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.
And then there were 12. The AFC and PFC are guaranteed first-time champions, while the NFC has a 75% at a repeat champ. Round One lived up to the playoff hype with all but one matchup coming down to Monday Night Football. Congratulations to the semifinalists. Pour one out, however, for those championship contenders no longer with us:
War Pony, the Cocks, Dead Again, DominationStation, the Havoc, and the Xtreme
will all have to wait until 2020 to compete for a championship.
Two of three 2018 conference champions did not make the playoffs, while the NFC's Lucky Enuf is back to defend his title. Of 18 playoff contenders, only four have previously won a championship. They are:
Multiple first-round games came down to the MNF wire, and I'm hoping for similar drama this week. One thing is for sure: there will be no back-to-back champions in any conference. 2017 AFC Champion Zerger's Redlegs lost, as did 2017 NFC Champion Cliburn's Arrogant Americans. 2017 PFC champion Brake and Boomtown Brawlers just missed the playoffs.
The six-seed Doughboys trounced the Warm Bodies, as Nye was betrayed by Jordan Reed and Jared Goff (despite a whopping 31 points from Ezekiel Elliott). Meanwhile the Redlegs underachieved at every position except for QB, where rookie Lamar Jackson did more than his part. The Vultures moved on with big games from Patrick Mahomes and Julio Jones.
If Green's Doughboys win this week, they'll be heading to the Thunder Bowl for the third time, although they've yet to secure a championship. If Melvin Gordon plays for War Pony, I think it'll be enough to push Venable's team over the top. But, if not, this is the epitome of a toss-up.
Of 18 playoff contenders, eight of them (almost half!) account for 15 previous championships. They are:
Click on the matchup title to view the game on Yahoo!.
Venable and Peacock enjoy a first-round bye this week, while last year's championship participants (Zerger and Green) join Nye and Brosh in having to fight their way to the semifinals.
The early game Sunday pits Green against Nye, who seems perpetually underrated. The Doughboys lost James Conner to injury this week, but their team is solid. It will have to be if Green wants to move on to the semifinals for the third-straight season. I don't think he does, although his team is arguably superior.
The OIL's analytics and statistics department has crunched the weekly data across 15 different OIL seasons to provide you with the below playoff odds calculator. While this chart cannot take into account your team makeup or remaining schedule, it can tell you what percentage of teams with your record reached the playoffs or championship game.
The data is now available in the OIL league history spreadsheet and is embedded at okiraqi.org/playoffs. You can access the file directly here.
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.
By OIL Commissioner Justin C. Cliburn
The championship games are set. Semifinals week included upsets, blowouts, pillow fights, and nailbiters. Game-by-game analysis after the jump.
Only 12 teams remain in contention in the OIL playoffs after Nye, Roe, Cliburn, Jessen, Baldwin, and Cordes were knocked out in round one. Half of the semifinals field had a bye last week, so this is their first test since Rivalry Week. Good luck, guys. As always, game-by-game analysis after the jump.