By Gavin Mackenzie
Ryerson’s chances of winning a wildcard spot and going to the CIAU finals in Halifax are alive due to new selection criteria.
Under the old format wildcard spots were determined completely by mathematics but now the wildcard committee will consider the quality of a team’s opponents.
Although higher-ranked teams Western sand Lethbridge were also upset in the playoffs on the weekend, Ryerson can still win one of two byes to the finals if the committee, made up of six coaches, determines that it had a tougher regular-season schedule than other teams applying for a bye.”
“If we were using last year’s criteria we would be dead in the water,” coach Terry Haggerty said hours after he filed an application. “Subjectivity is allowed this year to overcome the fact that numbers don’t always tell the story. It basically comes down to who the selection committee thinks should go.”
The Lethbridge Pronghorns are favoured to win a wildcard because it was ranked No. 1 almost all year. It lost to the third-ranked Alberta Golden Bears in their conference finals on the weekend.
Ryerson, with a record of 24-5, will likely fight for the second wildcard spot with the Western Mustangs which suffered only its second loss of the season in the OUA West finals to McMaster on Saturday.
But Haggerty believes he can easily argue Ryerson had a tougher schedule than Western. The Rams played six games against top-10 ranked teams, winning three of them. By contrast, Western’s only top-10 opponent was McMaster which beat them two out of three times.
The Mustangs chose to load its non-conference schedule with matches against weak teams. For its Christma tournament they invited Ottawa, Waterloo, and Wilfred Laurier, three of the worst teams in the nation. Ryerson beat Alberta in the finals of its Christmas tournament and also beat McMaster in the preseason.
Wildcard selection is based on 10 other criterion including final regular season record and standing, playoff performance, games versus other teams under wildcard consideration, total number of weeks as a top-10 team, record against other conference champions, and non-conference results.