Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Relegation & Promotion: PSP Style

I'ma give y'all the benefit of the doubt and assume you kinda skimmed over the relegation/promotion part of the MAO review--and since it's important (to me and all right thinking peeps) I'm taking a moment of my valuable time to address this topic specifically.
Right now 2 teams are relegated from the Champions division every event and 2 teams are promoted up from the Challengers. The current process is dramatic but it doesn't really fit the claimed league intent, which is that the Champions division consist of the ten best teams in the world that event. But just because the league relegates the 2 lowest Champions there's no reason to believe that teams previously relegated are better than the teams the newly promoted are replacing. It's simply that if 2 go down 2 gotta come up and right now they make the biggest deal out of the 4 teams fighting on Sunday morning to stave off relegation. All that really does is give the prelim bottom dweller(s) one last chance to avoid being relegated but it seems to me more of a spectacle than a system guided by competition or the league's stated desire to see the 10 best teams compete in Champions.
What the league should do, beginning in Chicago, is simply take the bottom team from each Champions bracket and match them up with the top 2 teams from the Challengers. If the Challenger wins then that Challenger is promoted and replaces the defeated Champion. If not, you reaffirm for the time being that the ten best teams are the ones that are currently competing in the Champions division. In you want to be the Champion you have to beat the Champion--and those match-ups will be a lot more exciting than pairs of Champs fighting to avoid relegation.
Promotion & relegation is a good idea as is the Challengers division but this is a better way to implement promotion & relegation than the system used now. Tell the PSP you favor head-to-head Champs vs. Challengers.


Anonymous said...

Whether it is the current 2-up/2-down system, or a head-to-head system, it will be interesting to see how the promotion/relegation works out over a season. Will it be the same few teams alternating divisions each event? Will one of the big teams have a bad weekend and find themselves in the Challengers?

Baca Loco said...

You mean like the Russians? :)

Brian said...

When would be a good time to play these matches though? I’m having a hard time trying to figure that out. On one hand if you play it before the challengers final match it will be kind of silly watching to teams play for cash that just lost. On the other hand, if you do these after the finals match it brings in another problem. Using MAO as an example, if vicious would of lost its game and 187 won theirs, it would be kind of strange seeing the team that just got beat in a finals match get to play in the champions division but the winner not make it in. The other option would be to keep everything the way it is right now, and have the 2 that got sent down and the 2 that got sent up play eachother to kick off the next event and see who really prepared the best for the next event. I like this option because it makes sure you have the best team playing at the start of each event. The warm-up game might also help these teams get ready for the big boys. Not really sure if this is a good idea or not, but I just don’t see a good time to do it on Sunday that won’t take away from the concept of crowning a winner in the challengers division.

Nick Brockdorff said...

Agree with Brian.

The play off you suggest only works, if there is just no Challengers final game.... otherwise the whole thing becomes silly...

You can lose every game in the Champions division, then go off and win the Challengers final, at the same event?

And, as Brian said, you can win the Challengers division, and then not have won promotion anyway?

I agree with your sentiment, that it would make for a fairer system... but at the same time, it makes the Challengers title game pointless.

Anonymous said...

The Russians didn't just have a bad day, they had the preliminary bracket from hell. Of course Heat faced the same bracket and struggled. If xfactor instead of cep was in that bracket they'd have battled against relegation on Sunday.

Anonymous said...

Who said the league's stated goal was to have the best 10 teams in champions?

I was pretty sure the league's stated goal was to provide a better way for teams to move in and out of the Pro bracket, and the way they are doing it now does that very well.

There's basically three roughly equally-sized tiers to Pro, the regular Champions teams, the regular challengers teams, and the teams that move between. The teams on the bubble get whole events playing a challenger group of opponents, then get a whole event playing a champions group of opponents - including the very best teams in the world.

If PSP switched to Baca's method, you'd lose the whole point of champions/challengers, which is that up-and-coming teams get to "try out" being Pro. Instead of on-the-margin teams having the opportunity to face off against the best teams in the sport, and hopefully improve as a result, you'd only be one-match-against-the-worst-pro better than the old D1/Pro system.

sdawg said...

Have the top two teams of the Challengers division tie for first (that takes care of the prizes/series points problem). They play the bottom two teams of the champions division.

Anonymous said...

Too bad the Challengers won't all be filmed in Chicago. It would be fun to watch all the Russian games as they wreak havoc on the Challengers division.

Baca Loco said...

745 Anon
Your claim might have some merit if both CEP and Russians hadn't lost their relegation match-ups against TonTons and Infamous.

Grant Harrison said...

Maybe the way the brackets are worked out for both Pro & Pro Challengers should be looked at?

At MAO you had both XSV and Aftershock placed in the same bracket when it would have been better if each of the demoted Pro teams were split into separate Pro Challenger brackets.

Same goes with the the PRO brackets for the next event. Vicious and 187 should be split into separate Pro brackets.

From a fan point of view I find the current system exciting. If they fixed the brackets it would be fairer for the demoted Pro teams as they would never have to play each other until the semis (If they can make it that far).

Baca's suggestion has its merits but with no additional prize money involved in beating the bottom Pro teams what's stopping the Pro Challengers from purposely losing matches against the Pros so they can remain in the Pro Challengers for the next event?

Anonymous said...

The leagues stated goal is to make PBA a success. Everything, for the foreseeable future, will be geared toward this

EC Lil Baller said...

@Grant, for MAO 5 Pro teams from Dallas dropped to Challengers. Three went to one Challengers bracket of five teams and two to the other bracket. I'm pretty sure for Chicago that each bracket of five teams will have one descending pro as each bracket of Champions will have one ascending team.

And the incentive for Challengers shouldn't be easy cash but getting back into the top division of paintball in the world. If they wanted "easy" cash they should stick to lower divisions but I'm pretty sure very few teams play paintball to make a quick buck.

I think Baca's suggestion is the best for figuring out who the top 10 teams are at that time. However, if the idea of the challengers division is to give a breeding ground for teams on the cusp to make the jump up to pro, perhaps the pageantry of a Challenger's final and prize money is worth it.

I have a feeling it'll take the rest of this season at least to see how things shake out before PSP makes any adjustments. I'm curious to see if the Russians and CEP will clean up in Chicago or if T1, Texas Storm, or Thunder will make the jump.

Missy Q said...

Would we even be talking about this is the Russians hadn't dropped? No, right?

I'm sure people want to see the Russians in the Champions bracket as they are one of the most successful teams in the league - That does not mean the rules should be changed/tweaked the minute one of the powerhouse teams is in trouble. If Impact had gone down no-one would be talking about 'tweaking the system', not seriously anyway. They are the new guys, no-one would blink.
Promotion/Relegation is a pure form of seeding, based on performance. If you want a system based on reputation and buying power you have plenty of US sports to copy that from, in fact the whole original franchise system was based on that criteria, and it didn't fly.
Why harp-on about the new stories/drama/intrique that will be brought to the table by the exciting new promotion/relegation system, and then poop your panties and try to back-track when it actually happens (but not to a team it 'should' happen to). Now we want an extra game so that the teams that we don't want relegated can still have one last chance to stay right where we want them? Sounds super-super-lame to me.

NTran said...

Anon 9:09 and missy have it right on this one.

Baca Loco said...

Actually Missy you are completely and totally mistaken this time around. The idea was being discussed by some of the pro teams before anyone knew who was being relegated and if you think for a second any of the Champions are shedding a tear over the fate of the Russians you are also delusional. And your maths are equally poor. The suggested change doesn't add any games--it replaces the avoid relegation matches (which were designed purely for the drama) with the head-to-head match-ups betwee bottom Champs and top Challengers. It simply makes more sense.

David said...


Was it the "Champion" pro teams discussing this - the ones that didn't want to get regulated? I doubt the Challenger teams were discussing this.

I'm not arguing one way or the other regarding your idea. However, it is one more game to be played by the Challenger teams - unless you're not worried about declaring a winner of the challenger division and just moving on to regulation matches. And by the way - its the challenger teams (for the most part) that have budget issues and that added game is added expense.

Anonymous said...

The current system gives more opportunity to the Challengers teams at the exchange of more risk for Champions teams. Of course the existing Challengers teams hate it. They would much rather have a system where 10 teams can stay Champions instead of 8.

But the system shouldn't be changed just because some teams want to cut the risk that they're relegated.

Missy Q said...

Senor Loco, you claim I'm wrong but then seem to back up my point (at least in my delusional mind you do). The fact that the Champions teams are discussing ways to switch up the format to give themn a better chance of staying up isn't proving me wrong here...
If we want a promotion/relegation system this is how it works - If teams do poorly they go down. They don't get a 2nd bite at the cherry after this happens because the 'League wants the best teams to compete.'
The reason I question whether we would be discussing this point if the Russians had not been the team to be relegated is simple - We did not have this discussion after the 1st event, when 'more expected' teams were relegated to Challengers, only now.

Out of interest - is there any realistic way that a team relegated to Challengers can come back to win the Champions Series.

NTran said...

Sorry. I actually didn't really agree with missy. I just interpreted things how I wanted to. Now that I reread it, I don't agree.

I'm an opponent of event to event promotion/relegation but I think the way it's done now is more interesting than bacas alternate idea.

Everyone's schedules are weighted equally already since you play all the teams in your bracket. You get 4 matches to prove you belong. If you do poorly then you already get 1 more chance to stay up. Just don't be in the bottom four.

The current method allows more transition between bottom teams and I think that brings more intrigue to me.

I think it gives more incentive for the all the teams in the champions to do well when almost half the field is in jeopardy to go down.

Anonymous said...

Why lament about the games being boring but lobby for a more watered down promotion and regulation? You want excitement but really you don't?

Why is paintball so goddamn divisive?

Ken said...

Shall we split the difference?

The winning Challenger moves up, unchallenged.

The 2nd place Challenger dukes it out with the winner of a bottom two Champions match. The loser of the bottom two Champions match is relegated.

So last place Champion and 1st place Challenger get what they deserve. And we get the added drama of penultimate Champion versus the brides maid Challenger.

Ken said...

You can reward my brilliance with more 'Ask the Coach'

Baca Loco said...

Yes, it was Champion teams but mostly made up from the teams least likely to go down.
You're right it would change the number of games for the Challengers.

Fair enough. It was suggested during Dallas because no one had thought of it before MAO.

Without crunching the numbers I think it would be very very hard if not impossible to get relegated and still win Champs series.

I don't think the impetus behind the idea was to avoid relegation so much as it is to earn a Champions spot--but I can see how it could appear to be otherwise.

For what it's worth I suspect the league won't even consider a change until they have some more experience with the current arrangement.

Baca Loco said...

" .. WASN'T suggested during Dallas .."

Anonymous said...

It's not possible to get relegated and win the series. But it's never really been possible to get last place at an event and win the series either - even if you won every other event, you'd end up with 410 points, which would be 3rd place in last year's standings.

Missy Q said...

I disagree with NTRan, out of spite and bitterness. I reserve the right to change my mind later if I want to...

Anonymous said...

We are talking about this because it is the Russians. It's not a feature that one of the top teams in the league is missing from the competition in event 3 because they had an off event 2. It actually hurts the webcast that we are watching 187 and Vicious compete, instead of Russians.

We may like to talk about the drama, Matty may like to talk about the story. But the fact is the Russians missed it by a point or two.

Heat, the series champions could have been in the exact same place as the Russians if there was just a point or two difference. That's a big flaw when you think about it.

We're not talking about "proving" they deserve to be relegated because of consistently poor performance. We're talking about losing one of the top teams (which easily could have been Heat) from the webcast. The Russians have a huge fan base. Plenty of people follow the games but don't really know what's going on with the relegation concept. They're going to be pretty disappointed to see RL missing from the main action at the next event.

Ya, we'll get to see it on Sunday, but it is somewhat confusing when you think about it.

The relegation from event to event seemed like a great idea. But really it should be relegation at the end of the season.

It's not worth having a World Cup without Dynasty or Damage, or any number of teams playing in it because they had an off event combined with a killer bracket.

Anonymous said...

Put it another way. If 187 and/or Vicious drop down and Russians pop back up, it shows the relegation system based on 1 event is a failure. (CEP probably won't make it back up, Tx Storm will, they looked great, much better than 187)

All that will be said is that we basically "benched" the Russians so we could give 187 the limelight and then "benched" 187 and put the Russians back in.

If you were a coach managing players, that wouldn't make sense. For a league managing teams and the quality of its webcast this doesn't make sense either.

Missy Q said...

Anon 2.01
If the purpose of the Champions div is to showcase the most popular teams with the best hitorical track record then you're making sense.
If the purpose of the Champions league is to have the best performing teams in that division then we can only to judge that on results and points won, not though arbitrary decision-making that favors the more popular teams at a cost to others.

Anonymous said...

MissyQ - put 187 against RL and 187 will lose 9 out of 10 times. Better performing takes on different meaning when you are literally comparing apples to oranges. Upton advances against a weaker Thunder and Vicious and Storm battle it out. Storm looked stronger than either Thunder or Upton.

The brackets this season will decide more teams fates than the independent performance potential of each team.

The Champions league is not showing the best performing teams in absolute. It's showing the best performing teams within the confines of it's flawed bracketing, scheduling, and relegation/promotion system.

It would be a mistake to presume that the "best" teams are in Champions. The some teams outside of Champions are better than those that are in.

The luck of the draw combined with minimal games (not even mentioning reffing issues) really amplifies these problems.

If the Russians have a cake walk all over the Challengers next event, it will be shown to be a failure. They don't belong there, and it's clear they were moved down too arbitrarily.

Next, there is the real risk of immediate relegation destroying some teams. I could see some teams imploding based on added weight from the immediate relegation after a single event (compared to a year). There is no reason to put extra stress on an already unprofitable venture of running a pro team.

Missy Q said...

I totally see your point Anon 3.28, but whether teams stay in Champions or not is defined by their own performance in their bracket. It has always been this way. What's changed is that now there is a consequence to poor performance where there was not one before. Everyone thought these consequences would only affect the weaker teams, and 'so what?' However, once it effects a powerhouse team it's a huge problem. We can't have it both ways...
Most sports that use promotion/relegation do so seasonally rather than per event.; I'm not against this in theory but that would create it's own issues, with teams imploding once they realise after event 3 that they will be relegated for the entire following season. Players will start to bail right at that point. At least now the players can stay as they can get back into the Champions division within the same season.

The purpose of the PSP is not to provide great veiwing for PBA. It is to provide an officiated and organised forum for competitive paintball where the best teams can win if they play well enough. Clearly the Russions didn't play well enough in this case.

I don't doubt that RL can beat 187 all day long. If England's soccer team hadn't had to play Sweden in the Q-finals of the Euro-cup, and had been drawn against Poland instead, they might have gone on to win the Cup. But their performance in the competition leading up to the Q-finals was not good enough, so they got the tougher draw and lost. This does not mean there is a flaw in the system. The 'luck' of the draw will always influence sports.

Anonymous said...

The best teams are in Champions. They're Dynasty and Tampa Bay Damage.

It's just like advancing teams to Sunday. You take 4 teams. You might not get the exact 4 teams playing the best that day - maybe the 3rd place team in one bracket is playing better than the 2nd place team in the other bracket. But you're not trying to get the best 4 teams out of prelims. You're trying to get the best 2 teams, and to make sure you get the best two, you take the top 4 scoring teams and let them decide who really is the best 2 on the field in semifinals.

The Russians may be the 11th-best team. They may be the 9th-best team. But they're definitely not the 5th-best team, and they got (temporarily) relegated.

Anonymous said...

How fast would this system change if the Russians didn't register for Chicago out of protest?

I have no reason to believe they would do that...just curious what y'all think.

Anonymous said...

7:10 Anon, it would change immediately if RL was sponsored by anyone that matters to the PSP (Kee or Dye). Since they are not, it wouldn't matter.

I'd actually be more worried about the Russian owner saying, "You know what you guys are not only wasting my money, but getting relegated too... plus after all the money I've spent with the PSP and all the money I've spent to get my team to the PSP over the years, they relegate me after a single event, RL is over."

I don't know anything about that organization, but it would be a shame if relegation destroyed a powerhouse team.

I could easily see this happening to even Dynasty if they had a bad event, with all the guys yelling at each other, and now they're relegated. F-that some of the core guys might say.

Anonymous said...

@7:10: Don't be dumb.

It didn't change immediately when XSV got relegated last event, did it?

Things change. History aside, Moscow just isn't a top-8 team right now.

Anonymous said...

"I could easily see this happening to even Dynasty if they had a bad event, with all the guys yelling at each other, and now they're relegated. F-that some of the core guys might say"

If Dynasty didn't say that after a horrendous 2012 campaign I don't that'd happen after just one PSP event. I would think the same applies to all the powerhouse teams you're trying to protect. They are made of sterner stuff (or they wouldn't have made it this far, no)?

NTran said...

I'm curious. To the people upset about RL bein relegated, were you proponents of this system or unaware of how it worked exactly? At a minimum, every team competing in champs/challengers knew how this system worked so we aren't surprised by this.

The system is working exactly how it is supposed to. Top teams stay. Mediocre to bottom teams can drop and challenger teams get a chance to get a taste of pro competition. Every team has to play harder because anyone can drop.

Anonymous said...

I'm the "dumb" Anon...only reason I asked such an off-the-cuff question is due to the fact the Russians spend more money than any other team to play the PSP. They travel a similar distance to Ton Tons, but they also arrive weeks ahead of time to practice, practice, practice before the event. That's uber expensive regardless of how well off the owner is.

Arguably, they are also the most loyal team to the PSP. With that in mind, I could make a case either way as to whether they stick it out or pull the plug.

That's one organization that you really don't want to play when they have a chip on their shoulder. With the right mindset in their camp, it wouldn't surprise me a bit to see them 7-Up every game in Chi-town, place top four in Cali, and win Cup.

Anonymous said...

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines."

Had Emerson lived in the age of blogs, no doubt "bloggers and pundits" would have made an appearance in that quote.

Here's a simple truth. Many things sound good on paper. When you see the results and consider the larger implications you decide maybe it's not so good.

Here is a very plausible theory. Relegation drops the "undeserving" teams at the bottom of the season, because there was a larger pool of teams to draw from at the first event. When the pool of teams gets smaller that you are dropping from at subsequent events, you run the risk of dropping title/marquee teams.

It's good for no one (viewers, PBA, challengers or champions division) to have Russians sit out an event.

Something else to consider, for those who cling foolishly to consistency. The PSP changes things every year. They say, "Hey, that seemed like a good idea, now that we've done it, it wasn't the greatest."

It would make more sense to have an "open" event #1 and then relegate the bottom teams for the rest of the season.

The fact of the matter is that 187 could barely beat a weak looking Thunder, and even then they beat them with the help of some crazy bad calls at the last minute. The same goes for Vicious against Storm.

Neither of those teams are preferable or better than the Russians.

When you consider how the stacked deck of bracketing factors into overall team performance, combined with fewer number of Champions to cut from, your odds of cutting a top team increases.

People didn't complain when XSV, Upton, etc. dropped because those teams were actually bottom performers. XSV might be debatable based on the NPPL, but that team struggles in 5man, combined with the fact that they can't push the reffing limits as far.

When the rules match up with what you expect to happen, you say, "ya looks good." When the rules yield a different result it makes sense to question them.

To hold the ship steady at all costs is foolish.

Not saying they should change things around this season as that ship as sailed. But the results are sub-par. If we see another top team drop down in Chicago, and Russians and Thunder move back up, we'll have to wonder what the point of all this is.

Relegation and promotion makes sense. But this system is most likely artificially introducing too much carnage. I suppose we'll see if the Russians were just a fluke or notaf.

NTran said...

There may be faults in the system. There's faults in any sport. Part of the issues arise because this system was hastily developed and as far as I know, the format wasn't fully developed before it was announced. So it's hard to figure out any potential faults when you aren't even finished with the product.

Basically in order to fit 15/16 teams into a 12 team division, a change was needed so it was rushed.

Once it's all figured out, I think the champions/challengers will be a really good format.

Nick Brockdorff said...

I agree with Missy throughout this whole debate - everything is on point!

Baca: I'm sorry man, but your argument lacks consistency.

You say the Champions playoff to avoid relegation is there purely for drama..... but then would the playoff you suggest be?

The consistent thing to say, would be "no playoff, it's only there for drama anyway" I think?

Ken: Your suggestion holds merit! - It gives us the best of two worlds, and adds the benefit of the Challengers final actually having meaning - and at the same time, only the bracket last place needs to play off in Champions.

As for the rest of the debate:

Paintball has always crowned event winners - except for the NXL, which failed partly because of that lacking dynamic.

But now, we suddenly have a problem with event losers? - Because relegation is in play??

If we want season based sports, we can do that, just copy the system from any major sport..... but we have always been a play off sport - we all thrive on the adrenaline of "win or go home".

So, I don't know why people in paintball are all of a sudden so concerned with season champs? - we never used to be, and frankly I think most teams would take a WC win, over a season win full of 2nd places ;)

Anonymous said...

Regarding the slow games...

Hockey has icing to prevent winning teams from stalling the clock. Basketball has the 5 second rule for similar reasons.

Why not do this. If a team is up on bodies they have 2 minutes to close out the point. Otherwise it's a draw.

Once you get up on bodies that secondary clock starts ticking away.

A variation of this would be for every 2 minutes that go by when your team is up on bodies, the "losing" team gets another body back on the field. In this scenario, eliminated players would go straight to the penalty box. Once the two minutes runs out, if the game is still going on, that eliminated player get re-insert.

It introduces a bit of action, and provides an incentive for a team up on bodies to keep pushing down the field rather than camping out and holding their lanes.

Anonymous said...

Several people feel that the Russians should be regulated - after 40% of the season they are in fact the 9th ranked team in the league - and CEP is the 10th ranked team in the league. Simple because the lower teams (Vicious, 187, etc..) were limited to no higher than 11th place and the Russians and CEP were getting 10th or better regardless of outcome.

I'm not saying 187 is better or vicious is better, but they deserve a chance to prove it - the same chance both CEP and the Russians had (for two events) and failed to prove they belong.

If you based it off of season standings last year, Impact wouldn't have been in the champion's bracket this year - they finished 0-4 at cup with 187 beating them 7-3. Vicious was 3-1 at cup but failed to make finals based on some bad luck and math.

I'm not convienced every event is the right way, but it's tough to say that CEP and the Russian's didn't have their chances to prove they belonged.

Anonymous said...

** Shouldn't be regulated

Anonymous said...

You have a valid point, but the correct term is "relegated".

Nick Brockdorff said...

Maybe he means they need to be disciplined?

"You have been BAD boys RL! - No more borscht for you!" :P

Baca Loco said...

Why not simply have the bottom team in each Champions bracket be relegated? Why institute a "playoff" to avoid relegation? My point was the playoff to avoid relegation was implemented not on the basis of any arguement about the merits but largely to provide additional dramatic webcast matches.
Whereas having the top two Challengers play the bottom two Champs makes all the competitive sense in the world. You want a chance to be the best you have to earn it against that events worst Champions. Pretty simple really.

430 Anon
An interesting idea.

Nick Brockdorff said...

I know - it's just fun to poke the bear once in a while - from a safe distance :P

On a serious note, and why I agree with Missy, I prefer a system that does not include a "save" for Champions by having them play off against Challengers, at least one of them (ref. Kens suggestion), for several reasons:

1. In order to improve the quality of the Challengers division faster, they need the experience of playing the Champions for a full event (before getting relegated) - It makes for a steeper learning curve.

2. A system that allows for status quo throughout the season (if the Challengers lack quality to win the playoff games), defeats the whole purpose of a promotion/relegation scheme.

3. To me, it is less important to maintain the 9th and 10th ranked Champions teams, than having a dynamic system allowing for "young hopefulls" to get their shot in the top division.

I wish the MS would institute event to event promotion/relegation - I think it is far more exiting than season based promotion/relegation.... especially with the Euro 16 team pro division having quite a few teams that aren't really good enough for "pro", and a 32 team Semipro division having several teams good enough to have a shot in Pro.

Anonymous said...


Didn't someone earlier in this thread complain that the only reason RL got relegated was because their bracket was tough?

And didn't you reply that wasn't true because RL and CEP (in the same bracket) both got beat by Infamous and TonTons?

That's why there's a relegation playoff.

Anonymous said...

If we don't need relegation playoffs because you can just drop the bottom team in each bracket, why do we need semifinals? We should just have the top team in each bracket go straight to finals.

Baca Loco said...

Anon 110 & 113
I'm not arguing there is no merit to the relegation "playoff" formula I'm simply advancing an opinion that a direct match-up between Champs and Challengers would be superior for the reasons already given.

Ken said...

Why relegate 2 Champions. Why not relegate only 1 Champion (via playoff of the bottom two) and promote only 1 Challenger?