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.
Well, we made it. I never expected to get a full season of football during the global pandemic, but here we are. Let's hope the NFL gets three more weeks in before it implodes because we've got some champions to crown.
In the AFC, defending champion Rebel Alliance collapsed late, losing three in a row to finish the year. They are out of the playoffs. In the hunt are Negligent Discharges, War Pony, Hooligans, Mutinous Apes (making their first playoff appearance), Brewmasters, and Doughboys.
In the NFC, the three top seeds account for 10 OIL championships. In the hunt this year are Arrogant Americans, SoonerJack, back-to-back defending champion Lucky Enuf, DominationStation, Dead Again (marking the first time Schmidt has made the playoffs in two consecutive seasons since 2006-07), and the DARC NARCS.
In the PFC, the contenders are the Blue Falcons, Dirty Dogs, defending champion Vandals, Nightmares, Great Plains Drifters, and The Xtreme (who clinched their sixth winning season in as many years in the OIL).
The final OPR rankings include a column showing the plus/minus differential of each team compared to the league's prime meridian. Now that the season is final, you can review the expected vs. actual records and know whose record was bolstered by luck and whose record was weighed down by a tough schedule.
Heading into Rivalry Week, only one AFC playoff spot is clinched, and nine teams are vying for the other six invitations to the tournament, including the Mutinous Apes who just clinched their first winning season. While not official, the Negligent Discharges will be the one-seed and receive a first-round bye (their first).
The NFC has three playoff spots clinched. The Arrogant Americans will most likely receive a first-round bye, unless they lose in Week 13 and Lucky Enuf and SoonerJack both outscore them by 200 points. The remaining three playoff spots are being fought over by six teams, with two of those teams (the AMMODOGS and DominationStation) playing each other this week. For DominationStation to miss the playoffs, they would have to lose to the AMMODOGS and both the DARC NARCS and Hangovers would have to win big.
The PFC also has three playoff spots locked up, with the Blue Falcons guaranteed the number-one seed and a first-round bye. The second first-round bye will go to either the two-time champion Dirty Dogs or defending champion Vandals. Six teams are in the hunt for the other three playoff spots, with the Nightmares the only team guaranteed a place in the post-season with a victory in Week 13.
Congratulations to the following:
Heading into Week 13, the Hangovers are the OIL's prime meridian, with a perfectly-average OPR of 1.000. After losing to Lucky Enuf in Week 12, the Arrogant Americans' OPR dropped from what would be a record-breaking 1.335 to 1.281, which would rank third all-time.
With two weeks remaining in the season, four teams have clinched spots: the AFC's Negligent Discharges; the NFC's Arrogant Americans and SoonerJack; and the PFC's Blue Falcons. That leaves 14 playoff spots up for grabs. Week 11 also saw a record tied as War Eagle's 0.05-point victory over Steel Reign tied the record for smallest margin of victory/defeat.
The top five in OPR across all conferences is: 1. Arrogant Americans; 2. Negligent Discharges; 3. War Pony; 4. Blue Falcons; 5. Dirty Dogs.