Every year around this time, I put together a list of the most unlikely final standings possibilities that could still happen.
This year, the eight spots in the playoffs will be made up of
- The top four teams in the East
- The top three teams in the West
- Either the 5th place East team or the 4th place West team, whichever has the better record
If teams are tied, the the first tiebreaker is their head-to-head record, then their division record, then record against common opponents. Multi-way tiebreakers are similar but more complicated.
Eight different teams finish 9-9
It’s possible for Georgia, Halifax, Philadelphia, and Albany to all finish 9-9 in the East, and Panther City, Vancouver, Calgary, and either Colorado or San Diego to all finish 9-9 in the west. Of course, not all of those tied teams will make the playoffs. There may be multiple scenarios that result in this scenario, so which teams will make it into the playoffs depend on the scenario. Here’s one:
- Georgia beats Buffalo, loses to Panther City and Philly
- Halifax loses to Calgary, Toronto, New York, and Rochester
- Philly beats San Diego and Georgia, loses to Albany
- Albany beats Philly and New York
- Vancouver beats Saskatchewan, Calgary, and San Diego
- Calgary beats Halifax, Panther City, and Colorado, loses to Vancouver and Rochester
- Panther City beats San Diego, Georgia, and Saskatchewan, loses to Calgary
- Colorado loses to San Diego, Saskatchewan, and Calgary
In the East, the Bandits and Rock would be first and second. I think in this case, Albany would finish third, Halifax fourth, Philadelphia fifth, and Georgia sixth, so we’d see Buffalo, Toronto, Albany, and Halifax in the playoffs. In the West, we’d have San Diego first followed by Calgary, Colorado, Vancouver and Panther City. San Diego, Calgary, and Colorado would make the playoffs. The eighth team would be either Philly or Vancouver, both of which are 9-9. They never played each other during the regular season, so we look at their division record. Philly would be 7-9 within the East while the Warriors would be 9-6 in the West. Vancouver takes the last spot.
So I’m telling you there’s a chance
Eight different teams finish 8-10
It’s also possible for New York, Philadelphia, Georgia, and Albany to all finish 8-10 in the East, and Panther City, Vancouver, Calgary, and Saskatchewan to all finish 8-10 in the west. One scenario:
- Georgia loses to Buffalo, Panther City, and Philly
- New York beats Buffalo, Rochester, Halifax, and Albany
- Philadelphia beats Georgia, loses to San Diego and Albany
- Albany beats Philly, loses to New York
- Vancouver beats Calgary and San Diego, loses to Saskatchewan
- Saskatchewan beat Vancouver, Colorado, San Diego, and Panther City
- Calgary beats Halifax, Rochester, loses to Panther City, Vancouver, and Colorado
- Panther City beats Calgary and Georgia, loses to San Diego and Saskatchewan
Making the playoffs from the East is Buffalo, Toronto, Halifax, and Philadelphia. From the West is San Diego, Colorado, and Vancouver. The eighth spot goes to Georgia over Calgary.
New York makes the playoffs
If the Riptide win out, they are 8-10. Since Halifax, Toronto, and Buffalo have all already won 9+ games, the Riptide can’t finish any higher than 4th. I was unable to find a scenario where they do finish 4th but there are scenarios where they finish 5th. If the Riptide win out, the Swarm beat Buffalo and Philly and lose to Panther City, and Philly loses to both Albany and San Diego, then Albany and New York are tied for 5th. New York owns that tiebreaker so they will end up 5th in the East. As long as the 4th place team in the West is 7-11 or worse (and there are scenarios where that happens), New York is in.
Saskatchewan makes the playoffs
If the Rush win out, they are 8-10. If Panther City goes 1-2 in their other games, Calgary goes 1-4, and Vancouver beats Calgary or San Diego, the Rush are in. If Vancouver beats both Calgary and San Diego, the Rush will be tied with the Warriors and would own the tiebreaker, so they’re still in.
Buffalo finishes second in the East
If Buffalo loses out, they’re 13-5. If Toronto wins out, they’re also 13-5 but will be 2-1 against the Bandits. Thus Toronto wins the East and Buffalo is second.