I got some answers from the MAC's media contact Jeremy Guy. But it created only more questions.
It's true that the MAC West champion will serve as the tiebreaker between two or more teams that cannot settle their tie through the head-to-head tiebreaker.
It's also true that Keith Dambrot is right. The MAC will break the tie for the No. 2 seed before breaking the tie for the No. 1 seed.
That is totally contrary to the rules, which state: "All ties will be broken in the order in which they occur, from top to bottom, in the standings."
If we have to break the tie for 2nd before breaking the tie for 1st, we have a big problem. There is a strong possibility that Western Michigan and Ball State will be tied after tomorrow. Those teams split their season series, so they need an additional tiebreaker. The additional tiebreaker would have us examine how the each fared against the No. 1 seed.
By now, you are probably realizing the problem. If there is a tie for the No. 1 seed, then they need to break that tie (the one for 1st) before breaking the No. 2 seed tie. You break the tie for 1st by looking at the No. 2 seed. We are back to square one again.
If you're going to stick with this sadistic rule, the obvious answer to me is to preliminarily break the tie for 1st by using the both of the teams tied for second (and third, fourth, etc., if needed). Then you can easily break the tie for 2nd by using the single 1st-place team. Now you have your No. 2 seed. You can go back and re-break the tie for 1st using a single No. 2 seed.
It probably won't make a difference, but the system is so convoluted that another step won't hurt.
I will be frank. I'm still confused. I MUST be missing something. There is no way that the conference is misinterpreting its own rules so badly. First of all, the No. 2 seed has no business breaking the tie, considering the No. 2 seed is the seventh-best team in the conference. Second, the rules are clear that you break ties from top to bottom.
The rules also provide an example for using the combined records for a tiebreaker, rather than dropping down and breaking a tie for a lower position beforehand. ("Team A and Team B, who tied for second place, would compare against Team X and Team Y who tied for 6th as follows: Team A would compare its combined record against both X and Y against Team B’s combined record against both X and Y.")
I know someone at the MAC, who said the conference has worked out all of the potential scenarios that tomorrow might provide. I'm glad they're prepared. Next year, they need a lawyer to draft some clear tiebreaker rules. I'll do it for $200 an hour. The bill will come to about $40.
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