First off, a big thanks to all who answered my desperate pleas over the last few days for more information about criteria for making the playoffs. I received a fair amount of conflicting information, though, some from coaches or owners of teams, which lends credence to my statement that the WFA sucks ass at communicating. We’re one week out from the start of playoffs and the people running the teams don’t know what they have to do to get in? That’s just absurd. I received (from a few sources) the “official” WFA playoffs document, but as with last year, it contained the bracket layout and some info about home field (hopefully more accurate than last year’s) but contained no info about how division winners would be determined. No tie-breaker criteria, nothin.
So then I found myself in the land of pure speculation (overall record? in-division record? head-to-head for tiebreaker? point differential? in all games or common opponent or head to head or oh my god?), and was only delivered from that land by Backseat Coach’s new BFF, Neal Rozendaal (or “DC Neal”, as he is now known in our household), who is the staff writer for the DC Divas, the husband of one of the players and a fellow advocate of common freakin’ sense when it comes to all this crap. DC Neal passed on to us the information he had received directly from Lisa King of the WFA, stating the following: division winners are determined by in-division record. Should two teams have identical in-division records, tiebreaker criteria is head-to-head matches, going to point differential if the head-to-head matches were split. OK! Now we’re getting somewhere.
But it’s a weird somewhere, yo. This means that if you go to the standings page on the WFA website, you can see each team’s overall record and their in-conference record…neither of which have anything to do with their actual standing, which is in fact based on their in-division record – which you can find nowhere. Unless you’re me, of course, and Microsoft Excel is totally your bitch and you craft a series of formulas based on data cut and pasted from the WFA website while your partner does all the laundry. THEN you can get the “real” standings.
Fun things to note: of the thirteen divisions, there are eight in which teams in the same division play an unequal number of in-division games. Read that sentence again, ’cause it’s important. Case in point: check out Division 8. Playoff favorite is KC Titans, who currently have an in-division record of 5-0. St. Louis Slam are 5-1. Those two teams play each other next Saturday. If St. Louis were to win (unlikely, but not out of the realm of possibility) that would give them an effective record of 6-1 to KC’s 5-1. The only way I know to compare records of uneven numbers is winning percentage, which would be 0.833 for KC and 0.857 for St. Louis, making St. Louis the division champion…even though KC would very likely have been 6-1 as well if they had had the opportunity to play another in-division game. Gah!
So. Armed with the accurate criteria for determining actual standings, I can tell you the following (with about a 94% degree of confidence. It would be 100% but I’m really tired, you guys):
Division 1: Boston Militia are the division winner and NY Sharks are the runners-up. Mathematical lock.
Division 2: DC Divas play the Columbus Comets this week. Let’s assume they win, which is quite likely. This will give them an in-division record of 3-1, identical to Pittsburgh Passion’s in-division record. Tie-breaker is head-to-head matches, of which there have been two and each team won one. DC won by 11 points to PGH’s 9 points, though, making DC the division winner and PGH the runner-up.
Division 3: Cleveland Fusion have clinched the division win; there is no runner-up in this division. And wild card is too weird to get into right now, but I promise I will later.
Division 4: Chicago Force have locked in the division win and West Michigan Mayhem will be the runner-up.[There will be two wild card teams from the above four divisions but fuck if I know who they’ll be. Again, more on that later.]
Division 5: Atlanta Phoenix win the division and Savannah Sabers are the runners-up. Lock.
Division 6: Miami Fury have an in-division record of 7-0; Tampa Bay’s is 5-1. They play each other this week; if Tampa Bay wins, their in-division record moves to 6-1 vs Miami’s 7-1 (different number of in-division games again). Miami’s win percentage would be 0.875 to TB’s 0.857, which means it really doesn’t matter who wins this next game at all: Miami’s the division winner and Tampa Bay’s the runner up no matter what.[No wildcard teams from the above two divisions.]
Division 7: Little Rock will be the division winner UNLESS a) Tulsa beats the Acadiana Zydeco AND b) Little Rock loses to the New Orleans Mojo. If both of those things happen, which is highly unlikely, Tulsa will be the division winner. Note: there’s no runner-up in this division, although there is a wildcard possibility.
Division 8: I talked about this one above; this Saturday’s game between the KC Titans and the St Louis Slam is for the division win. I wonder if they know that. The losing team in that game will be the runner-up.
Division 9: Dallas Diamonds for the division, Austin Outlaws for the runner-up. Lock.[One wildcard team from the above three divisions.]
Division 10: Seattle Majestics have clinched the division. This week, the Portland Fighting Fillies play the Everett Reign. If they win (and I can’t imagine they won’t), they’ll be the runner-up team. If they do lose, Portland Shockwave will be the runner-up.
Division 11: Provided the Utah Jynx beat the Utah Blitz on Saturday, the Jynx will be the division winners. (If they win, they’ll have an in-division record of 3-1 which is the same as the Las Vegas Showgirlz’ [sic] and they split their head-to-head games but the Jynx won by 10 points to LV’s 6 so it’s Jynx for the win.)
Division 12: This division is just ridiculous. The Central Cal War Angels play the Sacramento Sirens this week; it will be the second in-division game for each of them. If Central Cal wins, they’ll be the division winner and Sacramento, with an in-division record of 0-2, will go to the playoffs as the runner-up team. If Sacramento wins by 19 points or more, they’ll be the division winner. But both teams of the two-team division are going to post-season play so whatever.
Division 13: The San Diego Surge play the Pacific Warriors this week. If the Pac Warriors win by more than 20 points, they’ll be the division winner; otherwise, SD Surge win the division and Pac Warriors are runners-up. My money would be on the latter.[One wildcard team from the above three divisions.]
I’ll put this all into a bracket later today when I’m supposed to be doing something else. And I do hope that someone besides me finds this helpful, although frankly I’d still do it all anyway. In other news, Backseat Coach just totally threw me under the bus on Twitter. I think he’s pissed about that laundry thing.