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DEL Time: 07:18
 
DEL approximately follows the postseason systems of each real-life sport. Basketball, baseball, and hockey have conference tournaments, followed by the league tournament. Football has conference championship games, followed by bowl games. All conference champions automatically go to the league tournament or bowl games, with the remainder of the field set by the commissioner (and usually a selection committee) based on record, ranking, and other factors. Independent teams have no automatic bids.

Below are the sport-by-sport notes for postseason play.


Basketball

All basketball teams that are not under sanctions will play in their conference tournaments. (Some real-life conferences have only 8-team tournaments, but DEL does not make such a distinction.) The tournament is essentially a 16-team single-elimination format, with byes given when appropriate.

Following this are the CBEL (68-team) and NIT (32-team) tournaments. Conference champions all go to the CBEL tournament, which is filled out with 36 additional teams. If there is no selection committee, selections will be made in strict order of the pairwise rankings. That is, the top-ranked teams above .500 will be selected. The selection committee will use the pairwise rankings as its primary guide.

After selecting the 64 team field for the CBEL tournament, the NIT tournament field is selected (teams at 0.500 are considered here). The field is 32 teams, and when possible is filled entirely with human-run teams. As with the CBEL tournament, the pairwise rankings are primary when selecting teams.

Brackets are determined by ranking the teams in order of pairwise rankings. The first four teams will be the #1 seeds, the next four the #2 seeds, and so on. Starting with placement of the #2 seeds, care is taken to minimize the possibility of teams from the same conference meeting during regional play. The strongest effort is made to prevent teams meeting in the first three rounds, some effort to prevent this in the round of 16, and minimal effort to prevent it in the round of 8.

Each team selected for the tournament receives 15 prestige points (equal to one press bonus). A first-round win brings 5 more points, a championship game win brings 15 points, and a win in any other round brings 10 points. The tournament champion thus receives a total of 75 prestige points.


Baseball

Baseball conference tournaments have a wide variety of formats in real-life. To simplify for CMEL, we use 4-team tournaments in Tier III, 6-team in Tier II, and 8-team in Tier I (all double-elimination). This gives the regular season more significance in Tier III, where teams probably have to win their tournament to make the CMEL tournament.

Following this is the CMEL (64-team) tournament. Conference champions all go to the tournament, which is filled out with 34 additional teams. If there is no selection committee, selections will be made in strict order of the pairwise rankings. That is, the top-ranked teams above .500 will be selected. The selection committee will use the pairwise rankings as its primary guide.

Brackets are determined by ranking the teams in order of pairwise rankings. The first eight teams will be the #1 seeds in regions 1-8, the second will be the #1 seeds in regions 9-16, the third will be #2 seeds in regions 9-16, and so on. Starting with the placement of the second group, care is taken to minimize the possibility of teams from the same conference meeting during regional play. If it is also possibile to minimize the odds of teams from the same conference meeting during superregional play, this is done as well.

Each team selected for the tournament receives 15 prestige points (equal to one press bonus). Teams receive 15 additional points each for winning the regional and super-regional, and 5 points per world series win. The champion receives 10 more points (in addition to the 5 received for winning the championship game), for a total bonus of 75.

Brackets

All baseball tournaments are double-elimination, which makes for more complicated bracket formats. Below are the three tournament formats currently in use. The game breakdowns assume the higher seed advances, except when noted. If an upset occurs, swap the teams' seeds and continue through the tournament. There are also "two-team tournaments" used in CMEL super regionals and the championship series; these are simple best-of-three series.

8-Team Bracket

  • Day 1: #1 vs. #8, #2 vs. #7, #3 vs. #6, #4 vs. #5. The 1-4 seeds win and remain unbeaten; the 5-8 seeds lose for the first time.
  • Day 2: #1 vs. #4, #2 vs. #3, #5 vs. #8, #6 vs. #7. The 1-2 seeds win and remain unbeaten. The 3-4 seeds lose for the first time. The 5-6 seeds win and remain once-beaten. The 7-8 seeds lose and are eliminated.
  • Day 3: #1 vs. #2, #3 vs. #5, #4 vs. #6. The 1 seed wins and remains unbeaten. The 2 seed loses for the first time. The 3-4 seeds win and remain once-beaten. The 5-6 seeds lose and are eliminated.
  • Day 4 (CASE 1 -- #1 wins day 4): #1 vs. #4, #2 vs. #3. The 1 seed wins and remains unbeaten. The 2 seed wins and remains once-beaten. The 3 and 4 seeds lose and are eliminated.
  • Day 5 (CASE 1): #1 vs. #2. If the 1 seed wins, it is the champion. If it loses, the two teams play again on day 6 to determine the champion in a winner-take-all match.
  • Day 4 (CASE 2 -- #1 loses day 4): #1 vs. #4, #2 vs. #3. The 1 seed loses and falls into the losers bracket. The 2 and 4 seeds win and remain once-beaten. The 3 seed is eliminated.
  • Day 5 (CASE 2): #2 vs. #4. The 2 seed wins and remains once-beaten. The 4 seed loses and is eliminated.
  • Day 6 (CASE 2): #1 vs. #2. Both teams have lost once, so the winner of this game is the tournament champion.

6-Team Bracket

  • Day 1: #1 vs. #6, #2 vs. #5, #3 vs. #4. The 1-3 seeds win and remain unbeaten; the 4-6 seeds lose for the first time.
  • Day 2 (CASE 1 -- #1 wins day 2): #1 vs. #4, #2 vs. #3, #5 vs. #6. The 1 and 2 seeds win and remain unbeaten. The 3 seed loses for the first time. The 5 seed wins and remains once-beaten. The 4 and 6 seeds lose and are eliminated.
  • Day 3 (CASE 1): #1 vs. #2, #3 vs. #5. The 1 seed wins and remains unbeaten. The 2 seed loses for the first time. The 3 seed wins and remains once-beaten. The 5 seed loses and is eliminated.
  • Day 4 (CASE 1): #2 vs. #3. The 2 seed wins and remains once-beaten. The 3 seed loses and is eliminated.
  • Day 5 (CASE 1): #1 vs. #2. If the 1 seed wins, it is the champion. If it loses, the two teams play again on day 6 to determine the champion in a winner-take-all match.
  • Day 2 (CASE 2 -- #1 loses day 2): #1 vs. #4, #2 vs. #3, #5 vs. #6. The 2 seed wins and remains unbeaten. The 1 and 3 seeds lose for the first time. The 4 and 5 seeds win and remain once-beaten. The 6 seed loses and is eliminated.
  • Day 3 (CASE 2): #1 vs. #3, #4 vs. #5. The 1 and 4 seeds win and remain once-beaten. The 3 and 5 seeds lose and are eliminated.
  • Day 4 (CASE 2a -- #1 wins day 4): #1 vs. #2. The 1 seed wins and remains once-beaten. The 2 seed loses for the first time.
  • Day 5 (CASE 2a): #2 vs. #4. The 2 seed wins and remains once-beaten. The 4 seed loses and is eliminated.
  • Day 6 (CASE 2a): #1 vs. #2. The winner is the champion.
  • Day 4 (CASE 2b -- #1 loses day 4): #1 vs. #2. The 2 seed wins and remains unbeaten. The 1 seed loses and is eliminated.
  • Day 5 (CASE 2b): #2 vs. #4. If the 2 seed wins, it is the champion. If it loses, the two teams play again on day 6 to determine the champion in a winner-take-all match.

4-Team Bracket

  • Day 1: #1 vs. #4, #2 vs. #3. The 1 and 2 seeds win and remain unbeaten; the 3 and 4 seeds lose for the first time.
  • Day 2: #1 vs. #2, #3 vs. #4. The 1 seed wins and remains unbeaten. The 2 seed loses for the first time. The 3 seed wins and remains once-beaten. The 4 seed loses and is eliminated.
  • Day 3: #2 vs. #3. The 2 seed wins and remains once-beaten. The 3 seed loses and is eliminated.
  • Day 4: #1 vs. #2. If the 1 seed wins, it is the champion. If it loses, the two teams play again on day 5 to determine the champion in a winner-take-all match.


Football

Instead of tournaments, football has only two sets of single games: conference championships and bowl games. Conference championship games are played only in split conferences (Big 12, SEC, and MAC), between the team at the top of the standings in each division. For other conferences, the team atop the standings after the regular season is the conference champion.

Tournament and top-tier bowl selections are made as described in the college football tournament page. Once these selections are made, the rest of the bowl pairings are decided, from the bottom to the top.

When there is a conference tie-in, a team from the conference is selected in the following way. First, if the conference champion does not yet have a bowl berth (this would be true only of Tier II champions), that team is selected. Second priority goes to the loser of a conference championship game.

Finally, eligible teams are selected in order of the writers' poll rankings. To be eligible for a bowl berth, a team needs to have six wins, of which at least five must be against I-A opponents. Conference champions are always eligible. If the selection would create a rematch from a previously-played game, a team with a worse ranking can be selected in its place, provided that there are sufficient conference berths remaining to ensure that (a) the team being passed on will have a berth, and (b) the team being selected would have had a berth had teams been taken in straight order.

If no eligible team can be found, the system will start using teams with under six wins. This only happens once all eligible teams have been seeded.

When there is no eligible team in the conference, or the berth is at-large, teams are selected similarly in order of writers' poll, and with the same consideration for avoiding rematches.

Prestige rewards are given out depending on the bowl played and the outcome. The BCS champion receives 75 prestige points, while the runner-up receives 50. In other BCS bowls, the winner receives 50 and the loser receives 30. Finally, for non-BCS bowls, the winner receives 30 and the loser receives 15.

DEL college football also includes division I-AA. The I-AA football postseason is separate from I-A, which means that I-AA schools will never go to the BCS. Instead, there is a 16-team tournament. Eight seeds go to the champions of the eight strongest conferences. The other eight seeds go to at-large schools selected by the computer. The tournament is a single-elimination tournament, with all games except for the championship played at the higher-seeded team's campus.


Hockey

Each hockey conference has slightly different conference tournament rules. The CCHA, ECAC, and WCHA have 10-team tournaments; HEA has an 8-team tournament. The bracket is then cut in half by a best-of-three play-in (#1 vs. #10, #2 vs. #9, etc. in the 10-team system) and the surviving teams reseeded. This group of teams then plays a single-elimination tournament to determine the champion.

CHA and MAAC do not have the play-in system; they only have the single-elimination round. CHA's tournament has five teams while MAAC's has 8.

Following this is the 16-team ECHL tournament. The six conference tournament champions all go to the ECHL tournament, with the other ten teams selected based on their pairwise ratings. The selection process is thus not terribly subjective; the committee's only option is to skip over a bottom-tier team in favor of the next available top-tier team, since the pairwise ratings don't necessarily compare top-tier and bottom-tier teams accurately. This option will always be invoked unless the bottom-tier team has proven that it can compete with good programs. In practice, this means that a bottom-tier team would have to schedule many of its non-conference games against good top-tier teams and win enough to establish a credible case for selection. Note that the RPI and PWR were changed this season to make schedule strength more important in the rankings; this tier rule may be relaxed if deemed appropriate.

Note that teams below 0.500 are not considered, while those exactly at 0.500 are considered; however the PWR's heavy reliance on record makes it unlikely that a 0.500 team would be selected.

Seedings are also made fairly objectively. Pairwise comparisons of the 16 tournament teams are made, creating a ranking order (1-16). The top four teams are the 1-seeds, the second four are 2-seeds, the third four are 3-seeds, and the last four are 4-seeds. The bracket is arranged to avoid first-round conference rematches, but otherwise the committee is free to seed teams as it wishes.

In real-life, there are geographical considerations in the seeding process. Four regional venues are predetermined, with two in the northeast and two in the midwest. First, the four regional host teams are put into those regions if they were selected. Second, the #1 seeds are put as close to campus as possible. Remaining teams are seeded to get them close to home as well, avoiding conference rematches. This generally means that ECAC, HEA, and MAAC teams will tend to go into the two east regions, while CCHA, CHA, and WCHA teams tend to go into the midwest regions.

All 16 teams in the hockey tournament receive 15 prestige points (equivalent to one press bonus); each team earns 15 additional points for tournament game it wins (including first-round byes for the top 4 teams). The champion thus receives a total of 75 points.


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