Why did I miss one of the important events of the year (Bid Allocation and Final Rankings)? I was in a battle for my intestinal soul with e.coli and Salmonella. Well, those two weeks have passed, and I’m back to comment on old news. Better late than never… right?
In the end, I had one misplaced bid. With Stanford getting their results reinstated along with some other teams, Michigan State was once again, the last team out. This pushed the Great Lakes down to two bids, with the Southwest getting one back and the South East holding for a second.
My wrong prediction? That the North Central would get 4, and the New England region would get 2. Way back at the start of the season I made the outlandish prediction that the North Central would get 5, and I should have just stuck to my guns. Why was I wrong on New England? I really thought Dartmouth was good enough to be in the top 20 after winning Pres Day. However, with an injury to Lee Farnsworth at Centex, and other issues in general, Dartmouth did not preform well the rest of the season.
What the bid situation means… Lots of exciting regionals
With the exception of the North Central getting 5, almost every other region has doubt as who will be booking their ticket to Boulder. Looking down the regions with things up in the air we have..
The South East -2 Bids
I can’t wait to watch this one from the best seat in the house, because this is probably the best region to watch. Central Florida is looking like the front runner, but you’ve got to be really confident to count out Georgia, Florida, or even Georgia Tech from taking them down. In this format, you’re going to want to get to the finals, because it will save you from playing an extra backdoor game. Who can benefit from this the most? Georgia Tech. Nick Lance and Jay Clark are going to have to play a majority of points, and I think it’s in their best interest to try to win the whole thing rather than worry about options through a backdoor bracket. I liked Georgia at the beginning of the year, but with Elliott Erickson injured going into the series, I’m not sure what to think. Florida has been unable to find their groove so far this season, but again, I’m not counting anyone out.
Atlantic Coast – 1 Bid
While North Carolina and North Carolina Wilmington are the favorites for this region, I can’t say they are invulnerable. There are tons of teams looking to make life difficult. None the less, I think we’ll see a North Carolina final with Chapel Hill having the edge with better depth.
The Northwest- 2 bids
Yes, we expect Oregon to take this region home with little doubt. However, with 1 bid left, and Washington being no slouch, we could see an exciting backdoor game to go with Whitman and Washington facing off. Whitman is the team that wants to get to the finals, because they need to rest their starters and avoid any extra games. Definitely have that one bid hanging in doubt.
The Southwest – 2 bids
Stanford and California are in the drivers seat to take this region, but Cal Poly SLO and UCSB are lurking to try to snag that back door bid. Either way, this region is going to be a bloodbath on the way to the game to go. San Diego State, Sonoma State, Los Positas, UCLA will be battling each other in the backdoor bracket to see if they have an outside shot.
The Ohio Valley – 2 Bids
Yes, we expect Pittsburgh to take the one spot, but is that two spot up for grabs? Ohio should be labeled the favorite, but there are several teams salivating at the chance to challenge them for it. Ohio State and Penn State are the two likely teams to try and take them down while there are a slew of other teams knocking at the door. Shippensburg has played well of late, taking down Penn State at Chicago Invite while Cincinnati and Carnegie Mellon are also looking to end someone’s season. It’ll be exciting to see how that backdoor bracket breaks down.
The Great Lakes – 2 bids
One of the most perplexing things to me is how Michigan ended up so high in the rankings. I mean it’s easy to do the math, but the results just don’t look that impressive. None the less, we have a region with two bids with three squads looking to go after each other. Does Illinois continue their trend of peaking at regionals? They’re a squad that looks like they play up to opponents so far this season. They’ve come close, with universe point losses to Luther at Centex and Tufts at Easterns. Michigan has some work to do after their loss to Michigan State at Chicago Invite, but we won’t know till the results fall. Eastern Michigan might not make the dance, but they might make someone’s life in the backdoor bracket much more difficult.
The Other Regions
The Metro East is Uconn’s region to lose right now. Cornell is lacking depth, NYU looks weaker than suspected, and Rutgers looked strong at once upon a time. Buffalo hasn’t come away with many signature wins but is ranked higher than most. Yale has returned a lot of starters but didn’t shine at New England Open. What to expect of Princeton? They are intriguing after their performance at Roll Call. I’ll expect lots of shame after not writing about them in my Metro East preview.
The South Central may turn out to be exciting, but I still think Texas and Colorado are going to be the winners. I know Colorado has made it a tradition of winning their region for a long time, but is this the first year that stops? The North Central may not be in doubt on who will be going to nationals, but the winner is going to have the 3rd seed at nationals if Pittsburgh and Oregon do not falter. Is Minnesota going to shed the little brother moniker? Will Wisconsin rise up like I thought they would? Where’s Carleton after Centex? Even when the bids aren’t in question, I’m still going to have my eyes on the finish and the scores.
New England is the last stop on our list, and may end up being the biggest snooze fest of them all. Tufts could manhandle competition, as they did at Booty Call. They will have a target on their back, but the important thing here is whether or not we have a potential dark horse team. If Tufts is going to go far in Boulder, they better not leave a semblance of a doubt during Regionals. This is a one bid region with teams, even with Vermont and Dartmouth, that the Emen should dismantle. The one thing they need to key in on is their execution, and it will be evident in their opponents scores.
What do we have coming?
Regional previews aren’t yet written, but we will have them rolling out once sectionals gets done. We’ll dabble in some all region talk, get a podcast out to you in time for Regionals, and also set up the race for the Callahan.