The Race For The UFL's XFL Conference Championship | Jerome Kapp

The Race For The UFL’s XFL Conference Championship

With Birmingham and Michigan locking down the USFL division, it’s time we take a look at every possible scenario remaining for the UFL playoffs. The XFL conference specifically has multiple clinching opportunities this week for both St. Louis and San Antonio, provided a couple things fall into place. Here’s what needs to happen for each team to make it in!

Week 7 Standings

But before that, let’s look at the standings after seven weeks of UFL action.

USFL
1. Birmingham (7-0)
2. Michigan (5-2)
3. Memphis (1-6)
4. Houston (1-6)

XFL
1. St. Louis (5-2)
2. San Antonio (5-2)
3. DC (3-4)
4. Arlington (1-6)

Clinched: Birmingham, Michigan
Eliminated: Memphis, Houston, Arlington

Notably, only three teams are still playing “meaningful” football at this point in the season. DC, St. Louis, and San Antonio all have yet to clinch or be eliminated from contention.

Michigan and Birmingham technically have the home field advantage at stake – however don’t be surprised if the both are conservative in resting players considering the injuries they’ve faced this season. The Stallions, holding a two game edge – would secure the USFL championship in Birmingham with a win and a Michigan loss this week.

Playoff Tiebreakers

The UFL has yet to release official tiebreakers for the playoffs, however we can safely assume that the first four factors will remain the same from the XFL and USFL.

1. Overall Record
2. Head to Head Record
3. Conference Record
4. Strength of Victory

While this system has worked out just fine for the USFL, it did bring about plenty of controversy last year when St. Louis didn’t make the playoffs despite being 7-3 in the XFL. While this worst case scenario looks highly unlikely in 2024, it is still a point of contention and something we could possibly see changed if the league goes on to expand in future seasons.

With all this in mind, let’s break down the remaining teams still in the hunt for the UFL playoffs and what they need to do to make it happen.

St. Louis Battlehawks

The Battlehawks (5-2) have surprisingly yet to clinch a playoff spot. Even with the loss to Birmingham they remain atop the XFL division, having an undefeated in conference record and the head to head against their closest competitor in San Antonio. For St. Louis, things are simple. A win this week against DC – and you’re in.

But is there any chance the Battlehawks don’t make the playoffs? In what would be a chaos scenario for the league, the team would have to go 0-3 down the stretch, putting them at 5-5 on the season. San Antonio would only need to win one game to go 6-4, and DC would have to win out putting them at 6-4 as well.

While unlikely to miss out on the postseason, the Battlehawks still have work to do and can’t risk coasting through the finish line.

With competitive leaders like Anthony Becht and AJ McCarron at the helm, I don’t believe there’s any reason to think St. Louis won’t go out and execute for the next three weeks.

San Antonio Brahmas

The Brahmas (5-2) also control their own destiny in the chase for the postseason. Despite one nail-biter after another, they’ve managed to scrape out a 5-2 record as well and should feel fairly comfortable. With a win this week and a DC loss, San Antonio clinches a spot in the UFL playoffs. However, the Brahmas schedule isn’t exactly doing them any favors.

Week 8: Arlington Renegades
Week 9: Birmingham Stallions
Week 10: at St. Louis Battlehawks

If the favorites win in each matchup, SA will go an uncomfortable 1-2 down the stretch. This puts them just in range of the Defenders who could go 6-4 with a strong finish to the season. Leaving things in the hands of a pesky playoff tiebreaker is something that Wade Philips and the Brahmas will look to avoid, but it certainly won’t be easy.

DC Defenders

Lastly, the Defenders (3-4) have the longest shot to make it in from this point. The San Antonio comeback victory of Houston really stings, alongside a tough loss at home to Michigan. However if DC wants a shot at the postseason- Reggie Barlow has to get his team prepared and looking ahead. The way I see it, there are three ways for DC to make it in.

1. DC wins out and finishes 6-4. San Antonio goes 0-3 OR 1-2 down the stretch. DC gets in on divisional record tiebreaker.
2. DC wins out and finishes 6-4. St. Louis goes 0-3 OR 1-2 down the stretch. Things fall to the strength of victory tiebreaker.
3. DC goes 2-1, finishing 5-5. San Antonio or St. Louis would have to lose out. leaving things up to the strength of victory tiebreaker.

Any way you cut it, a loss this week would be devastating. However with a win against Battlehawks, things clear up quickly for the Defenders.

Week 8: at St. Louis Battlehawks
Week 9: at Memphis Showboats
Week 10: Arlington Renegades

Winning in the dome is easier said than done, but if DC can get past that tough task there’s no reason why they should struggle in week 9 or 10. With San Antonio’s constantly close matchups and issues at the QB position there is still plenty of hope for the Defenders.

But what do you think? Sound off below in the comments, or join the conversation on Discord!