While it seems there has been nothing but bad news the last couple of years, good things happen every day. Great Plains Drifters manager Aaron Gray made the news this week for saving the life of an unresponsive infant. Gray was a medic in Iraq with the other members of the OIL.
Great job, Gray! Now, let's talk about that hair . . .
Each conference champion receives a custom jersey based on their team uniforms. The 2020 jerseys have arrived and are below. The previous jerseys are viewable here.
Prior to 2020, Walt Musselman had never made the playoffs or even posted a winning season. But 2020 was a strange year, capped off by the Mutinous Apes winning the AFC.
2020 marked Jack Bruesch's fourth championship. After going with crimson home, white away, and black alternate for his first three titles, Bruesch chose a candy-cane design for the 2020 SoonerJack jersey.
Dirty Dogs manager Scott Buehre elected for a Salute to Service jersey to mark his third championship.
The 2020 Liberty Bowl is upon us. You may follow along in the embed below or by following this link. The team with the most combined points in Weeks 16 and 17 will be crowned the overall OIL champion, have their name engraved on the Tenequer Memorial Trophy, and receive a custom team mini-helmet.
PFC Commish and Dirty Dogs manager Scott Buehre will be taking home the Landrum Memorial Trophy once again. In the six seasons of the PFC, the Dogs have been to the Patriot Bowl four times, winning three. He defeated the Blue Falcons, who were attempting to become the first manager to go worst-to-first since . . . Buehre. The Dirty Dogs will face the Mutinous Apes and SoonerJack in the Liberty Bowl.
SoonerJack manager Jack Bruesch met Kevin Pyle's Lucky Enuf in the 2019 OIL Bowl with a chance to become the first OIL manager to win four championships. But it was not meant to be, and Lucky Enuf took home the Lawson Memorial Trophy. Undeterred, Bruesch regrouped in 2020, dispatched Lucky Enuf in the semifinals, and defeated DominationStation in the OIL Bowl to tie Pyle's record for championships. Congratulations, Bruesch. Good luck in the Liberty Bowl.
Over his first six seasons in the OIL, Mutinous Apes manager Walt Musselman won 21 games. He "boasted" a .269 winning percentage and averaged 3.5 wins per season. But 2020 was a crazy year. After a solid draft and astute in-season management, Musselman finished the regular season 8-5 before running the table in the playoffs, defeating the Brewmasters, War Pony, and top-seeded Negligent Discharges en route to their first AFC championship. Congratulations to Muss, who will now face the NFC and PFC champions In the Liberty Bowl.
What a wild ride 2020 has been. It started with (and will end with) a global pandemic, saw the biggest bet in OIL history made at the cabin, and transitioned into the most contentious presidential election of our lifetimes. But none of that prepared any of us for this crazytown of a championship week.
And then there were 12, each with a 25% chance to win their respective conference. Among the 12 are six former champions, with 15 titles between them. But there are Cinderella stories as well.
The AFC's top seed, the Negligent Discharges, have never approached the success of this season. It is already their best OIL season yet, but can they make it to the Thunder Bowl? The three-seed, the Mutinous Apes, are in the playoffs for the first time in their seven OIL seasons, while the Doughboys are coached by the OIL's Andy Reid. In six previous seasons, Green's team has finished 3rd, 7th, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, and 4th. Their average finish of 3.33 is tops in the OIL, but they've never won a championship despite ranking second all-time in OPR and third in winning percentage.
The NFC's top three seeds account for 10 championships. If there is to be a new NFC champion, it will have to be DominationStation. Jessen's squad began the season 1-2 before going 8-2 the final 10 weeks of the regular season. They hung on last week against Dead Again and pose a significant threat to the three former champions still in the NFC tournament.
The PFC's last two champions are in the hunt again in 2020, as the 2018 champion Dirty Dogs will face the 2019 champion Vandals. The top seed, though, was secured by the Blue Falcons, who flipped the script on a 3-10, last-place 2019 season, going 10-3 in 2020. Rounding out the PFC playoff field are the Nightmares, who finished in second place in 2019. The Nightmares, however, are the only playoff team with a sub-1.000 OPR.
As for the the other playoff teams, pour one out for those teams that are no longer with us: Lynn; Neely; Henderson; Schmidt; Gray; and Bellar.
Here are the first-round results:
Round One of the OIL Playoffs is here. While there are plenty of familiar faces in the field, several strong contenders are seeking their first championship. In all but one first-round matchup, the stronger team is actually the team with the worse record. This may be the most wide-open the field has ever been.