No Changes in BCC Division Alignments for 2023
SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The Big Central Conference heads into the opening day of its fourth year of competition with no changes to its division alignments. In each of the first three years of BCC, there were different alignments. No changes this time around for 2023 though. Let’s take a closer look at each of the divisions:
- St. Joseph’s
NOTE: Westfield won the division last year. Elizabeth, Union, and Westfield are in North Jersey Group 5 Supersection. Somerville is in South Group 3 and St. Joseph’s is in Non-Public A. Westfield was also the only team in the division that had an above .500 record a year ago. Nevertheless, all five teams qualified for the state playoffs a year ago.
- Hunterdon Central
NOTE: This is perhaps the toughest division top to bottom in the Big Central. All five teams qualified for the playoffs last year with Phillipsburg reaching the North Jersey Section 2 Group 5 Championship Game. The Stateliners also won the American Silver a year ago en route to an 11-1 overall record. Hillsborough won the South Group 5 Regional Championship back in 2021.
- East Brunswick
- Old Bridge
- South Brunswick
NOTE: With Piscataway moving down into the division a year ago, the National Gold has more of an old time GMC Red look with the exception of Edison and Sayreville. Piscataway, Old Bridge, and South Brunswick all finished in a three-way tie in the division at 3-1. The Chiefs, Knights, and Vikings were also the only teams from the division to qualify for the state playoffs.
- New Brunswick
- North Brunswick
NOTE: Franklin once again joined Edison, New Brunswick, North Brunswick, and Sayreville a year ago as it had done in the inaugural year of the league. Back then, the teams were all in Division 5B along with Piscataway. Franklin’s place in the division sets up a nice neighborhood rivalry between the Warriors and nearby New Brunswick, which had never played each other before the 2020 season. North Brunswick won the division with a 4-0 record. The Raiders also were one of three teams from the division to qualify for the state playoffs. Sayreville and Edison were the other two with the Eagles enjoying a Cinderella run to the Central Jersey Group 5 Championship.
- J.F. Kennedy
- Perth Amboy
NOTE: This is a nice division setup in terms of geographic rivalries. The three Woodbridge schools: Colonia, J.F. Kennedy, and Woodbridge along with GMC neighborhood rival Perth Amboy, and Union County foe Linden make for some great neighborhood antagonists. Perhaps the best alignment that the BCC has put together. Colonia won the division a year ago followed by Linden and Woodbridge. The Patriots and Barrons qualified for the state playoffs while the Tigers were one of several BCC teams to win an NJSIAA Regional Invitational Tournament with the North Group 4 title.
- North Hunterdon
- Watchung Hills
NOTE: The only division in the BCC with four teams, the Liberty Silver may have been the second toughest division in the conference a year ago. North Hunterdon was arguably the best team in the BCC, and won the division en route to a North Jersey Section 2 Group 4 crown. Watchung Hills and Montgomery also qualified for the playoffs and were ranked in the Top 10 of various BCC polls. Plainfield finished the season strong with 5 wins in 6 games to claim the NJSIAA North Group 5 Regional Invitational Tournament title.
- Scotch Plains-Fanwood
- St. Thomas Aquinas
NOTE: This is essentially a reconstituted BCC Division 3. With Somerville moving up to American Gold, South Plainfield moving into the United Patriot, and Warren Hills moving into the Super Football Conference, Cranford, Scotch Plains-Fanwood, and St. Thomas Aquinas became new rivals for Rahway and Summit last year. There are some good long-time rivalries amongst the Union County schools. St. Thomas Aquinas, the only team from the GMC, went undefeated in division play. The Trojans along with Cranford and Rahway were the three teams from the division to qualify for the state playoffs. Summit finished the year strong by winning the NJSIAA North Group 3 Regional Invitational Title.
- Governor Livingston
- J.P. Stevens
- North Plainfield
- South Plainfield
NOTE: This is a nice mix of teams with mostly similar school sizes. The only exception is J.P. Stevens, which is undergoing a rebuild of its program. Four of the schools: Carteret, J.P. Stevens, North Plainfield, and South Plainfield, play in the GMC for other sports. The Canucks, a long-time holiday arch-rival of the Tigers, joined the GMC for the 2022-23 school year. South Plainfield and Carteret benefited nicely from the restructuring with the Tigers winning the division crown at 4-0 while Carteret placed second at 3-1. South Plainfield was the only school from this division to qualify for the state playoffs while Carteret reached the semifinals of the NJSIAA South Group 3 Regional Invitational Tournament.
- Bound Brook
- Delaware Valley
- South River
NOTE: This is a division made up of mostly Skyland Conference schools (during other sports seasons). South River is the only school in the division from the GMC. Meanwhile, Bernards and Bound Brook represent the Somerset County portion of the Skyland while Delaware Valley and Voorhees come from Hunterdon County. The pairing of Bernards and Delaware Valley helps continue the great rivalry between the two schools. The Mountaineers and Terriers are two of the toughest small school programs in the conference. Bernards won the division crown a year ago with an undefeated record that included a win over 2nd place Del Val. Bernards and Delaware Valley were the only two teams from the division to qualify for the state playoffs in 2022.
- A.L. Johnson
- New Providence
NOTE: Most of the schools in this division come from Union County. The only exception is Metuchen, which is from Middlesex County and the GMC. Hillside won the division a year ago with an unblemished 4-0 record en route to a 9-2 overall record and a berth in the 2022 NJSIAA North Jersey Section 1 Group 3 Championship Game. New Providence finished second in the division at 3-1 despite heavy losses to graduation. Hillside, New Providence, and A.L. Johnson all qualified for the state playoffs while Roselle won the NJSIAA South Group 2 Invitational Tournament title. The Rams also ended the 2022 season on an 8-game winning streak.
- David Brearley
- Highland Park
- Jonathan Dayton
- Roselle Park
NOTE: Most of the teams in this division reside in Union County. Highland Park and Spotswood come from Middlesex County and play in the GMC during other sports seasons. Brearley won the division by two games with an unblemished 4-0 mark. Spotswood, Jonathan Dayton, and Roselle Park tied for 2nd at 2-2 overall, but the Panthers won the head-to-head match-up to claim bragging rights on the tie-break. Spotswood defeated Jonathan Dayton in another head-to-head match-up. Brearley was the only team to qualify for the state tournament as the Bears ended up in the North Jersey Section 1 Group 1 Championship Game.
- South Hunterdon
NOTE: These schools represent a mix of some of the smallest schools in the conference from Hunterdon, Middlesex, Somerset, and Warren counties. The only county not represented in this division is Union County. Manville won the division title a year ago with a 4-0 unbeaten mark while South Hunterdon finished second at 3-1. The Mustangs, which only lost two games in 2022, were one of only two teams from the division to qualify for the state playoffs. The Eagles were the other. Both Manville and South Hunterdon lost in the opening round of the South Jersey Group 1 playoffs. Middlesex qualified and reached the semifinals of the NJSIAA South Group 1 Regional Invitational Tournament.