WORLD LEAGUE – Going into the final week of Regular Season play in the World League, 5 teams are set to head into the post season, but are still battling for seeding, and 2 more are trying to snatch the final slot. The biggest drama of the weekend is set up to be the race for the Eastern Conference’s #1 seed and first round bye. The two heavyweights of the 2017 season have been the Old England Patriots (10-2-0) and the AF#24 Scandinavian Stars (10-2-0) practically from Week 1. Going into their season finales, the Pats will be playing the Jerusalem Cheeseheads (7-5-0) and the Stars take on the Wild Boars of Milan (5-7-0). Becuase the World League splits their post season by Conference, only one of these juggernauts will come away with a first round bye, and the tiebreaker is total points. If either England or Scandinavia wins in Week 13 and the other loses, the winner grabs the #1 seed, but if both win or lose, it will come down to total points and the Patriots hold a 29 point lead over the Stars, so both teams will be watching the scores all weekend.
Whichever of these two fails to secure the #1 seed will enter the post season as the Eastern Conference #2 and their opponent will be determined in Week 13. AF#20 London Falling (8-4-0) controls their own destiny with a 1 game lead and a 100 point advantage over the 4th place Cheeseheads. London is playoff bound with either a win or a loss that doesn’t give up that considerable points lead. Jerusalem needs a miracle – a win by big numbers over the Patriots and a catastrophic loss by the Falling.
In the Western Conference, mediocre play has been the story of 2017, particularly in inter-conference play through the latter half of the season. The top three teams – all of them at .500 – have all secured their playoff tickets, but seeding is still wide open. The Mexico Aztecs (6-6-0) will finish the season with a head to head match against the Buenos Aires Blue Dogs (6-6-0), a rematch of the League’s Week 5 Premier Match that the Aztecs won 104-84, and the Defending World Champion Dacusville Devils (6-6-0) end 2017 against the 12th place City of Champions (2-10-0). If Dacusville loses, the winner of the Aztecs-Blue Dogs game will secure the #1 seed and the first round bye, but if the Devils can get their 3rd consecutive win, the Western Conference seeding will come down to points tiebreakers as well. Mexico has the scoring edge, going into the final week with 1117 season points, while Buenos Aires and Dacusville are nearly side by side with 1088 and 1084 points, respectively.
There are rumours already leaking out of the league offices that World League officials plan to make moves over the 2017-18 off season to address post season parity between the Conferences, but what those moves might be isn’t clear at this point. For now, fans still have plenty of drama and excitement to soak up as the 2017 season winds to a close and the post season gets set to begin. Counting Jerusalem in the mix, there are 4 past World Champions possibly headed to the playoffs this year plus two runners-up, a veritable Who’s Who of World League history all rolled up into one playoff season.