A look at some of the mind-bending West Division playoff scenarios

A couple of weeks ago, we outlined a nightmare scenario in which four teams in the West Division finished at 10-8. That’s still a possibility but there are also several other possible outcomes that would require the use of tie-breakers. Here’s a look at just seven of the more interesting possible outcomes (and there are plenty more.)

1. The nightmare scenario

What it is: four teams at 10-8

How it happens:

Calgary (12-3) beats Saskatchewan (clinching the division) loses to Winnipeg and B.C.
Saskatchewan (10-6) loses their last two (Calgary, B.C.)
Winnipeg (9-7) on a bye this week, then wins against Calgary but loses to Edmonton.
Edmonton (8-8) wins their last two (B.C., Winnipeg.)
B.C. (8-7) loses to Edmonton, beats Saskatchewan and Calgary.

The tie-breaker: record against other teams involved in the tie.

Final standings

1. Calgary 13-5
2. Edmonton 10-8 (5-3 .625 among tied teams)
3. Saskatchewan 10-8 (4-3 .571 among tied teams)
4. B.C. 10-8 (3-4 .429 among tied teams)
5. Winnipeg 10-8  (3-5 .375 among tied teams)

Scenario 2: Mediocrity reigns

What it is: Winnipeg, Edmonton, B.C. finish at 9-9.

How it happens:

Winnipeg (9-7): lose to Calgary, lose to Edmonton.
Edmonton (8-8): loses to B.C., beats Winnipeg.
B.C. (8-7): beats Edmonton, loses to Calgary and Saskatchewan.

The tie-breaker: record between all three teams.

Final standings

1. Calgary 15-3 or 14-4
2. Saskatchewan 12-6 or 11-7
3. B.C. (3-2 .600 among tied teams)
4. Edmonton (3-3 .500 among tied teams)
5. Winnipeg (2-3 .400 among tied teams)

Scenario 3: Trouble at the bottom

What it is: Saskatchewan and Edmonton finish at 10-8, while B.C. and Winnipeg finish at 9-9.

How it happens:

Saskatchewan (10-6) loses their last two over Calgary, B.C.
Edmonton (8-8) wins their last two over B.C., Winnipeg.
B.C. (8-7) loses to Edmonton, beats Saskatchewan, loses to Calgary.
Winnipeg (9-7) on a bye this week, then loses against Calgary and Edmonton.

The tie-breaker: Edmonton finishes second over Saskatchewan on strength of a better record against the West (6-4 vs 5-5) while Winnipeg owns season series over B.C. on point differential.

Final standings

1. Calgary (15-3)
2. Edmonton (10-8)
3. Saskatchewan (10-8)
4. Winnipeg (9-9)
5. B.C. (9-9)

Scenario 4: Bye Bye Bombers

What it is: Saskatchewan and Edmonton, B.C. finish at 10-8, Winnipeg at 9-9.

How it happens:

Saskatchewan (10-6) loses their last two (Calgary, B.C.)
Edmonton (8-8) wins their last two (B.C., Winnipeg.)
B.C. (8-7) loses to Edmonton, beats Saskatchewan, beats Calgary.
Winnipeg (9-7) on a bye this week, then loses against Calgary and Edmonton.

The tie-breaker: Record against tied teams.

Final standings

1. Calgary 14-4
2. Edmonton 10-8 (3-2 .600 among tied teams)
3. Saskatchewan 10-8 (2-2 .500 among tied teams)
4. B.C. 10-8 (2-3 .400 among tied teams)
5. Winnipeg 9-9

Scenario 5: Bye Bye B.C.

What it is: Saskatchewan, Edmonton and Winnipeg finish at 10-8 with B.C. at 9-9.

Calgary (12-3) beats Saskatchewan, loses to Winnipeg, beats B.C.
Saskatchewan (10-6) loses their last two (Calgary, B.C.)
Edmonton (8-8) wins their last two (B.C., Winnipeg.)
Winnipeg (9-7) on a bye this week, beats Calgary, loses to Edmonton.
B.C. (8-7) loses to Edmonton, beats Saskatchewan, loses to Calgary.

Tie breaker: record between all three teams, while Edmonton finishes second over Saskatchewan on strength of a better record against the West (6-4 vs 5-5.)

Final standings

1. Calgary 14-4
2. Edmonton 10-8 (3-2 .600 among tied teams)
3. Saskatchewan 10-8 (3-2 .600 among tied teams)
4. Winnipeg 10-8 (2-4 .333 among tied teams)
5. B.C. (9-9) is outScenario 6: Bombers best case

1. Calgary (12-3) beats Saskatchewan, loses to Winnipeg, beats B.C.
2. Saskatchewan (10-6) loses their last two (Calgary, B.C.)
3. Winnipeg (9-7) on a bye this week, beats Calgary, beats Edmonton.
4. B.C. (8-7) beats Edmonton, beats Saskatchewan, loses to Calgary.
5. Edmonton (8-8) loses their last two (B.C., Winnipeg.)

Final standings

1. Calgary 14-4
2. Winnipeg 11-7
3. Saskatchewan 10-8
4. B.C. 10-8
5. Edmonton 8-10Scenario 7: Saskie best case

1. Calgary (12-3) loses to Saskatchewan, loses to Winnipeg, loses to B.C.
2. Saskatchewan (10-6) wins their last two (Calgary, B.C.)
3. Winnipeg (9-7) on a bye this week, beats Calgary, beats Edmonton.
4. B.C. (8-7) beats Edmonton, loses to Saskatchewan, beats Calgary.
5. Edmonton (8-8) loses their last two (B.C., Winnipeg.)

Final standings

1. Saskatchewan 12-6
2. Calgary 12-6
3. Winnipeg 11-7
4. B.C. 10-8
5. Edmonton 8-10
And that isn’t even all the available scenarios! It’s enough to make your head explode….

In the East Division, it’s a bit simpler. If Ottawa beats Hamilton this week, they’ll own the season series between the two clubs and Hamilton would have to win the re-match with Ottawa, beat Montreal in Week 21 AND have the Argos beat Ottawa to win the division. If the Ticats win this week, it will be winner take all next week in Hamilton and the Week 21 games will mean nothing for either team.

Alright, let’s take a look at what each team is facing.

East Division

Ottawa (8-7)
Games remaining: 3
Schedule: vs HAM, at HAM, vs TOR
Home games: 2
Division series status: 2-0 vs MTL (win), 1-0 vs HAM (two games remaining), 0-1 vs TOR (-1 point)
Key matchups: vs HAM on Oct. 19, at HAM on Oct. 27
Sports Club Stats Playoff Chances: 100 per cent
What just happened: Lost to Edmonton and now tied with Hamilton for first in the East.
Playoff scenario: Still trying to lock up the division title, can’t do it this week. Guaranteed a home playoff date.
What’s next: A home-and-home set against the Ticats.
Who they should be cheering for: Themselves.
The Redblacks have lost two straight and their stranglehold on the East. A sweep against Hamilton wins them the division and they also get it done with one win against the Ticats and a victory over Toronto in Week 21.

Hamilton (8-7)
Games remaining: 3
Schedule: at OTT, vs OTT, vs MTL
Home games: 2
Division series status: 3-0 vs TOR (win), 1-0 vs MTL (+39 points, one game remaining), 0-1 vs OTT (two games remaining)
Key matchups: at OTT on Oct. 19, vs OTT on Oct. 27
What just happened: Beat Toronto to pull into a tie for first in the East.
Playoff scenario: Still trying to lock up the division title, can’t do it this week. Guaranteed a home playoff date.
What’s next: At Ottawa, the first of two straight against Ottawa.
Who they should be cheering for: Themselves.

The Ticats win the division with a sweep of the two-game set against Ottawa. They can also get there by winning one of two against the Redblacks, beating Montreal in Week 21 and having Toronto take down Ottawa.

Toronto (3-11)
Games remaining: 3
Schedule: vs MTL, at MTL, vs OTT
Home games: 2
Division series status: 1-0 vs OTT (+1 point, one game remaining), 0-3 vs HAM (loss), 0-1 vs MTL (two games remaining)
Key matchups: None
What just happened: Lost to Hamilton.
Playoff scenario: Eliminated.

What’s next: At home against Montreal.

The Argos have lost seven straight (!!!) and are about to play two straight games that don’t mean a thing for either team involved. Because Montreal forfeited their 2019 first round pick to take Tyler Johnstone in the supplemental draft, Toronto will pick first overall no matter how the standings shake out.

Montreal (3-12)
Games remaining: 3
Schedule: at TOR, vs TOR, at HAM
Home games: 1
Division series status: 1-0 vs TOR (two games remaining), 0-1 vs HAM (-39 points, one game remaining), 0-2 vs OTT (loss)
Key matchups: None
What just happened: A bye week full of trades.
Playoff scenario: Haha, nope.
What’s next: Game at Toronto.

There will lots of talk about Johnny the next couple of weeks because, well, there isn’t much else to talk about. Their game against Hamilton in Week 21 could have an impact on the East title race.

West Division

Calgary (12-3)
Games remaining: 3
Schedule: vs SSK, at WIN, at B.C.
Home games: 1
Division series status: 1-1 vs SSK (one game remaining), 1-1 vs EDM (lose series on point differential), 1-1 vs B.C. (one game remaining), 1-0 vs WIN (+13, one game remaining)
Key matchups: vs SSK on Oct. 20
What just happened: Lost at home to B.C.
Playoff scenario: Clinch the West Division title with a win over Saskatchewan (or a tie) this week.
What’s next: Home against Saskatchewan.
Who they should be cheering for: Themselves.

The Stamps would have clinched the West had they beaten B.C. on Saturday but get another kick at the can this week. Would have to lose all three of their remaining games while Saskatchewan wins out to lose the division title.

Saskatchewan (10-6)
Games remaining: 2
Schedule: at CAL, vs B.C., bye
Home games: 1
Division series status: 2-1 vs WIN (win), 1-1 vs CAL (one game remaining), 1-0 vs B.C. (+3, one game remaining), 1-1 vs EDM (tied on point differential, tiebreaker is record within the division. Saskatchewan is 5-3 with two games remaining, Edmonton is 4-4 with two games remaining.)
Key matchups: at CAL on Oct. 20
What just happened: Got their asses kicked by Winnipeg.
Playoff scenario: Clinch a home playoff date with a win and a B.C. loss or tie. Can still win the division if they win out and Calgary loses their last three.
What’s next: at Calgary.
Who they should be cheering for: Edmonton to beat B.C.

The Riders missed a golden opportunity to challenge for the West Division title when Calgary lost to B.C. but probably have bigger things to worry about after getting spanked by the Bombers. Still, Saskatchewan has locked up a playoff spot and still have the inside track on a home playoff date – though things will get really interesting if they lose to Calgary and the Lions beat Edmonton. Winnipeg can still catch them as well.

Winnipeg (9-7)
Games remaining: 2
Schedule: bye, vs CAL, at EDM
Home games: 1
Division series status: 1-1 vs B.C. (win on point differential), 1-2 vs SSK (loss), 1-1 vs EDM (one game remaining), 0-1 vs CAL (-13, one game remaining)
Key matchups: Everything.
Sports Club Stats Playoff Chances: 88.9 per cent
What just happened: Beat the pants off Saskatchewan for their fourth straight win.
Playoff scenario: The Bombers can’t clinch this week no matter what happens. Could still host a playoff game or miss the post-season altogether.
What’s next: A bye week.
Who they should be cheering for: Calgary to beat Saskatchewan as a Rider win puts a home playoff date out of Winnipeg’s reach. Both outcomes in the B.C. game with Edmonton have advantages and disadvantages for the Bombers, though a loss by the Esks is probably the better one.

B.C. (8-7)
Games remaining: 3
Schedule: vs EDM, at SSK, vs CAL
Home games: 2
Division series status: 0-1 vs SSK (-3, one game remaining), 1-1 vs EDM (one game remaining), 1-1 vs CAL (two games remaining), 1-1 vs WIN (loss on point differential).
Key matchups: Every. One.
Sports Club Stats Playoff Chances: 54.5
What just happened: Beat Calgary, somehow.
Playoff scenario: Clinch a playoff spot with a win over Edmonton. Could still host a playoff game if they win out, Saskatchewan loses out and the Bombers lose at least once more. Could still miss the playoffs.
What’s next: At home against Edmonton.
Who they should be cheering for: Calgary to beat Saskatchewan.

The Lions gave their playoff hopes a massive boost by beating Calgary and they still have a game in hand over Winnipeg, Saskatchewan and Edmonton.

Edmonton (8-8)
Games remaining: 2
Schedule: at B.C., bye, vs WIN
Home games: 1
Division series status: 1-1 vs CAL (win on point differential), 1-1 vs WIN (one game remaining), 1-1 vs SSK (see long explanation above), 1-1 vs B.C. (one game remaining).
Key matchups: Oct. 19 vs. B.C., Nov. 3 vs WIN
Sports Club Stats Playoff Chances: 56.6 per cent
What just happened: Beat Ottawa.
Playoff scenario: The Esks can still finish second in the West (win their last two, Riders lose last two) or miss the playoffs.
What’s next: On the road against B.C.
Who they should be cheering for: Calgary to beat Saskatchewan.

Nothing will be decided for Edmonton this week but a loss to B.C. and the Eskimos will need help to make the playoffs (Calgary to beat Winnipeg in Week 20.) A win and they stay in the hunt.

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