IFFL – The IFFL playoffs are just around the corner in week 12, and the AF#1 Hawaiian Beach Bums (9-0-0) are poised to be the first team since the 1972 Miami Dolphins to run the gauntlet of a perfect season. Coach Christopher is already the early favourite for Coach of the Year after smashing all the records in the book. The Bums have already secured their post season appearance – second in a row for the two year old team – and are not only ranked 1st in the IFFL by a 2 game margin, but also 1st in total scoring with 2,228 of them. After just 9 games they have not only eclipsed their own 2017 regular season – 11 game – scoring total of 1782 points, but also have passed 2017’s scoring leader, the Los Angeles Dragons, who totalled 2103 points in 12 games. The IFFL Season Scoring Record (Venice Killerwhales, 3280; 2015) tracks scoring through a full 17 weeks of the Regular and Post Season play, and at their current clip, Hawaii is on track to break that record by roughly a thousand points!
Hawaii’s dominance aside there is still a lot to play for across all three divisions.
Staying in the Pacific, the result between the AF#19 Perth Panthers (4-5-0) and Kuala Lumpur Tigers (4-5-0) this weekend could well decide the battle for second place. If Perth wins, then follows it up with a win over the Melbourne Maulers (3-6-0), it will be the Panthers that get a rematch of last week’s 264-204 loss to Hawaii and a chance to defend their title in the Pacific Division Championship. That would be a rematch of last seasons divisional title game. Conversely, if Kuala Lumpur win their next two, including the season finale against Hawaii, they with secure a playoff berth for the first time in their short history. If Perth and KL both go 1-1 it will come down to tie breaking scenarios, and with both teams having the same divisional record, it will come down to total season points.
In Europe, the AF#18 Cardiff Crusaders (7-2-0) have also confirmed a playoff berth and will host their Division Championship Game, while the AF#23 Scottish Claymores (4-5-0) and Venice Killerwhales (4-5-0) are the likely contenders to fight it out for second spot. Scotland’s win over Venice last week, 188-176, put both teams on the same record of 4-5-0 with Scotland currently holding the divisional win tie breaker. Scotland can end the Istanbul Lions’ (3-6-0) season this weekend with a victory, but should Istanbul and Cardiff both win both of their remaining games (leaving their opponents, Scotland and Venice to lose both of theirs) it is actually Istanbul that would jump into second place in the Europa Division
In the Americas things get complicated, and there is still a lot to play for. The Rochester Grizzlies (2-7-0) have been eliminated, but 1st and 2nd place are still up for grabs. The Chicago Red Stars (5-4-0) can virtually end the L A Dragons (4-5-0) season this weekend with a win while the New Orleans VooDoo (5-4-0) can put themselves in the box seat with a win over the Grizzlies. However, if LA wins both of their remaining games causing New Orleans and Chicago go 1-1 in their final two we could end up with a three way tie of 6-4-0 records with both 1st and 2nd place decided by tiebreakers, in which case it would be LA and New Orleans that would go through, leaving Chicago to rue those early season losses.
Just two weeks left to go, and so much still left to play for over the remainder of the regular season, with many possible scenarios that could play out, not to mention teams still trying to pad their scores to put themselves in good standing for the Points Wild Card spot that will give one team a ticket into round 2 even if they lose the Divisional Championship round. Though Hawaii, and then Cardiff are the clear front runners, should it skip over both due to them winning in the first round of the post season, the points race is very tight among the next 5 – and even 6 – teams (Rochester – 1,710 points). The final two weeks of regulation are going to make all the difference.