I think the East will be a tough division this season, but when only 1 team will miss the playoffs the idea is to not be horrible. And if all 4 Eastern teams are fierce and 4 Western teams trade off wins and losses and hover around mediocrity in the standings, it could be that all 4 East teams hit the playoffs.
If all Eastern teams are fierce, they will trade wins against each other as well, won't they? All Eastern teams play 10 games vs each other with Hamilton & Toronto facing off 4 times as do Mtl & Ottawa. Those could easily end in splits. Hamilton has the toughest West schedule with 6 games vs Wpg, Cal & SK, Ott maybe the easiest. And that doesn't take into account byes. Toronto has a bye in week 1 so essentially getting only 2 byes & the next one is in game 5. That leaves a long stretch to season end. Does that make a difference? Look at Winnipeg who hasn't a bye until they play 11 games, having just played Calgary in 3 of the 5 games leading up to the bye. They then play the Riders 3 times & in Hamilton before they have another bye. One reason why I see the Bombers in tough.
Yes, highly unlikely the 4th Eastern team will get the crossover. I was speaking mathematically if the Eastern teams dominate their games against the West. My point was that 4 of the Western teams may be evenly matched and play .500 against one another, and if they lose their games against the East, well... I'm not making any predictions about any possible crossovers though.
I'm cool with this. If you are the best team in the standings the year before, you should have the most difficult path to victory the next year. It makes sense for Ottawa to have the 'easiest' schedule due to this. (I'm sure Edmonton has something similar out west)
The byes are not as straight forward. I'm not sure if that has to do with stadium availability perhaps. Historically we've seen Toronto always get that 3 games in 9-10 days schedule year after year and they usually manage to surprisingly do well with it. It happened to Ottawa once and fans were outraged.
I agree with you though, having it near the first or last few weeks might not be the best depending where you're team is at.
Good analysis. Schedule sucks. Playing teams back to back and 3 times in 5 weeks flat out lacks imagination. Bombers having 3 byes in the final 8 weeks should give them a well rested team for the playoffs though.
9 team league should have every team play each other twice once in each half of the season. How hard can it be?