By J. Knust
Path to the Playoffs:
Only four weeks remain in the regular season, and I feel comfortable making some playoff predictions. Below are the playoff outlooks for each team. Before going any further, I wanted to talk a bit about some of the conversations going on in the group chat and how those conversations relate to this article.
If your team is 3-6, you essentially have to win the next four games to get to 7-6 to make the playoffs. Let’s just assume that in each of those four games that the team has a 50% chance to win, which is probably generous for a team that is currently 3-6. This example is the same as flipping a coin four times trying to get four heads in a row, and the probability of that is 1/16. As far as I’m concerned, these are long enough odds to consider that team as having a negligible chance of reaching the required seven wins for locking up a playoff slot.
Now, it’s possible to back-door into the playoffs at 6-7, but this is unlikely. I looked back at the league history for league-years with twelve teams, and in seven different league-years, only two times did a 6-7 team make the playoffs. That being said, it’s more likely for a 4-5 team to back into the playoffs by finishing the last four games of the year 2-2 and make the playoffs at 6-7 than it is for a 2-7 team to finish 4-0 or a 3-6 team to finish 3-1 (the chances of a 3-6 team finishing 3-1 or better under our previous assumptions is 1/8).
Yes, 3-6 is still live, and so is 2-7, but I don’t currently have the time or energy to run a full projection, so I’ll stick to informed guesses and conventional wisdom. We’ll look back after each week when the number of possible scenarios shrinks. After the playoff write-up, I’ve included the current Power Rankings. The column second from the right shows which league each team was in last year. The column on the far right shows how relegation would happen for next year based on the current standings.
The Dregs (3-6 Teams):
The Franchise (Billy, 3-6)
I keep saying this, but Billy’s team has been the most disappointing in the league. All year, I thought his roster looked fine, or even good, but his team just kept pooping its collective pants. He’s broken 90-points only four times including just two times breaking 100-points. Is this the universe punishing him for his lack of franchise? Maybe. Probably. It’s probably time for Billy to treat himself to a Whopperito, then go into the shower, curl up in a ball, and have a nice, long cry.
Dallas Flying Fortress (Tex, 3-6)
This week’s match-up with Billy’s Anti-Franchise is perhaps the least impactful game of the season from a playoff perspective, but will hold a lot of implications for the relegation of these two teams (the loser is likely headed all the way down to Gold). Regardless of the outcome of this week’s game, Tex is not likely to finish strong against a solid schedule. To all of you, dear readers, let Tex’s season be a lesson to us all. Good luck in Gold or White, you tim’rous beastie.
Hawaii Humuhumu (Jeff, 3-6)
Not the easiest schedule remaining, but not the hardest. Either way, I don’t see Jeff ripping off four straight wins to secure a playoff slot. He might win the next two weeks, but then he runs into Crispin’s solid squad and the always-tough Tortugas. The Fighting Fishes have some firepower, and they are the one 3-6 team in the league that could pull it out. Currently, Jeff is the fourth-highest scoring team in the league, and a 3-1 finish would likely put him first among the 6-7 teams, and he’d be the one to make the playoffs if 6-7 was good enough. It’s possible, but he has to have a lot go right for him in order to make this happen.
The Bubble (4-5 Teams):
Uncle Abe (Lincoln, 4-5)
The “Bubble” teams are the toughest ones to evaluate. They essentially have to go 3-1 in the final four games to make the playoffs. Lincoln is in a tough spot. First, I don’t think his team is quite as good as others on the bubble. Second, he has to play Bogey and Crispin down the stretch, and he has to win one of those games. If he loses this week to Jeff, he has to win-out to make the postseason. Even if Doug Martin comes back and is productive, I don’t give him a great chance of making it.
Haarig Holzfallers (Bianchi, 4-5)
Now this is a brutal schedule to finish the year. The chances of finishing 3-1, even for our reigning champion, are very small. Interestingly, if he does go 3-1, the most important game to win is this week against Sullivan. He’s not likely to catch me or Bogey, so his one loss could be against one of us, and beating a fellow bubble team is really important. Ranking low in the Power Rankings, Bianchi making the play-offs and getting a chance to defend his title is unlikely at best.
Las Tortugas (Dave, 4-5)
Dave-O is in a good spot. He’s got a tough couple of weeks coming up, but if he wins both of them, he just has to get one win in the last two weeks against Tex and Jeff. If he only gets one of the next two, he has a good chance to sweep the last two against Tex and Jeff. I think that Dave-O has the highest chance to make the playoffs of any of the bubble teams.
Phuket Rippers (Sully, 4-5)
Sully’s Rippers are the team with the most control of their own destiny. Playing other teams on the bubble and teams just ahead in the standings is a great way to make up or lose ground quickly. Wins for Sully mean losses for other teams that are close to making the playoffs. It will be tough for him to go 3-1 and clinch a spot, but the result of the next three games for Sully will have more league-wide playoff implications that any other team.
The “Can they just hold on?” Brigade (5-4):
Tito LeeWoods Killers (B-Nels, 5-4)
5-4 is a scary spot. You’re so close. Just go 2-2 or better. That’s all you need if you’re in this category. B-Nels plays three bubble teams, and like Sullivan, he’ll affect the playoff picture more than most other teams. I’m actually really worried about B-Nels here. If he goes 1-3 and misses the playoffs, will we ever see or hear from him again?
The Mirthmobile (Bamrick, 5-4)
Here it is: the toughest remaining schedule. As with B-Nels, Bamrick just needs to go 2-2 or better to close the year, but the schedule is brutal. I can already imagine the all-caps, no-punctuation tirade in the group chat if Bam misses the playoffs after sliding to 6-7, and it’s horrifying to think about.
The Locks (6-3, 7-2):
Dual-Wielding Alpacas (Crispin, 6-3)
The chances that either of these 6-3 teams lose the remaining four games and miss the playoffs are so small that I am fine with calling them “locks”. Crispin’s team continues to perform better than I ever game him credit for early in the season, and he has a chance to compete for one of the coveted BYE slots in the playoffs. Looking at his schedule, I don’t see him finishing worse than 2-2, but could easily win-out against the weakest remaining schedule in the league.
Fighting Emus (Bogey, 6-3)
Bogey is also a veritable lock for the playoffs, and a win against me this week would give him a leg-up in the fight for a BYE slot. After this week, he faces a schedule through which he can cruise, and like Crispin, he could finish very strong.
Never Say Wombat (Knust, 7-2)
I’m happy (and lucky) to find myself at the top of the standings going into Week 10. At 7-wins, I’m an actual lock for the playoffs. I want one of those BYE slots, but I have a tough schedule to finish the season. This week’s match-up against Bogey is very important for the both of us, and could determine which of us goes into the playoffs with a week to rest our squads.
Post-Week-9 Power Rankings:
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