BURLINGTON, Ont. – Ontario University Athletics has determined the possible following playoff scenarios depending on game outcomes this Saturday, Oct. 24.
Heading into the final weekend of the regular season, eight teams remain in contention for a chance to play for the 108th Yates Cup.
While five teams have secured a postseason berth, no team entering play on Saturday has secured their position in the playoffs.
The No. 2 nationally ranked Western Mustangs (7-0) head into their final regular season game in control of their own destiny. A win against the No. 6 McMaster Marauders (6-1) on Saturday at Ron Joyce Stadium in Hamilton, Ont. would see the Mustangs finish the season with a perfect 8-0 record and the first playoff seed.
However, the defending Yates Cup champions from McMaster would like nothing better than to spoil Western's run at a perfect season, as a Marauders victory, coupled with a No. 7 Guelph Gryphons (6-1) loss, would see McMaster surpass both teams and enter the playoffs as the top ranked team.
It should be noted that a scenario does exists where the Marauders could defeat the Mustangs and not finish in first place. Should McMaster defeat Western and Guelph beat the newly ranked No. 10 Carleton Ravens (5-2), there would be a three-way tie atop the standings. Western would win the tiebreaker based on regular season point difference with Guelph finishing second based on their head-to-head record against the Marauders and McMaster third.
The Western Mustangs can finish no worse than second place in the standings. However, the same cannot be said for the McMaster Marauders and Guelph Gryphons. McMaster can finish anywhere from second to fourth, while the Gryphons could find themselves anywhere from second to fifth when the dust settles on Saturday.
There are two scenarios in which a tiebreaker would be needed in the event of a second place tie.
If Carleton defeats Guelph, McMaster loses to Western and the Queen's Gaels (5-2) beat the visiting Laurier Golden Hawks (3-4), there would be a four way tie for second place. In this situation, McMaster would finish second thanks to their point differential, Carleton third as a result of their head-to-head record with the Gryphons, followed by Guelph fourth.
The Marauders enter Saturday's game with a +18 point differential over the Gryphons. In order for Guelph to surpass them in the above scenario, the Marauders would need to lose by more than 19 points, while Guelph could not afford to be defeated by more than a single point.
If Queen's were to lose to the Golden Hawks, there would be a three-way tie between McMaster, Carleton and Guelph with the outcome being the same as detailed above. McMaster would finish second thanks to their point differential, Carleton third as a result of their head-to-head record with the Gryphons, followed by Guelph fourth.
The Queen's Gaels cannot finish in the top two positions in the standings, but can enter the playoffs anywhere between the third and fifth seeds.
There are three scenarios in which a tiebreaker would be needed in the event of a third place tie.
If Guelph wins on Saturday, while the Marauders lose to the Mustangs and the Gaels defeat the Golden Hawks, Queen's and McMaster would be tied for third place. This tie would be broken based on their record against common opponents. Since both teams lost to Western, but Queen's beat Guelph 23-15 at home on Oct. 3 and McMaster lost to the Gryphons on the road, the Gaels would finish the season in third place, while the Marauders would finish behind them in fourth.
However, if McMaster wins on Saturday, the Gryphons lose to the Ravens and the Gaels fall to the Golden Hawks, Carleton and Guelph would finish the regular season tied with identical 6-2 records. Thanks to their victory in the final weekend of the season over the Gryphons, Carleton would finish third and Guelph fourth.
In the above scenario, should Queen's defeat Laurier there would be a three-way tie for third place. Queen's would finish third thanks to their 34-24 victory over Carleton on Aug. 30, with Carleton fourth and Guelph fifth based on their head-to-head record.
There is one scenario in which a tiebreaker would be needed in the event of a fourth place tie.
Should both Queen's and Carleton lose their final games, both teams would finish the season with a 5-3 record. As previously mentioned, the Gaels holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Ravens thanks to their opening day victory.
While the teams competing for the top five seeds have been determined, the same cannot be said for the sixth and final playoff spot. The Laurier Golden Hawks and University of Toronto Varsity Blues enter the final weekend in a sixth place tie with identical 3-4 records.
If Laurier defeats Queen's and Toronto beats Ottawa, the teams would keep pace with each other and finish the season 4-4. This tie would be broken based on record against each of the other teams in the division starting at the top. Since both teams lost to Western, but the Golden Hawks will have beaten the Gaels while Toronto lost to them, Laurier would enter the playoffs as the sixth seed, while the season would come to an end for Toronto.
The University of Ottawa Gee-Gees (2-5) are currently on the outside looking in. A victory this weekend could open the door for them to sneak into the postseason; however, a loss will end their season.
To say there might be some scoreboard watching in our nation's capital on Saturday might be a bit of an understatement.
Should Laurier lose on the road to Queen's, the winner of Toronto versus Ottawa would punch their ticket to the postseason. If the Varsity Blues were to take down Ottawa at Gee-Gees Field, Toronto would finish 4-4 while the Golden Hawks would fall to 3-5 and finish in seventh place. However, if Ottawa defeats Toronto, the Gee-Gees, Golden Hawks and Varsity Blues would finish the regular season with identical 3-5 records. This tie would be broken based on record against their common opponents -- Queen's and Windsor. Ottawa (2-0) would finish sixth, followed by Toronto (1-1) seventh and Laurier (0-2) eighth.
The Waterloo Warriors (0-7), York Lions (1-7) and Windsor Lancers (1-6) have been eliminated from playoff contention.
For full playoff scenarios and the implications of this weekend's games, please see the file here.