With the Uniball regular season fast approaching its close, thoughts are turning to the Playoffs. When are they? Who qualifies for them? How do they qualify? Who gets promoted? How are tiebreakers handled?
Well, we did all the hard work of finding the rules, reading the rules, misinterpreting the rules, correcting ourselves and trying to translate how this stuff works in plain English. We still have a couple of loose ends to tie up as there were some inconclusive areas but we hope to have answers for those toward the middle of next week.
The rules are different in all 3 tiers of Uniball so we will take them one tier at a time.
Before we do that, there are some rules that apply to all 3 tiers that we will cover. All regular season fixtures must be completed by Sunday, February 23rd 2020. The result submission deadline is 23:59 Monday, February 24th 2020.
There has been a number of controversies over the years with this as teams have failed to submit results on time and have suffered Playoff entry or Playoff ranking impacts as a result.
BUCS are fairly stringent with the application of this rule, however they do also have the right to amend qualification criteria as they see fit.
Tiebreakers in Uniball are first decided by head-to-head results. This can be quite straight forward in Div 2 as there are instances of teams only facing each other once all season. However, they can of course draw.
In the Prem and Div 1 where teams play each other twice, the aggregate score of the two fixtures will decide who comes out on top.
If there is still not a winner then it goes to average points conceded over the season excluding any Walkover results (not points difference).
If that still does not determine a winner then it is decided by a coin toss!
The Prem is by far the easiest to understand and perhaps the least competitive in the first Playoff round. Basically the bottom team from each conference is relegated (with no relegation playoff) and everyone else is in the Championship Playoffs.
What’s interesting about the Prem is that their Playoffs mix the conferences in the first round. So all Quarter Final games are ‘North v South’ with the seeding determining who plays who, and who is the Home side – 1st v 4th & 2nd v 3rd.
The four Prem Quarter Final games will be played on March 1st, two weeks later on March 15th the two Semi Final games will be played. The Prem Final will be played on Tuesday 24th March as the curtain-raiser for BUCS Big Wednesday.
The bottom team from each of the six conferences get automatically relegated with no relegation Playoff.
The top two teams from each Conference are guaranteed a place in the ‘Trophy’ Playoffs and then four 3rd place teams (two from the North conferences and two from the South) are selected based on who ends the season with the best record. (see tiebreaker rules above).
So that means eight teams from the North and eight teams from the South enter into a four-round Playoff. The North and South teams are not mixed during the first three stages so the Final consists of the best from the North and the best from the South.
Both Finalists are promoted to the Prem regardless of who wins the Final.
Seedings are where things get a bit vague as BUCS documentation doesn’t cover this in any detail for Div 1 and Div 2, so we will ask them for more guidance on that, but for now we have gone with what we think is the most logical approach based on the rest of the BUCS rules.
The 8 Div 1 ‘Last 16’ games will be played on March 1st, a week later the 4 Quarter Final games will be played on March 8th, then the week after that on March 15th the 2 Semi Final games will be played. The Div 1 Final will be played on Tuesday 24th March as the curtain-raiser for BUCS Big Wednesday.
Slightly different down in Div 2 as the six 1st placed teams gain automatic promotion. There are still Playoffs, however there is no prize of promotion to the finalists/winner, simply bragging rights. There is also no mixing of North and South as two separate Playoffs for two separate Conference Cups are played.
There is obviously no relegation from the bottom tier so all teams that come 2nd or lower are guaranteed to be in Div 2 next year.
Teams finishing in 1st or 2nd place are automatically in their respective North or South Conference Cup. The two best 3rd place teams from the North and the two best 3rd place teams from the South will also qualify.
This means a total of 8 teams from the North form a 3 round Playoff, while their counterparts in the South do the same.
Taking into account both the North and South Conference Cups, the eight Div 2 Quarter Final games will be played on March 1st, two weeks later on March 15th the four Semi Final games will be played. The 2 Finals’ dates are still to be confirmed, given that the Prem and Div 1 Finals are on Tuesday March 24th, we would assume that the Div 2 Finals will either be played on Sunday March 22nd or Sunday March 29th. We will update this article once we have the dates confirmed.
A total of eight teams will suffer Relegation this season in Uniball, one team from each conference in the Prem and Div 1. Two teams from the Prem will be relegated to Div 1, and six teams from Div 1 will be relegated to Div 2.
BUCS try to align the Div 1 relegated teams to their geographic equivalent Div 2 counterparts so that it’s pretty much a straight swap with the promoted teams.
With only one team being promoted and one relegated in the Prem/Div 1 exchange for each of the North and South clusters, it’s not always a straight forward swap geographically which can result in a bit of shuffling of teams at the Div 1 level each season.