This is the time of year in Cook Inlet Conference football when coaches and athletes sometimes have to double as mathletes to determine who qualifies for the state playoffs and in what seeding order.
This we know for sure: Defending state champion Service (6-0 CIC), defending runner-up South (5-1) and West (5-1) have secured three of the CIC's four playoff spots.
This we still don't know: Who gets which seed.
This we know for sure: East (3-3), Dimond (3-3) and Chugiak (2-4) all remain alive for the fourth playoff spot.
There are six tie-breakers in the CIC, but the first three usually suffice: Head-to-head results, record against conference opponents that finish higher in the standings than the tied teams, and defensive points allowed in head-to-head games among tied teams.
And note this: If three teams are tied, as many tie-breakers as necessary are used to eliminate one team from the tie. Once a single team is eliminated from a three-way tie, the formula reverts back to the first tie-breaker, and so on, to bust the two-team tie.
Here's the short version of where the contenders stand heading into the final week of the regular season:
SERVICE -- A victory over West on Thursday night will earn the Cougars first place in the CIC and the conference's top seed.
If Service loses, and heavily-favored South beats Dimond on Saturday, there would be a three-way tie for first place between Service, South and West, which would unleash tie-breaker hell.
SOUTH -- A victory over Dimond would give the Wolverines no worse than the second seed.
WEST -- A victory over Service would create a three-way tie for first. If West loses, it can do no worse than the third seed.
EAST -- A victory over Chugiak would secure the fourth seed for the Thunderbirds. In that scenario, even if Dimond upset South, East and Dimond would both be 4-3, but East would gain the playoff spot by virtue of its 21-0 win over Dimond.
DIMOND -- A victory over South and an East loss to Chugiak would secure the Lynx the fourth seed. A Dimond loss and an East loss would create a three-way tie between Dimond, East and Chugiak for the fourth seed. All would be 1-1 head-to-head, so further tie-breakers would be required.
CHUGIAK: A win over East and a Dimond loss to South would create that three-way tie for the fourth seed and deliver tie-breaker hell.
Find Doyle Woody's blog at adn.com/hockeyblog or call him at 257-4335.
By DOYLE WOODY
Anchorage Daily News