press. 
• All post-season groupings will be announced by NJSIAA on Sunday, November 8. 
• NJSIAA will schedule and assign all games for Week 7 and Week 8.
• NJSIAA will not provide awards or trophies during the post-season.
 
Football teams will play six regular season games beginning on Oct. 2. After the six weeks, the two-week football “postseason” will take place.
 
While the NJSIAA has done a great job in getting the competition to this point in light of COVID-19, there would be an easy way to hold a playoff. 
 
From the advent of NSIAA playoffs in 1974 though 1997, only four teams per Group made the playoffs. So for instance, only four teams played for the South Jersey Group 4 title.
 
The teams with the top four power ratings got into the playoffs. Since 1998, there have been eight teams per group in the playoffs, adding an extra round.
 
It’s important to note that the NJSIAA says that unlike previous years, the United Power Rank (UPR) won’t be calculated and maintained during the 2020 season. However, Gridiron NJ will continue to update the Strength Index on a weekly basis.   
 
GridironNewJersey.com, does a great job of calculating power ratings and could do so this year. The top four teams could compete and get it done in the two weeks. That would give the teams the right to play for a title.
 
While the NJSIAA is emphasizing competition, if sports such as boys’ and girls’ soccer and field hockey can play for a sectional title, why not football?
 
While many will say, that we should be happy that there will be some kind of season, and there is something to be said for that, it still could be even better if there is a championship at the end. 

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Author: Marc Narducci

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