When a strong contender that effectively earned 50 percent of the vote is rewarded with zero percent of the opportunity, the system has failed.
Awaiting MLS owners vote result. Word was playoffs may move to 2-leg conference semis AND finals, MLS Cup to home of higher-seeded finalist.
This issue cuts right to the heart of what you think the purpose of the tournament is. Clearly it's not just for determining a champion, or else it would be smaller than 64 teams and the Patriot League wouldn't have a guaranteed spot.
"It (the Olympics experience) was really intense. The most intense thing I have ever been a part of," he said. "I am human, like everyone else and I went through a lot in the last month and a half. After it all, it’s hard sometimes emotionally to get back up for things."
"I know I will be there when it counts," Luongo said after the Canucks beat the Ducks Wednesday. "I am not worried about it, although I know that people are panicking all over the world. That’s how I feel, anyway."
With the thrill of the unexpected, though, comes the unavoidable tradeoff of a certain kind of justice for obviously superior teams -- such as, say, Kansas, which defeated rival Kansas State three times en route to the Big 12's regular season and tournament championships, only to watch the Wildcats move closer to the national championship because their inexplicable lapse against an inferior opponent came at a more convenient time in the season -- whose otherwise brilliant campaigns can go up in a blink. (The classic football example is the 2007 Patriots, arguably the greatest team in NFL history, whose perfect season was extinguished by a six-loss team that not only lost to New England in the regular season but finished three full games behind the champion of its own division.) For all the BCS' faults, producing an "unworthy" champion has never been one of them, as opposed to the occasional Villanova, N.C. State and Arizona in the basketball tournament; the Series' sins have always been at the opposite end, of leaving obviously worthy contenders out of the mix rather than letting stragglers in. . . .
There is a middle ground between those competing poles that recognizes that a playoff should be open enough to allow all worthy contenders, restrictive enough to exclude the riffraff, and designed with the goal of producing a champion that has inherently produced the best season by virtue of winning the playoff. Both Brian Cook's tightly restricted six-team proposal (which swears off automatic bids for anyone) and Dan Wetzel's expansive 16-team scheme (which admits all conference champions, even from the Sun Belt) come pretty close. Of course I have my own preferences somewhere between those two plans, preferably appropriating an Australian Rules format.
But this post isn't about conjuring up specific plans, or we'd be here all day -- the first priority is to spread of the gospel of any playoff; the details can come later. It's only to recognize that March Madness, for all its enthralling surprises, is always an important reminder that whatever makes it through when the time comes -- and I still say it's going to come -- should consciously heed both extremes.
Premier League sources have confirmed that the play-off proposal was presented at the most recent meeting of all clubs, on 4 February, and the league's chief executive, Richard Scudamore, was authorised to return with further details in April.
It is understood that the idea was enthusiastically supported by all clubs – except the so-called big four of Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool. Scudamore, and the league's secretary, Mike Foster, will examine the practicalities of how a play-off system could work: whether it should take the form of a home-and-away knockout system, similar to that in the Football League, or incorporate seeding. They will also look into when matches could be fitted into a crowded fixture calendar before making recommendations.
Tracy's Pick for the Title:
"Lakers. (Host: That easy, again?) It’s no knock on Cleveland, I think Cleveland’s gonna get there… Cleveland to me is really not that good. If you take what the Celtics did last year… You knew, they were either gonna get to the finals, or they were gonna win it. You can’t really say the same thing about the Cavaliers. Although, they had the best record in the league this year, a lot of people like, ‘Okay, they havin’ a great year, but we don’t know if they can win the championship.’ They really didn’t do anything on the road with the elite teams in the league, they lost, they had a bad record when they went to face the elite teams in the league. I think they’re a good team, but I don’t they’re ready to take the next step."
If you want to go ahead and underestimate the Falcons again and say they'll be out after the first round of the playoffs, go ahead. You'll probably be wrong. They've been exceeding expectations all year and they're not done yet.