Colorado Cup, this year’s first big tournament, is upon us. We’ll get a good look at some of the country’s top talent, including Truck Stop and Johnny Bravo, and Canada’s premier teams, Furious George and GOAT. But before anybody captures a meaningful tournament win, it seems as good a time as any to take some educated stabs at where the top teams stand right now.
Alex and I are going to use the same tiered ranking system that Joaq and Neeley developed for the college season. Tier 1 is the crème de la crème—teams you should expect to see in quarters and/or semis. Tier 2 includes those teams that could break through to challenge Tier 1 teams and are pretty solid pre-quarters or quarters locks, themselves. These two tiers are comprised of established programs that you should expect to be playing on Saturday in Sarasota.
Tier 3 is an interesting case that we haven’t completely figured out yet. The problem is that you have some quality, established teams out there with tougher roads to Champies (say, Rhino in a two bid Northwest Region), while simultaneously, you have some decent teams without extensive histories that have easier roads to Champies (like Cash Crop in a four bid Mid-Atlantic Region). For now, we are going to keep this tier as a sort of grab bag, with both types of teams in the mix. Tier 3 teams are all strong teams that will be playing deep into Sunday of their respective Regionals. As the season progresses, giving us more results to look at and more time to work out these kinks, we’ll give this tier more definition. Alex and I will also keep two important rules in place from Joaq’s/Neeley’s rankings: (1) a team cannot be hurt or helped by not playing, and (2) a team doesn’t have to move completely out of the rankings because they lost to good competition.
Without further ado, the rankings:
- Tier 1: Revolver, Sockeye, Doublewide, Chain Lightning
- Tier 2: Ironside, Johnny Bravo, Truck Stop, GOAT, Southpaw
- Tier 3: PoNY, Furious George, Ring of Fire, Machine, Streetgang, Madison Club, Sub Zero, Madcow, Cash Crop, Rhino
Justifying the placement of each and every team would probably be too boring to read through, so we’ll just comment on the notable/controversial placements. The biggest surprises here have to be Chain in the top tier and Ironside in the second tier.
You’ll get to read more about Chain’s new approach with Bryan Jones’ preview in the coming weeks, but we were impressed with Atlanta’s more dynamic offense in their NexGen match up (especially despite Chain’s low numbers). Their Terminus win, though not against the stiffest of competition, bodes well, and the returns of Spiva and Lance will only improve their defensive efficiency (or perhaps offensive). There’s a lot in place for that team to build upon, and the team already looks dangerous. And seriously, who’s going to cover Russell Snow? Nobody on NexGen could…
Why does Ironside fit in the second tier, even after earning a Boston Invite championship? Their offense left a lot to be desired in their NexGen matchup, and there’s still the whole no-more-Will-Neff-or-Jeff-Graham thing that they need to fully overcome. Fear not, Boston fans: ECC is a mere two weeks away, and that’s an early opportunity for them to defend their ECC title and prove us wrong.
We’re sure that not everyone will agree with each and every placement, and we know that it’s very early. We look forward to interacting with your feedback and updating these rankings as the season progresses.
Featured photo from NexGen Tour