Wednesday 11 August 2010

Could the East Finally Crossover to the West?

When you look at the current CFL standings, one thing pops out: the East is currently occupying the crossover spot.

Let me rewind for a second here. For those that do not know, if the last-place team in one division has a better record than the third-place team in the other division, the last-place team will cross over to the other division for the playoffs. Got that? Good.

The CFL adopted this version of the crossover rule in 1997, and it has been used six times:
  • 2009: BC Lions (Won)
  • 2008: Edmonton Eskimos (Won)
  • 2005: Saskatchewan Roughriders (Lost)
  • 2003: BC Lions (Lost)
  • 2002: Saskatchewan Roughriders (Lost)
  • 1997: BC Lions (Lost)
What is the one thing you notice? Yes, there has been a crossover the last two seasons, but that's not it. Yes, the last two seasons the crossover team has won the Division Semi-Final, but that's not it either. Yes! The crossover has only been used to bring a West team to the East. The East Division has never had a crossover team.

Western dominance has been something that commentators have been talking about for a long time. The belief was that the four teams in the West have been, and still are, better than the four teams in the East.

It looks like 2010 could change all that.

The Lions and Eskimos, coincidentally the only two crossover teams to win, are currently 1-5 in the West Division. The Tiger-Cats and the Blue Bombers, coincidentally the only two teams to lose to crossover teams, are currently 2-4 in the East Division. That means that if the playoffs began today, the Bombers (who currently lose the tiebreaker to the Cats based on head-to-head record) would cross over into the West Division to play Saskatchewan in the West Division Semi-Final.

I know it is way too early to be talking about the playoffs, and many things can happen between now and November, but I wouldn't be surprised if the fourth-place East Division team has a better record than the third-place West Division team when the season is over. To put it bluntly, the Esks and Leos have looked like sh*t. They've only beaten each other, and aside from an injury to Lions QB Casey Printers, they have fielded the teams they'll likely field for the rest of the season.

Having said that, the Cats have only beaten the Bombers, and the Bombers have only beaten the Cats and Esks, so it's not like they are world beaters either.

It will be interesting to see if the East can finally get over that hurdle and cross over to the West. After the next twelve games we'll know the answer.

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