The ECAC world is spinning off its axis. By the end of the week, it may rest for a while. But not until all the games have ended.
With apologies to the NFL in the last three weeks of the football season, here is a glimpse of the ECAC's playoff probabilities:
St. Lawrence (17-3 ECAC): A home sweep of Dartmouth and Harvard would gives the Saints the regular-season title. A split would still give the title to St. Lawrence, provided Harvard losses its game with the Saints. Two losses would drop the Saints to second place.
HARVARD(16-4): The Crimson will win its third straight ECAC regular-season title if it can sweep Clarkson and St. Lawrence on the road. A split or two losses will still assure Harvard of second place.
Cornell (14-6), Colgate (12-7-1), Vermont (12-7-1): The Big Red has already captured home ice, even if it loses both games to RPI and Vermont. Colgate and UVM face off Friday noght in Burlington, Vt., and the winner will have the the inside track for the final playoff spot. Both teams, however, will probably face each other in the ECAC quarterfinals.
Clarkson (9-8-3): The Golden Knights can nab the sixth playoff spot if they sweep Harvard and Dartmouth. If Clrakson splits, and Princeton does the same, it will still be in sixth place. But a pair of losses, coupled with two Tiger wins, will bring Clarkson down to the seventh playoff spot.
Princeton (9-10-1): A sweep over Yale and Brown can put the Tigers in sixth place if Clarkson loses both games. If RPI wins both its games, a Princeton split will create a tie with the Engineers, and two Tiger losses will send Princeton down to the eighth and final playoff spot.
RPI (9-11): If the Engineers defeat Cornell and Colgate, they will be assured of a playoff spot. Two losses will put the Engineers out of the playoffs only if Dartmouth splits or sweeps its weekend games.
Dartmouth (8-11-1): The Big Green, one point behind RPI, must win both its games no matter what the Engineers do. If Dartmouth can sweep Clarkson and St. Lawrence on the road, an RPI loss will give the Green the final spot. A split may put Dartmouth in the playoffs.
Yale (6-14): The Elis, five points behind Dartmouth, are out of the playoff hunt. Yale has joined Brown (2-17) and Army (1-17-2) on the Boston Garden line for tickets to the ECAC Championships March 11-12.
These scenarios have not considered the possibility of tied games. Ties would make the situation even more confusing. Let's keep it simple, now.