I may have jumped the gun in the story today on the Bandits' game last night. May have.
I wrote in the story that Rochester had clinched a spot in the playoffs with a win last night and with a Washington loss. Yes, the Knighthawks have to finish ahead of the Stealth, since they have control of the tiebreaker.
But it's not that easy.
First of all, as I read the rules now, the league doesn't take the standings 1-9 in terms of the playoffs. It goes 1-4 in the East and then 1-5 in the West. From there, the worst team in the East is compared to the worst in the West. The worse team stays home, the better team makes the playoffs.
That could get complicated. For example, Rochester, Buffalo, Edmonton and Washington could all tie at 6-10. Then you'd have to see who finished third in the East. (It would be Buffalo, since it would to beat Rochester and lose to Washington while Rochester was losing to Philly in order for both to get to 6-10. Buffalo would have the tiebreaker, having won two of three over the Knighthawks). Then you'd have to compare Rochester to the fifth-place team in the West. If it's Washington, the Knighthawks would be in. Rochester didn't play Edmonton, so then it would get really, really complicated if those teams finished with the same record. It centers on head-to-head record against common opponents. I'll let the league figure this out.
Closer to home, I think the Bandits could clinch a playoff spot this weekend. If Washington loses Friday and Buffalo wins Saturday, the Stealth would be 4-11 and the Bandits would be 6-9. By the way, under that circumstance, Washington would be out of the playoff picture since it loses a tiebreaker to the now 5-8 Rush. (Edmonton needs one win to clinch a playoff spot.)
But if Washington loses to go to 4-11 and the Bandits lose to go to 5-10, Buffalo would have to finish fourth in the East. Again, the Stealth couldn't catch the Rush, so it would be fifth. Then the last playoff spot would come down to Washington and Buffalo, and those two teams finish the season against each other on April 28.
Finally, Washington still could win its last two games to make it to 6-10. If Edmonton lost its last three to go to 5-11, then the Rush would finish fifth. That would mean the Bandits would have to be 6-10 to finish ahead of Edmonton, since the Rush had the tiebreaker on the Bandits because Saturday's game. And that would mean Buffalo would have to beat Rochester, since we're already counting the Washington game as a loss.
Boiled down -- the Bandits really, really, really don't want to lose Saturday's home game with Rochester. If they do, it could come down to a one-game showdown for the last playoff spot in Washington, almost 3,000 miles away. You don't want to live life like that.
--- Budd Bailey