After a team has made the post-season, which championship (due to structure of playoffs, nature of game, and parity in sport) is the toughest to win, including toughest to predict the winner going into the playoffs?
I had to vote World Series mainly because the line between talent and momentum is so fine. In baseball, if Tampa Bay gets hot, they could easily beat the Red Sox (well, maybe not easily).
But in say, the NFL, I don't care how hot or how much momentum a team like the Falcons may have, they will NOT beat the Patriots.
Baseball, to me, just seems so incredibly **unpredictable.
**Except for the A.L. East. That's always easy to predict. 2008 final standings:
I had to go with Stanley Cup as there are so many teams that make the playoffs. And, IIRC, all the series' are best of 7 thus it's almost like having a second season.
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NCAA basketball championship. You have to win six games against increasingly tough (for the most part) competition, each one single-elimination.
It's not as tough in terms of having to play so many games, but it's very tough in terms of being able to win. Teams that play series get more chances for the best ones to prove it. In the NCAAs a VCU or LSU can knock you out on a bad night and you have no recourse.
Edit: Just noticed that wasn't one of EJ's choices. Consider this a write-in ballot.
The Superbowl may be the hardest for the best team, since it is one and done and anyone can get lucky. For everyone else anything with a 7 game series has got to be the toughest. You can get lucky against a better team once, but 4 times is very difficult.
Hardest to win: Averaged across all teams, once you've made the playoffs, you have a 1/16 chance of winning it all in the NBA and NHL, 1/12 chance in NFL and 1/8 chance in MLB. So its a tie between NBA and NHL
Toughest to predict the winner going in. Totally different question. I'll say NFL because its the only one with a single game structure.
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9F 9F 9F
Baseball may have the fewest playoff teams, but it's also the most difficult playoffs to get into.
I'd have to say the World Series, but only cause I don't know much about hockey. Baseball requires the most consistency out of any sport. Case in point: this year's Mets and Yankees. Mets were hot early, fizzled out late. Yankees were putrid early, got hot late, but then fizzled out again in the playoffs. Colorado is peaking at the perfect time.
But, I'll then add the caveat that I agree that NCAA basketball is the hardest to win. The tourney system is so wildly unpredictable. You have to play your A-game for six games in a row against teams which are very evenly matched and only gain more and more confidence with every win.
The World Series, because there's only one October.
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Stanley Cup: The off season is very short for a team who makes the playoffs.
On second thought...wrestling...because it has to be in the script.
Hard to thunk it, but I agree with EarlJam. The WS wins this poll. Talent gets most of these teams to the playoffs. But momentum and determination gets them advancing. DAMN those A-hole Mets.
I assumed you meant from opening day - and voted the Super Bowl. NFL seasons are much more dependent on avoiding key injuries (short season, inherently violent game). Plus, you have a single elimination post-season, and a narrower distribution in talent from the top teams to the bottom.