Welcome to the party, Chad Larson and Drag’n Thrust! The perennial contenders from the North Central had been lingering just beneath the 5-game threshold, but now have more than 10 games played following tournament championship performances at Heavyweights and Chesapeake respectively. PanIC, the previous holder of the North Central’s “automatic bid” as the highest ranked qualifier falls all the way to 38 despite a decent Heavyweights performance. Heading into the final weekend there is still some movement in the rankings to come, but take this to the bank, 2 bids for the North Central region.
Other certainties: the Southeast, South Central and Great Lakes are likely locked in at 1 bid each.The Southeast’s Sabre Corp and Cahoots could not climb high enough alongside Bucket at Chesapeake. Cosa Nostra and Mesteno of the South Central have concluded their regular seasons and sit in the 20s after 3rd and 4th place finishes at Heavyweights. A 1-5 performance at Chesapeake dropped Santa Maria from 5th to 22nd, costing the Great Lakes region a strength bid.
There could still be some changes in the balance of bids between the Northeast, Mid Atlantic, Southwest and perhaps the Northwest regions as the club regular season concludes at Mixed Labor Day this weekend. Some movement already came courtesy of 7Express, 2-4 at Chesapeake and now 19th, costing the Northeast one of its 4 strength bids. The beneficiary in this case was the idle Southwest, with Mischief now qualifying for the region’s third strength bid. Defending National Champions Blackbird sit close behind, threatening to jump in front of AMP and claim another bid for the region, at the expense of the Mid Atlantic. With a US Open win over the now top-ranked Drag’n Thrust, the Polar Bears’ ranking jumped, the rising tide lifting several past Southwest opponents who played Polar Bears close as well.
This kind of rating impact on idle teams makes the final weekend especially tough to predict despite just one major event. How will AMP’s performance on the west coast [positive or negative] affect those who have already played the Philadelphia team? Could 7 Figures and Blackbird climb high enough to cut into the Northeast’s strength bids? While the Northwest only has Bigfoot among the top teams projected to play enough qualifying games, could a strong Engine 45 or Golden Spike performance at Labor Day mean a darkhorse run up the rankings by the Portland or Utah teams? We’ll know next week ahead of the first round of Sectional events.
Highest ranked teams from each region (overall ranking)-
1. Drag’n Thrust (NC) 2. Polar Bears (SW) 3. Slow White (NE) 6. Overhaul (GL) 7. Ambiguously Grey (MA) 10. Bucket (SE) 16. Mental Toss Flycoons (NW) 21. Cosa Nostra (SC)
Sanctioned Tournaments this Weekend:
Mixed Labor Day – Davis, CA
Meriden Invite – Meriden, CA
Scorcher – Boise, ID
Overall rank. Team, Region. Rankings Point Total
*4. Chad Larson Experience, NC 1745 – After several close games at the US Open, came out strong to win Heavyweights, Another regional final battle with Drag’n Thrust is a month away, though both will be favored to advance to Sarasota.
*5. The Ghosts, NE 1731 – A loss to Bucket and two to Slow White at Chesapeake, but playing without one-third of their roster [and incorporating some new talent as well], still a threat to win their region.
*8. Odyssee, NE 1630 – Early-season performance, including a win over Polar Bears and Drag’n Thrust at the US Open has held up while the Canadian team has been idle in sanctioned events.
*9. Wild Card, NE 1616 – Appear safe holding their strength bid after a 3-win Chesapeake Invite, but could a strong Labor Day performance from the Southwest put this position at risk?
*10. Grassface, SW 1614 – Starting Labor Day in a pool with inter-regional intrigue, two teams from the Northwest and the South Central’s Swingline. Teams 7-10 in the USAU rankings have not been to Nationals before.
*12. American BBQ, SW 1539 – Another team that would be new to Nationals, and having a solid season so far, making the finals at ECC. Top-line seed at Labor Day this weekend.
*13. Mischief, SW 1473 – In and out of Nationals the last few seasons, and currently in position to claim the Southwest a 4th bid, will be working to make their path back to Sarasota more safe at Labor Day.
*14. AMP, MA 1437 – Have won and lost half of their challenging schedule so far. Whether a .500 record at Labor Day will deliver a Mid Atlantic strength bid would depend on which matchups are won and lost.
15. District 5, NE 1435 – The Connecticut team is making their first appearance in the rankings after debuting at Labor Day, but likely their last as well; their regular season finishes short of the 10-win minimum.
16. Mental Toss Flycoons, NW 1434 – Unless they’re traveling to Boise this weekend [attending teams unlisted], don’t appear likely to meet the regular season minimum, as with District 5.
17. Blackbird, SW 1434 – Is a 5th bid for the Southwest possible? The defending National Champions never made things easy last year, using the pre-quarter game to get into weekend bracket play in Sarasota. Seeded second in their pool at Labor Day behind local rival Mischief.
18. Bigfoot, NW 1433 – Should take the top spot in the Northwest after Labor Day, but will anyone else from the region come up as well to compete for a second bid?
19. 7Express, NE 1432 – Just 5 points out of the final strength bid position, currently held by AMP, but finished for the regular season after a 2-win Chesapeake.
20. Termite’s Entourage, MA 1414 – Made a charge up the standings with a 5th place finish at Chesapeake, including wins over Wild Card, Bucket and Overhaul, but still constrained by their Philly Invite performance. This large contingent of AMP alumni is hoping their former club can secure the Mid Atlantic a second bid at Labor Day.
*- Current wildcard regions.
If the season ended today bids would be:
GL- 1 SC- 1 SW- 4 NW- 1 NE- 4 SE- 1 MA- 2 NC- 2