CFL roundtable: Is playoff crossover a good thing?

Gabriel Knapton, right, tackling Shawn Gore of the BC Lions. (Graham Hughes/CP)

Five teams have laid claim to playoff spots in the CFL, and just one West spot remains. At 5-10 with a half-game lead over the Blue Bombers, the BC Lions are the West Division squad with the best odds at it. However, thanks to the divisional-crossover rule, the 5-10 Montreal Alouettes—currently in fourth in the East—are tied with BC and locked in on the spot as well.

In this edition of the roundtable, Sportsnet’s CFL insiders tackle the question:

The CFL is the only major North American sports league that allows a divisional crossover in the playoffs. Is this a good wrinkle or outdated?

DONNOVAN BENNETT: I’ve always found it weird that Montreal could represent the West in the Grey Cup and play an East Division team that is farther west than they are geographically. If they get into the title game, can they say they accomplished one of their season-long goals of winning “the division”? It adds intrigue to the playoff races, but it’s awkward and arguably unfair—especially since the schedules are so unbalanced in a nine-team league.

JUSTIN DUNK: It’s a good wrinkle. The crossover allows the best teams to make the playoffs, even if 66 percent of the teams are making the post-season. Other North American sports leagues should consider a rule change like it.

JAMIE THOMAS: In a league that allows almost 70 percent of its teams to make the playoffs the crossover rule makes sense. It’s bad enough a team will make the playoffs with a record below 500. So you may as well take the best of the worst. And a team should never be rewarded for playing in a bad division.

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