As ever, please note that I have no direct contact with the WFA, and it is always possible that some changes have happened that have been communicated directly to team management and not to me. But everything that is here came from the league; it is not conjecture. (Who has time for that? Not me.)
Total teams in playoffs
|Nat'l Conference (NE & SE)||2||2*|
* This means that the National Conference has two additional teams (the two extra wildcards from the Northeast and Southeast regions together), not two teams total. I would hope that that would be obvious but honestly, I make no assumptions anymore.
And here it is in words, for people who like words:
Additionally, two more wildcard teams are chosen from the National Conference (Northeast and Southeast regions).
- The first criteria is in-division record.
- Should two teams have identical in-division records, head-to-head matches are compared.
- If the teams split their head-to-head games equally, point differential in those head-to-head games is compared (with a cap of 40 points per game).
Let’s look at the South Atlantic division as an example: before last week’s game, Tampa Bay and Miami both had an in-division record of 3-0 and (somewhat obviously) hadn’t played each other yet, but had two matches scheduled. Tampa Bay won the first one 14-13.
If Tampa Bay wins their rematch on June 7, they will be the division winner as they will have an in-division record of 5-0 to Miami’s 3-2. But if Miami wins, they will have the same in-division record (4-1) so it goes to point differential in head-to-head matches. Tampa Bay beat Miami by only one point, so if Miami wins, they just need to win by two points or more and they will be the division winner instead of Tampa Bay.
Please note that division winners and wildcards are seeded separately: first, division winners are determined using the criteria given earlier on this page. Then they are seeded (using Massey ratings) as Winner 1, Winner 2, etc. in their region. After that, wildcards are chosen from the remaining teams (by Massey) and seeded (by Massey). It is entirely possible – and, in fact, definite in at least one case – that a wildcard team may have a higher Massey rating than a division winner because of the disparity of strength between divisions.
|Round 1||Head-to-head record, then Massey rating||Head-to-head record, then Massey rating|
|Round 2||Head-to-head record, then Massey rating||Head-to-head record, then Massey rating|
|Round 3 (Conference semi-finals)||Travel Rule (see note below)||Head-to-head record, then Massey rating|
|Round 4 (Conference championship)||Massey rating only||Head-to-head record, then Massey rating|
|Championship game||Held in Chicago||Held in Chicago|
Note: American Conference Round 3 Travel Rule is as follows:
- If one team played away in the previous round, that team has home field for this round.
- If both teams played away in the previous round, the team that traveled the furthest in that round has home field for this round.
- If both teams played at home in the previous round, then head-to-head would determine home field. If no head-to-head matches occurred, then the team with the higher Massey rating has home field.
Other note: The tie-breaker criteria for head-to-head matches in all rounds is point differential within those head-to-head matches. (See section on division winners above for detailed explanation.)
- Look at the eight teams playing in Round 3 (July 5th).
- Take out the four teams that are advancing the the Conference Championship.
The highest Massey-rated team from each conference is invited to the Alliance Bowl. Should a team decline for whatever reason, the next-highest rated team is invited.Just kidding. Turns out there is not yet consensus on how the Alliance Bowl teams will be chosen from those four teams. I’ll keep you posted. *sigh*
Press release is here; see second paragraph. Please note: Some people I have talked to were under the impression that the Alliance Bowl would be between the two teams that lost in the conference finals (essentially, a “bronze medal” game) but that’s totally not it. It’s teams that didn’t make the conference finals at all.