I can't believe that any team in the top 12ish would prefer to play for the 0.5 playoff instead of a guaranteed spot. After all, you are still getting a shot at that playoff if you finish 4th in the Hex. And with the extended knockout round for the others, 1 bad game and you're still out. I don't think that the new format is a 'shortest route possible' for an underdog. That's likely 16 games - most all of which need to be wins to qualify. I'd rather take my shot at finishing 4th in the hex And with the multiple playoffs required (vs Hex4 and Interconfederation) - it's really like a 0.25 spot for the 7-35.