I was just checking out the other regions that had pools of 5 to see their schedules. Three of the Divs at South Regionals had 10 teams (5 per pool), and each had a different schedule. The one in the format manual is the one we used at Sectionals. Here it is:
4 v 5 2 v 3
1 v 3 2 v 4
1 v 5 3 v 4
1 v 4 2 v 5
1 v 2 3 v 5
Kinda sucks to be 3 in this format, opening with 2 and then 1. What is especially interesting is that finishing 2nd in the pool instead of 3rd can be quite beneficial, more than the difference between 1st and 2nd or 3rd and 4th. In a 5 team Masters Regionals, 1 and 2 play off for the 1st spot to Nationals while 3 plays 4, then there is a second game to go. Thus, if 1-3 are equal, the teams that finish top two have a 75% chance of advancing, while 3rd has a 50% chance. So, what might be the most pivotal game of the pool is played in the first round, then the next most pivotal games are in the 2nd round (not only 1v3 but also conceivably 2v4 if 4 is underseeded).
Speaking of opening with 2 and 1, I'm still a little ticked about the seeding and format at 1990 Nationals. We (Earth Atomizer, the little engine that could) had made Nats in 1989 ahead of Graffiti, had split with them during the year (and neither had won anything since NYNY and Boston #1 (let's see, they must have been First Time Gary that year, but let's just call them Titanic) were winning everything in the area), but they won the final game, and somehow they finagled the 3rd seed (or maybe it was because our seeding representative, Bruce Jacobson, was too nice). We were bummed because we wanted a shot at Titanic in the semis instead of NYNY, who always handled us. (As an aside, we played Titanic closer than Graffiti did, while they played NYNY closer than we did.) Anyhoo, it all went to seed until we dismantled Graffiti 19-9 in the game to go, but it was too late to play the 2/3 game, so we played it the following week and won, 21-17, to earn the #2 seed from the mighty NE. Titanic had lost by 1 in the semis at Nats in 1989, and were in year 4 of a 17 year streak of making semis. So, out of 12 teams, they seeded us....
9th. Just ahead of Titanic at 10th.
And our schedule had us playing the top seed LA in the first round, then 2nd seed (3rd overall) Windy City in the second (and final) round of the first day. Didn't seem fair. We got smoked by LA, 19-7 (this was the first year pool play games were to only 19 instead of 21), then lost a two-pointer to Windy City to end our tournament. We won our last three games after that so we could play the what-if game. We definitely would have benefitted from a different first day, but then again, maybe the next games wouldn't have gone the same way had we played them early. The Condors game in particular probably would have had a different tone. We got them on the last day after they had fallen apart. They went in seeded 3rd in the pool but played and acted badly, and actually kicked off one of their players (a captain, maybe? I hardly knew who anyone was back then, being only slightly older (25) than most of you reading this blog, and rsd did not exist yet).
Then again, it worked out ok for Titanic (better, actually). They opened with NYNY (and lost), but then got #2 seed Tsunami, who IIRC didn't have everyone there the first day because they knew they were just going to have two games they would win. Titanic won that won and made it to the finals.
Anyway, go DoG.