HASBROUCK HEIGHTS - The Week 7 power points are out,  and the ratings are no more confusing than last week.  (Ratings this week courtesy of the Star Ledger, not Gridiron New Jersey, since NJ Advance Media (which is The Star Ledger) does the calculations for the New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association, using the NJSIAA’s formula.)

Group 1:

1. New Milford (6-0) 94;

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2  Wallington (6-0) 90;

3. Cedar Grove (4-3) 88;

3: Hasbrouck Heights (6-0) 88;

5. Emerson Boro (6-1) 79;

6: Pompton Lakes (5-1) 71;

7: Butler (3-4) 52;

8: Cresskill (4-2) 49; 9:

9: Park Ridge (3-3) 45

9: Wood-Ridge (3-3) 45;

11. Boonton (3-4) 41

So what does this mean?   Well, for Hasbrouck Heights, Wallington and New Milford, the answer is the same it has been all year.  Win the North Jersey Interscholastic Conference title, and you are the one seed in the North 1, Group 1 playoffs.  Make the final and most likely be second.  Lose in the first round, and probably fall to fourth.

Let’s explain power points and how they work.

A win, at this time of the year, means big points.  You get six points for winning the game, and three points for each win your opponent had.  You also get a group point, to reward teams for playing tougher opponents. A loss, well, you only get one point per each win your opponent had.)

So, if you are Wallington or Hasbrouck Heights, the winner of your game gets a minimum of 25 points (18 for beating a 6-0 team, six for the win, and 1 point for a Group 1 game).  The loser gets 6 points for losing to a 6-0 team).  New Milford would get 26 points for beating Rutherford, who is a Group 2 school.

Plus, a win lets you advance to the next round to win a title and another bundle of points, this time at least 28 points, (21 points for a 7-0 team, six for the win, and if Wallington or Heights opponent is Rutherford, 2 points for beat a Group 2 school, 1 if if it New Milford.)

A loss is worth seven points.  

A simpler way to look at it is this…

2-0 in the NJIC Playoffs is worth a minimum of 53 power points

Second place is worth 32 points.

Third place. Is worth 31.

Fourth place is worth 12.

Now there is one last trick in all this.  Remember that power points are determined by taking the best 7 of your first 8 games before the cutoff.  So you get to drop your lowest game.  

For the top teams, that won’t change the rankings much.  The difference between first and second and third is too much.  But after that…

But, and isn’t there always a but, there is still one more thing.  Go back to the power points above.  Those points are not locked in yet.  You can get still get more points if teams you beat earlier in the season win games after you play them.  So, after beating your division rivals all season, it is in your best interest that they win their games in the NJIC Bowl series, as you will get an additional three points for each time they win.

And one other thing to consider,  eight of the top 10 teams in North 1, Group 1, play in the NJIC.  The two that do not, Cedar Grove, and Butler (who will join the NJIC next year) each have already played seven games, as has Emerson.  Emerson, however is only playing one game in the NJIC playoffs.  None of those teams are in the running for the top spot, but are in contention for playoff spots in the top 8.

Cedar Grove is currently tied for third with Hasbrouck Heights because they have one extra game played, and they are getting a lot of power points for wins over Group 2 schools with records over .500.  The most power points they can get is 23 more, which would require a win over 2-5 North Warren (6 for the wins, 6 quality points, 1 group point, and 12 more quality points if each of the teams it beat wins their next game.)

Not all those additional quality points are a given, as that would require Verona beating Boonton, which would eliminate Boonton from playoff contention, among other things.

Butler in seventh, plays an 0-7 Hopatcong team, so a win would only pick them up seven points, with only the potential to pick up 9 additional quality points.  And since one of their wins was over another winless team in Parsippany, a realistic expectation would be, at most 13 points, getting them to 63 for the season.

This is important for Wood-Ridge, who needs to win two games to grab a spot, or one with some luck.  The Blue Devils have Cresskill, who sits four points ahead of them in power points.   A win over the the 4-2 Cougars would be worth at least 15 points, bringing them to 60 on the season, with one game left to play. Then they have St. Mary (Rutherford), who is 4-3 on the year and not playing Week 1 due to already playing seven games.  Two wins, and they pass Butler, or a win and a win by either Bogota, Becton or Weehawken would tie them with Butler.  

But the Blue Devils need to pass two teams to qualify for the state playoffs, or suffer a disappointment like last year when they just missed the playoffs, finishing 9th.

Aside from Cresskill, who would re-pass the Blue Devils if they beat  Emerson Week 2, Park Ridge is tied with Wood-Ridge in ninth.  Park Ridge get Secaucus and Saddle Brook in the NJIC Bowl Series.  And while they would be favored in both games, they will not get quality points for the wins, as both come with 2-4 records.

So, after all this, what have we determined is two things.  First, you need a degree in advanced mathematics to figure out all the permutations for the state playoffs.  

Second, the first six weeks just set up two weeks of compelling football, where everyone, even teams out of the playoff picture, will have a say in who gets in, and who goes home, in North 1, Group 1.