The Liberty Bowl is back and a little different in 2017. For the first time, all three conference champions will participate (previously, it was the two highest-scoring champions of Week 16). The Week 16 and Week 17 scores will combine to determine our winner, who will receive the Tenequer Memorial Trophy and a custom mini-helmet. The lineups are posted below.*
Click here to view on Google Sheets.
*Lineups are subject to change until game time.
The Redlegs have repeated as AFC champions. The Arrogant Americans won their record-tying third NFC championship. And the Boomtown Brawlers won their second PFC title in three years. Congrats to all.
Here are your final 2017 standings:
Welcome to Championship Week. We started the season with 42 teams looking to make the championship. 24 of them had never achieved the milestone. After 15 weeks, 570 games, and hundreds of roster transactions, we're finally down to the final six . . . and all six have been here before. In fact, two of the championship matchups are re-matches from 2016. In the other final, the two teams have now accounted for nine championship game appearances.
The AFC is our first re-match of the week, as Zerger's Redlegs defeated Green's Doughboys in the 2016 final.
Each team had solid drafts that provided a good foundation all season. Reviewing the drafts in hindsight, it's hard to find any picks you could consider busts.
The Redlegs lost RB Chris Thompson to IR mid-season and WR Antonio Brown during the semifinals but otherwise have avoided devastating injuries. RB Latavius Murray turned out to be a very underrated waiver wire addition. The Doughboys chose RB Darren McFadden too early (since he retired mid-season). But he's added RBs like DeMarco Murray, Kenyan Drake, Alfred Morris, and Peyton Barber on the waiver wire.
Had Zerger not lost WR Antonio Brown to injury during the semifinals, he'd be the favorite this week. But losing your top player hurts, and I think it'll be enough for Green to get revenge in this re-match. Follow the matchup here.
In the NFC, three-time champion Bruesch (SoonerJack) faces two-time champion Cliburn's Arrogant Americans. Follow the matchup here.
Neither team hit it out of the park with their first few picks, although Cliburn got great value in the mid to late rounds (especially RB Alvin Kamara in the 13th round). Bruesch arguably had eight of this top 12 picks turn out to be busts (or injured), but 16th-round pick QB Alex Smith was a fantastic value. The OIL has a habit of scoffing at teams in the finals who didn't pick their own teams, but, in this case, Bruesch is here in spite of his auto-draft (he was unable to log in on draft day while prepping for Hurricane Harvey duty).
The biggest additions to the 'Mericans were QBs: first it was waiver-wire addition DeShaun Watson and then, following Watson's injury, it was a trade for Russell Wilson. SoonerJack's biggest additions were made via trade at the waiver wire, adding WR A.J. Green, WR Tyreek Hill, and TE Zach Ertz. RB Jerrick McKinnon was perhaps the most unappreciated waiver-wire addition in the NFC.
It's interesting that, although the 'Mericans made 50 more transactions than SoonerJack, they have half their draft picks remaining on the team while SoonerJack only has four. When it comes to the matchup, the 'Mericans are favored by over 30 points . . . which is roughly the difference between the two teams' points per game. I hope I'm not jinxing myself, but I'm picking myself here. That being said, it's only one game. Anything can happen.
And here's another re-match from 2016. Last season, Buehre and his Dirty Dogs defeated the 2015 champion Boomtown Brawlers, managed by Zack Brake. That means this is the third-straight championship appearance for Brake and the second-straight for Buehre. Follow the matchup here.
Kudos to Buehre for making it here after losing first-round pick RB David Johnson in Week One. Fortunately, the rest of his draft helped him overcome that loss, especially 12th-round pick RB Alvin Kamara (who forms a fantastic duo with fellow rookie RB Christian McCaffrey). The Brawlers, meanwhile, hit on their first three picks before whiffing on picks four through eight.
Buehre acquired starting QB Jared Goff and WR DeSean Jackson via trade, and he picked up starting RB Kenyan Drake on the waiver wire. Brake's team is remarkably unchanged, as his draft was strong enough that his starters (except for RB Mike Davis and his kicker and defense) were all drafted by him.
This one will be too close to call. The teams are very evenly-matched. It'll be fascinating to watch though.
The full Championship Week preview is in the works and will be posted tonight. In the meantime, congratulations to Lance Zerger (Redlegs), Nick Green (Doughboys), Justin C. Cliburn (Arrogant Americans), Jack Bruesch (SoonerJack), Scott Buehre (Dirty Dogs), and Zack Brake (Boomtown Brawlers). View their semifinals matchups below:
In the first round of the playoffs, a couple games went down to the wire, but the favorites held on in each contest. The top four seeds remain alive in each conference, but half of them will see their season end after Monday. Here's how it went down in Week 14 (click on the images to view the full conference on Yahoo!):
That leaves us with 12 teams competing for three jerseys:
The two participants in last year's Thunder Bowl are back as the defending champion Redlegs and the Doughboys look to make it back to the championship game. They're joined by the Hooligans, hoping to pull off one last victory before RB Ezekiel Elliott returns, and the Warm Bodies, who have been a threat all season. Click on matchup titles to view them on Yahoo!
The Redlegs have been favorites all season, and that continues this week, as they're projected to win by 14 points. Look for Zerger to get to his second-straight Thunder Bowl. For the Warm Bodies, they'll need huge games from LeSean McCoy and Kareem Hunt.
The Hooligans deserve a lot of praise for winning 10 games while dealing with the Ezekiel Elliott suspension, but I don't see them as seriously competing here. If they pull it off, they get Elliott back from the championship game, but I think the Doughboys will win easily.
There are some fascinating re-matches in the NFC semifinals. First, the 'Mericans face the Dirty Hippies, who knocked them out of the playoffs last season. And Lucky Enuf plays SoonerJack. Those two teams infamously played the 2008 OIL Bowl to a tie. Click on the matchup title to view on Yahoo!
The 'Mericans were unlucky enough to face Le'Veon Bell (and the Hippies) in the first round of the 2016 playoffs, and Bell's 51 points knocked them out of the championship chase. But Trovillo no longer has Bell, and Cliburn's squad is stacked. This is a revenge game that (I hope) will get ugly.
SoonerJack rode a lot of luck to notch 10 wins while averaging only 130.90 points per game, but here is where is luck runs out. No team is projected to dominate Week 15 like Lucky Enuf. Pyle gets back to the OIL Bowl for the first time since 2008.
The PFC field includes the 2015 champions, the 2016 champions, the 2015 top seed, and the 2017 newcomer in the Vandals (whose manager, if not team name, is new for 2017). Click the matchup title to view on Yahoo!
These teams are incredibly even-matched. The Enforcers are projected to win, but I'm deeming it too close to call. The Dirty Dogs are the defending champions and number-one seed, but this will be a shootout.
This is another matchup that may be too close to call, as the Vandals are favored by just one point. But there is a lot of intrigue here, as the Vandals originally had the two-seed and first-round bye before a stat correction gave it to the Brawlers. The Vandals then had a very tough matchup in Round One that came close to knocking him off. Now, he gets to have revenge against the team that stole his bye week.
It's finally here: the PLAYOFFS. 18 teams are competing for three conference trophies and one OIL trophy. This year is a mix of old and new as perennial contenders and newly-competitive managers will battle over the next four weeks. To the matchups!
Click on team logos to view manager pages on okiraqi.org. Click matchup titles to view the matchup on Yahoo!
Congratulations to Zerger, Cliburn, Pyle, Lutonsky, Buehre, and Neely on finishing in the top two in their respective conferences. Enjoy your wins this week.
For the second-consecutive season, defending champion Lance Zerger and his Redlegs have clinched a first-round bye. Joining him is Sir Neely and his Hooligans, making their first appearance in the top two.
Joining Zerger and Neely in the AFC playoffs are Green, Nye, Schuster (making the playoffs for the first time), and Peacock.
Both these managers are returning to the playoffs after being strong contenders in 2016, but neither could pull off the championship last season. Look for the Doughboys to make a strong statement that they are not over their 2016 Thunder Bowl defeat.
After a wild Rivalry Week, the playoffs are set. Look for a comprehensive Playoffs Preview post later. In the meantime, click on the standings to view each conference's playoffs bracket on Yahoo!
The league history spreadsheet is updated as well. All 42 manager sheets are up to date and the main page (Rankings) is only missing the data for "Points Against."