Technicalities could cost Wildcats first place spot
Last week, I wrote a column that startled a lot Wildcat football fans. It’s hard to visualize Linfield not getting the bid into the playoffs let alone being beat by such an under-rated team such as Pacific University’s during next week’s game in Forest Grove, Ore. Even though the chances of an upset over Linfield is completely diminished with Pacific’s loss to Willamette on Saturday Nov. 10, not many students understand that other teams in the Northwest Conference actually have a chance of upsetting the Wildcats in their pursuit for their shot at playoffs.
So what exactly are the rules in regards to a three way tie? As I mentioned in my last article, if Pacific University was able to pull out a win against both Willamette and the Wildcats, then Linfield, Pacific University, and Pacific Lutheran University would all have a one loss record. This would cause a three way tie for first place within the NWC.
According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III rules, each conference has their own way of determining how a three-way-tie for first is broken. Described in the NWC Football Sports Procedure Manual, if a three-way tie were to occur, first a head-to-head among the three teams would assume and the winner would have to win 2-0 in order to advance. If none of the teams win against the other two teams in a head-to-head face off, it would be the team with the best record versus the fourth place team. If a three-way tie still occurs, the team with the best over-all record. If a three-way tie still cannot be settled, the team with the longest time since participating in the NCAA Division III playoffs.
So basically if Pacific University had won the Nov. 10 game last Saturday against Willamette and beaten Linfield during the last game of the season, Pacific would have an opportunity of taking away the bid from Linfield for the Division III playoffs.
Because Pacific lost to Willamette, there really is nothing stopping our Wildcats from cruising through their last game against Pacific University and taking the Division III playoff bid. The only potential threat is if the Wildcat loses to Pacific University, causing a tie within the conference between Linfield and Pacific Lutheran University.
But the chance of this is basically abysmal. Willamette University beat the boxers 21-17 and the last time Linfield played Willamette, it was a shut out with the Wildcats destroying the Bearcats 56-15.
So what’s my point? My point is I feel like a lot of Linfield students (including myself) take for granted the success of our football team. I mean can we really blame ourselves though? Sure it’s great that our team totally crushes every team in our division, but when our team is dominating over every team in our conference with an average of 45 points, let’s face, it gets a little boring.
Now, I’m definitely not saying that I don’t enjoy our Wildcats’ journey for their 59th straight winning season. It’s actually one of the things I like to brag most about Linfield. Having the most winningest college team in the United States is a pretty awesome thing to say about your school. Not only is our football program one of the most coveted assets of Linfield College, but it’s one of the things that students, faculty and alumni are most proud of. It brings the Linfield community together.
Potential threats, such as Pacific and Pacific Lutheran, are almost a sort of blessing in disguise. Showing the mortality of our football program’s winning streak helps us to remain humble as our Wildcats continue compete with determination and class. Either that, or these two schools’ attempts to upset the Wildcats is a reminder that the true competition for the men’s football team isn’t during the regular season; it’s during the playoffs.
Camille Weber/ Sports Columnist