D-II playoff picture will be set this weekend
October 13, 2016
This weekend represents the last of the 2016 DODEA-Europe Division II football season. And while most of the eight-team playoff field has been settled, a few issues remain.
In the North region, unbeaten Rota is the No. 1 seed regardless of how it fares against visiting SHAPE. Bitburg (3-1) has the second seed and a home semifinal game secured entering its regular-season finale against Baumholder, already mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.
That leaves AFNORTH/Brussels (1-3), International School of Brussels (2-2) and SHAPE (2-2) battling for the region’s final two playoff berths. Conveniently enough, two of the three teams play each other.
ISB visits AFNORTH/Brussels on Friday evening. A win for ISB would lock up the third seed for the Raiders and hand SHAPE the fourth seed regardless of its outcome against Rota. An AFNORTH/Brussels win, coupled with the likely instance of a SHAPE loss to Rota, would require a complicated three-way tiebreaker to discern the two postseason qualifiers. Victories by both AFNORTH/Brussels and SHAPE would eliminate ISB, with the Spartans getting the No. 3 seed.
The South region, meanwhile, sends four of its five teams to the quarterfinals, and those four teams have already been identified as Ansbach, Naples, Vicenza and Hohenfels, in that order.
Two-time defending champion Ansbach has clinched the top seed and can wrap up another undefeated regular season with a win over 1-2 Hohenfels. But a loss wouldn’t knock the Tigers out of the fourth seed, as they own the head-to-head tiebreaker against Aviano.
Similarly, Naples could claim the second seed outright with a win over Aviano on Saturday. But even a loss to the winless Saints wouldn’t affect the Wildcats’ status as the second seed, as they’d finish level with Vicenza at 2-2 and own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Cougars.
All told, there’s only one truly meaningful game on the Division II docket this weekend, a brief lull before the start of the three-week postseason.