Liguilla - Spanish for Money Grab

I always thought the NBA and NHL went to ridiculous lengths to give their leagues some relevance by having 16 teams make the post-season in their leagues. And then a few years ago, the NBA took it one step further by extending the first round series to 7 games. Amazingly enough, it was in a year when the LA Lakers were in the bottom half of the playoff seeds. But when it comes to drawing money from dry wells, no one does it better than the Femexfut, and their convoluted playoff system.

Will this ever change? Of course not! The television giants who run the Mexican league will have 4 weeks of playoff games to generate ad revenue. 4 weeks of diluted competition.

Where to begin? How about the 3 "groups" of 6 teams? Why is the league split into groups at all? The league is still contested in a round-robin. There is no added weight to beating teams in the group. The groups have no purpose at all.

If anything, it can create an unfair unbalance of strong teams in one group. Which is exactly what happened in this tournament. Why is it unfair? Because the 3rd place teams have a wild card round with the best 4th place finisher.

San Luis has had a great season. They finished 4th in the table. Unfortunately, they finished third in their group, so they have to play this unnecessary round, while Monterrey, who finished 8th in the table (2nd in their group with 7 less points), gets the week off.

I am not totally against the playoff, but if I were running things (and I had to play a short season), I would eliminate the groups, and then have the top 4 teams play in a post-season tournament.

The current system isn't all bad, though. I do like the rule that the lower seed has to win the aggregate score outright. No away goals rule here.

But it is what it is, so here are some predictions.

Atlas-Necaxa. Atlas has a home leg of the Libertadores vs. Lanus on Tuesday, and then this game on Thursday. If Atlas advances in both, I hope they put all their eggs in the libertadores basket. But since they have not won a league title in almost 60 years, they have a decision to make. Necaxa advances.

Pachuca-San Luis. San Luis has had a great season, and Pachuca has been average. Pachuca has been Mexico's most successful team over the past few years, and they have the hardware to show for it. San Luis' defensive posture could cost them in this round. Pachuca in the upset.