WORLD LEAGUE – It was a real barn burner in the WFL’s week 12 Premier Match between the AF#10 Buenos Aires Blue Dogs (8-3-0) and AF#14 City of Champions (8-3-0) a back and forth game that lived up to all the hype and wasn’t decided till the very end. The game, held as a part of Edmonton’s Grey Cup Festival, and played as the first half of a special cross league double header between the WFL and the CFL was, by many accounts, even more exciting than the CFL Championship game it was supposed to warm the crowd up for. That game was won by Calgary, 27-16, and was more or less decided early in the evening, but in the World League game, fans stayed on the edge of their seats right up to the 114-106 victory on Monday night, when City of Chamions’ Texan defense p on their backs and came back from 7 point deficit to take the lead and then win the game.
The win puts City of Champions in first place in the Western Conference with a 9-3-0 record going into the final week of the regular season, but Buenos Aires is still right behind them in 2nd with an 8-4-0 record, along with AF#24 Mexico Aztecs (8-4-0) who narrowly defeated Arizona, 98-89 this weekend. The rising Youngstown Mafia (7-5-0) also secured a victory this week, 92-49 over Cali, keeping themselves in the Wild Card discussion. Everything in the West is going to come down to the final week of the regular season when City of Champions faces off with Mexico and the Blue Dogs travel to Ohio to meet the Mafia in the week 13 finale. Three of these four teams will be headed to the 2018 World League playoffs, and 1 of them will be staying home.
City of Champions now control their own destiny and if they beat Mexico, will secure the #1 Conference seed and a first round bye, and can even claim the top seed and bye if they lose to Mexico as long as Buenos Aires also loses. If CoC loses and the Blue Dogs win, the #1 seed will go to the total points tiebreaker where Buenos Aires currently has the edge with 1415 points to CoC’s 1372, and Mexico’s 1265, meaning the Aztecs likely can’t get to the top spot even with a week 13 win. The #2 seed is strictly based on second place in the standings, so again, the outcome will be determined by a combination of the week 13 results and points tiebreakers. Buenos Aires controls their own destiny as well, and a win will secure their trip to the post season as either the #1 or #2 seed depending on total season points and Coc’s final game, while a loss will likely get them in as either #2 or #3. Mexico’s best shot at getting in is to beat CoC and have the Blue Dogs lose, which will result in a rematch of last year’s Wild Card game between the Blue Dogs and Aztecs. Finaly, still with a road to the post season is the first year Youngstown franchise. They currently lead Mexico in scoring by 26 points, so if Mexico loses, and doesn’t outscore the Mafia by at least 27 points, Youngstown can snatch the Points Wild Card whether Buenos Aires beats them in week 13 or not.
In the Eastern Conference this week, the AF#11 Old England Patriots (9-3-0) secured their third consecutive post season appearance with their 110-94 victory over the Jerusalem Cheeseheads (6-6-0). The win not only puts England into the playoffs, but clinches the Conference #1 seed and the first round bye that goes with it, the second year in a row England has done so. The Conference second place Dublin Bay Prawns (6-6-0) lost this week to London Falling (6-6-0) to leave both teams in a three-way standings tie with Jerusalem. One of the three will wind up being the #2 seed after next week’s games and one will be the #3 seeded Points Wild Card. One will be left out entirely.
London will finish the season in week 13 on the road against the defending champion Scandinavian Stars (5-7-0) in an exact rematch of last year’s Wild Card Game. But the Falling has a significant advantage (1276 points) in scoring over everyone else in the conference (except England), meaning they are a near lock to secure the Points Wild Card again this year if they lose to the Stars. If they win, however, it could force a tiebreaker situation where Dublin has an edge over the Cheeseheads in total season points and London has a chance at the #2 seed and a home game. Jerusalem will be playing the Milan Wild Boars (5-7-0) and Dublin Bay is in a huge match-up against England to finish the season, and if one team wins and the other loses it will insure the victor moves on, but if they both win or both lose, depending on what London does, it could shuffle everything. No matter how it falls, however, in both conferences, the upcoming season finale should be the most consequential final week in years.