In my second-to-last assignment with the Cambridge Athletic Club, Tibbs gave me homework. I have to say I’m up for the challenge as you’ll probably get other people’s takes on this matter as we’re going to address potential scenarios for how an ideal playoff system should work this fall.
With the rapid expansion of the Co-Ed League and the stable popularity of the B2 4v4 league, CAC Basketball will most likely have three divisions. For the Co-Ed league, this a much-needed shift as the league has grown from one division to two to three in under a year based on the demand. In terms of a legitimate co-ed league that’s fun and that has skilled players, you won’t find a better one in the area. As for the B2 4v4 leagues, there’s a shift here from four leagues to three, but two leagues played on Monday while two played on Tuesdays. And to be honest, there was very little difference in the two Monday leagues due to venues and skill-level, so initially, this change may receive some negative feedback, but it’s probably the right call from a logistical viewpoint unless there’s demand that calls for over 16 teams playing on Monday nights (an unlikely prospect).
The biggest problem that CAC faces is determining a champion in a fair playoff system in a league with three divisions. The math does make it tricky, but there a couple of ways to go about it. I have to credit those bozos who run Major League Baseball with the inspiration for this idea.
* In a 24 team format, have the top two finishers in each division and then two wild-cards (based on overall record, then head-to-head records for any divisional tiebreakers) make the playoffs.
(***Author’s Edit: This would create an 8-team playoff, single elimination style. Winner take all. Pretty damn simple. Hey Rory, you shouldn’t bring a grape to gun fight versusEl Rey Carisma.)
In order to pull this off, a few things would have to happen.
- The regular season would go to 10 games.
- I am a big proponent of even-numbered games in a season. It’s a cleaner number and head-to-head records and tiebreakers are easier to figure out.
- The playoffs would not be guaranteed for every team.
- This puts greater importance on the regular season and the playoffs are much more meaningful.
- Selfishly, for the CAC…they offer an extra week of games, but they give up two rounds of an overbloated playoff system. From a business standpoint, you have less games but more quality games (take notes, NBA…why do you think college basketball is so awesome?)
- The playoff schedule should be set in advance.
- Teams with the higher seeds should be rewarded with games on “their night” (i.e. on Mondays for Co-Ed West)
- Ideally, the playoffs would be complete within 14-15 days. Very efficient use of people’s calendars and it promotes actual breaks between seasons.
Personally, I’m a believer in keeping things simple and effective. I think the MLB and the NFL playoffs are a blast to watch because there are only a handful of teams in the actual ‘tournament.’ The best part about NCAA’s March Madness is that a champion is crowned literally in 18 days (I’m not counting those crappy games in Dayton) with so many exciting things going on from beginning to end. Life is not about handing out ribbons to everyone for participating. Playoff spots should be a reward for winning when you’re suppose to. Fair playoff systems only promote the best of sportsmanship where truly the best teams win and amazing moments happen during exciting playoff games.
This is my grand idea for a playoff. I hope people like it. And if anyone can improve upon it, then by all means, please do so.