Four teams. One more Premier League spot. This is going to be fun.
The Championship playoffs begin with first legs today pitting Brighton, Derby, QPR and Wigan in an effort to see who joins Burnley and Leicester City in the Premier League next season.
Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Derby County
Brighton is the only club in the playoffs for a second consecutive year, and will look to secure Premier League soccer for the first time in its existence — they played in the First Division for a brief time in the 1980s — while Derby County has, you know, won the England’s top title twice (1972, 1975).
Leg one at Brighton – 2:45pm ET today
Leg two at Derby – 12:15pm ET Sunday
Queens Park Rangers vs. Wigan Athletic
The failure of QPR boss Harry Redknapp to win automatic promotion with a Premier League-level roster, at least in terms of salary, is rough enough, but imagine being bested by a Wigan team that had something like nine players in the fold as recently as July.
Leg one at Wigan – 2:45pm ET Friday
Leg two at QPR – 2:45pm ET Monday
The final will be played on May 24 at Wembley Stadium.