More mind-bending CFL playoff scenarios

So for the last few weeks we’ve been tracking a scenario in which four West Division teams would end up tied at 10-8. Well, that’s off the table now, thanks to Saskatchewan’s win over Calgary and B.C.’s win over Edmonton last weekend.

But good news! There’s another mind-bending scenario on the horizon. And yes, of course it involves the Riders.

It involves Saskatchewan and B.C. finishing with identical 11-7 records AND the Lions beating the Riders on Saturday by EXACTLY three points. That would give both teams identical head-to-head records (1-1) and point differential (Saskatchewan won by 24-21 on Aug. 25.)

The next tie-breaker is winning percentage against clubs in the division but they would both finish with identical 6-4 records against the West.

So then it’s on to “higher net aggregate of points in games played against all member clubs of the division” – in other words, points for and against vs the entire West. And we won’t know that number until after both the Riders-B.C. game and B.C.’s game against Calgary in Week 21.

But, according to my math, the Riders are currently -9 in their nine games against the West while B.C. is -27 in their eight games. So the Lions would have to beat Saskatchewan by three points and (making the Riders -12 and the Lions -24) then beat Calgary by 13 to win the season series… against Saskatchewan.

I could keep going – what happens if B.C. beats Saskatchewan by three and Calgary by exactly 12, for example – but let’s wait and see what happens this week.

There are also a couple of other fun tie-breakers still in play.

The 9-9 three-way

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

How it happens:

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

The tie-breaker: record between all three teams.

Final standings
1. Calgary 14-4
2. Saskatchewan 12-6
3. B.C. 9-9 (3-2 .600 among tied teams)
4. Edmonton 9-9 (3-3 .500 among tied teams)
5. Winnipeg 9-9 (2-3 .400 among tied teams)

The 11-7 three-way

What it is: Saskatchewan, Winnipeg and B.C. finish at 11-7.

• Saskatchewan (11-6): loses B.C.
• Winnipeg (9-7): beats Calgary and Edmonton
• B.C. (9-7): beats Saskatchewan and Calgary

The tie-breaker: record between all three teams.

Final standings
1. Calgary 14-4
2. Saskatchewan 11-7 (3-2 .600 among tied teams)
3. B.C. 11-7 (2-2 .500 among tied teams)
4. Winnipeg 11-7 (2-3 .400 among tied teams)
5. Edmonton 8-10

How Saskatchewan wins the West (best case)

• Calgary (12-4) loses to Winnipeg, loses to B.C.
• Saskatchewan (11-6) beats B.C.

Tie breaker: Head-to-head record between Saskatchewan and Calgary (Riders win 2-1)

Final standings
1. Saskatchewan 12-6
2. Calgary 12-6

How B.C. finishes second in the West (best case)

• B.C. (9-7) beats Saskatchewan by four or more, beats Calgary.
• Saskatchewan (11-6) loses to B.C. by four or more.

Tie breaker: Head-to-head record between Saskatchewan and B.C. (Lions win on point differential)

Final standings
1. Calgary 12-6
2. B.C. 11-7
3. Saskatchewan 11-7

Bombers worst case (Edmonton best case)

• Bombers lose to Calgary, lose to Edmonton.
• Edmonton beats Winnipeg.

Final standings
4. Edmonton (crossover)
5. Winnipeg (eliminated)

As a reminder, here’s how the relevant head-to-head tie-breakers go:

Saskatchewan over Calgary and Winnipeg (B.C. still to be determined.)
Winnipeg over B.C.
Ottawa over Hamilton

In a perfect allegory for the season, the East Division is a cakewalk by comparison. Ottawa clinches the East Division with a win over Hamilton. Meanwhile, the Ticats need a win over the Redblacks, a win over Montreal in Week 21 and a loss by Ottawa against Toronto to win the East.

Alright, let’s take a closer look at what each team has left.

The West Division

Calgary (12-4)
Games remaining: 2
Schedule: at WIN, at B.C.
Home games: 0
Division series status: 1-2 vs SSK (lost), 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: Winnipeg on Friday.
What just happened: Lost at home to Saskatchewan.
Playoff scenario: Clinch the West Division title with a win in Winnipeg (or a tie) or a Saskatchewan loss or a tie.
What’s next: In Winnipeg.
Who they should be cheering for: If they lose, B.C. to beat Saskatchewan.
The Stamps would have clinched the West had they beaten Saskatchewan but get another try this week. Would have to lose both their remaining games while Saskatchewan wins this week to lose the division title.

Saskatchewan (11-6)
Games remaining: 1
Schedule: vs B.C., bye
Home games: 1
Division series status: 2-1 vs WIN (win), 2-1 vs CAL (win), 1-0 vs B.C. (+3, one game remaining), 1-1 vs EDM (win on record within the division.)
Key matchups: B.C. on Saturday.
What just happened: Beat Calgary at McMahon.
Playoff scenario: Clinch a home playoff date with a win or a tie. Can still win the division if they win against B.C. and Calgary loses their last two.
What’s next: home vs B.C.
Who they should be cheering for: Winnipeg to beat Calgary.

Winnipeg (9-7)
Games remaining: 2
Schedule: 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: 81.3 per cent
What just happened: Had a bye week and got help when B.C. beat Edmonton.
Playoff scenario: Clinch a playoff berth with a win or tie. Can finish no higher than third in the West. Could also be the crossover team or miss the post-season altogether.
What’s next: Home vs Calgary.
Who they should be cheering for: Themselves.

B.C. (9-7)
Games remaining: 2
Schedule: at SSK, vs CAL
Home games: 1
Division series status: 0-1 vs SSK (-3, one game remaining), 2-1 vs EDM (win), 1-1 vs CAL (one game remaining), 1-1 vs WIN (loss on point differential).
Key matchups: Everything.
What just happened: Clinched a playoff spot with a win over Edmonton
Playoff scenario: Could still host a playoff game if they win their last two, beat Saskatchewan by four or more.
What’s next: At Saskatchewan.
Who they should be cheering for: Themselves.

Edmonton (8-9)
Games remaining: 1
Schedule: bye, vs WIN
Home games: 1
Division series status: 1-1 vs CAL (win on point differential), 1-2 vs B.C. (loss), 1-1 vs WIN (one game remaining), 1-1 vs SSK (loss on record in the division.)
Key matchups: Nov. 3 vs WIN.
Sports Club Stats Playoff Chances: 18.9
What just happened: Lost to B.C.
Playoff scenario: Need the Bombers to lose this week and a win over Winnipeg next week to make playoffs as the crossover team.
What’s next: A very nervous bye week.
Who they should be cheering for: Hahaha, Calgary.

East Division

Ottawa (9-7)
Games remaining: 2
Schedule: at HAM, vs TOR
Home games: 1
Division series status: 2-0 vs MTL (win), 2-0 vs HAM (win), 0-1 vs TOR (-1 point)
Key matchups: at HAM on Oct. 27
What just happened: Beat Hamilton 35-31 to take the season series.
Playoff scenario: Can clinch the division with a win over Hamilton on Saturday.
What’s next: On the road in Hamilton.
Who they should be cheering for: Themselves.
A win against Hamilton on Saturday secures them the division. A loss to the Ticats and they get it done with a victory over Toronto in Week 21 or a Hamilton loss to Montreal.

Hamilton (8-8)
Games remaining: 2
Schedule: vs OTT, vs MTL
Home games: 2
Division series status: 3-0 vs TOR (win), 1-0 vs MTL (+39 points, one game remaining), 0-2 vs OTT (loss).
Key matchups: vs OTT on Oct. 27.
What just happened: Lost to Ottawa.
Playoff scenario: Can still win the division. Guaranteed a home playoff date.
What’s next: Home against Ottawa.
Who they should be cheering for: Themselves.
Ticats need to win this week against the Redblacks, beat Montreal in Week 21 and have Toronto take down Ottawa to win the division. Otherwise, the host the East semi-final against the crossover team.

Toronto (4-12)
Playoff scenario: Eliminated.
Schedule: at MTL, at OTT
Argos need a Ticats win against Ottawa for their Week 21 to mean anything in the standings.

Montreal (3-13)
Games remaining: 2
Schedule: vs TOR, at HAM
Alouettes need a Ticats win against Ottawa for their Week 21 to mean anything in the standings.

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